Asylum seekers in context

Posted by Joshua Newton On July 6, 2010 0 comments

Asylum seekers are back in the news following recent comments by Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott. Unfortunately, neither politician appears to be doing much to contextualise the numbers that lie at the heart of this issue.

As the graph below shows, there was a spike in the number of so-called ‘unauthorised boat arrivals’ during the 2008-2009 financial year. Nevertheless, more unauthorised entries were detected at Australia’s airports than in Australia’s waters. And from an international perspective, the number of unauthorised boat arrivals entering Australia is miniscule.

For the interested reader, Robert Carr has also created an infographic on this issue.


  • The USA figures cited above were for the US Government’s financial year, which begins October 1 and ends September 30.
  • There was a discrepancy of 7 people between the figures supplied by DIAC to the Senate and the figures that appeared in their 2008-09 annual report. The smaller figure of 985 was used to formulate this infographic.

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