The Sydney Refugee Action Coalition released the statement below on September 10.
Refugee advocates have rejected immigration minister Scott Morrison’s latest push to introduce temporary protection visas.
“The Minister is holding asylum seeker children hostage to the introduction of temporary protection visas,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
"We are calling on all parliamentarians to reject the minister’s blackmail attempt and vote against the reintroduction of TPVs.
“It is transparently obvious that Morrison’s attempt to get TPVs through the Senate is going nowhere. Morrison is now dangling the prospect of children in detention on Christmas Island being released into the Australian community as a way of suborning parliamentarians to agree to violate their rights with TPVs.
“The introduction of TPVs would not just affect those asylum seekers on Christmas Island; it would leave tens of thousands of others in indefinite limbo.
“Morrison’s proposal also reveals the capriciousness and inconsistency of his immigration policy. Those who were arbitrarily selected for removal to Manus Island and Nauru would be doomed to remain offshore while many of those on the same boat would be settled in Australia. It is discrimination of the worst order, violating natural justice and sacrificing human rights to opportunistic government policy.
“It is exactly this kind of divide and rule, trading the rights of one group of asylum seekers against another, which has led to the recent unrest and suicide attempts on Christmas Island.
“The Minister is attempting to paper over the cracks in his offshore processing regime. There is no prospect for resettlement in PNG, Nauru or Cambodia. Just as under the former John Howard government, eventually refugees on PNG and Nauru will be brought to Australia.
“The High Court hearing beginning on October 14 may well find that the recent transfer of Tamil asylum seekers to Nauru was unlawful, raising the possibility of Morrison having to bring them back to the mainland.
“Morrison is desperate to save some political face, as offshore processing continues to unravel. If the Minister was genuinely concerned with the welfare of children in detention, he would bring them all to the mainland. He doesn’t need TPVs to do that.”