The government proposed new migration laws - Terri Butler MP, Labor for Griffith

The government's proposed new migration laws

On the weekend Malcolm Turnbull indicated his government would try to amend migration laws so that refugees who had come by boat since July 2013 would never come to Australia. I made the below comments on Monday.

Australians want people who are fleeing persecution to be safe and protected from the risk of further harm.

Under Labor, refugees' time on Nauru and Manus Island was to be both safe and brief.

Under the Turnbull government it has been dangerous and indefinite.

Our policy for those rescued after making unsafe journeys - ninety day processing while in safe accommodation, then regional resettlement to start a new life - has not been honoured by this government.

On our nation's behalf they have failed vulnerable people who have turned to us in need, for help.

Peter Dutton and Malcolm Turnbull must explain the motivation for their proposed new law. They must explain why it is consistent with international law - not just make assertions to that effect.

Peter Dutton should ask himself why people have been prepared to endure indefinite detention and the attendant risks rather than return to their homelands and families.

He should work to offer hope, not to extinguish it.

He can do so by finding opportunities for refugees to permanently settle and start new lives. That is true of people on Manus Island and Nauru, and it is true of the 30,000 people on Australian soil and in limbo.

For the sake of those who are still in transit countries, in desperate circumstances, contemplating great risks, the Liberals can build on the bipartisan policy, that allows boats to be turned back if it's safe and legal to do so, by reducing the imperative to get on a boat in the first place.

Peter Dutton and Malcolm Turnbull can do so by increasing the humanitarian intake and increasing funding for the UNHCR, as is Labor's policy.

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  • Terri Butler
    commented 2016-11-17 12:50:34 +1000
    Hi Jessie. When I put this post up, we had not yet seen the legislation – we had just read news reports. As you would know, we have since voted against the legislation.

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