Monthly Archives: September 2013

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS PART TWO

Myth #4 – Australia is taking in too many refugees. 

This one is a matter of opinion, but in relation to the rest of the world Australia is home to very very few refugees. Currently, Australia has 1.1 refugees for every 1000 citizens. Of industrialised nations, in 2010 Australia received just 2.2% percent of the world’s asylum applications. To put it in perspective, in 2010, Australia received 6879 refugees by boat – Only enough people to fill 6.8% of the seats in the MCG.

Myth #5 – Refugees receive higher allowances from the Australian government than aged pensioners. 

This is truly one of Today Tonight’s favourites. Refugees do not receive any sort of payment from Centrelink or the Australian Government for simply being a refugee. Once granted refugee status, they are able to apply for financial assistance in the same way and for the same amount as any other Australian, but there is no pension or allowance for simply being a refugee. A single mother who is a refugee and a single mother who is not will both receive the same pension of $611.90 a fortnight – still less than a single aged pensioner receives.

It’s time to rethink refugees, and if someone says something ignorant, uneducated or unkind – don’t be afraid to rock the boat.

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Misconceptions about refugees and asylum seekers part one

Due to our constant engagement with media, many values and ideas expressed through these forums become engrained as part of our own belief systems. We have a tendency to trust the media when perhaps we shouldn’t – particularly when it comes to mainstream media (*cough*cough* Today Tonight/ACA) who seem particularly inclined to present sensationalist viewpoints with little regard for the truth in many cases.

Due to this, many Australians believe things about refugees and asylum seekers that simply are not true. Let’s get a few things straight.

Myth #1 – It is illegal for a refugee to arrive in Australia by boat.

In accordance with the UN Refugee Convention (to which Australia is a signatory), refugees have the right to enter a country for the purpose of seeking asylum, regardless of how they arrive or what travel documents they may or may not have.

Myth #2 – Asylum seekers who arrive by boat are ‘queue-jumpers’. 

By definition, a refugee is someone who is outside of their country of origin. You therefore cannot apply for refugee status whilst still residing in your country. This means applying on shore is the standard process for refugee status. There is no ‘queue’ that asylum seekers who arrive by boat are trying to avoid. They are seeking asylum in the only way possible.

Myth #3 – Asylum seekers who arrive by boat present a threat to Australian security. 

Almost 90% of asylum seekers who have arrived by boat have been found to be genuine refugees. Interestingly, of asylum seekers who arrive in another way, with some sort of documentation, only 40-45% are found to be genuine refugees. This means asylum seekers who come to Australia by boat are twice as likely than those who come by plane with documentation to be genuine refugees. On top of this, the UN Refugee Convention excludes individuals who have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity or other serious crimes from achieving refugee status. This means serious criminals are not able to seek asylum in Australia.

 

Welcome!

This site contains the majority of information relating to the Rock the Boat campaign. This campaign aims to address Australian societal views on refugees and asylum seekers, particularly those who arrive by boat. Due largely to sensationalist mainstream media, refugees and asylum seekers are often viewed in our society as criminals. This issue is born largely from a lack of education around the topic. 

Aiming to encourage Australians to treat all people with fairness and empathy, Rock the Boat will present the facts about asylum seekers arriving by boat and hopefully encourage respectful discussion. This is a campaign that aims to change a mindset.