Asylum Seekers and the Law

30 September 2009

Professor Mary Crock says Australia has so far taken less than a third of the number of Asylum Seekers that arrived towards the end of the 1990s has arrived.

In an interview with the Morning Show on ABC Radio Darwin, responding to Federal Opposition claims that the Rudd Government risks encouraging people smugglers if it does not return to the immigration policies of the Howard era, Professor Crock says there is international pressure causing the increase in asylum seekers and it is happening all over the world.

"Australia gets a small number of asylum seekers compared with historical numbers and other countries.

"The Howard Government's lack of regional engagement led to the spikes in asylum seekers in the late 1990s, which caused ongoing problems.

"Numbers fell away after the Tampa because of global events, and the sinking of refugee boats.

"The policy of towing boats back out to sea resulted in a lot of drowning deaths, and was in breach of Australia's international obligations."

Professor Crock says the present Government is dealing with the problem in a measured and appropriate way.

"Australia gets a relatively low number of refugees and they should be treated with humanity."

Contact: Greg Sherington

Phone: +61 2 9351 0202

Email: 2c2424575e6b5d4e26113f2b5b3f010303024b0a4f50313a46503d