Thursday, September 05, 2013

Mostly False. Asylum seekers and traffic conjestion

Asylum seekers are a "hot topic here because our traffic is overcrowded"

Fiona Scott, Liberal candidate for Lindsay, Monday, September 2, 2013

First, asylum seekers were blamed for jumping queues, now they are blamed for joining them.

Liberal candidate Fiona Scott this week infamously linked asylum seekers to traffic congestion in western Sydney and then to overcrowding in hospitals.

She later said she had been misunderstood. She was merely acknowledging the concerns of other people in suburbs at the foot of the Blue Mountains.

As she told Four Corners: “Go and sit in the emergency department of Nepean Hospital or go and sit on the M4 and people see 50,000 people come in by boat; that's more than twice the population of Glenmore Park where we just were”.

Supporting evidence

Taking up her challenge Politifact took a look at the live traffic camera feed. The M4 isn't pretty.

It also had a quick look at the NSW Health website showing the number of patients waiting in the Nepean Hospital’s emergency department. At 2.40 pm, there were four people waiting.

Of course not all of the 50,000 boat people who have arrived since 2008 have come to Lindsay. The Refugee Council says the suburbs surrounding the Nepean Hospital - Blacktown, Hawkesbury, Penrith and Blue Mountains – took in 161 asylum seekers last year. They hold 618,000 people.

And not all of those asylum seekers drive. Paul Power of the Refugee Council says if anything the electors of Lindsay might have noticed "a modest increase in footpath traffic".

Very modest. Lindsay takes in fewer immigrants than most electorates. Three quarters of its residents were born in Australia, compared with 70 per cent nationally.

But it has taken an especial interest in the subject. In 2007 what the Liberal Party described as some “over enthusiastic” members distributed fake pamphlets purporting to be from an Islamic group urging a vote for Labor. The Liberal Party lost the seat, the members were expelled and Labor took office.

Does it stack up?

In her clarifying remarks, it not to Four Corners itself, Scott was careful to say she was not describing reality, only representing how people in the area felt.

They can make up their own minds on Saturday whether she is a suitable person to do so.


Politifact rates Scott’s claim mostly false.

In Politifact and The Sydney Morning Herald

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