Protection for failed asylum seekers ‘a dream’

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is ‘dreaming’ if she thinks Hazaras whose asylum bids have failed will be protected by the Afghan government if they return home, a refugee advocate says.


Ms Gillard is expected to announce her government’s policy on illegal boat arrivals in the coming days, after a cabinet meeting in Canberra.

On Thursday, a three-month freeze on processing Sri Lankan asylum claims expires.

A halt on Afghan claims is also in place, but speculation is mounting Ms Gillard will return the two groups to their homelands.

Any pact with Afghan president Hamad Karzai to guarantee protection for Hazaras returned to the war-torn country was ridiculous, Project SafeCom spokesman Jack Smit said.

“If … Prime Minister Julia Gillard is about to announce the Karzai Solution, where in a `pact’ with Afghanistan she expects guarantees for safety for Hazaras from the Karzai government, then she’s either dreaming or lying about the prognosis of safety for Hazaras to the Australian electorate,” Mr Smit said on Monday.

Mr Smit said the prime minister’s comments about having a debate on the issue of asylum seekers, minus political correctness, were a brazen misrepresentation of the facts.

“We will not forget (this),” Mr Smit said.

“Neither will the thousands of Hazaras forget, or the family members of those Gillard plans to send back to the war theatre, ready for point-blank-range targeted killings, beheadings or other ways the Taliban will think of to kill Hazaras.”

A federal Labor MP has asked her colleagues not to get nasty on the asylum issue.

Retiring Labor MP Julia Irwin is worried the debate could turn ugly.

“I hope they (Labor MPs) don’t start using the abusive terms used by some commentators,” she told ABC Radio.

Parliamentary secretary for multicultural affairs Laurie Ferguson told ABC Radio a “sensible middle position” will be “very difficult” to reach.


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