2nd Apr 2012

A fair go? You have to be kidding!

Debbie McTaggart

Living overseas for many years before I migrated to Australia, I was always heartened to see on television the great display of Aussie mateship. I used to think,  “What a wonderful nation that treats everyone as equal and gives people the opportunities to make the best of what they have for them and their families.”

Having lived in Australia for almost seven years now, I’m not so sure I still hold this belief. Coming to Australia as a skilled migrant, I was fortunate enough to be readily accepted. I was sponsored by my husband’s company, came through the official channels with visa approved and earned enough to provide for myself and my family. I was indeed one of the lucky ones. Yet every day poor, unfortunate men and women hand over their life savings and risk their lives on a treacherous sea crossing, in the hope of reaching Australia and providing a safe environment for their families to grow.

For the lucky few who survive the crossing and actually get to step foot on Australian shores, this is only the start of a long and difficult journey to acceptance. There is the perception that Australia takes every asylum seeker who lands on these shores, but in reality, it only accepts 0.5 per cent of the 1.18 million new asylum seekers world wide. Those who are accepted face the wrath of the wider population who believe we are being over run by those seeking refuge.

The hoax email which consistently does the rounds simply serves to feed people’s fears. It blatantly claims that Australia accepts terrorists, drug dealers and child traffickers on a daily basis. Those seeking asylum go through rigorous checks before they are even considered for protection. This is a time consuming process as evidenced by the number of refugees currently awaiting processing in detention centres. This email didn’t even originate in Australia, but in Canada. It has glaring inaccuracies in terms of the benefit amounts quoted and even in the terminology used, yet people are only too happy to accept the information given as gospel.

So, should such an email land in your inbox any time in the future, take five minutes to read the details and corroborate the facts before sending it on and perpetuating the myth surrounding asylum seekers.

Should Australia do more to help those genuinely seeking asylum?


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2nd Apr 2012
I am more than happy for Australia to accept genuine asylum seekers - but they must go through the proper channels. Is it fair for families to spend years in refugee camps waiting for places whilst those who have been lucky enough to acquire thousands of dollars pay to be smuggled across, ahead of the deserving, who do not have the funds to select and pay for the country of choice? I don't think so.
2nd Apr 2012
I agree with what you say ARMO - I am all for accepting refugees but no-one in Australia likes a queue jumper and that is what boat people are perceived to be.
Nan Norma
2nd Apr 2012
I live in an area where recently many refugee and asylum seekers are now living in housing commission homes that were populated by Australian families not too long ago. These people all have late model cars. At the same time I see the news about Australian families homeless, sometimes because they've lost their job and with it their home. I know of aged pensioners struggling to feed themselves because of the high rents. There just isn't enough housing for everyone. People believe they have paid their tax and should have priority. Also it doesn't help when you know that these people are eligible for the baby bonus the minute they step on Australian soil. And there has been an influz of new babies amongst these latest migrants. As long as this situation continues there will be resentment.
2nd Apr 2012
I too am a migrant, and have had a wonderful life in Australia for thirty six years. I became an Australian as soon as I could, as this is still the land of opportunity for all who are prepared to work hard. We are no different from any other race in that we put ourselves first, but nevertheless we are prepared to accept and share with those deserving asylum seekers who are admitted by our government. I sometimes receive forwarded e-mails from friends in other parts of the world, who complain about their own migrants. It is the nature of human beings to be selfish no matter where we live.
Debbie McTaggart was correct in believing that she was coming to a country where everyone is treated as equal and where people are given the opportunities to make the best of what they have, but she is mistaken in the belief that most of us are not intelligent enough to recognize a hoax email.

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