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Burke launches online petition calling for rights for asylum seekers.

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MEDIA RELEASE Wednesday August 31, 2005

Burke launches online petition calling for rights for asylum seekers

Federal Member for Chisholm Anna Burke has launched an online petition on the National Forum website - - calling for work rights and Medicare access for all community based asylum seekers.

“The Howard Government currently prevents around forty per cent of community-based asylum seekers from accessing any form of income support, employment rights or health benefits,” Ms Burke said.

“Although families released from detention as a result of the Howard/Georgiou compromise have income support and access to healthcare, countless asylum seekers already living in the community have no such rights.

“How does Amanda Vanstone expected these people to survive?

“If it wasn’t for the various charities and church groups many of these people would have nowhere to live, nothing to eat and no way to access health treatment. As it is, the most these organisations can afford to provide an individual is $35 a week.

“Sadly, many asylum seekers are not aware of the benevolent support available to them, as the Department of Immigration doesn’t refer them to these services. What do they do? Who do they turn to?

“The Howard Government’s inconsistent immigration policy is putting peoples’ lives at risk - there are cases of asylum seekers suffering malnutrition and being turned away from doctors when they urgently need medical treatment.

“I hope this petition will show the Howard Government that it has a long way to go on the road to a more compassionate immigration policy,” Ms Burke said.

Contact Jehane Sharah on 03 9898 0675 or 0417 140 935

The petition of certain citizens of Australia draws to the attention of the House the fact that:

• Thousands of community-based asylum seekers in Australia are denied income support, work rights and Medicare access as a result of the Government’s unfair and inflexible immigration policy, making survival nearly impossible without the assistance of various church and charity groups. • In many cases this breaches the Refugee Convention and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Your petitioners therefore ask the House to ensure that the Government:

• Abolishes the ‘45 day rule’, which prevents community-based asylum seekers who make visa applications outside that period from receiving any form of income or health benefits. • Gives all community-based asylum seekers in Australia work rights and access to Medicare.