Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan has spoken out against proposed changes to the Migration Act following an overwhelming response from her electorate, telling the government “we can do better”.
Ms McGowan and Independent Member for Denison Andrew Wilkie have put forward an amendment to the Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing Cohort) Bill 2016 calling for a sophisticated response to the issue of asylum seekers rather than one based on fear.
Ms McGowan acknowledged the difficult task of addressing the flow of people seeking asylum into Australia but said that the people of Indi believed Australia could do better.
“Hundreds of people have expressed their concerns about the proposed legislation,” Ms McGowan said
“A local Indi business owner summed up the sentiment of my electorate: ‘I find this new policy appalling. We are a better society than this. I cannot believe this policy will succeed’.”
The proposed legislation failed the “principle” test of good legislation and the test of equality, Ms McGowan said.
“It fails the test of being able to be administered or delivered or enforced. It is based on fear. Its focus is to create a deterrent and punishment without a balance of reward, rehabilitation, against a long term humanitarian approach.
“I call on the Government to outline a plan for migration policy in this country. How can we bring more compassion into government policy without encouraging the false hope pedalled by those who prey on the vulnerable and desperate?
“Any response will require a genuinely regional solution involving most, if not all south-east Asian countries, including Australia and New Zealand. Any solution must involve the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
“Pope Francis says the best antidote to fear is mercy: ‘Mercy and courage are needed to respond to the huge wave of refugees, migrants and displaced people all over the world.’ And I agree with him.”
People in Indi wishing to express their opinion on the proposed legislation can email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Cathy McGowan AO MP at 117 Murphy Street, Wangaratta, Victoria, 3677.
Australia is not a cruel country and we value social justice and human rights for all people. We cannot let our government go down this unjust abyss of developing cruel inhumane policies which we do not support. This has to stop or it will change our national values and any of us could find ourselves subject to inhumane policies.
We have so much to offer and this nation has always provided refuge and sanctuary to people who have been abused. Now, more than ever, when so many countries are imploding and their people are suffering, we need to show leadership & demonstrate, maintain and practice these values and beliefs we all hold dear.
Well done!! keep up the good work, your community is kind and behind you. Your stand represents our views. Thank you.