The Australian Government and in particular the Liberal-National Coalition Party has failed humanity, in particular they have failed asylum seekers. The issue began back in the Howard -Liberal National Coalition era with the comment “ We will decide who comes into this country and by what means”. This newly elected Liberal-National Coalition Party headed by Tony Abbott has continued this failure towards asylum seekers, and continues to brand them as illegal immigrants. While their policy continues to deceive not just asylum seekers but also citizens of Australia.
Since then asylum seekers have been branded illegal immigrants. A person who is seeking asylum, is a person, family or group who have been forced to flee their country because of war, persecution or violence. The Government has forgotten this important fact. These are the people who are called illegal immigrants. People who need protection.
The first fact is, it is NOT ILLEGAL to seek asylum in Australia and according to the 1958 Migration Act it is not illegal to arrive by boat to seek asylum. If the number of boat arrivals are put into a comparison in 2010 only 6879 asylum seekers arrived by boats – that equals to 6.8 % of the Melbourne Cricket Ground(MCG) which can hold 100,024.
The right wing media in Australia would have you believe that the country is over run with refugees/asylum seekers and that they are on every corner and using up all of Australia’s precious resources. The reality of the situation is that for every 1000 Australians there is 1.1 refugees (1.1:1000). There is also the prevailing idea that terrorists are among those seeking asylum jeopardising the security of the nation – the reality is the number of asylum seeker who have arrived by boat who are terrorists is ZERO!
Along with the foolish idea that asylum seekers are over running the country they are also applying for welfare benefits and living the high life off tax payers when the reality of the situation is an asylum seeker gets $0 from Centrelink while a processed refugee (single mother) gets $611.90 per fortnight – not enough to live on.
The difference between an asylum seeker and a refugee is an asylum seeker is a person who is seeking protection but who’s refugee status hasn’t been confirmed – A refuge is an asylum seeker who has been granted refugee status. When is comes to calling asylum seekers illegal immigrants the Liberal-National coalition party is playing at dirty word game.
Even though these people have entered the country without a Visa, making them illegal arrivals or they have illegally entered the country, it does not mean that they are an illegal immigrant. Even though these people have not committed any crime, nor broken any Australian or international law. Those seeking asylum are not illegal under any international law and by ratifying the Refugee Convention, Governments agree precisely not to treat asylum seekers as illegal!
The shameful way this government has treated asylum seekers, in the past and now, can be seen in the number of those taken in by the country and the average duration of determination.
The average direction of determination for Australia is 224 days compare to countries like the United States where it is 17 days, France 10 days, Canada eight days, Sweden seven days. The number of those asylum claims processed by the United States is more than 60,000 , France is more than 40,000, Sweden is more than 30,000 Malaysia just under 30,000 while Australia is a little over 5000. In 2012 Australia ranked 49th for the number of refugees hosted, way behind United Kingdom United States France and Malaysia.
On March 22, 2014 there will be a rally, organised by Australian Against Injustice, in Melbourne at the Victorian State Library to highlight the issue of what is happening to Asylum Seekers and how they are treated.