THE Australian Primate, Dr Philip Freier, has welcomed the deal that the Australian government has made to resettle asylum-seekers in the United States.
The one-off arrangement applies to asylum-seekers detained in off-shore detention on Nauru and Manus Island, after attempting to reach Australia by boat. It is not known how many will be able to take up the offer, or whether the deal will be finalised before the US President-elect, Donald Trump, takes office.
Dr Freier has commended the government “for its stringent efforts to find a solution that does not leave people rotting in off-shore detention”.
“Large numbers of Australians have been disturbed by the calculatedly callous treatment of asylum-seekers, in which both Labor and Coalition governments have sought to use human misery to ‘send a message’ to people smugglers,” he said.
He has also urged the government not to proceed with planned legislation designed to prevent asylum-seekers who gain citizenship in other countries from ever visiting Australia. The legislation, which is opposed by the Opposition Labor Party and some independent Parliamentarians, may not pass the Australian Senate.