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Malcolm Turnbull needs to show some leadership and discuss the New Zealand Prime Minister’s constructive offer to resettle eligible refugees from Australian-funded offshore regional processing centres at their meeting today.
NZ Prime Minister Ardern has reconfirmed New Zealand’s offer to resettle refugees from both Manus Island and Nauru.
Manus Island and Nauru were set up as regional transit processing facilities but have become places of indefinite detention because of Turnbull’s failure to negotiate other third country resettlement options.
The conservatives have been in Government for over four years and have shirked their responsibility, leaving refugees on Manus and Nauru to languish under the woefully incompetent Dutton who has proven his inability to manage offshore processing arrangements.
It has been Labor’s long-held position that eligible refugees require viable third country resettlement options and Turnbull should negotiate them as a priority.
Turnbull has chosen to ignore a recommendation made on 18 April 2017 to consider New Zealand’s offer to resettle eligible refugees.
The Senate Inquiry into serious allegations of abuse, self-harm and neglect of asylum seekers on Nauru and like-minded allegations on Manus Island recommended:
Recommendation 7: The committee recommends that the Australian Government give serious consideration to all resettlement offers it receives, including the Government of New Zealand’s offer to resettle refugees from Papua New Guinea and the Republic of Nauru. Further, if particular resettlement offers are considered unsuitable, the Government should clearly outline the reasons.
Labor’s policy on asylum seekers is clear. Labor will never let the people smugglers back in business and that is why Australia is not, and must not be, a resettlement option.
Labor strongly supports the US refugee resettlement agreement and any similar agreement with New Zealand must have appropriate conditions to ensure people smugglers do not exploit vulnerable people.
Turnbull can no longer ignore his responsibility to work with other countries to negotiate resettlement options. Doing nothing is not an option.
If Turnbull doesn’t discuss and seriously consider this offer from New Zealand today, it would be another failure of leadership from this out of touch Prime Minister.