By MIA FREEDMAN
Yesterday, Coalition spokesperson on immigration, Scott Morrison made some cynical, appalling and patently untrue suggestions about against asylum seekers.
He was joined almost immediately by Senator Eric Abetz who did some even more distasteful dog whistling, in a revolting attempt to rustle up fear, anxiety and hatred.
What’s that smell? Oh that’s right. It’s the smell of an election year. And it’s putrid.
Here are the facts:
Earlier this week, a Sri Lankan man was charged with the alleged indecent assault of a female university student at Sydney’s Macquarie University.
Court documents say that Daxchan Selvarajah, a 21-year-old asylum seeker who is living in the community on a bridging visa, entered a unit at Macquarie University about 3.30am on the 14th February and put his hand down the pyjama pants of a 20-year-old student. After the woman awoke and screamed, her attacker fled.
Since the incident, it has been announced that asylum seekers – 55 of whom are housed at Macquarie University in an agreement with the Red Cross – will no longer be provided with accommodation at the campus. The accused man was not one of the asylum seekers being housed at the University.
Yesterday, Scott Morrison called for an immediate freeze of the provision of bridging visas for asylum seekers and said that a review was required into the guidelines of how people who arrive in Australia by boat (not in any other way), are released into the community. Mr Morrison said that the freeze should not be lifted until Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor and his department could give the community a clear guarantee that there were “safeguards in place”.
Safeguards against what exactly, Scott Morrison? Safeguards that would prevent all humans committing crimes against other humans?
Wait, it gets worse.
Mr Morrison said police and communities should also be alerted when asylum seekers move into their neighbourhoods.
Currently, the only group of people who must go on a community register such as this are pedophiles. (Western Australia introduced the first Community Register for pedophiles last year).
While Liberal backbencher Russell Broadbent quickly came out to slam the “vilification of asylum seekers” by his own party as “unacceptable in this nation,” senior Liberal attack-dog Senator Eric Abetz backed calls from Scott Morrisson that communities be notified when asylum seekers are released from detention centres.
Senator Abetz was asked by reporters why the government should have to inform people about asylum seekers living in their community, when (in every state except WA) it didn’t inform them about pedophiles who are released from prison and Abetz replied “There is a register in relation to those sex offenders and the community has spoken in relation to that, that they do want a register.”
Right, so let’s be clear about this.
The Coaliton believe that asylum seekers – who have committed no crime by arriving here and seeking asylum in Australia under the International Refugee Convention (to which we are a signatory) – should be treated in the same way as child sex offenders. That they – as a group – present the same level of ‘threat’ to the community.
And all of this based on the fact that one man who happens to be an asylum seeker, has allegedly committed a crime.