Asylum Seeker Web Resource: A Good Initiative Amid Bad Politics

15 June 2012

UnitingJustice, the national justice policy unit of the Uniting Church in Australia, has welcomed the new website materials produced by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship for asylum seekers arriving by boat.

National Director Rev. Elenie Poulos acknowledged the importance of clear information for asylum seekers.

"Those arriving in Australia by boat have endured a dangerous journey which, in many cases, simply exacerbates the trauma they have faced in their home country.

"This new resource will enable them to access clear and concise information about the immigration processes here in Australia.

"It will help to ease some of the uncertainty and fear that comes from not knowing how this complex process operates and ensure that everyone has access to the same basic information," said Rev. Poulos.

Rev. Poulos criticised the comments made by Opposition Minister Scott Morrison in a press release today.

"To suggest that this information is nothing more a 'how to guide' for illegal behaviour is yet another example of the Federal Opposition playing politics with the lives of vulnerable asylum seekers.

"Ahead of World Refugee Week it is extremely regrettable that Mr Morrison continues to imply that seeking asylum is illegal.

"Here or in any other nation that is a signatory to the Refugee Convention. Asylum seekers arriving by boat are entitled to seek protection here in Australia.

"It is entirely right and proper to inform people in an open and transparent way about how government processes work and how they will be applied to them.

"I urge Mr Morrison to consider the important responsibility that any government has to explain its policies to the people most affected by them – a responsibility that should not be politicised," said Rev. Poulos.