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Refugees welcome in the ACT

By Kim Fischer 14 September 2015 50

stock-syria-refugees-camp

The Federal Government’s decision to accept 12,000 additional refugees from Syria this year – albeit after some pressure from its own backbench and the Labor party – is the right one. But our overall refugee policy still needs work.

How many refugees we should permanently settle in Australia every year? Over the last few decades, we have accepted an average of 0.5 refugees per 1000 Australia citizens, per year. To put this in perspective, this proportionately amounts to 180 refugees settling in Canberra every year – hardly unmanageable.

As a wealthy country, I think Australia should set a formal resettlement target of 1 refugee in Australia per 1000 citizens each year. This would allow our refugee intake to increase naturally and gradually over time.

Given the Territory Government’s recent declaration of the ACT as a Refugee Welcome Zone, we can do better right here in Canberra. By publically adopting a ‘1 per 1000’ target for refugee resettlement, the ACT Government would be taking the lead nationally. Our local refugee support services have noted “there is a lot of capacity in our community” to accept additional refugees – 350 refugees per year would be very achievable.

We should also fight harder against the use of offshore detention. The key obligations of Australia under the Refugee Convention are to house refugees in safe, clean, and reasonably comfortable accommodation, and never to send them back to the country from which they fled (either directly or indirectly) while a fear of persecution remains.

Offshore processing has consistently failed the first of these tests with many stories of mental illness, abuse, hunger strikes, and rioting documented. Indeed as Waleed Aly noted, the purpose of offshore processing is solely to be as unpleasant as possible.

In a legal sense, offshore processing serves no purpose at all. All unauthorised maritime arrivals are now treated equally under migration law whether they are ever brought to the mainland or not, and Australia’s obligations under the Refugee Convention remain the same. During 2001 – 2007, the last time regional processing was operating, more than 60% of refugees were eventually resettled in Australia anyway.

The use of offshore, prison-like detention facilities to house some of the world’s most desperate people is unworthy of Australians’ generosity and unjustified based on their actions. These facilities should be closed immediately.

As an alternative, Julian Burnside’s proposal to use Tasmania as an asylum-seeker processing centre provides many real benefits. Essentially a whole-of-State expansion of community detention arrangements, it would allow the struggling Tasmanian economy to benefit from hundreds of millions of dollars in additional construction, education, and social support programs operating in the country. Refugees would be obliged to stay in Tasmania (or other regional areas designated by the government) unless dispensation were granted, but otherwise they would be free to participate in the community.

Any ‘Tasmanian option’ would be money far better spent than the $1.2 billion we currently spend annually on processing refugees in Nauru and PNG. The evidence is clear that community detention is both cheaper and far better health-wise for refugees and asylum-seekers. Community detention arrangements should be the norm, with detention to a building or cell only done where people commit a crime or breach their visa conditions of release.

Refugees are a net benefit to Australia in the long run. However, studies estimate a 12 year lag before their contribution is a net positive. After 20 years the productivity benefit of both refugee and non-refugee migrants is virtually the same. Because of this long lag time, most experts recommend evaluating migration programs by the second generation test – that is, by how successful and productive the children of migrants are in Australia.

Would you like the ACT Government to introduce a ‘1 per 1000’ target for refugee resettlement?

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(Photo: Syrian refugees at a camp for internally displaced persons in Atmeh, Syria, adjacent to the Turkish border, via iStock.)


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Refugees welcome in the ACT
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gazket 8:18 pm 21 Sep 15

Aragornerama said :

gazket said :

I find it strange that Syria is so dangerous it’s illegal for us to go there but then lets bring 12,000 Syrians here.

I’m sure the fooled protesters that lined Northbourne Ave with their candles the other week are will be each billeting a refugee .

The last lot of Labor boaties still don’t have jobs. They have 6/10 kids and get $4k a fortnight on the pension . why would they work.

Jobs are not a finite resource. Sure, refugees probably work. But if they work, they also spend, creating further jobs. Your argument is entirely invalid.

I have a refugee success story. Im not bias.

