Refugee Poll SMH/Age…majority oppose offshore processing but support detention

CHILDREN and Young People interrogated for 13 hours upon arrival at Christmas Is. This contrasts with treatment of people arriving on the island of Lampedusa off the Sicilian coast.

Reception on Christmas island chillier than Reception on Lampedusa near Sicily

The UN workers there told me that in the first 24 hours they take names only, give them fresh clothes, food, a shower and a bed because they are exhausted, frightened and traumatised after their boat journey.

No such soft touch in Australia where they are met by DIAC and AFP officers and interrogated for hours before being shoved into a compound.

[With 90,000 refugees in Malaysia wanting to escape poverty
and repression, this pressure will continue unresolved by the Australian government]

This poll has some very encouraging news re: offshore processing…

“In a rebuff to the policies of both Labor and the Coalition, only 28 per cent of poll respondents said people arriving by boat should be sent to another country to be processed, while 53 per cent favoured assessing them in Australia. Fifteen per cent said they should be sent back to sea.”

However, we still have a way to go in shifting public opinion on mandatory detention. Even among those who support processing in Australia, more want asylum seekers detained rather than live in the community.

“Among those who back processing here or overseas, almost two-thirds want asylum seekers held in detention. Only one-third say they should live in the communit

y while their claims are dealt with.

Of the 53 per cent who favour processing in Australia, more than half (55 per cent) want asylum seekers detained, while 41 per cent say they should live in the community. Those who want offshore processing take a harder line, with more than eight in 10 favouring detention.

Six in 10 of those who support either onshore or offshore processing say people found to have genuine claims should be allowed to stay in Australia permanently. More than a third would permit them to stay only until it was safe to return home. Three per cent say they should be sent back to their country of origin regardless of the outcome of the assessment.

Of those preferring assessment in Australia, 70 per cent say genuine refugees should stay permanently. But of those favouring assessment overseas, only 40 per cent would allow permanent settlement here.”

Pamela Curr
Campaign Coordinator
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
12 Batman st West Melbourne 3003
ph 03 9326 6066 / 0417517075


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