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letter to Nambucca Guardian - Facebook 1 May 2016

Great Letter from Marlene to the local Nambucca Guardian. lets bombard them and our local Politicians.
Dear Editor ,
We have news this week that the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea has declared the Manus Island Detention Centre illegal and we now understand that it is set to close. Our government now faces a dilemma. What is to be done with the 800 or so detainees on Manus who have been assessed as genuine refugees ?
Is the decision of the Supreme Court of PNG likely to change the government’ s policies on the issue of offshore detention ? As an election looms it is unlikely that the present government’s policy decisions will shift on these issues but public opinion could well shift and influence election outcomes.
Gillian Triggs, the Australian Human Rights Commissioner , in an interview on Radio National on Thursday 28th April reiterated that offshore detention is ‘unsustainable’. It has long been pointed out by doctors, social workers, teachers and others with direct experience of working in offshore detention facilities that conditions there are indefensible in terms of morality, humanity , economics and legality.
In the last financial year the offshore detention of refugees has cost the Australian taxpayer $1.2 billion . This is many times more than it would have cost to process the refugees on shore in Australia. The asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru and Manus are our responsibility. Those found to be genuine refugees should be resettled in Australia since we have obligations to them under international law. 
We need to consider the question “How does Australia look in the eyes of the International Community ? Is it defensible to continue to “shift” the refugee problem elsewhere ? Other countries in Europe are resettling thousands of refugees each month . Our government should be working in collaboration with other countries to explore solutions to this worldwide crisis.
Australian Government policy on these issues has never “stopped the boats” the boats have just been diverted elsewhere as we can all see from news reports from all around the world. The time has come to stop believing in the ‘stop the boats ‘ mantra and to start to press our politicians for legal and humane solutions to this urgent crisis and for international cooperation on these issues.
Marlene Griffin

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