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WHO’S IN CHARGE OF THE ASYLUM? We predicted trouble and now there’s plenty of it for everyone on refugees

AsylumseekersOur Canberra correspondent Nick Mack is too modest to boast of his predictive powers, so we’ll do it for him. Last November, in a piece generally sympathetic to then Immigration minister Chris Bowen, Mack said a dark cloud loomed on the policy horizon:

Bowen’s policy of releasing as many as 6,000 into the community also has a number of self-improvised explosives attached, namely absconding.

With as many as 60 per cent of applicants rejected by the Department and going to review, hundreds of asylum seekers who either know their claims are vexatious or are pessimistic about their outcomes, will melt into the wider society.

This public relations snafu will begin to be unfold in the first of half of 2013.

It is also only a matter of time asylum seekers on bridging visas will be found to be exploited as illegal workers or to have committed criminal acts in the community.

Subsequent reports have confirmed Mack’s prediction. The Daily Telegraph recently:

MANY of the 9000 asylum seekers living in the community have been found sleeping in garages, on couches and in boarding houses.

A group that houses some of those on bridging visas said asylum seekers were in inappropriate accommodation. Paul Bottrill, of House of Welcome in Carramar, said: “We have, in the last quarter, had 55 referrals – many were staying in backpacker hostels, sleeping on couches or in garages.”

About 55 refugees have also been housed at the Macquarie University campus where a student was sexually assaulted in her room last week.

Police have confirmed they are investigating whether an asylum seeker was involved.

The victim’s housemates revealed yesterday that before the attack they had begged for the accommodation operator, Campus Living Villages, to reconsider housing middle-aged male asylum seekers near young female students.

It’s worth noting – as the Canberra Times has this morning – that asylum seekers are not necessarily all going to form a crime-wave tsunami as some more hysterical elements have suggested. They point out, statistically, that asylum seekers are 45 times less likely to commit crimes than everyone else.

But, procedurally, there’s obviously greater risk to the community of releasing folk prior to the Immigration authorities conducting character assessments of applicants. And it’s not racist or redneck or vilifying to point it out. Nor is it racist to point out as Nick Mack did that those who think their claims are unlikely to succeed are more likely to do a runner.

The policy has had the Opposition out swinging, perhaps a little too zealously in some cases.

Scott Morrison’s points were reasonable enough though:

Mr Morrison said the government had “no idea” where 8700 people released on bridging visas pending assessment of their refugee claims were living, and it was “very reasonable” to ask why asylum seekers were not released with reporting requirements similar to offenders released on bail.

“This is a wake-up call … this case has exposed the complete absence of commonsense safeguards,” he said.

Mr Morrison said the behaviour protocols should be the “terms and conditions of how one is expected to behave in the community”, similar to codes applying in immigration detention centres.

Then the tut-tutting from the usual suspects. The Government naturally calls it opportunistic and this is then echoed by one of the Libs’ remnant bleeding hearts, Russell Broadbent.

“This kind of vilification of asylum seekers is unacceptable in this nation,” he [Broadbent] said.

He is clearly going to be trouble for Abbott going forward, should he form a government after the next election.

Then this bizarre comment:

Karen Willis, the executive officer of the NSW Rape Crisis Centre, said Mr Morrison’s comments were creating unnecessary fear in the community.

She said that less than 1 per cent of sexual violence in the community occurred through so-called “stranger danger.”

This seems like an oddly unsympathetic note to strike on behalf of the victim of the alleged sexual assault. Naturally, there’s some politics behind it, perhaps the same kind of politics that allows some usually reliably feminist left-wingers to minimise or ignore the serious rape allegations against Julian Assange purely because he is loudly anti-American.

Our correspondent, Nick Mack, saw this disaster coming.

Leaving aside the actual risk of asylum seekers committing crimes against the rest of us, there can be little doubt the alleged sexual assault on a young student in student accommodation by an asylum seeker, awaiting processing, does a great deal to undermine public support of Australia’s humanitarian obligations.

If Nick Mack saw it coming, the government clearly could have foreseen the risk.

It appears to have accepted that risk – to our citizens – on the basis that that overcrowding in detention centres would be a worse narrative.

When we asked the modest and self-effacing Nick Mack about it, he opined:

“This government cannot even do conspicuous compassion without turning it a sh*tstorm … to use a Ruddism.”

We wish he wouldn’t. Speak Rudd, that is.

Mack keenly offered these insights too on what is clearly a developing story:

“First, many of the asylum seekers in the community have either not completed their Character Assessment Forms nor had those assessments investigated by the relevant authorities. Not very reassuring.

Secondly, the numbers of Sri Lankan applicants for protection and who are illegal, sorry, irregular maritime arrivals (IMAs) that were granted permanent residents as refugees is at a basement low. Why?”

Screen Shot 2013 02 27 at 11 37 57 PM  1

According to the DIAC figures for the status of IMAs who arrived in 2011-12 as at 26 November 2012, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship approved only 3.3% of 1356 applicants from Sri Lanka. This low approval rate suggest the Department and Morrison concur that Sri Lankan IMAs are indeed economic refugees. (Most likely the Department is waiting to reject en masse Sri Lankan claims for protection with a change of government.)

