Labor chooses politics over Asylum Seekers’ rights

by Samantha Yap

Labor party politics is drawing attention away from controversial asylum seeker human rights issue by continuing to push for the Malaysian Solution.

The Gillard government is compromising asylum seekers’ rights with a political move to save the people-swap deal with Malaysia by trying to amend current legislation.

Early this month, the High Court ruled that the Gillard government has no right to move asylum seekers to Malaysia.

However, the Gillard government continues to push for the Malaysian deal over Liberal’s Nauru option.

Liberal MP, Andrew Robb, says the Labor party can see that the Howard government’s Pacific Solution discouraged people smugglers.

Human Rights activists protesting for refugees. Picture courtesy of Jimmy Yan

“[Labor just] don’t want to be in a position where they have been forced to adopt key elements of the Liberal democracy.”

Only 300 asylum seekers in 5 years came to Australia while the Pacific Solution policy was in action.

In 2010 alone, almost 5000 asylum seekers have arrived in Australia.

“The government wants to scapegoat refugees in order to mask their own deficiencies,” says Monash Refugee Action Collective Activist, Laura Ricardi.

Ricardi says both the Malaysian and Pacific solution are equally inhumane as they condemn refugees to indefinite detention.

“There is a lack of willingness to accept the fact that people have a right to seek asylum,” says  Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s Campaign Coordinator, Pamela Curr.

“The system is in crisis.”