'Pacific solution' to thank for relaxed detention rules: Ruddock
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Posted Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:48am AEST
Updated Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:34am AEST
Former federal immigration minister Philip Ruddock says the former government's 'Pacific solution' is the reason why the current Government can afford to relax the rules on immigration detention.
The Government has announced major changes to immigration detention, making it a last resort only for those visa applicants who are deemed a risk to the community.
The Government also says it will make the system more humane so most visa and asylum applicants will be able to live in the community while their claims are decided.
Mr Ruddock presided over the so-called 'Pacific solution', where hundreds of people were held in immigration detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.
But he says that policy has led to a very different situation now.
“When you've got 300 people, I think about eight or nine, who are actually unauthorised border arrivals, it's very different to having thousands of people that you have to deal with,” he said.
“The processing demands are very different, the extent to which you can devote resources are very different.
Mr Ruddock says the current Government has its predecessor to thank for the very different circumstances.
“We have no unauthorised arrivals in any significant number, and that's of course as a result of the policies of the previous government that managed to contain smuggling operations that were so unwelcome in relation to Australia's border protection,” he said.
Tags: community-and-society, immigration, government-and-politics, federal-government, refugees, australia
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