Tag Archives: auspol

Mandatory detention and asylum seekers.

As most people would know, asylum seekers who arrive in Australia are subject to rigorous security checks whilst forced to remain in detention. Mandatory detention does not discriminate against age or health, with children and the sick still forced to live indefinitely in detention centres.

For people fleeing persecution, rape, torture, war and trauma, this experience is incredibly damaging. These individuals arrive in Australia, desperate for help, safety and a new life, but instead are exposed to more trauma and treated as criminals.

Australia has recently been awarded an ‘F’ on a report card from the UN when it comes to our treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, largely due to this inhumane experience.

Whilst it is perfectly legal to seek asylum, those who arrive without visas are held in detention until granted a visa, which often takes years.

In this way, Australia violates human rights set out in treaties to which we are a signatory. According to these guidelines, everyone has the right not to be subject to arbitrary detention and children should be detained only as a last resort, and for the shortest time possible. On top of this, anyone who is detained has the right to appeal their detention in court and should have access to legal advice and assistance.

Australia is in direct violation of these treaties. Not only is detention mandatory, it is not time limited and those detained are unable to successfully appeal. While they may seek a judicial review, Australian courts have no authority to release a person from mandatory detention – rendering this process ultimately useless.

Mandatory detention is a damaging, expensive process that is in direct violation of human rights. Australia needs to put a stop to this inhumane practice ASAP to avoid further trauma for those already suffering. Community-based alternatives are a much more humane, compassionate option which allows asylum seekers to contribute to society and move on from the trauma they have escaped.

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Australia’s attitude.

After much research, searching tags and keywords and deliberating over the blasphemy that is mainstream news, I constantly find myself asking why Australia’s attitude is the way it is. Of course I acknowledge that each individual has a different point of view and rationale for their opinion, but again and again I see a very hostile attitude towards refugees and those less fortunate than us. I find this incredibly ironic in a country where many of those who would call themselves Australian are here due to the fact that their ancestors arrived by (drumroll please) none other than the much hated boat.

Why are those fleeing war, rape and torture today seen to be criminals, whilst as a fellow blogger pointed out, those escaping the Nazis in WWII were seen as heroic? (http://maryd2303.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/thinking-about-refugees/)

And where does the sense of entitlement rife in so many Australians come from?

I for one do not believe I deserve any privilege more than any other human being in this world. I don’t understand the thinking that because I was lucky enough to be born in a safe, free country, I somehow deserve more than those who weren’t. Shouldn’t we, the fortunate, be responsible for providing aid, understanding and compassion to those who are less fortunate? Why do we greet those who have experienced more trauma than most Australians could possibly imagine with more trauma and hostility?

#ROCKTHEBOAT and replace hostility with compassion, and hatred with education.

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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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