Founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Kon Karapanagiotidis, blogging at the Wheeler Centre:
In the past, I have naively thought the facts would bring an end to the fearmongering – by explaining to people that we receive just a few thousand asylum seekers each year, and that they pose no threat to our way of life or sustainability. I want to explain that 99.99% of people who entered Australia last year did so by plane; that Australia takes just 0.03% of the world’s refugees and displaced people; and that there are 76 countries that take more refugees than we do, based on wealth.
These days, I talk about a much simpler truth: the moral responsibilities that come with living in a free and democratic country, and what it means to be an Australian. This means we have a moral duty to act and show compassion to vulnerable, innocent people who are fleeing for their lives.
Being Australian should count for something greater than pandering to baseless fears.