In a pilot public journalism project, University of Canberra journalism students partnered with the ABC 666, Canberra Refugee Support and OurSay to tackle some of the big questions about Australian asylum seeker policy, as experienced in the ACT.
The top 5 questions on OurSay featured on ABC 666 Canberra Radio in a special program on November 27th - produced and presented by UC students under the supervision of their UC lecturer, Julie Posetti. A panel of experts Allan Asher (Former Commonwealth Ombudsman), Richard Toll (Australian Regional Rep UNHCR) & Caz Coleman (Member of the Council for Immigration Services) tackled the top 5 questions.
You can download the podcast here with the OurSay segment starting from the 15:36.
“How many countries should illegal immigrants be allowed to ignore on their way to Australia? If they ignore even one then by any definition other than that used by the UN they aren't actually refugees, so why does anyone enable these weasel words and the swamping of due process by immigration criminals? Sorry to bring the common sense, but hey.”
“Why has the arrival of so few people become such an enormous political issue? And how can politicians and society navigate through the political football-ing and hyperbole and ensure a level-headed discussion of the issues, so that we then may all start focussing on the things that ought to be front and centre of political debate - education, health and so on?”
“Why do illegal immigrants receive more than double the welfare benefits of elderly who have lived, worked, and paid taxes here all their lives? Many refugee advocates like to cry "you family were once from another country" but my grandparents came over here and had to pay their own way. Meanwhile, over 80% of refugees from places like Afghanistan are still dependent on welfare. If these people weren't seen as being leeches on our society people would probably care a lot less about them coming.”