There is a push from the Labor Party’s left faction to have the party adopt the Greens policy of increasing Australia’s annual refugee intake to 50,000 at Labor’s upcoming national conference in July. The push is being led by left faction co-convenor federal MP Andrew Giles and the internal lobby group Labor for Refugees.
Labor already has a policy to increase Australia’s refugee intake to 27,000 by the year 2025. Any change in policy has to go through Labor’s National Policy Forum and would need the backing of the party leadership. So far it has been put in the maybe pile but the proposal from the left and Labor for Refugees promises to be strong.
Labor for Refugees proposed policies are more than doubling the current refugee intake, bringing all refugees on Nauru and Manus Island to Australia and holding a Royal Commission into Australia’s immigration detention system.
Drastically increasing Australia’s refugee intake would appear to contradict the Labor Party’s alleged bipartisan support for Australia’s offshore processing of asylum seekers and boat turnbacks. It would also contradict those Labor figures such as Luke Foley who support a cut in Australia’s overall immigration intake.
Such an increase in the immigration intake by a future Shorten Labor Government would no doubt invite the people smuggling trade to resume. We have not had an unauthorized boat arrival to Australia for over three years but any sign of weakness from our government would be pounced upon.
Many suspect that despite Shorten’s stated support for the current mandatory detention policy he would soon capitulate to the party’s left in government. It is certainly a policy weakness that could be pounced upon by the Turnbull Government if they had the tenacity to launch an effective attack campaign at the next election.
This renewed push by Labor’s left to basically copy a Greens policy is also another sign of just how far left the Labor Party has become over the past decade. We saw in the Batman by-election Labor trying to out-left the Greens to win the seat. Our strong border protection policies are certainly under threat from this proposal.