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Government must address pull factors.

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Mon, 6th July 2009


The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP

Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

“Prime Minister Kevin Rudd must re-assure the Malaysian Prime Minister that Australia is addressing the pull

factors that are drawing asylum seekers through Malaysia in the hope of buying passage on to Australia,”

Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Dr Sharman Stone said today.

“Indonesia’s Ambassador to Australia Primo Alui Joelianto recognises that Australia’s softening of policy is

causing the surge through the pipeline. Mr Joelianto is quoted in the weekend media as saying: “If you want to give a very strong message to the fisherman, you have to give a strong message to the asylum-seekers. It means that they cannot be just easily accepted in Australia”.

“However the Government is showing no signs of acknowledging that their policies are causing this 9 month

surge as they continue to unwind the strong border protection measures of the previous Coalition Government.

“The planned introduction of a new “complementary protection” visa for those not meeting UNHCR criteria to

qualify for refugee status, will add to the impression that we now have an “open door” policy.

“Currently special cases needing protection but not qualifying for refugee status can be given protection by

ministerial intervention. We do not need to formally create new visa categories.

“The Coalition strongly recommends that the Prime Minister and his ministers heed the concerns expressed by

their regional counterparts and start to address the pull factors created by their policies,” Dr Stone said.