PM 'determined' to change law to get Malaysia swap through
September 12, 2011
PM Gillard is determined to make broad amendments to Australia's migration laws so it can persist with its asylum seeker swap deal with Malaysia.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the government is determined to make broad amendments to Australia's migration laws so it can persist with its asylum seeker swap deal with Malaysia in its campaign to smash people smuggling rings.
"We are determined to pursue the arrangement we have made with Malaysia," she told reporters in Canberra today.
Ms Gillard earlier received caucus backing for the planned legislative changes. The High Court this month overturned the government's deal under which up to 800 asylum seekers were to be sent to Malaysia in exchange for 4000 processed refugees.
Advertisement: Story continues below
Julia Gillard and Chris Bowen ... determined that the Malaysia deal should go ahead. Photo: Paul Harris
A complementary processing centre in Papua New Guinea was the best solution, Ms Gillard said.
"But the amendments we will bring to the Parliament will be broad amendments, which will restore to executive government the ability to make the arrangements that it sees fit for the transfer and processing of asylum seekers in third countries," she said.
Ms Gillard ruled out Nauru as an option for offshore processing.
"The advice to government consistently has been crystal clear that having a processing centre on Nauru would not have the deterrence effect that we seek," she said.
The previous Howard government processed asylum seekers on Nauru but about 95 per cent of those people were resettled in Australia.
"People smugglers have got that message and they now understand that a processing centre on Nauru is really just like another Christmas Island," Ms Gillard said.
"It's a place where you are processed but if your claim is accepted you will be settled in Australia."
Ms Gillard said proposed changes to the Migration Act would allow a government to use former detention centres at Nauru and Manus Island for offshore processing.
"If there is a future Liberal government that has that as a perspective, then under the amendments we will bring to the parliament, that future government would be able to enact that plan," she said.
But she said the expert advice from immigration officials was that Nauru would not act as a deterrent to people smugglers.
"Our advice couldn't be clearer," Ms Gillard said.
"That is why Malaysia, when we announced it, was the best option for smashing the people smugglers' business model; it remains the best option."
Ms Gillard said she was not asking Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to agree with her about processing asylum seekers in Malaysia.
"He can criticise Malaysia up hill and down dale and I will maintain my objection to Nauru," she said.
"It's costly and it won't work and I don't believe Mr Abbott should be agitating for a solution that is costly and doesn't work.
"This is something else. This is about government having the power to act."
The Labor Party had always been a strong supporter of multilateral agreements on issues around the world, Ms Gillard said.
''We believe in global engagement, we believe in multilateral engagement, we believe in signing and honouring things like the [United Nations] refugee convention.
''The proposal we have put as a government and the one we are determined to implement does acquit our obligations under the refugee convention.''
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said the government would test its planned legislative changes, which would give the minister more discretionary powers, with private and public sector legal minds.
"We are testing the proposed legislation to ensure it is as robust as possible," he said.
Mr Bowen said the government had previously talked to Malaysia about involving the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in discussions with the people-swap deal.
"One of the reasons why the UNHCR found this to be a workable arrangement was it involved Malaysia in the discussion about better protection outcomes across the region," he said.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/pm-determined-to-change-law-to-get-malaysia-swap-through-20110912-1k5ca.html#ixzz1YJDgdKjw
really shame on this low brain Australia Prime Minister. She is the shame icon of Australians!
really shame on her!!!
indeed, it reflect of how silly this PM is.......Australians should kick this low brain out!!
really shame on her!!!!
Awaken and wake up all Australians should kick this low brain out!!!