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September 13, 2011


by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney


Refugee groups have today slammed the Gillard Government’s intentions to re-write the Migration Act in order to revive the cruel and unpopular ‘Malaysia Solution’, and called on refugee supporters to rally at every opportunity between now and the ALP national conference at Darling Harbour in Sydney on Sunday 4 December.

“It is outrageous that in the face of the High Court decision, Gillard and Bowen are determined to drag the Labor Party even further to the right than Tony Abbott’s Coalition,” said Josh Lees from the Refugee Action Coalition. “This comes on the back of yet another poll confirming that a majority of Australians support onshore processing, not Malaysia or Nauru. Gillard’s legal changes will give carte blanche to the Government to deport asylum seekers, including children, to countries which have not signed the refugee convention and have absolutely no safeguards to protect their rights.”

“This move is in opposition to not only the High Court’s ruling, but also the views of most Australians, as well as human rights groups, and the United Nations Refugee Convention. It also contravenes the Labor Party’s own National Party Platform.”

The Refugee Action Coalition has again welcomed the strong stance taken by Labor for Refugees (NSW), who have taken the Government to task for breaching the 2009 Party Platform which clearly states “Protection claims made in Australia will be assessed by Australians on Australian territory”. As Labor for Refugees stated yesterday, “The policy announced today is also a clear breach of the Platform’s requirement that Labor honour all of Australia’s international obligations.”

Likewise, RAC has welcomed the stance taken by Doug Cameron yesterday in moving a motion in Labor’s caucus to oppose offshore processing. He also stated earlier on ABC radio that the “Platform should not be breached, and the Platform allows for onshore processing, that asylum seekers should be treated with dignity, that they should not be dehumanised… If you have a caucus decision or an executive decision that’s in breach of Party policy or Party Platform then I think this debate will be on right up until the national conference.”

“The growing numbers of Labor Party members taking a stand against Gillard’s despicable lurch to the right on refugee policy is an indication of the shift in public opinion and the growing movement demanding a humanitarian refugee policy,” continued Josh Lees. “The kind of grassroots refugee movement that brought changes under the Howard government can also fight to stop Gillard’s policies. The campaign will continue building public opposition to Gillard’s Malaysia “solution” and all forms of offshore processing.

“We urge Labor members to continue voicing their opposition publicly. We call on all refugee supporters to join us in building the kind of mass, broad-based movement over the next three months that can culminate in a powerful demonstration at the ALP National Conference in December,” said Josh Lees.

More immediately, the Refugee Action Coalition has planned demonstrations outside Chris Bowen’s office in Fairfield (11am this Saturday 17th September), and around the 10th anniversary of the Children Overboard scandal and SIEV-X tragedy on Saturday October 15 (12 noon at Sydney Town Hall).

Contact Josh Lees: 0408 885 622.

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