13 Feb 2015

Fraser criticises Aust Govt's detention policy

3:58 pm on 13 February 2015

A former Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Fraser, has criticised the Government's response to a damning report on children in detention as disgraceful and based on a lie.

Mr Fraser, who was Liberal Party Prime Minister when a flood of asylum seekers from the Vietnam War tried to enter Australia in the 1970s, says the current Liberal government has chosen a policy it knew would cause harm to children.

He says that if Tony Abbott's Government had worked with regional neighbours and the United Nations to process people in offshore centres in Malaysia or Indonesia, then there would be no market for people smugglers and perilous boat journeys.

Mr Fraser says the government has chosen an inhumane way to stop the boats, when there is a a decent and proven way of achieving a much better result.

He says the attack on the integrity of the Human Rights Commission and its President, professor Gillian Triggs, for Wednesday's report is only to be expected of a Government that uses bullying as a default tactic to make it easier to ignore the commission's report.