Peter Dutton  The Project

Mon 22 May 2017 in 3 months

The Immigration Minister has given thousands of asylum seekers an October deadline to apply for protection or face deportation. Sounds fair enough…but is it?

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Here is Mark Isaac‘s excellent commentary on the Dutton interview (The Project).

Mark Isaacs saying it like it is… “This man purposefully obfuscates the facts, he purposefully lies to terrorise and demonise the most vulnerable. He talks of Christian values but his actions contradict the teachings of Jesus Christ. He is a despicable low-life.

I have been directly involved in the ongoing saga of the immigration department’s bungled attempts at processing protection claims for 4 years now. When I first started work in settlement services, there was a freeze on all processing. The government wouldn’t allow asylum seekers to lodge protection claims. When they did restart the processing, asylum seekers were only allowed to submit applications for protection by invitation. Meanwhile the government cut funding to free legal services. This meant that the free legal services were overwhelmed with applicants and the waiting list for assistance was over a year. Those who were rich enough to afford private lawyers could submit applications but most of the men could not do so.

Paying for these legal costs was made even harder when the government refused to allow asylum seekers work rights. Dutton says we are paying for their welfare, but he forced them into dependency and then attacks them for being welfare-dependent. Even so, when asylum seekers were eventually given work rights many of them have found employment despite limited language skills, 3-month visas, qualifications and skills not being credited and having to cope with mental health issues.

The protection claim process is confusing and complicated and without proper legal advice it is extremely difficult to navigate. All of the men I have worked with have either paid for a private lawyer or are on the free legal service waiting list. When Dutton says people are refusing to engage in the process, he is lying.

This deadline is setting people up to fail. His attempts to delegitimise their claims before they have even made them is yet another attempt to reinforce his hatred of people asking for protection. This entire process is cruel, it’s harmful, it causes people great stress and anxiety, it exacerbates already existing mental health issues. Dutton’s actions are unjust and dishonest. He is a cruel, deceitful man who is working his agenda to demonise the most vulnerable.”

Extract provided by Graeme Swincer

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