Claims by political parties that asylum seekers are "flooding" Australia's borders have been exposed as bogus by a determined group of law students.
The Asylum & Refugee Law Project, comprising students from the University of Queensland's TC Beirne School of Law, found that 2008/09 government statistics show there were more than 40 times more people residing in Australia unlawfully by overstaying their visa or breaching visa conditions as compared to those arriving by boat.
Dr Peter Billings, who is supervising the project, said the evidence is being posted on a blog site each day in the lead up to the election.
"The students are highlighting Frequently Quoted Inaccuracies in the federal election campaign and [the] blog exposes ... many myths about boat people seeking refugee protection in Australia," he said.
Statistics from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) show that in 2008-2009 approximately 48,700 people were living in Australia unlawfully and had either overstayed their visa or breached their visa conditions.
"By contrast, during the same period, only 1033 asylum seekers arrived by boat," said Billings.
"While 4916 people seeking asylum in Australia have arrived by boat since 1 July 2009, a significant increase from the previous year, it is still minor when compared to the number of people estimated to be residing in Australia unlawfully."
You can read the Asylum & Refugee Law Project blog at http://uqrefugeeresearch.wordpress.com/
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