26 Jun 2002

Refugee says it will be a long battle to change Australia's stance

6:03 pm on 26 June 2002

An advocate for refugees says it will be a long term battle to change the Australian government's stance on refugees.

Maqsood Alshams, the co-ordinator of the Sydney-based Coalition for Justice for Refugees, was speaking after placing a full page ad in a newspaper to debunk what he calls the myths surrounding refugees.

He says mandatory detention and sending people to other countries in the Pacific are not the answers but the government seems determined to spend millions to implement racism.

Mr Alshams also says Australia does not have a good record in treating people well.

"It has a history of incarceration, history of mistreatment of its original owners who haven't got justice over two hundred years, so it's very difficult to say that refugees will get justice just because of this ad or subsequent forum."

Mr Alshams says he's received death threats as a result of the ad but this will not stop him from speaking out.

He is on a temporary protection visa after spending 16 months at a detention centre.