Misstatement: "The boats have stopped and this saves lives at sea."
No one wants to see people risk their lives on a dangerous journey by sea in order to seek protection. But throughout history, people have risked their lives for the hope of a better life. Desperate people take desperate measures.
That's why we should be doing whatever we can to create safe passage for refugees seeking our protection. It's about helping people before they have to get on a boat.
What does safe passage look like? In the late-1970s and 1980s, people fleeing conflict in Indo-China did not have to get on a boat because there were safe places near their homeland where their claims for refugee status could be assessed and where an orderly resettlement process could take place. At the moment, there are very few safe places for people seeking asylum to go.
The current Australian Government's policies (boat turnbacks and offshore processing) do nothing to create this much needed safe passage. Turning back boats at sea puts the lives of refugees and Australian navy officials at risk - all the Government is doing is putting people back in harm's way.
If the Government was genuinely concerned about saving lives, it wouldn't continue to fund and operate the offshore processing centres on Nauru and Manus. The unfolding humanitarian crisis on Manus Island, as well as reports of abuse, self-harm and neglect in regional processing centres on Manus Island and Nauru are truly disturbing, and just as we would demand any allegation of abuse in Australia be investigated, it's important all allegations in these centres are properly and independently investigated.
While politicians like to claim they have "stopped the boats," the truth is the boats have simply been deflected to other parts of our region and there have still been attempts by people to seek asylum in Australia by boat in the past 12 months.
For more information:
Parliamentary Library, “Boat ‘turnbacks’ in Australia: a quick guide to the statistics since 2001”
By Hook Or By Crook: Australia's Abuse Of Asylum Seekers At Sea
Why stopping the boats does not solve the problem