100 stand up for asylum seekers

John Brennan speaks at the Safe Asylum march in Brisbane Street yesterday. Picture: GEOFF ROBSON
John Brennan speaks at the Safe Asylum march in Brisbane Street yesterday. Picture: GEOFF ROBSON

MORE than 100 people have marched through Launceston to protest government asylum seeker policies.

Organiser Safe Asylum said its aim was to raise awareness about Australia's obligations under the United Nations refugee convention.

Swedish exchange student Hilda Kraft, who suggested the "community walk", demonstrated how asylum seeking is a global issue.

Sweden has seen an influx of Afghan refugees with the Nordic nation expecting nearly 70,000 asylum seekers to arrive this year.

Ms Kraft said the issue was just polarising at home as it was in Australia.

"People are put in detention centres there as well ... and there are no limits for how long they can be there and they are often treated not so good," she said.

"There are heaps of people engaged in asylum seeker issues and there is a strong development on the other hand that don't want as many to stay [in Sweden]."

The march started in Princess Square and headed to City Park before descending on Inveresk to catch AFL match-goers.

Safe Asylum volunteer Kym Blechynden said the response from the public was generally positive.

She said the group was apolitical and politicians of all persuasions had been invited.

ALP members took part in the march, while Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson spoke at a Safe Asylum walk on Friday.

PUP Senator-elect Jacqui Lambie did not respond to the invite, she said.

Bass MHR Andrew Nikolic said he turned down the invite because of a prior engagement but defended the government's record on immigration.

"The government is very proud of the fact that we're now approaching six months without a boat arriving in Australia ... that represents a saving to the budget of $2.5 billion," he said.


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