What does the Australian public really think about asylum seekers?

A number of friends and colleagues around the world ask me why Australia is being such a collective shit when it comes to refugees. Note, I adopt the word refugee instead of asylum-seekers as the latter has, since John Howard was Prime Minister and first made the issue an election-deciding one, become largely pejorative.

And even in the wake of international condemnation, clear denial of international law, and the umbrage of many thinking Australians, the government continues on its merry brown-shirted way to demonise refugees as if they did something wrong.

They did not.

Being a refugee is not illegal; just incredibly sad and desperately unfortunate.

Seeking asylum is a RIGHT, guaranteed to all people. It is a fundamental human right. And that means it is INALIENABLE …. unless you seek asylum in Australia.

Well, not being able to understand why Australians are allowing the government to treat refugees so appallingly and illegally, I decided to see if anyone knew where the majority of Australians were on the issue.

The Conversation had a look at this. In 2012 the wrote about research commissioned to ask this question. A question was asked: “Do you think the (then) Federal Labor Government is too tough or too soft on asylum seekers or is it taking the right approach?” 12% answered “too tough”, 11% chose “right approach”, while 60% indicated “too soft”.

Unfortunately, these are the sorts of attitudes that support the current government’s policies of turning the boats around and incarcerating refugees.

If you dislike the current policies, then sadly these figures suggest we are in a considerable majority, and at thus at a considerable loss.

How does one turn a government policy around when the majority of voters – bringing into specific relief the problem with lowest common denominator approaches to policy-making – want it to happen? How does one overturn a perceived mandate built on such palpably badly-founded and ill-conceived (and illegal – did I say that?) foundations?

Read the full article here for more: https://theconversation.com/what-does-the-australian-public-really-think-about-asylum-seekers-8522

 

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