The data shows that asylum seekers are much less likely to commit crimes than the rest of us. (Nick Mack has explained though that Opposition politicians and journalists have failed to enquire about cancelled bridging visas and re-detained bridging visa holders for breaches of conditions – a better indicator of misbehaviour than criminal charges.)

But the politically risky nature of releasing people into the community without departmental character assessments is now as clear as day. The Opposition need to avoid over-playing their hand, as it appears the usually sensible Opposition Senate Leader Senator Abetz did when he said:

Senator Abetz was asked why the government had to inform people about would-be refugees when it didn’t inform them about pedophiles who are released from prison.

“There is a register in relation to those sex offenders and the community has spoken in relation to that, that they do want a register,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“If I might say, I wouldn’t put the two (pedophiles and asylum seekers) in the same category, necessarily.”

Both government and Opposition are left with plenty of egg on their face in time for reading the newspapers over a latte at their local cafe this weekend.

Discussion

Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. Yep, ALP want the Coalition to experience maximum with deportations to Sri Lanka – what an irresponsible pack of gutless wonders!

    Posted by wtf | March 1, 2013, 11:07
  2. You must be kidding.

    A government department who could conduct a ‘character assessment’ that would have picked this up.

    Sure thing, ‘patriots.’

    Sounds like you’ve already made a character assessment.

    Posted by Ben | March 1, 2013, 13:36
  3. Simple solution to the problem
    Deport Scott Morrison.

    Posted by Argus Tuft | March 1, 2013, 16:46
  4. Is the rape crisis centre for rapists?

    Posted by Indeed | March 1, 2013, 16:51
  5. Let’s see, open the doors to welfare tourism, who come from failed states and who were raised in cultures that consider women to be worth only half of a man. What could possibly go wrong?
    No, I’m not saying all illegals are rapists, but you can’t throw open the door without undesirables coming in.

    Posted by Scott | March 1, 2013, 19:14
  6. If you need any further that Sarah Hanson Young is nothing other than a filthy slag, then here it is.

    Hadley yesterday demanded an apology from Ms Hanson-Young, who refused to provide it.

    “The person who needs to apologise is Ray Hadley,” she said. “People are responding to his comments on radio even just this morning, saying that the only good refugee is a dead one.”

    A spokesperson for Ms Hanson-Young later said the comment about dead refugees was not said on air, but was emailed to the senator’s office. He was not able to provide detail on how Ms Hanson-Young had linked the email to Hadley’s show.

    – See more at: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/greens-senator-sarah-hanson-young-wont-say-sorry-to-ray-hadley/story-e6freuy9-1226588742137#sthash.e1LiegDN.dpuf

    Posted by John | March 2, 2013, 7:01
  7. For god’s sake, what is wrong with you rancid cowards?

    Do you read anything but limited news on this issue?

    You are talking about fellow human beings not fucking flotsam and jestsam deemed acceptable to kick around.

    The Tamils are not economic migrants or economic anything else, they are asylum seekers whether you rancid fucking cowards like it or not.

    1 person out of 12,000 is accused of putting his hand in the pants of a student and suddenly we have to have a register of asylum seekers – we already do you fucking morons.

    It’s called the Immigration department who know exactly where they are.

    Jesus wept, it is not the bridging visas that are the problem it is racist cowardice that is the problem.

    ONe day I hope you fucking arseholes need to seek protection and get told to fuck off.

    The acceptance rate for Sri Lankans in the September quarter of last year was 76%, not fucking 3%. And the progressive grant rate is 81% so they are not fucking economic migrants they are in fact refugees.

    How about VEX and the haters learn about refugee laws before writing this filth.

    Posted by Marilyn | March 2, 2013, 17:50
  8. What a disgusting individual, Sarah Hanson Young should apologise or resign!

    Posted by Stephen | March 3, 2013, 8:38
  9. Marilyn Manson: “The Tamils are not economic migrants or economic anything else, they are asylum seekers whether you rancid fucking cowards like it or not.”

    Get real.

    These people are exploiting Australia’s pathetically weak border protection and asylum laws. And idiots like you are enabling them.

    Marilyn, here’s a suggestion: why don’t you put your money where your large mouth is and let, say, 15 Sri Lankan male “refugees” stay at your house free of charge?

    If you really believe what you say, then I am sure you, as a matter of logical consistency, could have no objection to moving over and making room for these people at your own expense. After all, someone who favours open borders can hardly oppose open houses.

    Posted by Ralph | March 3, 2013, 21:22
  10. SHY should apologise to Ray Hadley the Australian Patriot.

    Posted by Stinking Violet | March 3, 2013, 22:55
  11. Why is it that the Age’s Tony Wright seems so ‘starry eyed’ when it comes to Sarah Hanson Young? Why is that in Tony Wright’s eyes SHY can do no wrong? Why is that Tony?

    Posted by Paul | March 4, 2013, 6:42
  12. So many lefties are using the argument that we don’t need behaviour protocols for illegals on bridging visas because we already have laws. These same lefties are happy to waive the existing immigration laws to allow these queue jumpers in! A bit of consistency, please!

    Posted by Plato Sandilands | March 6, 2013, 8:30
  13. need to re visit the 475 visas

    Posted by Long gone | March 6, 2013, 22:40

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