Fr Frank Brennan says asylum seekers policy won’t work

An agreement has now been reached with Nauru, which is similar to the one  already concluded with Papua New Guinea – to take more asylum seekers who arrive by boat in Australia and if they are found to be genuine refugees they’ll be settled permanently in Nauru.

Father Frank Brennan who is professor of law at the Australian Catholic University believes a deterrent is needed in the border protection policy mix but thinks that has to involve Malaysia and Indonesia.

He believes the deal reached with Nauru was clearly designed with the election in mind.

Earlier, commenting on the agreement reached with Papua New Guinea, Brennan  said both major parties are trashing regional relationships for electoral gain and that the High Court could overturn the PNG plan.

Speaking on an ABC Panel with the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott, Brennan said the asylum policy was like a nuclear deterrent. “You threaten to do mean and nasty things in the hope that you will never have to do them.”

But he doubts such a policy will work because it “would seem that a lot of the work that would be needed for such a proposal to work has not been done.”

“For example, it seems now the Indonesians were not even formally notified, let alone consulted and where in the first instance the understanding was that children would not be sent, we’re now to be told that children are to be sent to a dreadful malaria infested place like Manus Island. I think that sort of thing is just morally unacceptable.”


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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