A survey has revealed the majority of Australians think that refugees who arrive by boat should be let in and allowed to resettle in Australia.
The poll commissioned by The Australia Institute found that 63 per cent of people say refugees that arrive in Australia by boat should be allowed to resettle in the country, reported The Guardian.
Between 23 May and 3 June 2016 the Australia Institute commissioned Research Now to do a national poll of 1,437 people on their attitudes towards the asylum seeker policy.
When asked about processing and setline asylum seekers arriving by boat, only 27 per cent said they should be sent to Manus and Nauru, and not come to Australia under any circumstances.
A total of 35 per cent said they should be processed at these offshore camps, but those found to be genuine refugees should be settled in Australia.
A further 28 per cent said the processing should happen in Australia.
The survey revealed that 66 per cent believe it should be legal for doctors to speak publicly about conditions in the camps and report and incidences of abuse to the police.
The poll also asked whether Australia should ‘accept or reject’ New Zealand’s offer to resettle 150 refugees who are currently held on Nauru or Manus Island each year.
While 20 per cent said the offer should be rejected, 61 per cent of people said Australia should accept New Zealand’s offer, made up of 58 per cent of Coalition voters and 62 per cent of Labor voters.
Australia’s current government policy of offshore processing and regional resettlement states that no refugee who arrives by boat will ever be settled in Australia.
The Labor Party has said it has the same asylum policies as the Coalition.
Nauru has refused to permanently resettle any refugees, and attempts to resettle refugees on Papua New Guinea have almost all failed.
Australia’s Cambodia Solution, worth $55 million, has resulted in only one person moving and staying there.
Executive director of The Australia Institute, Ben Oquist, told The Guardian the results showed a ‘real disconnect’ between the government’s policy and public expectations.
‘The vast bulk of political discourse from the major parties on this issue has been broad ‘tough on border security’ rhetoric,’ Mr Oquist said
‘And while that tone may be perceived to be popular, the actual details of the policy do not appear to have public support.’
Tim O’Connor from the Refugee Council of Australia told The Guardian the two major parties were in ‘lockstep’ over sending asylum seekers to offshore detention.
‘Australians are rightfully worried that thousands of people are suffering intolerably and interminably in our detention camps,’ he said.
‘Neither major party has a plan to resolve this crisis of their own making.’
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull previously said Opposition Leader Bill Shorten did not ‘have the willpower’ to maintain a deterrence policy on refugees arriving by boat.
Mr Shorten said Labor’s policy was identical to the Coalition’s, and that they would maintain boat turnbacks and offshore processing.
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