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response to Mike Griffin letter to ALP delegates from Doug Cameron

Dear MrGriffin,

Thank you for writing to me in relation to the Labor Party's policy on asylum seekers.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of displaced people fleeing from war, conflict or persecution is the highest since World War II. Labor believes Australia can, and should play its part in addressing this global humanitarian crisis by helping to resettle our fair share of genuine refugees. This is why Labor took a policy to the last Federal election to increase Australia's annual humanitarian intake of refugees to 27,000 by 2025.

We must also meet orur responsibility to end people smuggling and prevent deaths at sea. Experience has shown us people smugglers will prey on vulnerable people and make huge profits if we allow them to operate their vile trade, which has resulted in more than 1,200 men, women and children drowning at sea.

I cannot and will not allow this human tragedy to unfold ever again. This is why Labor will:

o Stand firm on maintaining a policy of offshore processing; 

o Maintain a policy of regional resettlement; ando Retain the option to tum back boats when safe to do so.

These are steps we must take to stop the people smugglers and save lives.
Our resolve to prevent deaths at sea is matched by a commitment to a humane and compassionate approach to asylum seekers including:

o Establishing independent oversight of Australia's immigration detention network, appointing an independent children's advocate to represent the interests of children seeking asylum and legislating to impose mandatory reporting of child abuse;

o Restore the '90 day rule' and work to have children out of detention as quickly as possible;

o Contributing support to the important work of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees; and
Abolish Temporary Protection Visas, which leave asylum seekers in an unfair state of limbo.

Labor is confident this approach will keep vulnerable people safe, prevent serious organised crime and restore Australia's place in the world as a respected and responsible global citizen.

Manus Island and Nauru were set up as regional transit processing facilities but have become places of indefinite detention because of Peter Dutton's failure to negotiate other third country resettlement 

Labor strongly supports the US refugee resettlement agreement and has called on Scott Morrison to work with the US to expedite the resettlement process. Peter Dutton put all his eggs in one basket with the US agreement and has failed to secure other third country resettlement arrangements.

Labor has called on Scott Morrison to accept New Zealand's offer to resettle refugees from Manus and Nauru and negotiate conditions similar to the US refugee resettlement agreement to prevent people smugglers explolting vulnerable people,If the Government is able to negotiate conditions for the US deal, they should be able to negotiate them for any deal with NZ.

Scott Morrison needs to immediately negotiate other viable third country resettlement options to get eligible refugees off Manus Island and Nauru as soon as possible.

I have been a long standing advocate for the humane treatment of refugees and asylum seekers and please be assured I will continue to advocate for that position within the Labor caucus and more widely within the party.

Thank you again for taking the time to write to me on this extremely important issue.

 Yours sincerely,

Senator the Hon. Doug CameronShadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness 
Shadow Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships 
Senator for New South Wales

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