This statement was placed on Channel 9 News facebook page, and let me clarify this statement as it is clearly wrong.
First off, we’ve seen these numbers before - in a email, which snopes have debunked nearly 5 years ago in 2007, BUT instead of it being in Australian dollars, it was in American dollars. This hoax email, which originated in Canada, was clarified not only by snopes.com but also by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship back in 2009. Here is a statement from the DIAC about the claimed differences in payments:
Asylum seekers in Australia, who have not yet had their protection claims decided, have no access to Centrelink benefits.
Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme payments to eligible asylum seekers and allowances paid to people in community detention on Christmas Island are paid 89 per cent of the Centrelink Newstart allowance – less than the aged pension.
In Australia, refugees granted permanent visas may gain access to benefits on the same basis and at the same rates as other Australian permanent residents. There is no separate rate of benefit payments for refugees.
Also, on a side note, it is not illegal to seek asylum in Australia, even if arriving by boat and therefore is factually incorrect to label them as illegal refugees.
Once they have been recognised and are given either a Refugee or a Protection Visa, which grants them the rights like any other Australian citizen, and that includes Centrelink. So seeing that there is no different or ‘special’ payments to refugees, how much do they get?
The Refugee Council states that, a single person with no dependent children who is eligible for the Newstart Allowance (whether or not he or she is a refugee) will receive $489.70 per fortnight, whereas a single person on an Age Pension payment will receive a fortnightly payment of $695.30
But how come, after several people debunking this myth, people still believe in this hoax email, and continue quoting it, either to friends or to media (like in the photo)? Well, media coverage, amoungst others, are to blame. Watch the following video in which ABC’s Media Watch debunks Today Tonight’s claim that refugees are living in 4-star luxury and earning $400 a week from Centrelink.
Like DIAC said in their letter to the editor debunking the hoax email, next time you see an email claiming asylum seekers or refugees are treated more favourably than Australian permanent residents, hit the delete button and ignore these claims.