Expert Panel Failure: Houston, We Still Have A Problem

Project SafeCom Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Western Australia 6312
Office (08) 9881-5651
Mobile 0417 090 130

Expert Panel Failure: Houston, We Still Have A Problem

Media Release
Monday August 13, 2012 11:20am WST
For Immediate Release
No Embargoes

"The Houston Asylum Expert Panel's report [1] is largely a failure by the three 'experts', who have been unable to exit the poisonous political framework that has dominated Australia's deeply entrenched response of deterrence and punishment since boats first arrived in 1976," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.

[1] available online at

"Regardless of urgent claims in many submissions made to the panel, including from Project SafeCom, that positive pathways without deterrence in e.g. Indonesia will take away the incentive for asylum seekers to use smugglers to reach Australia by boat, the panel joins both major political parties in proposing to punish asylum seekers by warehousing them in Nauru and Manus Island, keeping open the option to deport them to Malaysia," spokesman Jack H Smit said.

"In addition, the panel proposes to punish asylum seekers by removing family reunion rights to them - a nasty form of slow torture for those who make the journey by boat."

While there are recommendations that should be implemented immediately, such as an increase of our annual intake quota from 13,750 to 20,000 and an increased effort to engage with Indonesia on a bilateral level, these recommendations are part of an overarching "offshore dumping" and "deterrence punishment" policy."

"The Expert Panel has delivered its own poison to Canberra, and its failure to exit this poisoned atmosphere marks the Panel's failure to resolve the political dilemma."

Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]

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