Prejudice compounded by ignorance. John Menadue

Mar 6, 2013

The Scott Morrisons and Ray Hadleys of this world have had a field day vilifying one asylum seeker living in the community who came by boat. The prejudice is bad enough, but their ignorance is just as appalling.

In the last ten years, 65,000 asylum seekers came to Australia. 47,000, or 72% of them, came by air. The fact is that those 47,000 who came by air all went directly to living in the community on bridging visas. Scott Morrison and Ray Hadley showed not the slightest interest. There is no campaign against the much larger number of asylum seekers who have come by air although one would expect that some of them would have committed offences in the same way as offences occur in the general community.

But talk of boat arrivals living in the community and the prejudiced and ignorant go ballistic. Air arrivals are not detained in Immigration Detention Centres but released immediately into the community until their refugee status is determined. Furthermore, boat arrivals have twice the rate of successful refugee determination as air arrivals.

The ‘debate’ about boat arrivals living in the community is mired in prejudice and ignorance. When will our Prime Minister stand up and make a principled case for decent treatment of asylum seekers. I have never heard her do it. Where are the values that the ALP used to espouse?

Ignorance can only be countered by facts and the government is failing to properly inform the community. Prejudice must be tackled head on with beliefs about the value and dignity of every human being. Tony Abbott leads with opportunism. Julia Gillard continually runs for cover.

John Menadue

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