Jul 11, 2013

Get Fact: how many asylum seekers turn up without ID?

Opposition immigration spokesperson Scott Morrison has been claiming that over 90% of asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australia turn up without ID. Does that allegation hold up? Not quite ...

Amber Jamieson — Freelance journalist in New York

Amber Jamieson

Freelance journalist in New York

Judging by the rhetoric politicians on both sides have been regurgitating this week, most asylum seekers who come by boat are turning up with no documents, burning their passports and/or refusing to help authorities identify them.


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16 thoughts on “Get Fact: how many asylum seekers turn up without ID?

  1. beachcomber

    The best way to make racist claims is to base them on lies.

  2. Edward James

    Well so what ever is wrong! ? The number of people getting residency in Australa without passports may be interesting enough. Edward James

  3. zut alors

    An informative piece.

    Morrison should be more careful about building his policy on a wobbly foundation.

  4. Pedantic, Balwyn

    Morison’s claim may be statistically inaccurate, but according to the Indonesian visa website a passport valid for 6 months is amongst the mandatory requirements for entry; so at face value the dispossessed people must have held a passport to enter Indonesia, in the first instance

    Perhaps Amber can advise if there is a exemption for refugees or possibly those of the Muslim faith or otherwise account for the discrepancy?

  5. klewso

    Morrison channeling Reith all over again.

  6. Michael James

    Fuunny, he says 90%, Immigration’s people say 80%, seems more like ‘mostly true’ rather than ‘mostly rubbish’.

    Or does Crikey prefer the words of lobbyist Rintoul over the estimates testimony?

    On a personal note, I served in the Navy and have friends who have commanded the Navy’s old Fremantle class and the new Armidale class patrol boats on border protection operations.

    All of them have seen asylum seekers tearing up their papers and either burning them on deck or tossing the shredded remains overboard once they realise it is an Australian, not Indonesian, patrol boat approaching.

    I have no problems believing 80+% arrive without documentation. Given Rintoul states he would advise asylum seekers to do the same I don’t doubt the same advice is given by the people smugglers.

  7. shepherdmarilyn

    Documents and passports in particular have never been required, the punishment for not having them if you can’t get them is forbidden. Here is the law.

    “60 In any event, while it is literally correct to describe the applicant as an “unlawful” entrant and an “unlawful non-citizen” that is not a complete description of his position. The nomenclature adopted under the Act provides for the description of persons as “uinlawful non-citizens” because they arrived in Australia without a visa. This does not fully explain their status in Australian law as such persons are on-shore applicants for protection visas on the basis that they are refugees under the Refugees Convention.
    61 The Refugees Convention is a part of conventional international law that has been given legislative effect in Australia: see ss 36 and 65 of the Act. It has always been fundamental to the operation of the Refugees Convention that many applicants for refugee status will, of necessity, have left their countries of nationality unlawfully and therefore, of necessity, will have entered the country in which they seek asylum unlawfully. Jews seeking refuge from war-torn Europe, Tutsis seeking refuge from Rwanda, Kurds seeking refuge from Iraq, Hazaras seeking refuge from the Taliban in Afghanistan and many others, may also be called “unlawful non-citizens” in the countries in which they seek asylum. Such a description, however, conceals, rather than reveals, their lawful entitlement under conventional international law since the early 1950’s (which has been enacted into Australian law) to claim refugee status as persons who are “unlawfully” in the country in which the asylum application is made.
    62 The Refugees Convention implicitly requires that, generally, the signatory countries process applications for refugee status of on-shore applicants irrespective of the legality of their arrival, or continued presence, in that country: see Art 31. That right is not only conferred upon them under international law but is also recognised by the Act (see s 36) and the Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth) which do not require lawful arrival or presence as a criterion for a protection visa. If the position were otherwise many of the protection obligations undertaken by signatories to the Refugees Convention, including Australia, would be undermined and ultimately rendered nugatory.
    63 Notwithstanding that the applicant is an “unlawful non-citizen” under the Act who entered Australia unlawfully and has had his application for a protection visa refused, in making that application he was exercising a “right” conferred upon him under Australian law.”

  8. shepherdmarilyn

    Michael James, that is a lie. The passports they travel on are bogus, the government has known for decades that they are bogus and the AFghan ones in particular are simply recycled.

    All this has been known to DIAC and DFAT for years and years.

    The fact is that asylum seekers do not now and nor have they ever required these papers.

  9. Michael James

    Tell you what Marilyn, you believe what you choose to and I will believe the words of the people on the front lines, rescuing asylum seekers from leaky boats in the wewaters off our north west coast.

    You tell me the passports are bogus, they tell me identification documentation gets burnt or torn up and thrown overboard.

    I know who I believe. Sorry

  10. shepherdmarilyn


    Well Michael, you would be a clown then because the courts have all shown what really goes on.

    The people on the front line are brainwashed dimwits quite frankly, they have no idea what is so-called being thrown over board.

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