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Letter to Nambucca Guardian early September 2014

Letters also recorded under Nambucca Guardian button above

Dear Editor,

It is a sign of the times that outright lies circulate freely in the talk-back media and the internet and then find their way onto the letters pages of Nambucca Guardian. It is a pity that these ideas persist when a little research on the internet can quickly resolve them.

I refer to the claims about refugees repeated on 28 August 2014 . Let me set the record straight.

An illegal migrant is usually someone who arrives by plane and overstays their visa. They receive no government benefits, no help with housing, no tax refunds, and risk being deported at any time if they come to the attention of the authorities.

An asylum seeker is someone who arrives by boat or plane and makes a claim for protection. If their claim is found to be valid, due to a real threat of persecution in their home country, then they are granted the right to stay and are classified as a refugee. There is nothing illegal about this process. It is part of being a civilised country.

A refugee has the same rights and responsibilities as any other member of society. They get no more and no less assistance from the government than someone who has been born here. They do not get more than the dole and they do not get holiday houses. Those claims are just rubbish.

Fortunately, there are many groups and individuals who are prepared to lend a hand to refugees to help them get established. People of good heart often help refugees find accommodation, supply some basic furniture and utensils, and help them to settle in. This, again, is part of being a civilised country.

My parents helped some Vietnamese refugees get established in Canberra in the late seventies. Twenty years later they were invited to the weddings of their children who had become doctors and business people.

We reap what we sow.


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