Refugee advocates say no to the ‘lifetime ban’ bill, No conditions on New Zealand resettlement

| October 23, 2018 | Reply

The Refugee Action Coalition is calling on all Labor, Green and Independent politicians to completely reject the Liberals’ lifetime ban bill that would ban any refugees sent to Manus and Nauru from ever entering Australia.

This is no justification for accepting any Liberal conditions on New Zealand’s offer to resettle 150 refugees.

Legal action will see more children come off Nauru in coming days, yet separated families and hundreds of other refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru, still have no future.

To uphold the Refugee Convention and Australia’s obligations to provide protection to those who seek it, all the victims of offshore detention should be brought to Australia and given permanent protection, regardless of their offshore status.

Labor and the Greens have rightly always opposed the lifetime ban, saying that refugees should be able to go to New Zealand without preconditions. They should continue to oppose the lifetime ban. Just amending the legislation so that the ban would only apply to refugees sent to New Zealand is not good enough.

Labor will allow refugees to go to New Zealand when it takes office. Rather than make concessions to the Liberals, Labor should go on the offensive. Tony Burke is right – there are deep, deep problems with the Liberals’ bill.

Not least of the problems is that New Zealand may not accept refugees who have been turned into second-class citizens by Australian legislation.

Refugees paid a high price the last time the Liberals held children to ransom in 2014, and Senator Ricky Muir voted for the Legacy Bill that re-introduced temporary protection visas.

There is every reason to believe that a resolution to Parliament to accept the New Zealand resettlement offer, immediately and without conditions, would be passed with the support of dissident Liberal MPs.

If Labor is consistent they will put a resolution to Parliament to unconditionally accept the New Zealand offer, in line with its policy.

“Such a move could see a major defeat for Morrison and Dutton and see refugees brought to New Zealand in days,” said Ian Rintoul, “But New Zealand is only offering to take 150. Hundreds are in limbo, as the US deal comes to an end.

“Like the Liberals, Labor has no solution to resettle over 1000 refugees and asylum seekers who are still in limbo after five years in offshore detention. To give refugees and asylum seekers the freedom and protection they need, they will have to be brought to Australia.”

Rallies in Sydney and Melbourne, Saturday, October 27, 2pm (Hyde Park in Sydney; State Library in Melbourne) will call for “Kids Off, Everyone Off; Close Manus and Nauru. Bring Them Here.”

Speakers in Sydney, include George Newhouse from the National Justice Project, and Gosford Anglican parish priest Father Rod Bower, and Afghan refugee, Najeeba Wazefadost.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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