Get control of your borders or face instability: Malcolm Turnbull to UN, while Rudd attacks Turnbull

Melbourne, November 2: Former PM, Kevin Rudd in a blistering attack over Malcolm Turnbull’s proposed boat-arrived asylum seeker policies, said that “Turnbull’s latest legislative folly should be opposed”.

In his opinion piece published in Fairfax, Mr Rudd said that Mr Turnbull was actually following the “Hansonite insurgency” and not the former PM Rudd’s policies.

Earlier, Sunday, Coalition proposed to introduce laws into Parliament that would introduce a lifetime ban on all visas for asylum seekers by boat, even if they may be found to be genuine refugees, later.

Mr Turnbull had urged the opposition to support the proposal citing Mr Rudd’s immigration policies.

He had said that the law was a follow-up to former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s pledge in July 2013 that any asylum seeker who comes to Australia by boat without a visa would “never be settled in Australia”.

Mr Rudd, in departing from the general principle wherein, former prime ministers avoid criticising their successors; wrote that he had been misrepresented about the 2013 Papua New Guinea agreement.

Mr Rudd said that the PNG agreement – to process refugees on Manus Island, was intended to run for only one year and should never have been renewed.

He wrote that the deal was made in order to break the “gathering momentum of the people-smuggling industry.

“Neither Abbott nor Turnbull have honoured the refugee protections outlined in the 2013 agreement because it was not in their domestic political interests to do so.

“This is both bad policy and bad politics: on policy, the far right in Australia represent the worst of the xenophobic, nationalist and protectionist wave that we now see raging across Europe and America; while on politics, appeasement of political thugs like Abbott, Dutton, Abetz, Andrews and, depending on which way the wind is blowing, Morrison, only embolden the far right to demand more, not less,” he wrote.

“It is pure politics designed to appease the xenophobes…

“… Turnbull, once an intelligent, global citizen, knows better.”

Mr Rudd’s stance will no doubt increase pressure on Opposition leader Bill Shorten to rule out support for the proposed laws.

Although, Mr Shorten has criticised the proposal asserting that it was for far-right appeasement, yet he stopped short of declaring that he would not support the proposal.

In making the announcement, Mr Turnbull had said that his government would seek to amend the Migration Act in order to prevent “irregular maritime arrivals” from ever applying for an Australian visa.

“The door to Australia is closed to those who seek to come here by boat with a people smuggler,” he said.

According to the Coalition proposal, the lifetime ban will extend to those who have been sent to Australian detention centers on Nauru or Manus Island since July 19, 2013, however the laws will not affect children.

Get control of your borders or face instability

Mr Turnbull has earlier rejected claims by Pauline Hanson of One Nation that a large number of refugees were actually economic refugees.

Instead, in arguing against the United Nations “profoundly concerned” attitude to Coalition’s proposed lifetime ban on refugees, he defended it as necessary measure to protect humanity.

“The reason we are able to have such a generous humanitarian program and are able to integrate and settle refugees well in Australia, in contrast to other countries, is because we decide which refugees come to Australia and we are able to manage the integrity of our borders,” Mr Turnbull said on Adelaide radio,

Hailing Australia’s uncompromising border protection policies as a model, Mr Turnbull had urged world leaders to hold their own political systems together in order to stem the flow of irregular international refugees.

“Get control of your borders or face instability,” he had said during his address to the United Nations summit on refugees and migrants in New York, earlier this year.

Speaking on ‘the unregulated movement of people’, he said countries must design their internal policies with public support and confidence.

“Addressing irregular migration, through secure borders, has been essential in creating confidence that the government can manage migration in a way that mitigates risks and focuses humanitarian assistance on those who need it the most,” he said about creating safe pathways.

“We invite 190,000 migrants each year to join our nation of 24 million people.  And our commitment to refugees is longstanding… dates back to 1947”, he said.

Alongside, Mr Turnbull also indirectly raised the ‘German dilemma’ – where the government’s ambitious resettlement program was largely at loggerheads with the community unwilling to accept large refugee resettlements and refugee assistance programs, thus leading to deep unrest and dysfunction in Germany.

Community Groups criticise proposed bill

Meanwhile, community groups have also criticised the bill calling it “cruel attempt to further destabilise vulnerable people”.

GetUp is calling on members to lobby Members of Parliament to reject the bill – “Splitting up families is not a resolution to offshore detention disgrace”.

Matthew Phillips, Human Rights Director at GetUp, said there are families currently split between Nauru and Manus Island who will be permanently torn apart if the government further outsources care of those currently on Manus and Nauru to a third country.

According to GetUp, there are over 20 families split between offshore detention and Australia and over 300 people in Australia who are worried about being suddenly deported under the government’s proposed changes.

Refugee Council of Australia CEO Tim O’Connor said the proposal was “extremely concerning”.

According to the Council, an estimated 3000 refugees are living in Australia who arrived by boat since 2013 and if the law was to be enacted, future of these refugees would be in limbo.

Mr O’Connor told The New Daily that this proposal was being perceived as “real discrimination”.

While Greens have pleaded with Labor to oppose the proposal, ALP itself has not yet clarified its position on the proposed law.

Nidhi Mehta

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