1. Why are people coming to Australia?
People do not flee their homes, their family, friends and community and undertake perilous, potentially deadly journeys without very good reason. Refugees are people who are forced to flee their homelands to escape persecution, including imprisonment and torture.
2. How should we treat people who arrive in Australia seeking our protection?
Asylum seekers who arrive on our shores should be welcomed and offered appropriate care in the community (once initial health, security and identity checks have been done) while their protection claims are assessed.
3. How should the Australian system process the claims for asylum?
Asylum seekers (consistent with their human rights and Australia’s obligations under international law) should have their claims for protection processed in a fair, transparent and timely manner and that they should have access to review of their case should protection be denied.
4. Isn’t this a really important election issue?
The arrival of asylum seekers is of great interest to the general public, but asylum seekers who arrive by boat should not be used for political point scoring.
5. Don’t we need a “deterrent” to stop people smugglers?
Government policies should not deliberately expose people to harm. Punishing a vulnerable group of people (asylum seekers) in order to send a message to another group of people (people smugglers and other asylum seekers) is abusive and unconscionable.
6. What should drive our asylum seeker policies?
• a humanitarian response focussed on protection needs;
• meeting our obligations under the Refugees Convention and other international treaties;
• working productively in our region over the long-term to find real, durable and just solutions.
7. Should asylum seekers be able to work?
Asylum seekers in the community should have the right to work: to provide them with a way to support their family, foster self-reliance, to give them a means to contribute to Australian society and for their own human dignity.
8. What is happening with the children?
At May 2013 there were 1731 children still being held in Australian immigration detention centres, an extraordinary amount. Under no circumstances should children be locked up.
9. Should “no advantage” be given to those arriving by boat?
Asylum seekers and refugees should be able to find hope and restoration from the despair and persecution from which they have fled. Refugees and asylum seekers should be able to be reunited with their families. No-one should be detained indefinitely and without the right to challenge their detention.
10. Can we afford to help all these arrivals?
As one of the wealthiest, safest and most secure countries in the world, we should be able to fund a humanitarian response to asylum seekers without taking money away from our overseas aid commitments.