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Lobby group wants community education about asylum seekers

The Australian Political Ministry Network (PolMin) has called on the Federal Government to establish a community education program designed to counter widespread public misinformation about asylum seekers.

"Australia's Asylum Seeker policy provides no community education whatsoever," said spokesman James McGillicuddy. "Misinformation can generate and feed groundless fear, hatred, racism, and discrimination towards Asylum Seekers, preventing full integration of refugees into the Australian community."

Mr McGillicuddy said that by "keeping the Australian community in the dark", the policy works against policy reform "by denying information that is required for community debate on the policy".

He described information about those seeking asylum in Australia as a "fundamental right". He said the right to be informed on other policy areas such as workplace relations and health has been enshrined in legislation by Federal Parliament.

He said in a statement released yesterday: "PolMin calls on Federal Parliament to immediately amending the Migration Act 1958 establishing a fully developed and funded community education program that counters and removes existing misinformation about Asylum Seekers and refugee approval processes."

PolMin was recently establish to foster change in public policy according to the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.