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The Asylum

Seeker Issue

Rose Adams

Orator of the Year


Imagine you are in a boat. Not your pristine white boat that we see

occupying the docks at Portsea, but a boat darkened with smoke and

grime, shabby and discoloured. Now imagine the constant rock of

the rumbling waves below, making your body sway from side to side.

You are suddenly overcome by motion sickness, you try to make a run

for the side, but you can’t. You can’t move. There is no air around you.

There is not a familiar face in sight.

Article 3 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

states that ‘everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.’

The Labor Party’s new asylum seeker policy, of sending asylum seekers

toPapuaNewGuinea, hasmade it practically impossible for thousands

of people seeking asylum to claim that right.

Today we commonly see the screaming headlines about asylum

seekers and how they are ‘Clogging our nation’s shores’ or ‘Taking

away our land.’ Well, according to a survey recently conducted by

Amnesty International, the number of asylum seekers to arrive in

Australia by boat would only take up 6.8% of the MCG. In 2012 only

14, 415 people sought asylum in Australia, not such a big number

when compared to the 45, 197 people who sought asylum in the UK.

But most importantly, the number of asylum seekers who have

arrived by boat and have been found to be terrorists – 0. Asylum

seekers are fleeing conditions that we could never endure or

understand and yet both major political parties would remove all

hope and safety from these individuals’ lives and place them in

terrible conditions.

Najeeba Wazefadost is 22 years old and is currently completing a

degree in medicine and hopes to become a doctor. As a young girl,

many of her relatives and friends were killed by the Taliban. With

her parents she fled Pakistan, which she said is one of the hardest

decisions you can be forced to make. For her it meant a break with

all that she knew – family and friends. All the familiar sights, sounds,

smells and tastes are left behind. They were eventually crammed

into a tiny fishing boat with 100 other people.

But when Najeeba and her family saw the barbed wire at Curtin

Processing Centre, and they knew the months ahead were going to

be tough. Finally, after months of uncertainty, the family was granted

refugee status. Now a student, Najeeba deeply appreciates the help

she has received and sums up her views on the asylum seekers’ issue

she quotes a line from Advance Australia Fair: ‘We’ve boundless