|Independent MP Andrew Wilkie will re-introduce the Refugee Protection Bill to Parliament this morning at approximately 10:15am. It will be seconded by independent MP Kerryn Phelps.
“The Refugee Protection Bill puts forward a sustainable, humane and legal approach to asylum seekers and refugees,” Mr Wilkie said.
The bill enables the establishment of a network of centres, located in and run by Asia Pacific countries including Australia, where asylum seekers can go to be registered, have their immediate humanitarian needs met and lodge a preference for country of re-settlement. If the asylum seeker selects Australia, and is within the specified quota, this bill establishes a process for assessing their claim in Australia with appropriate oversight, limited timeframes and judicial review. The bill does not allow mandatory detention and prioritises the applicant’s immediate needs and refugee and international human rights law.
“I’m calling on all MPs to get behind it,” Mr Wilkie said. “I especially call on the Labor Party to support the bill because, when I first introduced it in June last year, their response was negative and misleading.”
“Let’s not let Labor off the hook when it comes to asylum seekers. They finally came to the table on the medevac bill last week, but otherwise they’re still in lockstep with the Government because they support cruel measures like mandatory detention, offshore processing and towbacks.
“This bill shows that a sustainable, humane and legal regional approach is possible and not something that should be dismissed by the major parties.”
The bill was developed in accordance with UNHCR guidelines after extensive consultation with the refugee sector. More information about the bill is available at https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r6131
Authorised by Andrew Wilkie MP 188 Collins St Hobart