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Asylum seekers claims should be fully checked



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Philip Ruddock MP Federal Member for Dundas Shadow Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs

Tel: (02) 858 1011 Fax: (02) 804 6739

Electorate Parliament House

Tel: (06) 277 4343 Fax: (06) 277 2062

ASYLUM SEEKERS CLAIMS SHOULD BE FULLY CHRCKRD

It is not clear that the newest unauthorised arrivals on Australia's far north shores are from the Peoples Republic of China or elsewhere in Asia.

Their claims for protection need to be promptly and thoroughly checked. There are established procedures for doing this but regrettably over time they have been compromised by delay, inactivity and indecision on the part of the Government.

There are hundreds of people who have arrived in small craft in Australia seeking asylum who are currently held in detention. Most of their claims have not been determined and only a very small number of those screened out have been returned.

In addition there are now 23,000 claimants for refugee status within Australia with considerable resources being put to the task of determining their claims.

There is a view that Australia is no longer able to adequately control and supervise entry arrangements. The case of the most recently arrived asylum seekers and all its attendant publicity will now be a case study for those off­ shore contemplating irregular and unauthorised entry to this country.

Australia's north has always been inhospitable and dangerous even for those properly equipped and experienced. The fact that any journey to and landing in Australia is hazardous should not be used as a basis for discarding proper refugee determination procedures and their consequences.

Likewise the trauma of those who were victims of Pol Pots killing fields should not be used as a basis for asserting that all Khmer have a need for protection without proper scrutiny.

The problems that we now face in the handling of the current situation are a direct result of the messages we have already sent overseas.

19 January 1992

CO M M O N W EA LTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MIC AH