Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Politics

Avani Terraces - Greenway
Life is looking up

Greens call for Manus and Nauru refugees to be moved to Canberra and other ‘welcome zones’

By Glynis Quinlan - 24 August 2017 15

Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury.

The ACT Greens are putting pressure on the Federal Government to resettle Manus Island and Nauru asylum seekers in Australia, calling the current refugee policy “cruel and inhumane”.

The Greens will today lead a motion in the ACT Legislative Assembly that calls on the Federal Government to immediately remove all refugees and asylum seekers from the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres – and then to resettle them in Refugee Welcome Zones, including Canberra.

The call comes on the back of recent reports about an Iranian refugee dying on Manus Island and, more recently, around 50 refugees being unable to access needed health treatment on Nauru.

“The Greens believe that seeking asylum is a humanitarian issue that obliges us all to treat those seeking asylum with compassion and dignity,” Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury said.

“The Manus Island and Nauru offshore detention centres are unsafe and inappropriate places to house refugees, including children,” he said.

“We have heard troubling reports of a deteriorating situation both on Manus Island and Nauru. This includes the recent death of an Iranian refugee on Manus, and news that almost 50 refugees were prevented from receiving necessary health treatment on Nauru.

“This situation is cruel and unsustainable. It is well past time for the Federal Government’s damaging, cruel and inhumane policy to end,” Mr Rattenbury said.

The motion to be put forward today notes that the ACT is “willing and ready” to settle refugees and asylum seekers from Manus Island and Nauru in Canberra as part of a national program of resettlement.

The St Vincent de Paul Society has welcomed the ACT Greens’ motion saying it sends a clear message to the Federal Government that its damaging offshore processing policy must end.

“It is time the Australian Government abandoned the practice of offshore punishment and honoured its international obligations to people seeking a safe place to call home,” said Dr John Falzon, CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council.

Dr Falzon said that several members of the Society have visited Manus Island in recent months and witnessed a deterioration in conditions, as well as growing fear and desperation, and an escalation in violence and threats directed toward refugees and asylum seekers.

“Messages from the terrified men on Manus paint an alarming picture and we hold grave fears about their safety,” said Dr Falzon.

“The Australia Government has said the processing centre will close by the end of October, but the men are being coerced out of the regional processing centre with nowhere to go, and are afraid of being attacked or left in limbo forever in a place where they have little access to food, medical support and other basic services.

“After four years of fear and violence, substantiated cases of sexual abuse and seven deaths, the only humane and responsible option is to evacuate every man, women and child held on Nauru and Manus to safety. Otherwise, further tragedy is inevitable,” said Dr Falzon.

The ACT is one of 148 Refugee Welcome Zones across Australia but is the only state or territory to become a zone with the rest of the zones made up of councils or shires from every state.

“Today we’re calling on the Federal Government to resettle refugees and asylum seekers in Australia’s 148 Refugee Welcome Zones, where they can build new lives among compassionate and caring communities that have committed to upholding their rights,” Mr Rattenbury said.

What do you think of the Federal Government’s refugee policy? Would you support resettling Manus Island and Nauru refugees in Canberra? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
15 Responses to
Greens call for Manus and Nauru refugees to be moved to Canberra and other ‘welcome zones’
dungfungus 9:37 am 05 Sep 17

For the attention of those on this thread that say Australia’s asylum seeker policy is tough:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-05/afghan-woman-106-faces-deportation-in-sweden/8872170

wildturkeycanoe 2:40 pm 03 Sep 17

Ungruntled, how would you decide which family to house? Do you take the word of the Australian government and its scrutineering process who has determined them to be genuine, or do you make your own visual assessment? Seeing there may be no documents to show if they are who they say they are, can you risk a total unknown who could be a criminal on the run, whose “family” is simply playing the role to get residency approval and will go separate ways weeks after being billeted? Good luck to you, you’re much braver than I.
I am still of the view that a true refugee would not have the means to get all the way to Australia before suddenly running out of money and means, but would have been happy to be settled anywhere in a nearby country from their place of departure. It is greed, pure and simple. The money they spend on illegal entry could have set them up for life in some of their stopovers.

