John Menadue | Rethinking Asylum Seeker Policy


The toxicity of the current asylum seeker debate has left both sides of politics lost at sea. Whilst the opposition exploits our fear of foreigners, the government fumbles from one policy to another, afraid of making progress and appearing soft. CPD founder John Menadue featured on ABC Radio National to discuss the fallacies of this parliament’s approach to the issue of refugees.

He states that the current policy is “inhumane, ineffective and expensive”. Detention costs run at around 800 million dollars a year, a figure that could be reduced to roughly 200-300 million by adopting fairer, more balanced measures. John, senior author of CPD’s recent report ‘A New Approach: Breaking the Stalemate on Refugees & Asylum Seekers’, maintains that by addressing the problem at its source, in troubled countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan, the entire process would be safer and more efficient.

Yet the issue of migration and refugees was not always in such shambles. One of the most frustrating aspects of this debate, John argues, is that we’ve tackled it so well in the past. 700,000 refugees have been accepted into Australia since World War Two but success stories like these often go overlooked in the climate of fear and misinformation. Now, like before, we need to “embrace the better angels of our natures”. Can Australia, by treating refugees in a humane and sensible manner, pass the litmus test of a decent country?

Listen to the full interview with John on Late Night with Phillip Adams featured on ABC Radio National, here

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