Captain Nemad created quite a few jobs . I wonder how many thousands of jobs he created and we Australians pay for.
His clients were contracted out to the Australian government and Captain Nemad didn’t have to sign a thing to do it. He filled his Labor/Greens government contract and was allowed to leave the country a rich man.

Nilrem 3:01 pm 21 Sep 15

Southmouth said :

Nilrem said :

miz said :

There are malls in western Sydney where you are stared at if you are female and your arm flesh is showing. To me that’s. No go zone in my own country.
I agree with Grimm.

Also, I bet around the time of the First Fleet there was an aboriginal guy (or girl) who got sick of the strange white people staring at him or her, “in his or her own country”. Eventually we all got over it.

It’s not the staring. It the racial insults hurled at aussie girls who dare to go out uncovered. You clearly have no experience accompanying teenage girls

So, some people behave like jerks. Some of these jerks are not Anglo-Saxon. Is this the reason you are using for advocating a change to our immigration policies to bar certain religious and/or ethnic groups? What about the people from the same ethnic/religious community who would never behave like this, and would regard people who behaved like this as jerks? Are they collateral damage in your attack? And what about the racist abuse I have experienced, despite having been born here, because I look a bit different? Thos jerks get away with it because their parents’ or grandparents’ boats arrived here a few decades earlier?

rubaiyat 2:52 pm 21 Sep 15

Southmouth said :

Nilrem said :

miz said :

There are malls in western Sydney where you are stared at if you are female and your arm flesh is showing. To me that’s. No go zone in my own country.
I agree with Grimm.

Also, I bet around the time of the First Fleet there was an aboriginal guy (or girl) who got sick of the strange white people staring at him or her, “in his or her own country”. Eventually we all got over it.

It’s not the staring. It the racial insults hurled at aussie girls who dare to go out uncovered. You clearly have no experience accompanying teenage girls

How are your girls with walking past building sites or pubs?

I have never seen what you are talking about and I have spent a lot of time in and around Bankstown, my father lived there until recently.

One thing I have noticed is that even within the same circle of friends and family, some girls are covered and others are not.

Is this all from reading the Telegraph and Andrew Bolt or listening to Talkback Radio?

It’s weird that the people who have the most problem with immigrants are those who have least contact with them. Always has been.

There are extremists on both sides, not just the Muslims. I don’t like flag waving Bogans and their anti-social behaviour any more than I like bigoted religious extremists. It’s the anti-social, inconsideration of others that I object to.

Southmouth 2:25 pm 21 Sep 15

Nilrem said :

miz said :

There are malls in western Sydney where you are stared at if you are female and your arm flesh is showing. To me that’s. No go zone in my own country.
I agree with Grimm.

Also, I bet around the time of the First Fleet there was an aboriginal guy (or girl) who got sick of the strange white people staring at him or her, “in his or her own country”. Eventually we all got over it.

It’s not the staring. It the racial insults hurled at aussie girls who dare to go out uncovered. You clearly have no experience accompanying teenage girls

Nilrem 1:27 pm 21 Sep 15

miz said :

There are malls in western Sydney where you are stared at if you are female and your arm flesh is showing. To me that’s. No go zone in my own country.
I agree with Grimm.

Also, I bet around the time of the First Fleet there was an aboriginal guy (or girl) who got sick of the strange white people staring at him or her, “in his or her own country”. Eventually we all got over it.

Nilrem 10:32 am 21 Sep 15

miz said :

There are malls in western Sydney where you are stared at if you are female and your arm flesh is showing. To me that’s. No go zone in my own country.
I agree with Grimm.

There are places in Canberra, where on occasion, because of the bad behaviour of some men, women feel threatened or are made to feel uncomfortable. This does not make Canberra a no go zone. It does mean there is room for improvement. If we were to use this “staring” criterion for judging a no go zone, large parts of Australia would be a no go zone for women wearing any form of islamic head covering.

rubaiyat 10:07 am 21 Sep 15

Southmouth said :

My mother is an immigrant. She came as a teenager from post war europe with her parents. They got off the boat in Sydney on a Thursday. On the Monday my Grandfather started work in Adelaide and was never unemployed. Immigration at it’s best.
My Father and Father in law both worked on the construction of the snowy scheme for many years, alongside many many refugees from non english speaking europe. This was a blinding success for us as a nation. The catalyst to these successes is full employment. If migrants/refugees are working alongside people of diverse backgrounds and locals, history has shown they will intergrate. If you bring them as a monoculture and let them be entitled they will not. The solution, get some infrastructure projects going and bring in as many as can be put to work.

