I am dismayed at Labor’s decision to adopt Tony Abbott’s refugee ‘turn-back’ policies and the keep the Nauru and Manus Island camps open.
Labor had an opportunity on the weekend to stand up against the cruelty of turn-backs and the suffering of refugees on Nauru and Manus Island, but sadly they failed. Many Australians will be so disappointed with Labor.
No one can possible think that turning back boats with women and children on board is safe; turning them away in their hour of need is inhumane and dangerous.
The NSW north coast is a compassionate and tolerant community and this Labor policy does not come close to reflecting our values.
The result now is that Labor has copied Tony Abbott’s mean-spirited and dangerous turn-backs policy which will end in fewer families being safe.
No matter how the Labor leadership tries to explain why they’ve made this decision, the truth is this is a race to the bottom where human rights, the law and decency are sacrificed.
Pushing boats back doesn’t make refugees lives any safer, it’s about pushing the issue out of sight and therefore out of mind.
Rather than pushing refugees over the horizon, Australia needs to engage in our region to help provide safer passage for refugees. The Greens approach to refugees will save lives by offering a safe, legal and humane alternative to dangerous boat trips.
We now have the two old parties supporting turn-backs which will undermine Australia’s chance to engage our regional neighbours in achieving a humanitarian response to refugees. Australia can’t just push the refugees away.
Dawn Walker, federal Greens spokesperson, Fingal Head