No justification for Christmas Island evacuation stunt or detention centre

| February 3, 2020 | Reply

The Refugee Action Coalition condemns the use of Christmas Island as a dumping ground for asylum seekers and Australian citizens and residents being evacuated from Hubei.

“Using Christmas Island is a cynical attempt to legitimise the use of Christmas Island as an offshore detention centre by giving it a role as a quarantine centre. But its use for asylum seekers or people being evacuated from China cannot be justified. The government has wasted tens of millions of dollars to detain one Tamil family, until now. Putting another couple of hundred evacuees from China on Christmas Island is shameless politicking,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Other Australian citizens and residents coming from China are not being quarantined, but are being asked only to ‘self-isolate’. If anyone on Christmas Island actually needs serious medical help, they will be evacuated to the mainland to get it. While it’s a relief that the government has dropped the $1000 charge, those being evacuated from China are still pawns in the government’s political game.

“The use of Christmas Island is a calculated political response that has nothing to do with any legitimate health concerns. It was just the pre-cursor to the Morrison government’s move to close Australian borders to Chinese nationals.

“For the government, the coronavirus has been an excuse to be seen to be tough on borders, as it tries to restore its damaged reputation for its lack of concern over the bushfires. But the use of Christmas Island and closing the borders to Chinese have added to the scare-mongering about the coronavirus and to the growing anti-Chinese racism in the Australian community.

“The Tamil family should never have been imprisoned on Christmas Island. Everyone moved there should be brought to the mainland; Priya, Nades and their two children should be freed to go home to Biloela and the evacuees from China allowed to go their homes.”

For comment contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713.

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