Hijack The Streets: What do you really think about asylum seekers?
The debate surrounding asylum seekers has been raging for years, and is showing no sign of slowing down: Offshore detention centres are receiving heavy criticism and Abbott is consistently pledging to 'stop the boats'. Hijacked chatted to students across Sydney and Canberra to gauge their thoughts on the matter.
David Nolan, 21, Bachelor of Arts, Macquarie University
Hijacked: Are Australian politicians doing enough for asylum seekers?
David: Why do the rich fear the poor? Why do the safe fear the desperate? Why can’t we help people who need it instead of punishing them? Why do people not understand that people don’t risk their lives because they want to, but because they have no other option? If I had to, I’d make a deal with Lucifer himself to get me and mine out of a war zone. ‘Give me liberty or give me death.’
Harriet Rochester, 20, Bachelor of Arts, ANU
HJCKD: Do asylum seekers get enough help from Australia?
Harriet: I don’t think they get enough help from the government. Compared to the rest of the world, Australia’s intake of refugees is abysmal. We have a responsibility as human beings to help those in need. Instead, both this government and the previous [one] have managed to frame people fleeing war and torture [them] like enemies. Besides the fact that it has not done anything to address why so many people are seeking asylum, the Australian government has condemned these people to the most horrendous conditions, all in the name of ‘border protection’.
Paddy Dunn, 21, Bachelor of Law, University of Sydney
HJCKD: Are asylum seekers fairly represented in Australian media?
Paddy: I don't think asylum seekers are without support within the Australian media. There are numerous journalists who are prepared to speak out against the mistreatment of asylum seekers by the Australian executive, attempt to investigate the issue, and critique government discourse. However, asylum seekers themselves have little to no voice in our media.
It is not them who are the subject of interviews, but rather individuals such as politicians, employees of detention centres (often anonymously), and employees of NGOs. However, inmates and former inmates of detention centres have no voice themselves. What results is a spectrum of different opinions formed by a range of various observers, in the absence of input from those who are most adversely affected and who deserve a voice more than any other.
Emily Hill, 21, Bachelor of Economics/ Arts, ANU
HJCKD: What should the government be doing for the asylum seekers?
Emily: The government should significantly increase the number of asylum seekers it accepts. There should be no offshore processing, and any asylum seekers who arrive by boat or plane immediately [accepted]. There should also be a royal commission into the alleged abuse in Nauru.
We shouldn't be treating asylum seekers like prisoners and putting them in offshore detention. They have a legal right to seek asylum, plus, morally, Australia should be helping them any way we can.
Keegan is studying journalism at the University of Western Sydney. He's an avid storyteller and global traveller whose likes include fresh bed sheets and Jeff Goldblum movies.