Refugee’s and the Myth

I read in the media and more concerning hear from friends about  the great swarms of illegal refugee’s coming to our shores.

I’ll be the first to admit we can and do get taken advantage of by a portion of these people but that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing and I would like to point out that we don’t have any such thing as illegal refugees in Australia.

Under the United Nations charter for refugees of which Australia signed both the protocol (1951) and convention (1967) under Menzies then Holt, both then Liberal governments.  We have an obligation under international law to accept and protect them.

There is a cost to that but when is there not a cost associated with living up to expectations?  Just by the by the Howard Government actaully holds the record for the most boat arrivals. I can’t say I agree with how we handle the boats but we have an obligation and there is no easy solution to it.

The nation of Nauru is not the answer, the reason Howard choose Nauru is to avoid our obligations under the UNHCR.. and well to me sherking your responibilties is just not how we do things nor is it an example we should want to show our children. We need to do more to take care of our own for sure but one really doesn’t have anything to do with the other.

It’s a myth that Refugee’s are treated better then our other welfare recipents, Centrelink and Medicare benefits only become available to refugees once they are issued a protection visa and gain permanent residency.  ie they are legitimate refugees, and as legitimate refugess is there really any Austalian out there that would turn their back on someone in need?

They then get the exact same benefit rates as any one else, not more.  They certainly do not get free houses or cars…

I’d like people to try and understand that the issue of refugee’s is not an issue of border protection, nor is it something we can stamp out with policy.  We have more people over stay their visa’s then we do arriving by boat but I hear no mention of that in the media. 

To want to risk your life and that of your children to these people smuggilers tells me you  are desperate, and we should remember often in the parts of the world these people are coming from there is no legal means to reach us.. it’s not like they can just stroll down to the local embessy.

Historically the flow of boats heading for Australia coincide with civil unrest in the region, this is something fairly out of our control and can’t be prevented by policy.  All our policy can do is control the funnel, under Howard it was funneling the boats to detention centres outside the immigration zone beyond the eyes of the UN.

Do I have the answer no I do not, and I doubt a truely universal one will ever be forth coming.  What I do know is that we as Australians have stood up and said yes we recognise that refugees are a class of people that need protection and we will do that.  We are a compasionate people and the ideal of helping out those who can not help themsevles is ingrained it us..

This makes me proud to be Australian, and I would not welcome any policy that would dimmish that, even if it means being scammed by 9 in 10 people.  If just one is legit we are doing the right thing.

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