Posted by David Chibo (188.8.131.52) on November 04, 2001 at 19:19:59:
Thank you for your email. We apologise for the delay in responding to you.
You raise a number of important issues in your email.
Immigration and refugees are sensitive issues. Policy in this area must balance the rights of asylum seekers who have gained unauthorized entry into Australia but who are not a threat to the community, against the potential damage that the unmonitored release of large numbers of refugee claimants could inflict on our society in terms of character, illegal employment and health risks.
While Labor supports compulsory detention for asylum seekers who enter Australia illegally, we believe there is a dire need to streamline the process of refugee determination to ensure that genuine refugees, including young children, are assessed and released into the community as soon as possible, in order to minimise any recurrent trauma associated with long-term detention. However, unauthorised arrivals who are unable to meet the criteria for refugee status established by the UNHCR must be deported as soon as practicable, both to ensure our migration program remains intact and to send a decisive message to the people smugglers and their customers. Labor has committed to reviewing the operation of Immigration detention centres with a view to ensuring that determinations are streamlined.
There are many domestic reasons to vote Labor. John Howard has attacked public health and education and plans to sell the rest of Telstra. He has brought in a GST that makes life harder for ordinary Australians and has mugged the economy.
Thanks again for your email and for your interest in the ALP.
ALP Information Unit
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