A possie in Aussie

June 10, 2009

Ninemsn discovers some plane facts about boat people

Filed under: asylum,asylum seeker,boat people — Nayano @ 9:17 am
Tags: , , ,

Thanks to Raj for alerting me to this item from Ninemsn: Plane people eclipse boat arrivals

Ninemsn has discovered that nearly five times as many asylum seekers are arriving by air as those we are panicking about who arrive by boat.

Researchers in the area of asylum seekers have been aware of this for many years – and at last it has made the news!

Ninemsn says:

The 600-odd “boat people” intercepted by Border Protection Command ships in the seven months since September last year are dwarfed by the 2887 “plane people” who claimed asylum within Australia during the same time period, Department of Immigration records show.

(‘Plane people’ – I like that! Will it catch on, though? Probably not. Plane people are like us – they have money to pay for plane tickets, come from nations where it is still possible to get a visa to fly to Australia, and tend not to be Muslim. Plane people share an experience that we too have undergone – even though I would argue that some of my plane trips have made me long for any other mode of transport, even a leaky boat!)

Nine quotes Andrew Bartlett as saying that:

“Because [boat] people arrive without a valid visa it’s easier for them to be portrayed as somehow doing something wrong.”  

And indeed, for many years under the Howard government, it was only ‘boat people’ who were vilified and subjected to the inhumane Temporary Protection Visa (TPV).

This Howard policy was all the more remarkable because while 90% or more of Australia’s ‘boat people’ had, and continue to have their claims eventually accepted as legitimate, the rate for those who apply after arriving by air is much lower.

The top source nation for asylum seekers who arrive by air is the People’s Republic of China.


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