Gillard should reject Nauru & end offshore processing, says refugee group

September 4, 2011
Photo: Peter Boyle

The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney released the statement below on September 4.

* * *

The Refugee Action Coalition has called on the government to drop all aspects of offshore processing.

“Taking Tony Abbott’s offer to amend the Migration Act to re-open Nauru would be a serious mistake,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The Pacific Solution Mark II would be no better than mark I. Nauru would be Christmas Island only more remote and 10 times worse.

“The High Court decision has given the government the opportunity to end the race to the bottom with the Liberals on refugee policy.

Following the Liberals’ policy of offshore processing has been a disaster for asylum seekers and it has been a disaster for Labor.

“It is time for the government to end their push for third country processing, and end offshore processing — including Christmas Island.

“Repeating the line about ending ‘the people smugglers’ business model’ is not only unconvincing — it is self-defeating. It is time to put the rights of asylum seekers at the front of government policy.

“People are sick of asylum seekers being a political football. Latest polls show a majority in favour of processing asylum claims in Australia.

“Calls for humanitarian policies on both offshore processing and mandatory detention are coming from whistle blowers in detention, and institutions such as the Australian Council of Social Services, the Australian Medical Association, St Vincent de Paul, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, as well as business leaders like Heather Ridout.

“A small amount of political leadership is all that’s needed,” said Rintoul.

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