The Palmer Unity Party and Nick Xenophon will be complicit with the Government in condemning children to a life of uncertainty and allowing others to rot in offshore detention if they pass Morrison’s Migration Bill, ASRC CEO Kon Karapanagiotidis said today.
“Clive Palmer says all he cares about is getting children off Christmas Island. It seems his concern doesn’t extend to the hundreds of children languishing in abhorrent conditions in detention on Nauru,” Mr Karapanagiotidis said.
“Why have they been left out of this unholy deal? If he allows this Bill through, they will forever be known as Palmer’s forgotten children.
“And for those children on Christmas Island, Palmer’s deal to get them to the Australian mainland won’t end their misery.
“They will be pushed through the Government’s fast-track determination process, their refugee claims given only a cursory assessment. There will be mistakes made under such an inadequate process and it will see some children and their families returned to harm.
“This is not speculation. A similar fast-track process in the UK was found by its High Court to be manifestly unfair, failing to identify people who were victims of torture and persecution. We can expect the same to occur here.
“PUP and Mr Xenophon are not making a bad Bill better. They are aiding and abetting Morrison as he uses children as pawns in a political chess game.
“It’s a game that will cost some their lives through a flawed assessment process.
“Others will be out of detention but, along with their families, will be left to live with crippling uncertainty for years and years, subsisting on one of Morrison’s temporary visas. Others will continue to suffer on Nauru – either in detention or in a community that doesn’t want them, forgotten by the very politicians who claim to care.”
Mr Karapangiotidis said Mr Morrison’s Safe Haven Enterprise Visas would be a pathway to nowhere for thousands of refugees.
“They are temporary visas by another name. They do not provide a genuine pathway to any permanency.
“In remote circumstances, some refugees with in-demand skills, excellent English, a supportive boss and the winds blowing in their favour may jump the hurdles necessary to gain a permanent visa, but this could take up to a decade. During that time, people will be left in anxious limbo, unable to settle properly in the community.
“Temporary visas are a pathway to mental illness and emotional turmoil. We witnessed this first-hand when John Howard misused temporary protection visas in the nineties.
“Senators also shouldn’t trust Morrison to live up to his word on allowing family reunion under SHEVs and TPVs.
“Unless this is embedded into legislation, Clive Palmer and Senators should be very skeptical about Morrison’s promises to allow temporary visas holders to reunite with their spouse and children.
“PUP and Xenophon’s deals will only help to further Morrison’s efforts to punish rather than protect asylum seekers.”
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