05 Dec 2011. The Australia Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) dispelled myths contained in a scurrilous email currently circulating titled: "The truth about the boat people". The email purports to have been written by a reliable source, however, a DIAC spokesman said the information it contained was inaccurate, misleading and inflammatory. The email was a discussion item on Weekend Sunrise yesterday (see: www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTCHtbDHcag).
Specifically, the spokesman said claims "asylum seekers received thousands of dollars in welfare benefits while in immigration detention" and that they were "given mobile phones for personal use" are incorrect.
"People in immigration detention do not receive cash payments and do not have access to welfare. Nor are they given mobile phones. In fact, asylum seekers who arrive by boat are not allowed access to mobile phones while they are in a detention facility. Their access is restricted to landlines only. And they’ve had restricted access to the internet since 2007."
"Violence of any kind is not tolerated in the detention environment," the spokesman said. "The department and its detention services provider make very clear the standards of behaviour expected of people in detention and anyone who breaches those standards could jeopardise their chances of being granted a visa that would enable them to stay in Australia.
"Any criminal act or inappropriate behaviour is always investigated and referred to police if it required. To suggest otherwise is inflammatory."