New Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews’ stance on the mistreatment of women in Parliament is a welcome sign of her convictions. The treatment of asylum-seekers needs an equally determined response, writes Claire Victory. Source: Eureka Street.
Years of poor public policy on refugees and asylum-seekers has led to the misery of thousands and cost Australian taxpayers billions.
I stand to support the Minister in the early days of her new role to make compassionate and sensible decisions, to find a different path for the resolution of the challenges she faces.
A case in point is the Tamil family from Sri Lanka removed three years ago from the central Queensland town of Biloela to Christmas Island, where their detention costs $1.4 million a year. To date it is unclear what threat if any, the Murugappan family, including their two little girls, pose to our national security. In fact, the Biloela community has fought hard for their return.
In February I welcomed the release from detention of some people (previously medically transferred from Papua New Guinea and Nauru) into the Australian community. The Government has already conceded that it is cheaper for these people to be in the community, particularly as they pose no threat to the community. This logic must not only apply to the Murugappan family but to the 100 or so people (also medically evacuated) who remain in Australian detention.
There are other pressing issues the Minister might consider in her early days in the portfolio, including streamlining a pathway to permanent residency for the many people currently existing on temporary protection visas, allowing them to settle and work in regional areas where there is a labour shortage due to the pandemic.
Claire Victory is the national president of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia.
New Home Affairs Minister has opportunities for compassion (Eureka Street)