If Julia Gillard was serious about stopping the boats she would support the Coalition's amendments
Posted on Monday, 19 September 2011
Tonight the joint Coalition party room endorsed the shadow cabinet’s decision to propose amendments to the Migration Act that will put beyond legal doubt the ability of the Government to send people offshore for processing, whilst ensuring that appropriate protections are in place.
If Julia Gillard wants to stop the boats she should support the Coalition’s proposed amendments.
The Coalition’s position for at least a decade has been that “we will determine who comes to our country and the circumstances in which they come”.
The right way to stop the boats is the combination of Nauru, temporary protection visas and turning boats around where it is safe to do so. The wrong way is to cobble together in confusion and panic a one-for-five people swap which has been proven not to work.
While we remain confident that we could implement our policies under the current law, we are willing to strengthen the Migration Act.
Our proposal would allow for offshore processing provided boat people are sent to countries which are signatories to the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
Former Solicitor-General David Bennett AC QC has provided written advice today on the two sets of amendments proposed by Labor as well as the Coalition’s alternative. In Mr Bennett’s opinion the Coalition’s plan “provides more protection for asylum-seekers than the two Government versions and it is less likely to be the subject of complex judicial proceedings.”
Our proposal is a win-win. It will restore offshore processing while retaining offshore protections.
The Malaysian people swap is a proven policy failure. Since the agreement with Malaysia was announced earlier this year, almost 1,000 boat people have arrived and, since it was signed, 400 people have arrived.
When Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard unpicked the Howard Government’s border protection policies, they put the people smugglers back in business. The people smugglers only have a “business model” because Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard gave them one.
If Julia Gillard was telling the truth when she said, prior to the last election, that “I would rule out anywhere that is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention.” (Radio 6PR, 8/7/2010) then she should not have a problem in supporting the Coalition’s amendments.
19 September 2011