Qld protesters call for refugee help

Image from the Qld Refugee Action Collective website

Image from the Qld Refugee Action Collective website

Brisbane [AAP]

A refugee lobby group will take to Brisbane’s King George Square to show their support for thousands of people caught up in the southeast Asian asylum seeker crisis.

Nearly 3,000 refugees have swum to shore or have been rescued off the coast of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand over the past 11 days.

An estimated 7,000 remain on overloaded boats.

A protest by the Refugee Action Collective on Friday afternoon will call on the Australian government to help rescue the group and offer resettlement.

‘There must be a permanent and secure solution for Rohingya asylum seekers,’ spokesman Mark Gillespie said.

‘Australia is the richest country in the region and it should be offering help to our regional neighbours with permanent resettlement.’

Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Thursday rejected any prospect of Australia resettling the group.

‘Nope, nope, nope,’ he said, insisting asylum seekers should come through the ‘front door’ if they want to start a new life.

The refugee advocates believe Australia’s policy of turning back asylum seeker boats has contributed to the crisis.

No boats policy firm

Refugees hoping to ‘win the lotto of life’ and live in Australia must come through the front door, the federal government says.

Federal education minister Christopher Pyne says Australia won’t change its policy by resettling thousands of Rohingya refugees stranded at sea amid the Southeast Asia asylum seeker crisis.

‘They have to go through the same process as everyone else,’ he told the Nine Network.

‘We can’t allow open slather on our borders because that will take us back to the chaos that occurred under the Gillard and Rudd regimes.’

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