13 Apr 2006

Australian Greens chide government over new refugee policy

4:16 pm on 13 April 2006

Australia's opposition Greens leader says the government's decision to adopt tough new measures over processing the claims of asylum seekers makes Australia a second-rate country.

The new rules expand Australia's regulations that allow islands to be excised from its migration zone, so that even those asylum seekers who arrive on the mainland will be denied review process under Australian law.

The measures, decided on yesterday by cabinet's national security committee, include provision for foreign nations to provide information on conditions in areas from which people have fled.

Senator Bob Brown says the move is a concession to the Indonesian Government which is upset over Australia's recent granting of protection visas to 42 people from Papua.

"This is Prime Minister John Howard appeasing Jakarta, and the trade links with Jakarta and the Australian corporate investment and potential investment in Indonesia. Of course, that includes West Papua as they see it - it's so important that the rights of two million West Papuans are running a very poor second."

Senator Bob Brown.