NATIONAL: Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young says the federal opposition’s new policy on asylum seekers will make some people in the Liberal Party feel ashamed.
On Saturday, Mr Abbott said under a coalition government, asylum seekers believed to have destroyed their documents before arriving in Australia will earn a presumption against refugee status.
Senator Hanson-Young said the new policy beggars belief and is a contradiction of Australia’s obligations under the refugee convention.
“The guidelines to the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) are very clear that we need to be able to give the benefit of doubt to people,” she told Sky News on Monday.
“And unless you can prove that people have destroyed their documents deliberately in a way to mislead then we should be giving them the benefit of the doubt.”
Senator Hanson-Young said people arrive without documents for a variety of reasons.
“When you’re fleeing brutality, working out what papers you have as you flee the front door with your family is probably not at the top of people’s minds,” she said.
“And the idea of punishing those people just because Tony Abbott wants to look tough, really, I think there’d be many in his party who would be pretty ashamed with the announcement he’s made on Saturday.”