Former New South Wales Liberal premier Nick Greiner has urged federal leaders to end the limbo for refugees who have arrived in Australia by boat. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
Mr Greiner said the nation could afford to fix the lasting problem without weakening tough border controls.
He also called on the Liberals to back the case for a bigger humanitarian intake for new migrants and shift its tone in the asylum-seeker debate, pointing to the way Liberal governments had welcomed Vietnamese and Syrian refugees in the past.
The comments highlight the plight of more than 1000 refugees and asylum-seekers who are being refused settlement in Australia because they arrived by boat and were processed on Nauru and Manus Island, a key policy under Labor and Liberal leaders over the past decade.
Mr Greiner, who joined the board of the Refugee Council of Australia 10 days ago, was premier of New South Wales for four years to 1992, and federal president of the Liberal Party for three years until 2020, later serving as Australia’s consul-general in New York.
“I think keeping people in limbo for very extended periods is cutting off your nose to spite your face,” he said. “It’s not serving a purpose.”
Mr Greiner also urged Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to do more, and expressed concern that Labor was “listening” to refugee groups but not acting on the problems.
Immigration Minister Andrew Giles expanded the annual humanitarian intake from 17,875 to 20,000 earlier this month, while Labor delegates urged a further policy change at the party’s national conference last week to accept refugees.
Opposition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan has not rejected the increase in the humanitarian intake but has said the Coalition’s policy response will be delivered closer to the next election.
‘Governments should grow up’: Liberal heavyweight Nick Greiner says refugee limbo must end (By David Crowe, Sydney Morning Herald)