Australian Opposition criticizes gov't's deal to swap refugee with Malaysia

14:44, May 10, 2011      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

Australian Opposition on Tuesday intensified its attack on the federal government's asylum seeker agreement with Malaysia, saying that the plan is appalling and will hemorrhage cash from Australia.

Under the plan, 800 asylum seekers arriving in Australian waters by boat would be sent to Malaysian detention centers and, in return, Australia would accept 4,000 refugees from Malaysia. The agreement is not to be formalized yet.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said that the deal will see Australia take five refugees for every one it sends away.

Abbott labeled the proposal as a "people-merry-go-round", and said the Labor government was out-bargained by Malaysia during negotiations on a proposed refugee swap, and the agreement with Malaysia is not in Australia's national interest.

"If we send 800 to Malaysia, we get 4,000 back and Malaysia becomes the backdoor route to Australia - the open backdoor to Australia and that's why this really is a lousy deal for our country," Abbott told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

Abbott said that stopping boats with asylum-seekers was the only way to test the policy.

The previous Howard government processed illegal boat arrivals on the island nation of Nauru, but the Labor government has previously ruled out the option, saying it was not suitable for processing refugees because it was not a signatory to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) refugee conventions.

"What works is Nauru, Manus (Island), temporary protection visas and the willingness to turn boats around where it's safe to do so,"he said.

"What I support is policies that work and we know what works because it did work in the past.

"We did have a problem, and (former prime minister) John Howard created a solution, (current Prime Minister) Julia Gillard and ( former prime minister) Kevin Rudd took a solution and turned it into a problem again," he added.

Meanwhile, the Greens, which the party will assume balance of power in the Senate from July 1, described the proposal as " appalling", saying it would lead to vulnerable people being dumped in a country with a poor human rights record.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young noted that Malaysia is not a signatory to the United Nations refugee convention, and she demanded the government release their advice showing the plan is legal.

Executive director of the Refugee and Immigration Legal Center, David Manne, has also criticized the deal, saying detainees in the Malaysian camps are subject to arrest, whipping and deportation and have no access to work or welfare.

However, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen pledged to work with Malaysia and the United Nations to ensure the asylum seekers are treated fairly.

UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards also said the agency had a " generally positive" view of the proposal.

Source: Xinhua
 
 
     
 
BRICS Leaders Meeting 2011
 
Japan in aftershocks
 
     
 
 
 
  Weekly review  
 
May 05   Fight against terrorism should strike at roots
 
April 29   'Human rights overriding sovereignty' only a mask of hegemony
May 04   Human rights dialogues need mutual understanding
May 03   Highlights of China's sixth national census results
May 07   The week in pictures
May 03   Expats seeking opportunities in China
May 04   Some Chinese colleges face decreasing enrollment, struggle to survive
May 05   French leader: China's peaceful rise puts world at ease
April 29   Ten most valuable cultural relics displayed at Xi'an exposition park
May 03   US kills Bin Laden, ending 10-year manhunt
 
     
 
 

(Editor:张茜)

  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
  • Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden dead
  • BRICS Leaders' Meeting 2011
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Cherry blossoms in full bloom in Toronto
  • Belgian cyclist Weylandt killed in Giro d'Italia crash
  • Blanc set for hearing into football race row
  • 20th St. Lucia Jazz Festival wraps up
  • Karl Lagerfeld presents Cruise collection show for Chanel
  • First US face transplant patient makes debut
Hot Forum Dicussion