Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Crunch time for 'immigration' detention laws

Today is World Refugee day. It is a good day to do something helpful for refugees and assylum seekers – stop the Howard government's anti-assylum seeker legislation!

Their appaling legistlation to ammend Australia's immigration and assylum seeker law is at a crossroads. The key thing the Howard government wants is to have all those arriving in Australia by sea without formal immigration papers or approval to be shipped off to Australia's 'off-shore processing centres' – in reality immigration detention centres on Pacific Islands near Australia.

This proposal will see any assylum seeker who arrives in Australia by boat - such as the West Papuans who fled Indonesian repression in their homeland and came to Australia in a giant dug-out canoe, seeking assylum – autamatically shipped to somewhere such as Nauru for 'processing'. Many camapaigning against this legislation have focussed on the children - pointing to how this new move is counter to the government's recent undertaking that children will not be kept in mandatory detention.

I've posted on GetUp!'s online petition about this previously. They are now calling for urgent responses to swell their petition campaign:
It's crunch time. This week, Parliament is scheduled to decide whether to throw out our existing refugee laws to suit Indonesia or whether to stand firm for chidren and human rights.

In a rare moment in Australian politics, representatives from every major party in the country stood together last Wednesday to receive [a] 32,000-strong GetUp petition to stop this legislation. They have told us they urgently need more support to stand firm in these final days. Can you help us get to 50,000 signatures before the final vote this week?

The stakes are high. Remarkably, a Government-controlled Senate Committee has recommended this law be rejected entirely, or at least seriously amended. Politicians from all the major parties - including 10 Coalition backbenchers - now have serious concerns. But in order for these decision-makers to stay strong, they urgently need a groundswell display of public support.
Got to the GetUp! campaign website to sign the petition, or if you have already, pass the word around: www.getup.org.au/campaign/NoChildInDetention

[Photo: Michela]

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At June 21, 2006 12:29 pm, Blogger Mark Lawrence said...

As a quick follow up, it is revealing to see what impact the GetUp! petition is having in the debate in the Howard Government. Liberal backbanchers were condemned for receiving a petition against the law - which must be the GetUp! petition!

The Age reports an acrimonious debate in the government party room broke out over the legislation, including where:
"In the party room meeting, backbenchers Don Randall, Bob Baldwin, Ian Causley and Alby Schultz went further, turning on those who are opposing the plan to process all future unauthorised boat arrivals on Nauru.

Mr Randall criticised Judi Moylan and Bruce Baird for receiving a petition from those opposed to the new laws — saying he owed his re-election in 2001 to the post-Tampa border protection policy."

PM Howard stamped on democracy and free speech within his own party meeting – just as Petro Georgiou, one of the leading government dissenters to the legislation, wished to respond to the conservative's attacks against the dissenters.

Interesting to see Liberal MPs adminting that they won their seats in a wave of racism and xenophobia - where Howard used the Tampa incident for electoral gain. Let's keep the petition going!


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