The recent High Court decision on refugees recognises the inalienable right of asylum seekers to seek refuge from persecution and hardship in a country that they regard as safe, without being shipped off to another country where they return to risk and hardship. The number of people who actually arrive on our shores by boat is tiny compared to those who arrive by plane, and yet they attract a disproportionate amount of media attention and political fear.
The High Court is to be congratulated for having the courage to stand against the tide of poll driven political policy which has seen Australia dish up some of the harshest treatment to a tiny group who are most often found to be legitimate refugees.
A recent Media Release from the Federation of Communities Councils Australia has long advocated for on shore processing of asylum seekers and for the abolition of lengthy mandatory detention - something which has cost the tax payers billions of dollars over the past few years. The Media Release from the Chair of FECCA Pino Migliorino states:
“As migrant communities who have sought the shores of Australia and contributed towards the prosperity of this country, we welcome this decision. Today, we can be proud to say that institutions in Australia do respect human rights and our international obligations. This decision has ramifications for the concept of off shore processing and we would welcome a reconsideration of this policy.”
FECCA has supported refugee and asylum seeker bodies in their calls for a bipartisan solution to the current situation.
At this time, there is also a need to consider the commitment to settle 4000 refugees from Malaysia. Many families have been waiting to start new lives where they can work and educate their children in Australia. FECCA does not want to see this set aside in the wake of the High Court decision.
“It is time for all sides of politics to stop using human lives forpolitical game scoring. Now is the time to work together towards a robust and humane solution to this issue based on best practice models from other similarly placed countries. As Australian people, we have to hold our leaders accountable to get it right,” said Mr Migliorino.
Silma Ihram is an educator, trainer, former School Principal and aspiring writer.
The opinions expressed on this page reflect the opinions of the author and not necessarily the opinions of AMWA.