Australia's Polarized Asylum Seeker Debate - An ISL News Exclusive
Paul Power, CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia and Anne O'Donoghue, MD and Principal Attorney of Immigration Solutions Lawyers spoke exclusively to ISL News on Australia's polarized asylum seeker debate, home detention and political parties unable and/or unwilling to find real and lasting solutions.
United Nations refugee chief Antonio Guterres told a Sydney audience at Lowry Institute recently that Australia's obsession with asylum seekers arriving by boat was ''out of proportion'' and urged the debate be conducted in a "less polarizing manner".
According to UNHCR, even the world's most desperate people appear turned off by the idea of seeking asylum in Australia. Last year the number of asylum seekers soared 20-percent to more than 440,000 worldwide; while the number arriving in Australia fell by 9-percent to 11,500.
A UNHCR official says this puts to rest the misconceptions that Australia is being swamped by asylum seekers and shows, the numbers are modest and manageable when compared to other industrialized nations.
Opposition immigration spokesperson Scott Morrison disagrees claiming Australia had the biggest number of boat arrivals on record over the summer.
As the Refugee Council for Australia points out, countries receiving the largest number of claims are the United States, Germany, France. Italy and Sweden... with Australia way down on the list at just 2-percent.