Thursday, July 28, 2011

Opposition urges caution on Manus asylum seekers

The Opposition today called on the Government to treat with caution Australian government's indication of using Manus as the asylum seekers' processing centre again.

Deputy Leader of Opposition and Bulolo MP Sam Basil said that limited enforcement capacity in key authorities like customs, police, Port Services Ltd and immigration had resulted in reports of illegal immigrants arriving onshore in PNG and disappearing.

"Given our nation's vulnerability, bringing in active asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea poses a real threat of having unknown illegal immigrants escape into the nation," Basil said.

"Both Australian and PNG authorities must discuss intensely and intimately the potential dangers and implication of re-using the Manus processing centre before a final decision is made.

"The last thing Australia – and PNG – needs is to allow unidentified potential terrorists, guns-for-illicit drugs smugglers or even people smugglers to escape and build hives in Papua New Guinea."

The Bulolo MP said that he appreciated the economic returns this could mean for Manus and other commercial suppliers in the country.

 "I also recognise the gesture of goodwill this can be to Australia as the largest developmental partner and investors over the years to PNG," he added.

"However, what I fail to understand is why Australian does not want to use its own vast landmass and offshore islands, backed by a superior police, military and naval force, to process the asylum seekers who, after all want to enter Australia.

"Naturally, they should be contained and processed in Australia instead of Australian Government trying to enlist and endangering a smaller developing country like ours.

"At the end of day, a foothold in PNG is a terrorism beachhead that Australia would not want.

"Isn't that the reason for Australia's role in the Second World War in our seas, shores and jungles?

"I urge the PNG Government to weigh all issues related to this carefully and ensure that national interest and national security plays a paramount role in the final decision they make."

No comments:

Post a Comment