Myth: “They are illegal.”
Fact: It is not illegal to enter a country and request asylum.
Australia has signed the United Nations’ (UN) Refugee Convention and must provide protection to people fleeing persecution, regardless of whether they arrive by air or sea.
Myth: “They are queue jumpers.”
Fact: There is no queue or processing system accessible to asylum seekers coming from a number of countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
Myth: “They aren’t real refugees or they’d stay in the first country they get to.”
Fact: Few countries in our region have signed the refugee convention.
Malaysia and Indonesia are not signatories. This means asylum seekers’ rights are not protected in these countries.
Myth: “Other countries should take them”
Fact: Many other countries accept many more asylum seekers than Australia.
In 2009, 20 industrialised countries took more asylum seekers per capita than Australia, including the US, UK, Belgium and Turkey.
Myth: “They get more than Australians.”
Fact: They get less.
Asylum Seekers living in the community receive a benefit equal to 89% of Newstart Allowance until they find work. Most of the very high asylum seekers ‘bill’ is the cost of running expensive detention centres. For around 10% of this cost, asylum seekers could be processed while living in the community.