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October 13, 2011

REFUGEE GROUPS CONDEMN GOVERNMENT STALLING MALAYSIA AGREEMENT VOTE

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

“The Gillard government is achieving nothing by stalling the vote on its Migration Act amendments. They are trying to prolong the inevitable in a vain attempt to maintain the blame game and keep the Malaysia Agreement alive – but everyone knows now it is dead in the water. The longer they delay the vote, the sillier they look.

“This is tricky parliamentary politics at its worst. The government has been distracted by the Malaysia Agreement for too long already. The crisis of self harm and attempted suicide in the Australian detention system is not being dealt with,” said Refugee Action Coalition spokesperson, Ian Rintoul.

“The arbitrary and bureaucratic delays in refugee processing are inflicting increasing misery on asylum seekers languishing in detention. The fact that some people are waiting two years for ASIO security clearances is a straight abuse of the system – innocent people are being kept in shocking conditions and are being driven crazy by the uncertainty. There are no excuses for such delays.

“Federal Magistrate Court appeals are now being scheduled for February and March next year. The fact that so many negative decisions are being overturned at every level of appeal shows there is something fundamentally wrong with the off-shore processing system.

“The government should face up to the fact that asylum seekers will now be processed in Australia and move on the correct the abuses in their system. The governemnt should bring on the vote or announce that the legislation will not be introduced and that third country processing is finished.

Like third country processing, offshore processing on Christmas Island and mandatory detention are relics of the anti-refugee policies of the Howard era. It is time those policies were killed off too,” said Rintoul.

There will be a pro-refugee rally will be held in Sydney on Saturday 15 October, starting at Town Hall. Speakers include: Speakers include: Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens Senator), John Menadue,(Founding Chair, Centre for Policy Development, former head of Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs), Linda Scott (NSW co-convenor Labor for Refugees), Angeline Loh (Malaysian refugee rights activist), Antony Loewenstein (independent journalist).

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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