Asylum seekers for BH?
Saturday, 10th August, 2013
By By Erica Visser
Federal MP Sussan Ley has promised to look into the idea of housing asylum seekers in Broken Hill if the public and City Council support it.
Lawyer and human rights advocate Julian Burnside criticised the Labor Government and the Coalition’s plans for boat people during recent highly-publicised campaigns.
Mr Burnside, who blamed the Howard Government for the public’s negative view of asylum seekers, said that many regional towns with falling populations would be happy to accept them.
He said that people who arrive by boat should be detained for around a month while health and security checks are run.
Afterwards, they could be released into set country towns while their refugee status is being determined.
Ms Ley said that she was willing to find out more about the proposal if the community recognised the benefits.
“If the community of Broken Hill and Council were supportive of the idea and wanted it to be investigated further, I will happily do so,” she said.
“But there’s little point bringing people in a difficult situation into regional or isolated areas such as Broken Hill if they’re not going to be welcomed.”
Curator of the Broken Hill Migrant Museum, Christine Adams, said that the issue was a complex one and would need to be examined carefully.
Mrs Adams is also the author of “Sharing the Lode - The Broken Hill Migrant Story”.
She said that there were similarities between migrants she had interviewed who arrived here after the Second World War and asylum seekers who came by boat today.
“I interviewed 80 people at that time and all people said they came to Australia and Broken Hill to make a better life for themselves and their children.
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