18 Apr 2006

Australia should stop passing the buck on asylum seekers, says Democrat Senator

8:15 pm on 18 April 2006

The Australian Democrats say Canberra should stop trying to pass the buck on the issue of asylum seekers.

Democrats Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja has accused the government of "kowtowing" to Jakarta over the Papuan visas' row.

This follows Canberra's decision to adopt tough new measures over processing asylum seeker claims.

Senator Stott-Despoja says shifting asylum seekers to detention centres on countries like Nauru, which don't have the resources to deal with them, isn't the answer...

"I don't think the Pacific Solution has worked as such. It's seen our country try and undermine or at least get around some of its obligations under international treatries and conventions. So instead of trying to pass the problem on, why don't we confront it and say Look, if human rights abuses are not occuring in West Papua, or if they're minimised or stopped, that's got to have an impact."

Senator Stott-Despoja says she expects many more Papuans will seek asylum unless something's done to address the core issues in Papua.