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Ruddock's admission sparks renewed calls for Senate inquiry into refugee policy.

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Senator Andrew Bartlett Australian Democrats’ Immigration Spokesperson

06 December 2001 MEDIA RELEASE 01/736

Ruddock’s admission sparks renewed calls for Senate inquiry into refugee policy The Australian Democrats have renewed calls for a broad-ranging Senate inquiry after Minister Ruddock’s acknowledgement that the Government’s Pacific solution for asylum seekers is likely to fail.

Senator Andrew Bartlett, the Australian Democrats’ spokesperson for immigration, attending an International Conference on the Refugee Convention at the University of New South Wales, said, “Minister Ruddock’s admission that the Government’s refugee plan may fail highlights the need for the Democrats’ proposed Senate inquiry into the refugee problem to be as broad-ranging as possible.

“The Democrats’ will be looking to initiate the Senate inquiry as soon as the Parliament returns in the New Year.

“This Government chose the wrong approach on the refugee problem and finally the Minister is admitting there is no viability in this so-called solution. Australia needs a humane, responsible and sustainable approach to asylum seekers."

Senator Bartlett continued, “The Democrats are the only political party that has challenged the Government every step of the way down the flawed path they have insisted on taking.”

“Politicians need to work hand-in-hand with the community to identify the best and most positive solution for what is a growing international problem.

“Recent reports of deplorable conditions being endured by those incarcerated in the Pacific Island detention camps, demonstrate again just how urgent the situation is,” concluded Senator Bartlett. ENDS

TONIGHT: Between 6.30 and 8.30 p.m. Thursday, 6 December 2001, Senator Andrew Bartlett will be participating in a Hypothetical Debate on Refugee Issues, at Science Theatre of University of New South Wales, Anzac Parade, Kensington

For further information contact: Senator Andrew Bartlett on 0418 743 789