Protest for fairer asylum seeker treatment outside MP’s office

PROTESTERS: Ormiston's Lyn Jackson, Redlands for Refugees spokesman David Busch  and Cleveland's Lyn Moore. Photo: Hannah Baker
PROTESTERS: Ormiston's Lyn Jackson, Redlands for Refugees spokesman David Busch and Cleveland's Lyn Moore. Photo: Hannah Baker

REDLANDS For Refugees members have staged a peaceful protest outside Bowman MP Andrew Laming’s office calling for fairer treatment of unprocessed asylum seekers.

Group spokesman David Busch said the protest held this morning coincided with the start of Refugee Week.

As up to 10 people waved placards at traffic on Middle Street, Mr Busch said the group wanted more done to help illegal immigrants lodge refugee status paperwork.

Mr Busch said a lack of legal and language help meant legitimate refugees were set-up for failure, with Immigration Minister Peter Dutton setting an October 1 cut-off date for all those not yet processed.

This meant welfare cuts and deportation for those not able to submit documentation by the due date.

“We are asking for a fairer process, received with a fair assessment and not a hasty assessment,” he said. “There has been no provision of legal or language assistance and it has been up to community groups (to help).”

The October 1 deadline was introduced by the federal government in late May. 

Mr Dutton said about 7,500 of about 30,000 people who arrived by boat between August 2012 and January 2014 had not provided enough information to support their asylum seeker claims. More on Mr Dutton’s announcement can be found here.

Bowman MP Andrew Laming, who was in Canberra during the protest, said he sympathised with Redlands for Refugees.

FAIRNESS TEST: Redlands for Refugees mounted a peaceful protest outside Bowman MP Andrew Laming's office in Cleveland. Photo: Hannah Baker

FAIRNESS TEST: Redlands for Refugees mounted a peaceful protest outside Bowman MP Andrew Laming's office in Cleveland. Photo: Hannah Baker

“I appreciate the very genuine concerns for the 50,000 asylum seekers that Labor let in and we are processing them as carefully as possible,” he said.

“So far that disaster has cost $13.6 billion, not to mention the drownings at sea.”

Mr Busch said Redlands for Refugees also was pushing for asylum seeker vetting on Australian soil rather than off-shore processing.

He said Australia’s centres at Nauru and Manus Island were a debacle and cited the $70 million settlement the Commonwealth had agreed to pay to about 1900 Manus Island detainees earlier this month.

“Close the camps and bring them to Australia to assess their claims,” he said.

Visit Redlands for Refugees, a church and community-based organisation, here.