The Australian Government continues to defy empathy, logic and even universal human rights by putting more money into ensuring asylum seekers and refugees stay imprisoned in offshore detention.
Shocking I know, but you did not think the white boat people who stole this land for the Commonwealth would allow people of colour fleeing for their lives to find safety did you?
This year $1.18 billion will be spent on offshore detention costs.
The land we call 'great' is still the only western country without a specific human rights act or bill of rights.
The government's latest figures show Australia still has 244 refugees imprisoned, with 26 still undergoing their refugee status determination, in offshore detention in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
Since August 2012, we have sent 4177 people to Nauru or PNG. Other countries have resettled them and the latest deal with the United States has resettled 822 refugees - but 270 still remain.
The latest government figures from July 31 state the average period of time for people held in detention facilities was 557 days - more than 18 months on average.
This country continues to punish these people fleeing terror, war and unsafe situations, because they arrived via a boat to seek asylum, or as the government calls it an 'illegal maritime arrival'.
However, if you arrived 'the right way' you could be one of the lucky 880,000 refugees and others in need Australia has resettled since the end of World War II. This averages to about 11,733 a year.
In comparison we will continue to welcome 160,000 migrants each year, with reports showing our economy needs immigration, but we are reducing refugee visas.
The policy of hatred towards refugees arriving via boat began with the Howard government's Pacific Solutions campaign to 'stop the boats'. It removed human beings from the equation and it tapped into the country's racist vein.
The campaign had nothing to do with stopping asylum seekers, it was an election platform used time and time again ever since to feed people's fear we are to be flooded by boats of people, who are non-white and were not actually in need.
This is far from the truth, as the majority we have imprisoned were found to be refugees.
The pandemic was a chance to input meaningful change, instead of slamming the door shut on the hundreds of people still stuck in offshore detention centres.
The number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people globally at the end of 2019, before the pandemic, was 79.5 million.
Yet the government used a global pandemic as an opportunity to reopen Christmas Island at a cost of $55.6 million, spend $1.18 billion on offshore detention this year and to reduce humanitarian visa numbers.
Humanitarian visas will be reduced by 5000 places a year, by capping it at 13,750 visas. The government claims it will save $911.3 million in four years from the reduction, but it will mean 20,000 less refugee visas and the money being redirected to cover ballooning offshore detention costs.
Those spots could have been used to let the hundreds still stuck in offshore detention to resettle. Instead of embodying a small child who has not gotten its way, refusing to budge on a policy that should have never existed.
Since 2018/19 Australia has offered 18,750 visas per annum under the Humanitarian Program for refugees and asylum seekers.
I have not touched offshore detentions effects on mental or physical health, but it is grim. All sides and parties of Australian politics need to ramify the issue now. Free them. Resettle them.
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