“Labor Leadership required “ Bring back regional responsibility and Humanity .

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Dear Australian Labor Party Officials, Senators and Members of Parliament,

1. We, the undersigned citizens of Australia, earnestly petition the Labor Party to adopt a humane, compassionate and principled policy towards refugees, and all people seeking asylum in Australia, and to signal a new beginning in Australia’s approach to the refugees who shelter in Indonesia, before the next Federal Election in 2022.

2. We are ashamed of the current government’s brutal treatment of the people who were sent against their will to Manus and Nauru, many of whom are still detained in PNG and on Nauru, and we seek urgent resettlement in Australia of all those detained asylum seekers who have not yet been resettled in other countries or returned to their country of origin.

3. Many of us are current Labor Party members and voters.  Many of us are former Labor Party members and voters.  We are all deeply concerned citizens of Australia.  We feel unrepresented by Labor in respect of refugee policy, and particularly in respect of the men and women detained on Manus and Nauru, whose lives have been hostage to Australian domestic politics since 2013.

4. We regard Australia as having left the community of civilised nations that observe and uphold the Refugee Convention, in letter and spirit, and respect international law and conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Law of the Sea, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  We acknowledge important differences between Labor and LNP Coalition policy on asylum seekers and offshore detention, but we say emphatically that these differences do not go deep or far enough.

5. In addition to humane treatment and resettlement in Australia of all the men and women still detained in PNG and Nauru, or within Australia by the Australian Immigration Minister and Minister for Home Affairs, Labor should signal to the Australian people that it will work with UNHCR in Indonesia to resettle in Australia the 14,000 registered and recognised refugees who have sheltered in that country for between six and twenty years.  They are human beings deserving of our solidarity and compassion.  They are resilient, courageous people, whose talents and personal qualities will enrich our nation; and they are our responsibility, not only because of our obligations as a founding member of the United Nations, but also because of Australia’s involvement in conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, and because in this region, Australia is the most able to support them.

6. In respect of these refugees, we ask that Labor signal clearly that a Labor government and UNHCR in Indonesia will prioritise the resettlement in Australia of vulnerable people – children and their parents, young single men and women who have waited for five or more years, people who are physically or mentally ill, or whose personal characteristics such as religion, sexuality, race or other circumstance, place them at greater risk of harm. We ask that Labor take the message to the Australian people that it is not fair to expect Indonesia to carry the burden of sheltering refugees, when Indonesia has 80 million of its own people living in poverty.

7. We ask that the Australian Labor Party lead a national conversation about what ‘Australian values’ are, and that Labor reclaim for Australians the values of fundamental human decency and kindness, respect for others, respect and compassion for refugees, respect for the principles that underpinned the formation of the United Nations and the writing of the Refugee Convention.  We ask that this conversation include recognition of the contribution of refugees to Australia’s culture, maturity, standard of living, wellbeing, intellectual wealth, and material prosperity.

8. We say that Australia is crying out for this leadership from the Labor Party, because Labor is the only party capable of defeating the Coalition at the next Federal Election.  We see that the democratic freedoms of Australians are threatened by the current Australian government, and this is a natural consequence of the erosion of civility in public discourse, and of respect for institutions at home.  However, it is even more closely related to the way Australian governments and Oppositions have treated asylum seekers, since 2001.  The abuse of the human rights of asylum seekers since 2001, and especially since 2013, the acceptance by Australia of the indefinite detention of innocent human beings, including children, and the unconscionable denial of vitally necessary medical care for people in Australia’s hands, have brought us to this point.


9. Finally, we the undersigned say that, after six and a half years of LNP Coalition government, the character of the Australian people and of Australia as a modern nation are damaged and compromised as never before.  The cruelty meted out to asylum seekers and refugees in offshore detention by the Australian government, largely ignored by the mainstream media and for too long accepted by a fearful, uninformed and misinformed electorate, has changed who we are.  Australians of conscience know this.  Australians who travel internationally see the reflection of our nation’s current image in the mirror more civilised nations hold up.  We do not like what we, and they, see.  We earnestly ask that the Labor Party give the nation the moral leadership it urgently requires, and lead Australia back to humanity and decency.

PLEASE find attached a short documentary film, produced by a Hazara refugee in Indonesia, that outlines the dire situation of the approximately 14,000 refugee men, women and children there.

YouTube video Life As Refugee trapped in Indonesia #Indonesia#Refugees#conditions



                    WE SAY 


            BUT IMPERATIVE .

Ian Rintoul has written, in The Guardian (Australia)
By boat or plane refugees are welcome

Labor will vote against the repeal of the Medevac Bill, as they should. And they are calling for the Biloela Tamil family to be allowed to stay in Australia.

But these are exceptions to Labor’s mistaken strategy of attempting to outdo Dutton on people-smuggling by attacking him over the number of plane arrivals seeking asylum. Kristina Keneally’s attack on Dutton for not stopping plane arrivals plays into the Liberals’ arguments about border protection.

To consistently back a humanitarian policy, Labor must drop the border protection rhetoric along with its support for turnbacks and offshore detention. Asylum seekers should be welcome however they arrive - by boat or plane.







“Labor Leadership required “

Bring back regional responsibility and Humanity .