On Labor v Greens

Colin Smith writes: Re. “Labor versus the hipsters: the inner-city campaign cools down” (Friday).

For Bernard Keane’s information, the Greens do not have a “purist ‘let them all come’ position on asylum seekers”. That is a straw man. The Greens policy could better be described as “upstream processing” and resembles the method used by Malcolm Fraser to bring 80,000 Vietnamese refugees to Australia in a safe, orderly and decent manner, consistent with both our international commitments under the Refugee Convention and with the need to maintain control of the influx. We would focus on processing asylum seekers in Indonesia. Those who qualified as refugees would be offered a free flight to Australia instead of a place in an expensive, overloaded and leaky boat, provided they were maybe prepared to wait for a while. And those who did not qualify as refugees would presumably lose interest in getting to Australia anyway.

We would thus: create a queue; destroy the business model of the people smugglers; prevent drownings; and save billions currently being spent on offshore “deterrence”, while putting ourselves in a position to “decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come”. Anyhow – that’s how I read it. But you can read it for yourself at greens.org.au/refugees.

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