It's an empirical question, easily decided. Are spikes in our asylum seeker numbers created by changes in the regions that are "pushing" them or changes in the extent to which Australia's policies "pull" them?
"If the Pull Factor school of thought was accurate – if pull factors really do dominate asylum seeker numbers – then we would expect to see very little correlation in total asylum seeker application numbers between Australia and New Zealand – afterall, our respective policies are different and during the Pacific Solution period were vastly different.
If we take the total asylum seeker application numbers for both Australia and New Zealand over the period of 1994-2008, we can run a scatter plot and regression line to see if there is any correlation.
This tells us that those carping on about Pull Factors as being the dominant effect, are engaging in a few pull factors of their own. The Australian and New Zealand experiences are highly correlated in a very strong statistically significant way. This is the exact opposite of what would occur were our respective domestic policies the dominant influence on our respective asylum seeker numbers."