Memo to reporters in Australia; refugees are already being smeared and abused

Here’s how the Australian media sometimes report on asylum seekers. There’s no doubt that the country’s refugee policy is out of control, privatised forces (namely Serco) run the system with few checks or balances and journalists often simply ignore the bigger picture but can sensitivity towards vulnerable people not be ignored?

Asylum seekers awaiting processing are staying in a caravan park in Perth’s eastern suburbs.

The Immigration Department confirmed yesterday that about 20 people, including families, were staying at the Banksia Tourist Caravan Park in Hazelmere.

A spokesman for the department said the caravan park, 18km from the city, had been used to house asylum seekers for the past year.

The asylum seekers, believed to come from a range of countries including Afghanistan, include recent arrivals to Australia and others closer to being settled into the community.

“There are a bit over 20 people in there at the moment,” an Immigration Department spokesman said. “They are people who are waiting for processing to be finished. They are families.

“There is probably a mix there. Some might have arrived recently, some might have been there quite a while.”

The development comes a day after it was revealed that asylum-seeker families were being housed in dongas at a remote roadhouse in the Kimberley.

The group had stayed near the Willare Bridge Roadhouse, 50km south of Derby, earlier this week until they were transferred to permanent accommodation in Brisbane.

Dubbed a “tranquil traveller’s paradise”, the Banksia Tourist Caravan Park is on 6.9ha “surrounded by a splendid array of WA wildflowers and native birds”, the park’s website says.

It also says: “Just imagine relaxing in this wildflower and wildlife retreat enjoying WA fine wines from the Swan Valley, which is only 10 minutes away.

“Feel like you are in the country when you are only 18km from the centre of Perth and 10 minutes from both the domestic and international airports.”

Prices range from $835 a week, or $170 a day, for a deluxe family chalet to $675 a week, or $117 a day, for a cabin with an ensuite. Children cost an extra $15 a day.

Powered tent sites cost up to $325 a week, or $48 each day, at the caravan park.

A refugee activist in Western Australia tells me:

The 20 folks at this rather shabby caravan park are the most vulnerable of the vulnerable. Survivors of the Christmas Island boat crash still recovering from injuries, mum whose child has cancer, amputees etc. They send those with the most serious medical conditions or post operative people to Banksia. Most are transferred over from other centres, and even there as usual 4 or 6 to a room.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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