LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – We are calling on Territorians to vote for a humane and economical approach to the issue of asylum seekers.
Darwin has become the immigration detention capital of Australia with 3000 asylum seekers now detained here. History has shown the devastating effects that long term detention has on asylum seekers as well as on many of the staff in detention centres.
The ALP’s new policy of transporting all boat arrivals to PNG for processing and settlement breaches international law, will be astronomically expensive and will not deter people from seeking asylum here.
The Liberal party’s policies on this issue, including abolishing the right to appeal negative refugee decisions for asylum seekers already in Australia, violate the basic rights of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Both parties’ policies on this issue are new, untested and will likely be the subject of High Court challenges. Voters must stop listening to the fear –mongering politics of the major parties and vote for a common sense approach to asylum seekers, who could be processed in the community for one tenth the cost of being held in detention.
In recent weeks the major parties have been trying to outdo each other in their cruelty and illegality towards asylum seekers. The Greens are now the only party with a sensible and compassionate approach to this issue. Asylum seekers are a humanitarian issue, not an issue of border security or defence.
Musicians and Greens candidates Warren H Williams and Todd Williams last week wrote a song entitled I Want To Be Free about the plight of an asylum seeker looking for refuge a long way from home.
They performed the song at the Darwin Airport Lodge to an ovation from detainees. The song will be launched on Youtube.
The Greens advocate the processing of asylum seekers in the community in a timely and transparent manner, an increase in the humanitarian and offshore quotas, full compliance with our obligations under the Refugee Convention and enhanced regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific to provide safer pathways for asylum seekers, with long-term planning to accommodate people displaced by on-going conflicts and climate change.
Todd Williams and Michael Brand
Local Greens candidates
LETTER TO THE EDITOR