House debates

Monday, 23 November 2009

Questions without Notice

Asylum Seekers

2:32 pm

Photo of Kevin RuddKevin Rudd (Griffith, Australian Labor Party, Prime Minister) Share this | Hansard source

It is good to see that the Ronaldson doctrine has now been elevated to the Leader of the Opposition—which is in the great Australian newspaper published email entitled ‘Digging dirt’ and says, ‘You don’t get news stories by trying to change perceptions, you get them by reinforcing stereotypes.’ That is what they are on about here. The Leader of the Opposition’s question goes to numbers. I would draw his attention to the following numbers. When it comes to the decrease in numbers worldwide from countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka in the early 2000s, they were as follows: between 2001 and 2003 the number of Iraqis claiming asylum globally dropped by 50 per cent, from 52,000 down to 27,000; the number from Afghanistan dropped by 73 per cent; and the number from Sri Lanka dropped by 61 per cent. This is the period in which those opposite say that, uniquely as a consequence of their particular approaches to the Pacific solution—temporary protection visas and the like—there was some ‘unique success’ in this country. They must have been uniquely successful in multiple countries around the world, because those figures are global numbers coming out of each of those countries. All of these global factors were at work and the numbers out of all three countries were coming down. The opposition then latch on to it and say, ‘It’s all because of us.’

And then of course we go to volume 2, which is what has been happening between 2005 and 2008. Guess what? The reverse occurs. The global increase in the number of Iraqis seeking asylum has gone up by 193 per cent. Secondly, the number of Afghans claiming asylum globally has gone up by 139 per cent. Furthermore, the number of Sri Lankans has gone up in that same period of time by 72 per cent—and the reason why that is occurring worldwide is because of security factors alive within those countries.

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