Christmas Island administrator wants end to bickering


September 24, 2011 10:44:46

Christmas Island administrator Brian Lacy says the community deserves certainty.
Christmas Island administrator Brian Lacy says the community deserves certainty.

The administrator of Christmas Island has called for an end to political squabbling over the processing of asylum seekers.

The Federal Government and the Opposition are blaming each other for the arrival of two new asylum seeker boats.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard blames Tony Abbott because the Coalition will not support the Government’s plans to allow offshore processing in Malaysia.

But the Opposition has rejected the criticism and says the Government should recall Parliament to deal with the proposed changes to the Migration Act.

Christmas Island administrator Brian Lacy says the community deserves certainty about how the issue will be dealt with.

“It’s not the sort of thing we should be squabbling over,” he said.

“While the parties continue to squabble over it there are people who are putting their lives at risk by coming out into this big ocean which is not always that generous or friendly to people that actually come out in small, leaky boats,” he said.

Mr Lacy says a regional approach is needed to tackle the problem.

MPs and Senators will return to Canberra in a fortnight to debate the legislation, which would pave the way for the asylum seeker deal with Malaysia.

The minority Government crucially needs the Greens’ support in the Upper House, and that does not look likely to happen.

The Greens say that is because they do not agree with offshore processing of asylum seekers.

Greens spokeswoman Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says there has been a hysterical response to the new boat arrivals from both sides of politics.

“I think we need a bit of a reality check,” she said.

“When the Prime Minister holds a press conference because two boats have arrived, full of desperate needy people, not to breach our border but to invoke the protection of our borders, we need to hose down the hysteria.”


stories from Western Australia

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