“Asylum seekers who have been released into the community without adequate supports or the right to work have become among the most destitute and marginalised people in the country, a study by the Australian Red Cross has found.

The study cites the case of asylum seekers who survive on less than $18 a week after paying for rent, eat a meal or two of noodles or eggs each day and live in crowded accommodation, often sleeping on the floor…

The agency’s inaugural Vulnerability Report calls on the government to immediately begin processing those who were released on bridging visas without work rights since August last year, grant work rights and ensure that supports are commensurate with need.

The report’s recommendations have been endorsed by the United Nations refugee agency, with regional representative Richard Towle describing them as a “principled and sensible call for action”.

Launching the report on Tuesday, Mr Tickner lamented that the asylum seeker debate was proceeding “in the war zone of poisoned public policy” and appealed for MPs to take a lead.

“We need people of goodwill to come across the political divide to start to find some common ground on these issues,” he said. “It’s not rocket science and it ought not to be that hard. In a rich and affluent country like Australia, the time has come to get this sorted.”…”

For full, original text visit: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/asylum-seekers-most-destitute-20130625-2ov7t.html

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