A Criminal Enterprise

Criminalizing the Vulnerable: Asylum seekers an easy target

Posted in News by Sophie Cull on November 3, 2009

Since 2001, ‘asylum seeker’ has become a dirty word in Australia. ‘Boat people’, ‘illegal immigrants’ and (used far less frequently) ‘refugees’ are terms used interchangeably to refer to people arriving on Australian shores by boat in an effort to seek asylum. And now ‘terrorist’ has been added to the list.

West Australian backbencher Wilson Tuckey recently stated that terrorists could be masquerading as asylum seekers on the unauthorised boats that reach Australian waters. Fear-mongering has been the most successful policy used by Australian politicians to resist influxes of ‘boat people’ over the last decade since the Child Overboard incident.

While Tuckey’s comments have sparked outrage amongst human rights groups and received backlash from the Prime Minister, there is no shortage of Australian politicians, media outlets and citizens who share his fears. Public debate has once again flared over how to deal with asylum seekers.

There is one interested party who often remains almost entirely silent in the midst of these recurring debates: those people seeking asylum. Locked in detention with no materials to identify who they are, no ensured legal representation and little means of communication with the outside world, only statistics can speak for these people.

So GetUp, a grass-roots community advocacy organization that allows Australians to get involved in holding Australian politicians accountable, has put together a short Myth-busting Factsheet to educate us Aussies on how big of a ‘threat’ asylum seekers really are. It’s a short but interesting read: http://www.getup.org.au/files/campaigns/asylum_myths_factsheet.pdf.

Perhaps the most compelling myth-busting fact is that those ‘queue jumpers’ arriving by boat are actually the most likely to be genuine refugees:

There is also data to suggest that people who arrive by boat are more likely to be legitimate refugees. Of asylum claims made by people who arrive by aircraft, 55% are rejected. Only 2-15% of claims made by people arriving by boat are denied.

Yet the war of words continues to criminalize these silent few who come with nothing, asking for help. It can only be hoped that researched and rational thinking on this subject speaks with a louder voice than the likes of Wilson Tuckey.

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Proud to be Republican said, on December 10, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    I stumbled across this site by accident. Imagine my suprise when I find out it is a little hub spewing forth Democrat fueled ideologies.

    In response to your article Ms Cull (if that is your real name, with the views you espouse I think your name would probably be ‘Moonbeam’ or ‘Bleeding heart’) I say the following:

    i) Everyone knows your little Country if full of narrow minded people. Harry Connick Jnr taught yall that lesson.

    ii) Second, a majority of those ‘boat people’ come from Muslim countries. So to say that some terrorists may have snuck into your Country to cause havoc is really not that far fetched.

    iii) As a citizen of America, who is the leader of the free world, I support that little Aussie Senator in his views. Have you forgot 9/11?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: