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Vanstone ducks consequences of illogical refugee policy.

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Senator Kerry Nettle Senator for New South Wales

Vanstone ducks consequences of illogical refugee policy

9th December 2004

Senator Kerry Nettle confronted the Minister for Immigration in question time today over her view that Iraqi asylum seekers should go home when International Organisation for Migration IOM officials on Nauru have told Iraqi detainees that they cannot go home.

"The Minister refused to acknowledge that her call for Iraqi asylum seekers to go home was misleading," Senator Nettle said.

Last week 14 Iraqis were refused visas and then attempted to sign 'voluntary return' forms. They were told by IOM officials in Nauru that they could not return to Iraq because the 'borders are closed'.

"The Minister surely knows that Iraq's borders are closed. Her performance in question time today only serves to confirm that her decision to keep these people locked up on Nauru is inexplicably callous.

"The Minister would rather joke about Christmas in her answer than face up to the horrific situation she has left these 14 Iraqis facing.

"I am appalled at this refusal of the Minister to deal honestly with the consequences of government policy.

"The UNHCR has made a request the all Iraqi asylum seekers be released from detention until the security situation in Iraq improves. The Greens call on the government to accept the logic of this argument and release these individuals."

Contact - Jon Edwards 0428 213