Timor Solution 'another racist shame' says Indigenous candidate

Sharon Firebrace, Socialist Alliance Senate candidate for Victoria.

Socialist Alliance Senate candidate for the upcoming federal election, Sharon Firebrace, has dismissed Labor’s proposal, to send asylum seekers to an off-shore processing centre in Dili, as “another chapter in our country’s racist shame".

Ms Firebrace, who founded the Aboriginal Genocide Centre, plans to make both Northern Territory Intervention measures and refugee rights a key part of her election platform.

“Prime Minister Gillard is typecasting refugees as inherent wrongdoers when she says that Australians expect them to ‘learn the rules under which we live’ and that ‘We will ensure refugees shoulder the same obligations as Australians generally.’ It’s the same racist paternalism that underlies the Northern Territory Intervention measures. John Howard suspended the Racial Discrimination Act to allow the Northern Territory Intervention and Prime Minister Gillard suspended ‘political correctness’ to gear up for a Boat People Bashing election campaign."

If elected to parliament, Ms Firebrace said the Socialist Alliance policy would be to abolish the requirement for migrants' sponsors to pay an up-front bond and to end the two-year waiting period for new migrants to access social security payments. The Craigieburn single mum is also calling for the immediate release of some 50 asylum seekers being held in the Melbourne Immigration Transit Centre in Broadmeadows.

“Prime Minister Gillard admits that Australia has taken only 0.6 per cent of the world’s refugees. In fact it would take 30 years of refugee boat arrivals, at the current rate, to fill the MCG. Yet both major parties are trying to outdo each other in proposing ever more expensive, bureaucratic and dehumanising off-shore ‘solutions’ to our refugee ‘problem.’

“The prime minister thinks, ‘People like my own [migrant] parents who have worked hard all their lives can't abide the idea that others might get an inside track to special privileges.’ Well people like my own Indigenous parents, like the immigrant parents of many second generation Australians, who fought against discrimination and assimilation, who held out hope that Labor would change their lot, can’t abide this resurgence of racism and class divisions,” Ms Firebrace said.

For more information or to arrange interviews contact Sue Bolton 9639 8622, 0413 377 978

Ms Firebrace requests the opportunity to address migrant and progressive community organisations to speak to her policies.

More information about the Socialist Alliance Refugee Policy can be found here.

See also:

Indigenous leader slams major parties' 'race to the bottom'

Gillard's retreat to Howard's policy on asylum seekers met with protests

Timorese activists condemn new Australian refugee policy as 'racist'