PM urged to strike regional asylum deal

Julia Gillard should urgently engage the highest levels of the Malaysian and Indonesian governments on the need for a regional agreement on processing asylum seekers, according to a member of the government’s expert panel.
杭州桑拿

Paris Aristotle has also appealed to the opposition and the Greens to support legislation that would allow those who come by boat to be returned to Malaysia, and ultimately Indonesia, for processing – subject to greater human rights safeguards.

Mr Aristotle’s plea follows the loss of more than 55 lives in a tragedy last week and comes as rescue services search for another boat, missing off the Cocos Islands.

”How many more asylum seekers must die on their way to Australia before our Parliament puts partisan politics aside and unites to prevent more tragedies?” Mr Aristotle writes in The Age opinion section today.

”It is time we all climbed out of our respective trenches and abandoned the atrophied debate that has characterised this issue for too long. Everyone needs to compromise.”

In a separate interview, Mr Aristotle argued that only discussion at the highest level would deal with anxieties in Malaysia and Indonesia that a new approach could become an additional ”pull factor”, drawing asylum seekers to these countries.

”I think what absolutely needs to occur is a dramatic increase in engagement at the highest levels between the governments of Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia to try to reach an agreement of how a regional system of this nature could be applied in a way that looks after the interests of all of the countries in the region,” he said.

Mr Aristotle argues that one way of allaying ”pull factor” anxieties would be to commit to ”more places further up the line in Pakistan and Iran, before people have to depart and begin their journey”.

His call came as opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison denied there were divisions within the Coalition on Tony Abbott’s policy of turning back boats to Indonesia – a policy opposed by the Indonesian government.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Posted in 杭州龙凤