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Refugee swap plan highlights Australians irrational asylum laws.

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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Andrew Bartlett Deputy Parliamentary Leader and Democrats Senator for Queensland Australian Democrats spokesperson for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

Dated: 18 April 2007

Press Release Number: gxhqzwot Portfolio: Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

Refugee Swap Plan Highlights Australias Irrational Asylum Laws

The Democrats' Deputy Leader and Immigration spokesperson, Senator Andrew Bartlett, says that reports of a deal between Australia and the USA to swap refugees held at Nauru and Guantanamo Bay shows how pathetic and incoherent the government's asylum seekers policies have become.

"We are spending hundreds of millions of dollars creating and running offshore detention centres that operate outside the rule of law purely to reinforce a dishonest mantra about so-called 'border protection'," Senator Bartlett said.

"We now want to compound the stupidity of the policy by agreeing to a refugee swap with the US so that we don't look like we're being 'soft' on asylum seekers.

"The government's asylum seeker policy is an incoherent and expensive shambles with one band-aid fix stuck on top of another.

"Allowing refugees to settle in the USA is certainly preferable to locking them up for years or sending them back to danger or death in Iran or Afghanistan, as we have done in the recent past.

"But this latest 'solution' is just another political fix that will do nothing to deal with the dishonesty, waste and absurdity at the core of our migration laws and policies," Senator Bartlett concluded.