DJA 5:01 pm 01 Sep 17

ungruntled said :


We not only rejected them, we put them in a prison for an indefinite period, without trial & mistreated them appaulingly, either directly or indirectly.

Always a different perspective.
We didn’t “reject” them (not in that tone that you have written). Hard to process efficiently if document has been wilfully destroyed (and yet, potentially documentation that could have supported their case). Those that were approved didn’t want to find safe haven anywhere but Australia (and the convention does not oblige us to resettle those we deem to be true refugees in Australia).
They were not put in prison – each individual was free to leave at any time they wanted. Those who were approved were free to go to the nominated country of refuge. Those found not to be true refugees were free to go home anytime they wanted.
I am not aware of any intent by Australian authorities to mistreat them. If you have proof, then push it through the relevant channels. Providing adequate meals and accommodation is not mistreatment.

I have no issues with those who feel they could sponsor or house genuine refugees. What happens, though, if these “visitors” decide to go home a year later to visit family in the very place they are fleeing from? What would [i]ungruntled[/i] do then?

chewy14 9:53 am 01 Sep 17

ungruntled said :

I would take a refugee family.
Our treatment of these people is unforgivable.
I’m older. I remember hearing from my parents about the ship carrying Jewish refugees that could not find a harbour to dock – no one would accept them.
I thought then, when we had “laws” that said a refugee had a right to be taken in meant that this would never happen again.
Wasn’t I niave”?
We not only rejected them, we put them in a prison for an indefinite period, without trial & mistreated them appaulingly, either directly or indirectly.
I am ashamed of my government. You do not represent me.
Perhaps if the Greens were able to get this to happen, they may come some way to offsetting the effects of lumbering us with the tram.

The comparison with the Jew’s in WW2 is exactly why the refugee convention is outdated and needs reform.

It was written for the exact situation you describe, people fleeing direct and immediate persecution to neighbouring countries, their main drive was escaping death.

Now, due to the proliferation of international travel, we have relatively well off people from half way across the world choosing a preferred destination country (almost exclusively Western and first world), hopping on planes and travelling through multiple countries to get there. In our case, mostly through Malaysia and Indonesia where their travel documentation “disappears” and they hop on a boat for the final leg.

Deterrence is the only policy that ensures we can take those refugees who are most in need of our help and prevents thousands of deaths at sea.

The Greens policy only ensures a flood of would be asylum seekers, trying to get here and that the most needy die without aid languishing in overseas camps.

ungruntled 11:16 pm 31 Aug 17

I would take a refugee family.
Our treatment of these people is unforgivable.
I’m older. I remember hearing from my parents about the ship carrying Jewish refugees that could not find a harbour to dock – no one would accept them.
I thought then, when we had “laws” that said a refugee had a right to be taken in meant that this would never happen again.
Wasn’t I niave”?
We not only rejected them, we put them in a prison for an indefinite period, without trial & mistreated them appaulingly, either directly or indirectly.
I am ashamed of my government. You do not represent me.
Perhaps if the Greens were able to get this to happen, they may come some way to offsetting the effects of lumbering us with the tram.

dungfungus 11:48 am 27 Aug 17

dungfungus said :

Jill Horton said :

My home is open for a refugee to stay with my family. I have been to Manus. Enough death and suffering. 90% are deemed by that they are Refugees by a stringent UN set process . there is no such thing as an economic Refugee. 4 Years. Enough is enough.

Are you happy then to take one of the 10% not deemed to be refugee?

Alternatively, you could assist these soon to be homeless people:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-27/asylum-seekers-income-and-accommodation-to-be-cut-back/8846470

dungfungus 9:58 am 26 Aug 17

Jill Horton said :

My home is open for a refugee to stay with my family. I have been to Manus. Enough death and suffering. 90% are deemed by that they are Refugees by a stringent UN set process . there is no such thing as an economic Refugee. 4 Years. Enough is enough.

