On Thursday 3rd August a delegation from  BMRSG  met with the Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection,  Shayne Neumann and our local member Susan Templeman at Lawson Community Centre to raise our concerns about the treatment of people seeing asylum both within Australia and in Nauru and Manus.

We put the case for on-shore processing of those on Manus Island and settlement in Australia. We especially focused  on those people suffering health issues due to their detention and those people seeking asylum  with family ties and support networks in Australia. We raised concerns about the treatment of those in  inside Australia: indefinite detention, random removal to  detention centres in other states and people in the community who are living in limbo on temporary visas. Concerns that Australia was in breach of its International Treaty obligations were part of the conversation..

The Shadow Minister listened but would not yield on settling people from Manus and Nauru in Australia and spoke of NZ and the USA as possible destinations for people seeking asylum. He outlined Labor’s policies on a more open and transparent detention centre regime and  an increase in funding for UNHCR to improve conditions for people seeking asylum in our region. He has been very active in opposing new harsher measures proposed by the government  and successfully blocked several.

Labor proposes to do away with temporary protection visa’s and give permanent residence to people seeking asylum who have been processed and found to be refugees but not those who have come by boat since 2013. They will also increase the numbers of refugees accepted by Australia.

Despite our differences it was an amicable meeting and we were assured that there would be more.

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