Labor leader Bill Shorten’s parliamentary colleagues are pushing to make is easier for gay and transgender asylum seekers to get refugee status in Australia.
Federal MPs and party members from Labor’s increasingly powerful Left faction are preparing to put forward a motion at July’s national conference in Adelaide to change Australia’s migration laws.
The Department of Home Affairs has warned such a move could see fraudulent refugee applications from places where same-sex attracted people are given the death penalty.
New South Wales senator Doug Cameron, an Opposition frontbencher from Labor’s hard-Left faction, said Australia had an obligation to help asylum seekers facing persecution.
‘Australia’s a signatory to the various treaties so they’ve got an obligation to do this anyway,’ he told Daily Mail Australia today.
Fellow left faction MP Graham Perrett, who holds the marginal Brisbane-based seat of Moreton, said Australia should never send any asylum seeker home to be killed over their sexuality.
‘I’m never in favour of any policy that sends people to their death as any decent Australian would be,’ he told Daily Mail Australia, clarifying the existing Migration Act was sufficient to protect gay foreigners.
In places like Iran, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia, homosexuality is punishable by deaths under an Islamic sharia law legal system.
However, the Department of Home Affairs headed by cabinet minister Peter Dutton said making it easier for gay or transgender foreigners to get asylum could lead to a rush of fraudulent applications for refugee status.
‘Offering blanket protection to a group of individuals has the potential to encourage large numbers of un-meritorious applications from those who would seek to abuse the protection program to extend their stay in Australia,’ a spokesman told News Corp Australia.
‘This would risk reducing public confidence in Australia’s humanitarian program and redirect resources from those applicants truly in need of protection.’
Labor’s Victorian branch at the weekend shut down a state conference debate, after Labor for Refugees put forward a motion to impose a 90-day limit on offshore detention at Christmas Island, Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
The party’s national conference had been scheduled to be held on July 28 but this is likely to be postponed so it can fight by-elections in the Labor-held seats of Longman, Braddon and Fremantle.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has said on numerous occasions that Labor was committed to offshore detention.
Source: Daily Mail Australia