ALP refugee policy a disappointment

December 3, 2002

National environment group Friends of the Earth expressed surprise and disappointment at today's announcement by the ALP of their new refugee policy.

"Many in the community had hoped that internal pressure within the party would be successful in leading to adoption of a positive alternative to the current Government policy" said national liaison officer, Cam Walker.

"Instead, the Australian people have been presented with a policy which is barely distinguishable from that of the Government. While the use of hostel-style accommodation and the release of children from detention centres is to be supported, the policy of mandatory detention for asylum seekers who arrive without visas, and continued use of the Christmas Island facility is essentially a continuation of the 'Pacific Solution'. Detaining people on Christmas Island will mean that detention effectively occurs away from public scrutiny."

The plan to ensure that 90 per cent of refugee claims will be determined in 90 days is to be supported as it will reduce the unacceptable time it takes under the current system to process applications.

"However, overall, this seems like a wasted opportunity to differentiate strongly from Coalition policy on the issue of asylum seekers."

For more information or comment contact:

Cam Walker
Mob: 0419 338 047

The FoEA policy on asylum seekers and refugees is available at:
http://foe.org.au/population