Asylum seekers – facts and fiction
When a boat-load of asylum seekers riding a heavy swell smashed onto the jagged coral rocks off Australia’s Christmas Island on December 15, 2010, the Australian media immediately flashed pictures and reports of it across the country and around the world. From the start, besides reporting on the dreadful tragedy that played out that day 2,600 kilometres (1,600 miles) off the Western Australia coast, the media linked the story to many of the issues that have been part of an intra-Australian debate on asylum-seekers.
The Christmas Island tragedy occurred as part of the contemporary mass movement of peoples across the globe, mainly people fleeing war, terror and persecution. And while it was happening the ongoing debate on asylum-seekers continued to occupy Australia’s airwaves and news columns. The debate is about how to best respond to the plight of peoples on the move and how to tackle the many complex issues that influence how governments and communities might best respond. Apart from the various stances people take in this ongoing debate, many of the core facts that support those stances have become blurred. Statistical facts and historical accounts have been muddled (sometimes deliberately) by citizens and organisations wishing to use the debate to serve their own ends including
- political and ideological advantage
- control of the story and its meaning.
There is no doubt that this blurring of facts concerning Australia’s asylum seeker has taken energy away from the nation’s best response to the refugee situation in this part of the world.
In an attempt to bring a little more clarity to the asylum-seeker conversation the Redemptorists are glad to feature podcasts by
- Caz Coleman, Director of the Hotham Mission Asylum Seeker Project, Melbourne Australia,
- Phil Glendenning, Director of the Edmund Rice Centre, Sydney, Australia.
Both Ms Coleman and Mr Glendenning spoke at Social Policy Connections, Box Hill, Melbourne, VIC, in the latter part of 2010. For a fuller understanding of issues around Australia’s asylum seekers, please click on the images below to go to the respective Coleman/Glendenning podcasts.
What now for asylum seekers?
Please click HERE to listen to Caz Coleman's talk.
Asylum seekers Mandatory detention and release of children
Please click HERE to listen to Phil Glendenning's talk.