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President rules out peace.



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Senator Amanda Vanstone MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURAL AND INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS

President Rules Out Peace

VPS 024/2004

Carmen Lawrence this morning sent a message to Mark Latham that the there will be no peace on the asylum seeker issue in the Labor party until she gets her way.

Despite Labor claims that healthy debate at the Labor party conference will result in established policy Dr Lawrence has signalled debate will continue long after the conference.

As she said this morning 'Many of them presumably won't give up their positions, whatever the outcome. They'll want to continue to argue to improve the policy in the long term. Things aren't decided at a single conference or on a single moment.'

Dr Lawrence appears set to refuse the umpires decision on the divided issue of Labor's refugee policy.

It is an outrage that the President of the Labor party continues to mislead the Australian community on these issues. This morning she said 'Mr Latham being prepared to go out there and say to the Australian people, are you really satisfied that we have children still, some 200-odd children, behind the razor wire, stranded in Nauru, two and three years on? Their lives being blighted.'

The facts are very clear. There is not any razor wire at the Off-shore Processing Centre (OPC) on Nauru.

The 88 children at the OPC attend local schools with Nauruan children and are free to move around the island for shopping, picnics, swimming and participation in sporting events.

Sixty-two children are currently in detention centres in Australia. Thirty-two others are in alternative accommodation and 17 live in residential housing projects in the community. The children are free to attend school, sporting events and participate in excursions outside of the centres.

Dr Lawrence needs to start telling the truth rather than peddling misinformation and deliberately creating disunity in the Labor Party.

29 January 2004