Are you happy then to take one of the 10% not deemed to be refugee?

Mysteryman 11:40 am 25 Aug 17

Frunkensteen said :

Jill Horton said :

Enough death and suffering. 90% are deemed by that they are Refugees by a stringent UN set process . . . Enough is enough.

Well said. The myths that they’re ‘economic’ refugees and illegal are just useful lies.

So those Iranian ‘refugees’ returning to Iran for holidays weren’t economic refugees?

Frunkensteen 7:53 am 25 Aug 17

Jill Horton said :

Enough death and suffering. 90% are deemed by that they are Refugees by a stringent UN set process . . . Enough is enough.

Well said. The myths that they’re ‘economic’ refugees and illegal are just useful lies.

wildturkeycanoe 5:18 am 25 Aug 17

“After four years of fear and violence, substantiated cases of sexual abuse and seven deaths, the only humane and responsible option is to evacuate every man, women and child.”
It wasn’t security who did the raping and violence, so I hope the perpetrators of these acts are screened out of those being considered for relocation. And another thing, I hope these refugees get no more help from the government than any other Aussie who is doing things tough, they are after all not even citizens of this land. Jobs are hard to come by, are these emotionally crushed refugees going to resort to crime or violence when they realise this isn’t the “Promised Land” and they struggle to get by? As for their health needs, get in line with the rest of us waiting for months, years and even decades for treatment. What makes them so special that they can queue jump everything? They did spend all their money to get here ilegally by boat!

gazket 9:18 pm 24 Aug 17

The thing wrong with our refugee policy is that it allows them to sue us for spending hundreds of millions of dollars looking after them .

The ACT government has no business in offering our tax money to illegals . All they have to do is prove who they are or go home. it’s the Greens/Labor party that continues to give these people false hope. If they weren’t encouraged to stay and fight our legal system they would be gone home by now .

MrPC 8:59 pm 24 Aug 17

They can build tent cities in the parks in all the rich suburbs where the greens voters live. Just nowhere near me, thank you very much.

Jill Horton 6:24 pm 24 Aug 17

My home is open for a refugee to stay with my family. I have been to Manus. Enough death and suffering. 90% are deemed by that they are Refugees by a stringent UN set process . there is no such thing as an economic Refugee. 4 Years. Enough is enough.

dungfungus 12:05 pm 24 Aug 17

Given that most of these people come from countries that outlaw homosexuality and would regard same sex marriage as an alien concept, how will they reconcile a potential destination like Canberra as a “welcome zone” given the Chief Minister’s extreme views on the subject?

It has been reported that the few LGBTIQ “refugees” that are on Manus Island are constantly harassed and beaten by the others whose cultural beliefs are inflexible.

Doesn’t seem like a good idea at all.

Mysteryman 10:44 am 24 Aug 17

The ACT Greens are putting pressure on the Federal Government to resettle Manus Island and Nauru asylum seekers in Australia, calling the current refugee policy “cruel and inhumane”

I do think it’s amusing that the ACT Greens think moving a motion in the Legislative Assembly means anything to the Federal government.

After four years of fear and violence, substantiated cases of sexual abuse and seven deaths, the only humane and responsible option is to evacuate every man, women and child held on Nauru and Manus to safety. Otherwise, further tragedy is inevitable,”

I take the Drs point, but were those cases of sexual abuse all perpetrated by the refugees themselves?

The Greens believe that seeking asylum is a humanitarian issue that obliges us all to treat those seeking asylum with compassion and dignity,

That’s great, Shane, but a significant number of those people are economic refugees, plain and simple. They weren’t seeking asylum. They were seeking a better quality of life. Just like the Iranian refugees than were recently caught travelling back to Iran for holidays, weddings, and family visits. Definitely not in fear of their lives.

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site