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August 19, 2010

Forum: Where to for refugee rights after the election?

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Come along to this post-election forum organised by the Refugee Action Coalition to discuss what the result means for refugee rights

2pm Saturday September 11,  Sydney Uni, New Law bldg rm 100
[enter main City rd entrance, look for signs]

Speakers include:

David Shoebridge (Greens candidate state election)
Nick Riemer (Refugee Action Coalition)
Others to be confirmed

Shamefully throughout this election campaign both major parties have been using refugees as political footballs. One thing is clear, whichever party forms government after this election, we are going to have to keep up the fight for a genuine “Welcome Refugees” policy.
Tony Abbott wants to turn the clock back to the worst days of the Howard government, boasting that the Liberals will turn boats back, refuse processing to asylum seekers without documents and introduce temporary protection visas. They want to deny refugees travel rights and family reunion, and re-open a detention centre on Nauru.

But we cannot be blind to Labor’s role in government or their willingness to compete with Abbott in a race to the bottom to deny rights to refugees. Tragically, Labor’s policies have added to the fear-mongering. Gillard’s East Timor solution—a plan for a regional processing centre for all asylum seekers intercepted on their way to Australia—is just a way for Labor to avoid Australia’s obligations under the Refugee Convention to welcome and process asylum seekers. It is nothing more than a version of Howard’s Pacific Solution with East Timor substituted for Nauru. Rather than stand up for principled humanitarian policies, Gillard told the National Press Club that on refugee issues there was “a growing consensus between the two sides of politics.”

Even with the re-election of a Labor government and The Greens holding the balance of power in the Senate, we will need to continue to campaign against offshore processing and mandatory detention.

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