The Kings Cross Branch of the ALP expresses its deep concern to the Prime Minister about the proposal to legislate to allow the Government to send asylum seekers to Malaysia for processing of their applications for refugee status on the following grounds:
- It is contrary to the ALP National Platform 2009, Chapter 7, paragraph 157, which the Prime Minister pledged herself as a parliamentary candidate to uphold and which clearly states that “Protection claims made in Australia will be assessed by Australians on Australian territory.
- The Malaysian Bar Council has characterised the conditions of life for refugees in Malaysia as “degrading, demeaning and dehumanising.”
- With regard to the assurance that asylum seekers sent from Australia will be given UNHCR identity cards, Aegile Fernandes, Manager of the anti-trafficking unit at the Malaysian NGO Tenaganti, has advised that the voluntary military force has the right to detain people and check their documents, and that they do not always accept the authenticity of the documents, claiming that they are fake.
- The UNHCR has failed to endorse the Malaysian deal.
- The High Court of Australia has found that Australia can’t guarantee the rights of its asylum seekers sent to Malaysia because Malaysia doesn’t recognise any rights relating to refugees.
The Branch urges the Secretaries of each FEC to take up the matter with the Prime Minister as a matter of urgency in order to avoid another adverse High Court judgement or the defeat of the legislation in Parliament.