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Monday, 26 May 2003
Page: 14831

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives assembled in parliament:

The petition of certain residents of Australia draws to the attention of the House:

That Australia is a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees. Under the convention, asylum seekers arriving without papers are not illegal, are entitled to request protection and not be discriminated against.

That Australia arbitrarily reduced its intake of refugees from 20,000 in the early 1980s to the present level of 12,000 and that even this quota has not been filled for the last five years.

That legislation passed in 2001 further restricts the rights of asylum seekers and that Christmas Island, Ashmore reef and other offshore Australian territories have been excised from Australia's migration zone.

That asylum seekers fleeing persecution in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and other places are further punished by Australia's policy of mandatory detention in remote areas such as Woomera and Port Hedland. That, without foundation, asylum seekers have been linked to a threat of terrorism and vilified as people of bad character who are not wanted in Australia.

Your petitioners therefore ask the House to:

1. Repeal the Border Protection (Validation and Enforcement Power) Bill 2001 and Migration Amendment (Excision from Migration Zone) Bill 2001, Migration Amendment (Excision from Migration Zone) (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2001 and other Migration Legislation Amendment Bills (No 5, Judicial Review, No 1, No 6) that restrict the rights of those seeking asylum in Australia;

2. Immediately end the “Pacific solution” and return to the Australian mainland those asylum seekers who have been transported to Papua New Guinea and Nauru and other Pacific islands;

3. End the policy of mandatory and non-reviewable detention of asylum seekers who arrive without documentation;

4. End the discriminatory practice of temporary protection visas and restore full right to all refugees (including, permanent residency, English lessons, family re-union, the right to work, Medicare, and other social services) and grant an amnesty to all escapees;

5. Increase the refugee intake to at least 20,000 (to be assessed on the basis of need) and unlink onshore and offshore applications for humanitarian visas so that family re-union, refugee resettlement from overseas is not reduced by asylum applications made onshore.

by Mr Bevis (from 25 citizens)