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12

the few teenage asylum seekers who was finally settled in Australia

last year, he revealed, ‘we were treated lesser than humans, we were

treated lesser than animals. We were promised food and water, but

ran out in only a week. Some parents stole the last of the supplies

and secretly fed their children, but I had no one. I was only 14. In

hinds sight Bashir was one of the lucky ones, as he lives to tell his

story today. Unfortunately, in a recent report by the

UN

it was

disclosed that only two thirds of these boats ever safely make it to

their destination. For the lucky ones who survive the journey, the

struggle doesn’t end there, they are immediately held in detention,

waiting for our approval.

It should be our moral obligation to provide refuge for these

asylum seekers who have the courage and tenacity to chase their only

chance of hope.

Unfortunately, for decades now our government has fabricated

this idea that asylum seekers are ‘illegal’, ‘pests’, ‘cue jumpers’,

demanding a right they are not entitled to.

However, Article 14 in The

UN

Refugee Convention (which

Australia helped to draft) recognises that refugees have a right to

enter a country for the purposes of seeking asylum, regardless of

how they arrive or whether they hold valid documents.

Asylum seekers do not break any Australian laws simply by

arriving on boats without authorisation. So why are we going around

calling genuine asylum seekers illegal? They have as much right to

life in this country as we do.

Although some may argue, an influx of asylum seekers resettled in

Australia will cost our government too much due to various benefit

payouts. We may not realise that accepting asylum seekers would

actually be more economically efficient.

As of February 2014, Tony Abbott has mandated a team of

engineers to build lifeboats, which are for the sole purpose of

intercepting asylum seeker boats entering Australian waters by

sending them back to Indonesia. However, sneaky Tony Abbott

probably doesn’t want us to know that these lifeboats cost over

$200,000 each to build and can only be used once.

To date, spending over $4 million on this project to tow away

asylum seekers, we must put into perspective that it would have only

cost $3.8 million to settle all 4,600 asylum seekers who applied for

sanctuary in Australia last year. That’s $4 million we literally chucked

Asylum Seekers