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Put pressure on Labor Senators about Policy on asylum seekers

letter sent all labor Senators

Dear Senator
I understand from press reports that the Labor Party will discuss the Party’s policy on asylum seekers when it holds its conference in July. I welcome that, and I earnestly hope that the ALP will adopt a principled policy stance which reflects our international obligations  under the UN Refugee Convention and which recognises  the immense harm that the current Coalition policy, largely supported by the ALP, is inflicting on innocent people, many of them children.  That harm includes the emerging evidence of the sexual abuse of women and children in the Nauru detention centre.

Richard Marles, in an interview on Sky News in early February, stated that: “We need to be doing everything practicable to get these children out of detention as quickly as possible.” So what does that mean in policy terms? To date, we have not been told. 

In relation to Nauru, it has to mean the closure of the detention  centre and an end to the pretence that releasing families into the Nauruan community constitutes a solution to the problem. 

Save the Children, which has considerable experience of the situation, has repeatedly stated that Nauru is not a sustainable long-term option for the resettlement of refugees.

It is surely time for the ALP to recognise that the current policy stance is deeply flawed, is in contravention of our international obligations and is inflicting intolerable harm on a group of already-traumatised people. It’s time to move on from the sloganeering of “stopping the boats” and from the convenient lie  that the policy is all about saving lives at sea. 

The ALP should work with other nations in the region to develop regional solutions to a complex problem that is not going to go away, and that a civilised nation cannot turn its back on.There are many Australian citizens in our communities who are looking to our political leaders to rediscover their roots by adopting principled, humane and fair policies that can be confidently explained and promoted to the electorate.

I do hope, therefore, that the ALP, with your support, will listen to those voices within its ranks who are advocating a change in policy; a policy which is rooted in sound principles, international law and common humanity.
  Yours sincerely,

Response to pressure on Labor Party to change their policy on Asylum Seekers letters to all Labor senators ahead of Party Conference

A positive response from Senator Sue Lines
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2015 11:15 AM
To: 'Mike'
Subject: RE: Labor policy on asylum seekers

Thanks for your email Mike.

Sue is a strong advocate for change to our policy on asylum seekers and as you have noted this will be discussed at the upcoming National ALP Conference.

Sue will be part of these discussions in both her capacity as a Senator and a member of Labor for Refugees.

Thanks for taking the time to email us we have noted all your valid points.

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