I thought we couldn’t build such a big project as the Snowy Mountains Scheme because there was no country exactly like Australia in exactly the same place and with the same population as Australia?

And that it would bankrupt Australia and leave our children in debt for the rest of their lives?

And if we built the Snowy Hydro Electric it would ruin the Australian way of life, which is built on burning as much coal as we can humanly dig up, just the way it has always been, and God meant it to be!

rubaiyat 9:58 am 21 Sep 15

miz said :

There are malls in western Sydney where you are stared at if you are female and your arm flesh is showing. To me that’s. No go zone in my own country.
I agree with Grimm.

If you are talking about Bankstown Square because that is near the muslims in Lakema, that is utter and total dishonest nonsense.

miz 8:58 pm 19 Sep 15

There are malls in western Sydney where you are stared at if you are female and your arm flesh is showing. To me that’s. No go zone in my own country.
I agree with Grimm.

molongloid 2:02 pm 19 Sep 15

Southmouth said :

If only there was a country which had provided two waves of immigration to Australia, with the first consisting of Christians and the second, Muslims. Then we could tell if religion makes no difference, as the lefties bang on about. Oh wait a minute…………

Yugoslavia. Mostly Orthodox Serb and Catholic Croat in the late 40s/early 50s. Then mostly Muslim Bosnians in the 90s. European though. So does that narrow it down to race?

HiddenDragon 5:51 pm 18 Sep 15

Let’s hope something positive comes from this:

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2015/s4315173.htm

No_Nose 5:32 pm 18 Sep 15

Southmouth said :

If only there was a country which had provided two waves of immigration to Australia, with the first consisting of Christians and the second, Muslims. Then we could tell if religion makes no difference, as the lefties bang on about. Oh wait a minute…………

New Zealand?

Southmouth 4:15 pm 18 Sep 15

If only there was a country which had provided two waves of immigration to Australia, with the first consisting of Christians and the second, Muslims. Then we could tell if religion makes no difference, as the lefties bang on about. Oh wait a minute…………

Lenient 3:08 pm 18 Sep 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

If you look at any graph showing historical unemployment rates there is an alarming jump just as we started accepting all these refugees in the seventies. Coincidence?

Silly me, I thought that was due to structual inflexibilities in Australia’s labour market not being able to cope with shocks like the 1974 credit squeeze and the recession that followed; not to mention the oil crisis and recessions occuring internationally as post war booms wound down.

Damn those lying worshippers at the altar of the new religion of economics, the reality is “dey terk err jerbs (or at least our places on the dole line)”

Southmouth 1:40 pm 18 Sep 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

Southmouth said :

The solution, get some infrastructure projects going and bring in as many as can be put to work.

What kind of infrastructure do you think 12,000 men, women and children are going to be working on? Half of the refugees are children. If we go by current costs of living here, we need to create jobs for around 4000 more people to feed their families. What kind of numbers do we expect are going to be able to hop straight into a job? These people have probably been living in a climate of oppression and poverty, with little education or skills that would be useful in our modern era. Without training, it’ll be pointless trying to get these folks into work when we already have hundreds of thousands of English speaking, well educated young people who cannot get employment. Infrastructure [like the NBN for example] is a skills based project, not something you simply throw manpower at.
By allowing refugees to enter our society, we are putting more pressure on the welfare system that has been the target of fund-cutting by the government. Where exactly are they going to get all the extra money to feed, clothe and house these folks?
As for your point about getting them to work and live among other nationalities, there will be many issues with that, the least of which is the language barrier. As around 90% of them are Muslims, you will see very little socializing as they generally keep to themselves, especially the women. Acceptance into the community will be difficult, not only because of the prejudice of our western society but the lack of wanting to integrate into a community that doesn’t share and is indeed in conflict with their beliefs.

