Boatpeople not illegal

23/3/10;; (2 Items)

Greg Sheridan accuses others of a “disregard for facts and history” but his article contains errors of its own (“A harsh but effective policy”, 22/4). Asylum-seekers who come by boat are not illegal immigrants. The Migration Act 1958 allows for entry to Australia without a visa for the purpose of seeking asylum. Most asylum-seekers arriving here by boat are found to be refugees, having experienced similar threats, torture and trauma to those now living in camps in many countries. Mr Sheridan appears to ignore the situations from which asylum-seekers flee, the persecution in their home countries and the many barriers to effective protection for asylum-seekers in Southeast Asia. I know of no one who doesn’t want the flow of boats carrying asylum-seekers to Australia to stop. The difference is that some just want persecuted people to go away and bother some other nation, while others are exploring how Australia can help expand alternatives through practical and financial support to countries of first asylum and through supporting refugee resettlement. Paul Power, CEO, Refugee Council of Australia, Surry Hills, NSW


Asylum seekers fight ‘unfair’ processing regime
Michael Gordon; 23/4/10
The Rudd government’s regime for processing asylum seekers on Christmas Island and deporting those deemed not to be refugees without recourse to Australian courts is facing its first legal challenge. Lawyers acting for eight Sri Lankan asylum seekers facing imminent return will challenge the validity of decisions denying them refugee protection, claiming that legal errors were made and procedural fairness was denied. The case has direct implications for 89 men who were transferred from Christmas Island to the Villawood Detention Centre last month on what the Immigration Minister, Senator Chris Evans, described at the time as a ”removal pathway”