5 September 2011

Asylum seekers to get ACT Government access cards

| johnboy
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access card mockup

Joy Burch has announced that asylum seekers in the ACT will be given an ACT Services Access Card, apparently to make accessing services easier:

“We know that unfortunately due to a lack of understanding around their rights, some asylum seekers have had trouble accessing services they are entitled to. This card will reassert their right to those providing the services.”

The Access Card has been developed in consultation with key stakeholders, including the ACT Refugee, Asylum Seeker and Humanitarian Coordination Committee.

The ACT Government has a longstanding policy that it will strive to provide the same services to asylum seekers as refugees, where appropriate, but feedback from stakeholders suggested this could be facilitated better.

“Holders of the card will be able to use it for a range of ACT Government transport, education, legal and healthcare services. This is an excellent ACT Labor Government initiative and one that will make a tangible difference in the lives of asylum seekers living in our community.”

Can the rest of us have one too?

UPDATE: DHCS have released the above mockup of the card on their information page.

Intriguingly it’s for “Joanne Citizen” which makes one wonder what the big brains involved think citizenship entails.

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Deref said :

Good move. Thumbs up.

Giving a “thumbs up” gesture is very offensive to people from the middle east where most of these people come from. Remember, we have to respect their culture although it is not necessarily a two way street.

I though all asylum seekers were stuffed in detention centres or far away islands? Is that only the poor ones coming over on boats as opposed to the better off ones who fly over?

Good move. Thumbs up.

“provide the same services to asylum seekers as refugees”

Hang on, I’m confused. I though asylum seekers were refugees? Sometimes it’s really hard to keep up with this politically correct terminology, it seems to change by the minute. Also, I wish I could have a dollar for every time I read the word ‘stakeholder’.

An asylum seeker is someone who claims to be a refugee (persecuted etc). A refugee is an asylum seeker who has been found to have a genuine claim. So an asylum seeker is an applicant, a refugee is someone who has succeeded.

Its not really politically correct terminology, in that this has been how the terms have been used since, well, 1951. Although there do seem to be a few people around (and not pointing at you) who think 1951 was a bit too politically correct for their liking.

My understanding is that the card is designed so that people just get assessed once, then they have a card that means they dont have to get assessed again and again, every time they apply for a new service or whatever.

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