Take a moment to imagine the life of an asylum seeker. You live in a country, ravaged by conflict, poverty, illiteracy and hunger. You are stifled by your circumstances, bound too life of suffering. For a 17 year old girl in a developing country, life is different from ours. Say that you are a 17 year old girl in a developing country. Horrible realities are faced every day. With no identification or passport, nothing stands in the way of child marriage; that is, you could be married with children by the age of 12.
You are Just one of the 70% of out of school children that are girls. Pregnancy due to early marriage is a common occurrence, and further separates you from the community and makes you responsible for not only yourself, but your malnourished children. In a body that is not considered your own, but your husbands, you are forced to work. To support your families, you have the potential to resort to prostitution, which opens doors to HIVE/AIDS. Without the education on HI AIDS and how it is contracted, you do not know the risk of unprotected sex.
You have owe contracted HIVE AIDS and have also given it to your children through breastfeeding. You are sick. You are exploited. You are a statistic. You are nothing. Now look around you. Needless to say, we are extremely lucky to have had been born in Australia. A country of natural resources, a booming economy and plenty to g around. Plenty. Defined as: A large or sufficient amount or quantity; more than enough. Now if Australia as too much, and some countries don’t have enough, wouldn’t a logical and rational thing to do be to spread our resources around?
To do he RIGHT thing and help others, because, as our mothers always said, it is right to treat others they way you would want to be treated?. So, as you have reflected on your life as a 17 year old in a developing country where asylum seekers come from, would is be fair to say that you would want a helping hand? I cannot begin to fathom the reasons why Australia is so selfish. However, the medias perception of asylum seekers does contribute the public opinion on, what the media calls ‘queue Jumpers’.
Side note: The waiting period in the ‘queue’ for a refugee in Indonesia seeking settlement in Australia is on average 37 years. The Australian media would have you believe that Australia is being over run by ‘boat people’.. The media often unrealistically makes out that Australia’s asylum seeker intake is out of control, when in fact; Australia takes in an embarrassing 0. 6% of the worlds asylum seekers. Furthermore, We receive each year Just 0. 03% of the World’s refugees and displaced people.
That is 13,740 of the 42 million refugees and displaced people in the world. To push this point even further, Australia takes in an average of around 13,500 asylum seekers per year and last year, America accepted 55,000. About the cost of detention centers vs. the aid the government gives to non government organizations trying to make the world a better place; for every dollar given to the red cross to care for community bases asylum seekers, $30. 41 is spent on keeping asylum seekers in detentions centers.
It is more cost effective to integrate refugees into the Australian community, beneficial for the growing multicultural opacity of Australia and better for the asylum seekers physical, mental and social health. Let me stress to you the world these asylum seekers are leaving behind. Some are running from death. If they stayed in their home country, their death would be imminent, and more often that not, so too would the death of their families. If I asked you what you would do to save your families, many of you, I would assume, would reply with ‘anything.
The desire to save your loved ones is an innate human emotion hat everyone in the world shares. To ask refugees to return to their land to ‘go back to where you came from’ would be asking them to suppress their most primal instinct; survival. Not taking them into Australia would be flaunting our responsibly as human beings to take care of those around us. Australia has a moral obligation to accept more asylum seekers. It is an embarrassment that I am here, standing before you, having to argue the reasons for global equity, and human rights. Australia’s time to act was yesterday.