Completely agree, if there are no jobs for them don’t bring them. If they are Sunni or Shiite they should be resettled in a Sunni or Shiite country

Most infrastructure projects need lots of unskilled labour including the NBN. Dragging fibre thru a conduit isn’t a degree job

No_Nose 1:26 pm 18 Sep 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

No_Nose said :

I am old enough to remember that current arguement against accepting refugees today are almost the exact same arguements used in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s against accepting the South East Asian refugees arriving then.

The arguements are just as invalid now as they were then.

Was IS a threat to humanity in the seventies? Did they do the atrocious acts they are committing right now? Were the refugees fleeing terrorism? No, there was a war going on and Australia wasn’t a target of terrorism..

These are the arguements that were used against refugees in the 70’s (and I have been told against European immigrants in the 1950’s)

‘They’re probably the same people we were fighting a short time ago’. (They weren’t)
‘They’ll include sleeper cells to take over the country’ (They didn’t)
‘They’ll never learn English’ (They did)
‘They’ll never fit in with our culture’ (They did)
‘They’ll try to put their culture over ours’ (They didn’t)
‘They’ll form ghettos’ (They didn’t)
‘There’ll be so many of them we’ll be a minority’ (There isn’t)
‘They’re not real refugees’ (They were)
‘We can’t afford it’ (We could)
‘They’ll never be loyal to Australia’ (They are)

Any of these sound almost identical to what we are hearing now?

wildturkeycanoe 11:31 am 18 Sep 15

Southmouth said :

The solution, get some infrastructure projects going and bring in as many as can be put to work.

What kind of infrastructure do you think 12,000 men, women and children are going to be working on? Half of the refugees are children. If we go by current costs of living here, we need to create jobs for around 4000 more people to feed their families. What kind of numbers do we expect are going to be able to hop straight into a job? These people have probably been living in a climate of oppression and poverty, with little education or skills that would be useful in our modern era. Without training, it’ll be pointless trying to get these folks into work when we already have hundreds of thousands of English speaking, well educated young people who cannot get employment. Infrastructure [like the NBN for example] is a skills based project, not something you simply throw manpower at.
By allowing refugees to enter our society, we are putting more pressure on the welfare system that has been the target of fund-cutting by the government. Where exactly are they going to get all the extra money to feed, clothe and house these folks?
As for your point about getting them to work and live among other nationalities, there will be many issues with that, the least of which is the language barrier. As around 90% of them are Muslims, you will see very little socializing as they generally keep to themselves, especially the women. Acceptance into the community will be difficult, not only because of the prejudice of our western society but the lack of wanting to integrate into a community that doesn’t share and is indeed in conflict with their beliefs.

Southmouth 11:20 am 18 Sep 15

Nilrem said :

Grimm said :

Ahhh, nice to see the usual lefty apologists and deniers of reality haven’t declined in number.

Continue to ignore what’s happening in Europe and starting to take hold here. Blame a white male between 25-50 for all the ills of the world while we are at it. Yell “bigot” at anybody who disagrees with you.

Actually, I just want to know where these alleged “no go zones” are.

I can give you a list of places (where swimming is the major drawcard), that make me very uncomfortable to go with my teenage daughters due to the behaviour of groups of young men of a clearly identifiable ethnic origin

switch 9:09 am 18 Sep 15

Southmouth said :

The solution, get some infrastructure projects going and bring in as many as can be put to work.

The “Infrastructure Prime Minister” just lost his job.

Southmouth 8:36 am 18 Sep 15

My mother is an immigrant. She came as a teenager from post war europe with her parents. They got off the boat in Sydney on a Thursday. On the Monday my Grandfather started work in Adelaide and was never unemployed. Immigration at it’s best.
My Father and Father in law both worked on the construction of the snowy scheme for many years, alongside many many refugees from non english speaking europe. This was a blinding success for us as a nation. The catalyst to these successes is full employment. If migrants/refugees are working alongside people of diverse backgrounds and locals, history has shown they will intergrate. If you bring them as a monoculture and let them be entitled they will not. The solution, get some infrastructure projects going and bring in as many as can be put to work.

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