Australia gets slammed: Have we got our view on asylum seekers right?

Not in our backyard is the stance on asylum seekers in our country and it is made clear to the world in posters, advertisements and statements by our government.  Asylum seekers are unwelcome here, that’s obvious by the size of the fences we put around detention centres and the turn back the boats regime.  And while it is working to stem the deaths in the oceans it seems, we have to ask, as furore after furore hits the press this week… Do you think we have got ur view on asylum seeker policy right?

Normally in Australia we seem to ignore the painful plight of international refugees unless they are trying to “invade” our shores, but it has all become very heavily discussed in the media this week after disturbing images of drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi, whose body was found washed ashore on a Turkish beach this week.  Carry Bickmore, from the Project, cried on TV and received national news coverage for her tears.

An article in The New York Times this week has slammed Tony Abbott’s stance on migrants, with Mr Abbott professing that Australia’s hardline stance should be imitated by European nations who are being flooded with people in terrible need of escape.  Entitled “Australia’s Brutal Treatment of Migrants,” it leaves a bad taste.  They describe the policies of our government with rancour.

“Prime Minister Tony Abbott has overseen a ruthlessly effective effort to stop boats packed with migrants, many of them refugees, from reaching Australia’s shores. His policies have been inhumane, of dubious legality and strikingly at odds with the country’s tradition of welcoming people fleeing persecution and war.”

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“European officials have traveled to Australia on fact-finding missions recently. Mr. Abbott, who argues that aggressively intercepting the boats saves lives, has urged European governments to follow his model, and some European leaders seem so inclined,” the article read.

Meanwhile NSW Prime Minister Mike Baird has been active on social media saying the Federal Government should be doing more to help asylum seekers and “Do it now”.

His long and empathetic Facebook post is enough to make us wonder which side of the debate everyone here sits on and whether we are failing those much worse off than ourselves by not doing much to help.

Syrian Refugee Camp

According to news reports, more than 600,000 refugees have registered for asylum in Europe this year, double that of 2014.

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People are streaming into the poorer European nations of Italy and Greece, fleeing countries like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Most are headed for Turkey as a main gateway and both Turkey and Hungary have admitted they cannot cope with the influx of thousands of people hitting its shores each day.  This weekend, Austria and Germany have thrown open their borders to thousands of exhausted migrants who were bussed to their borders by a right-wing Hungarian government that tried to stop them but was overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people.

And so we have to ask: Have you been touched by the global outpouring on little Aylan Kurdi this week?  Is it enough to make you want to do something to help?

Let’s talk about this today.