Only weeks ago the High Court declared the Government’s Malaysian Arrangement unlawful. Despite the ruling, this week the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on whether or not to change the law to get around the High Court’s decision and return to harmful and ineffective offshore processing.
The crucial vote for refugee policy is this Thursday, and we need to show our support for compassion and common sense.
We’ve all struggled to work out what the right thing to do is when it comes to asylum seekers arriving here on boats. We know it can be a dangerous journey, but does that mean off-shore processing is the only way? We think there’s a third way which slows the boats and creates a genuine pathway for refugees to reach Australia safely. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and experts from across the community think so too.
Check it out and add your name beside Malcolm Fraser’s on this petition for a humane, onshore based solution:
Opponents of those who arrive by boat in Australia argue that people seeking protection should “join the queue.” But here’s the thing: in the 18 months prior to February this year, Australia granted 518 humanitarian visas to refugees in Malaysia. Not one visa went to people fleeing Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s no wonder Iraqis and Afghans take a journey by boat to Australia.
That’s why yesterday former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, joined by experts from the refugee sector, wrote an open letter to Australian politicians urging them to adopt a new approach based on humane onshore and an increase in Australia’s refugee intake, targeted at our region. By targeting a gradual increase in our intake largely to our region, we can reduce the need for asylum seekers to travel by boat to Australia just to receive protection.
Let’s show our politicians that we’re behind the former PM’s call for a sensible solution. This week we’ll be advertising in national newspapers with a petition of Australians joining Malcolm Fraser and others. Can you add your name in the next 48 hours before it goes to print? Click here to sign our petition calling for a targeted increase in refugee intake.
These days Australia grants very few humanitarian visas to refugees in our region – and that’s why coming by boat seems the only option for many who are fleeing persecution. That’s the opposite of “breaking the business model of people smugglers.”
Back when Malcolm Fraser was PM, as the Vietnam war was ending and a humanitarian crisis of truly staggering proportions seemed imminent, 55,000 refugees fled Vietnam in just one month. But our politicians rose to the challenge.
Fraser sent Australian officials to directly process Vietnamese refugees quickly offshore, after which they were flown to Australia. The Australian government worked with the governments of other Western countries to accept refugees and worked with other countries in our region to ensure refugees were not turned away.
If all this sounds remarkably sane compared to today’s refugee debate – that’s because it was.
It’s time our politicians got a history lesson. Tell Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and their colleagues that Australia’s leaders from both parties mustered courage and common sense 32 years ago, and we deserve no less from them today.
Thanks for all that you do,
The GetUp team