Well, well! Australia’s new prime minister, Tony Abbott, is making good on his promise to stop the flood of illegal immigrant boats, mostly from Muslim countries. And from the looks of things, it’s working.
News.com.au (h/t Susan K) More than 1000 failed asylum seekers who have had their claims rejected but are still in Australia have been put on notice, with the Abbott government threatening to put them into detention and deport them if they refuse to return home voluntarily.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison last night said the people in community detention or in detention centres had failed in their claims – some multiple times including judicial reviews – and had no right to be in Australia any more.
More than 30,000 asylum seekers are living on the Australian mainland after the masses of boat arrivals under the previous Labor government – residing in community detention and receiving welfare benefits paid for by taxpayers or in detention centres at a cost to taxpayers.
Mr Morrison said more than 1000 of these people had been “sitting in the network and in the community after having their claims rejected”. “The government will take the steps necessary to remove failed asylum seekers from Australia who wish to stay indefinitely at taxpayers’ expense,” he said.
“Once you have had your asylum claims assessed and rejected not just by the department but also on appeal, it’s time to go home, as you have been assessed as not being owed protection. “If people want to frustrate it and act up and frustrate we have the ability to take them into detention. “We make no apologies to return people who shouldn’t be here and particularly those who have come the wrong way.”
But Mr Morrison stressed that those who co-operated with the department would be given time – the length to be judged on a case-by-case basis – to make arrangements to return to their home country voluntarily. Morrison conceded involuntarily returns may not be possible for diplomatic or legal reasons but the government would not be deterred and put the failed asylum seekers in detention.
His comments came after the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre last night took to social media to claim people having their claims assessed would be locked up “in an unprecedented attack on the rule of law, human rights and how legal system”. “Scott Morrison to start the mass round up of asylum seekers in the community for detention and possible deportation,” the group said on Facebook.
“If they fail to leave after 6 weeks they will be detained and face the risk of deportation. This despite the fact they are exercising their legal right to appeal and have a legitimate case on foot or their exercising their right to have the minister consider their humanitarian claims.”
“Where failed asylum seekers have sought judicial review of their decisions, those matters will take their course in the courts,” he said. “Detention of people involved in ongoing cases is decided on a case by case basis. Their detention does not impact on the progress of their case.
“For those who have been through the process, the government has every right to take the next step to proceed toward their removal.”