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Scott Morrison defends calling asylum seekers 'illegal'

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Abbott claims credit for slowing boats

Prime Minister claims asylum seeker boat arrivals are "down by 90 per cent" under his government, but Labor credits their PNG solution for the decline.

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Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says he is simply calling ''a spade a spade'' by directing public servants to refer to asylum seekers as ''illegal''.

''I'm not going to make any apologies for not using politically correct language to describe something that I am trying to stop,'' he said.

Mr Morrison has come under fire for telling immigration staff that boat arrivals must be called ''illegal maritime arrivals'', and asylum seekers in detention must be called ''detainees'' instead of ''clients''.

The Immigration Minister is unrepentant.

''I'm not going to engage in some sort of clever language to try and mask anything here,'' he said.

''I'm going to call a spade a spade.''

Mr Morrison said his directive simply concerned the way asylum seekers arrived.

''People who have entered Australia illegally by boat have illegally entered by boat,'' he said.

''I've never said that it is illegal to claim asylum. That's not what the term refers to. It refers to their mode of entry.''

Labor immigration spokesman Richard Marles accused Mr Morrison of demonising asylum seekers in what he said was a return to the inflammatory rhetoric of the Howard era.

''This is an area where language is bullets: it is really important that we are careful about what language we use and that we depoliticise this area of policy,'' Mr Marles said.

''Those who come by boat are not the enemy.

''In terms of calling a spade a spade, people who seek asylum here are asylum seekers.''

AAP

304 comments

  • Scott, I don't even know where to begin since you've already played judge, jury and executioner on people who are fleeing persecution without actually establishing the truthfulness of claims. All I can say is that I hope you never in the future have to look for help should something happen to your home. I don't think you could handle the karma.

    Commenter
    GitL
    Location
    Bris
    Date and time
    October 21, 2013, 2:20PM
    • Its not illegal to ask for refugee status, however it is illegal to arrive in Australia without a current visa, its also illegal to destoy documents so I guess they are illegals. If I go to the USA without a visa, I am an illegal alien, its just a word.. The public service is meant to be apolitical, so they should do as they are told, their job is to service the current Government. Any of them that have issue with this, just leave the public service, it will save some of your colleagues from losing their jobs.

      Commenter
      Do as your told
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      October 21, 2013, 2:53PM
    • I will say it again... people voted for this... they voted for this Government. It is bad times right now since it's just one article after another article that is really bad from the Government. Oh no I worry for our future the rate we are going. On the topic of this though it is hard isn't it? Try to define terms and policy amongst statements.

      Commenter
      Meh1
      Date and time
      October 21, 2013, 2:58PM
    • good ol' scott morrison - never afraid to call a heart a spade if it suits him.

      Commenter
      don
      Date and time
      October 21, 2013, 3:00PM
    • So I suppose it would be OK to say that politicians make illegal expense claims then......

      Commenter
      shemp
      Location
      melb
      Date and time
      October 21, 2013, 3:06PM
    • After so many years of the Labor incompetence in protecting the Australian borders finally we have got the minister who looks after our country the way majority wanted for a long time.
      Good on you Scott Morrison – Australians are behind you.

      Commenter
      Fred
      Date and time
      October 21, 2013, 3:08PM
    • So is it legal to enter any other country without a visa or authorisation?

      Woopee, I'm jumping on the first plane to the US or Europe

      The funny thing about all this is, we could actually use some of these refugees.

      How about enforcing strict conditions on all arrivals - they must live and report for 2 years in the place the government says, any breach and they are deported. The government dictates and directs where they go.

      Start housing them in regional Australia, doing the manual labouring jobs that Aussies are there are too lazy or simply unwilling to do. They could even work in indiengous communities helping rebuild their towns. These refugees would be on reduced wages, which allows their boss to risk employing these unskilled people, but they would not need as much because they would be living in regional Australia and in designated housing.

      These refugees then instantly contribute to society, pay taxes and bolster the local economies. Any don't like it can go home.

      Next?

      Commenter
      Average bloke
      Date and time
      October 21, 2013, 3:10PM
    • You can't say that Asylum Seeker who has entered illegally is an illegal or is here illegally. That is just plain wrong. The only end you can achieve with such rhetoric is to conflate the two subjects in the minds of your audience so they think that they are one and the same.

      You're right its just a word and an adjective at that. You ought to put a noun after it show what you are trying to describe.

      Best to stick with the traditional adjective followed by noun arrangement. That way everyone will know the subject you are addressing as well as how you describe it.

      Commenter
      tasch2
      Location
      Mornington Peninsula
      Date and time
      October 21, 2013, 3:10PM
    • Just like the rest of the front bench, this man is totally out of his depth.

      Commenter
      JJ
      Date and time
      October 21, 2013, 3:11PM
    • Looks like these illegal people just keep comojning on their fancy boats. This is all real Aussies care about. I dont give a flying hoot about this issue.Complete political escape about a non issue. Why dont we actually look at why people are refugees. I smell an animal farm coming next?

      Commenter
      ray pace
      Location
      narrabeen
      Date and time
      October 21, 2013, 3:14PM

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