LIBERAL MP for McMillan Russell Broadbent has described complaints about the government’s immigration policies from refugee support groups as “whinging” and suggested the groups could be more constructive.
Above: Russell Broadbent.
First published in the 13 February edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen. Get your copy today from retailers across Baw Baw.
The federal MP, alongside two Liberal colleagues, famously threatened to vote against what he saw as cruel refugee policies pushed by then-prime minister John Howard in 2006.
Talking to the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen, Mr Broadbent said he would support the hardline policies of Tony Abbott until he was given an alternative.
WBBC: The policies coming out at the moment are being highlighted by refugee action groups as being inhumane and you seem to be supporting those policies.
RB: Well they are inhumane, they are supported by both parties at all levels, and my question to those refugee action groups, after they’ve had their scream, after they’ve whinged about human rights, after they have acknowledged that there are flaws in Australia’s treatment of refugees, I then say to them: what is your solution?
WBBC: I think a lot of them have a solution of onshore processing and integration into the community.
RB: Yes, but we have to have very strong border protection which I’ve always advocated for. We have to have a system that’s fair on all people, and we have to have a system that does not allow people who are not refugees at all into this country, which has happened. I know the refugee action groups say this is appalling, I agree! But we must have a responsible answer to Australia’s immigration.
WBBC: At the moment there are people who are legitimate refugees who are ending up in PNG and not Australia under this government’s policies.
RB: There’re legitimate refugees all over the world, they’re called displaced persons. That’s an issue that Australia as a nation has to grapple with. It’s a complicated issue, I’m quite prepared to have long discussions with people about it. But I’m very interested in their solution, not just their criticism of the federal government.
WBBC: Are you hoping there will be a change of policy with the change of minister, or are you happy with the policies as they stand?
RB: I’ve never been happy with the policies as they stand, but I’m also seeking solutions.
WBBC: Some people will look to your history of taking a stronger stand and will wonder what it is you’re doing at the moment?
RB: That is exactly what I’m doing, I’m saying to people criticise me, criticise [the parties], but give me a solution.
WBBC: There are solutions being offered.
RB: There are not solutions being offered. There are suggestions that we take in more people, that we take it from 13,000 to 30,000. Good idea! What do you do with 30,001? I’ll leave you with that.
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