ALP to scrap temporary protection visas
The Age (Melbourne)
April 27, 2007 – 7:54PM
Labor will scrap temporary protection visas for asylum seekers but is refusing to return islands north of Australia to the nation's migration zone.
Labor delegates at the ALP conference in Sydney have voted to abandon the party's current policy of supporting temporary protection visas (TPVs) for refugees.
In the past, the government has warned that a change in the current policy would open the door to boat people and people smugglers.
Opposition immigration spokesman Tony Burke said the party now favoured permanent visas for genuine refugees in preference to the TPVs, which had failed to deter asylum seekers.
“My argument was that when temporary protection visas were introduced the number of boats arriving went up,” he said.
“When excision was introduced that was what actually made the difference and stopped the flow of boats.
“Now that the data is in we can look back at policies that we supported at the time and work out which ones worked and which didn't.”
Delegates rejected a move by the floor to re-admit Christmas Island, Ashmore Reef and Cocos (Keeling) Islands to the migration zone.
Labor backed the government policy to excise the islands in 2001 in the wake of the Tampa incident, where a Norwegian vessel picked up hundreds of asylum seekers and illegally entered Australian waters.