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Some ifs, but Timor could be a solution



9 July 2010

Associate Professor Ben Saul writes on Prime Minister Julia Gillard's new proposals to deal with asylum seekers.

In an opinion piece in the Faifax Media's The National Times, Associate Professor Saul suggests the Prime Minister's proposed initiative to place a processing centre for refugees on East Timor represents a "potentially useful policy response to some difficult problems on asylum seekers."

"The proposed regional processing centre could break new ground by constructively addressing a host of hard problems at once, while still allowing asylum seekers to apply for refugee status," he writes

"If it prevented unnecessary boat journeys to Australia, saving life at sea alone would justify it.

"If it removed incentives for people smuggling, that, too, would support it.

"If those recognised as refugees were guaranteed resettlement, it might be worth it.

"Those are all big 'ifs'.

"Its success will depend on the details.

"Despite the premature, amateurish and quasi-colonial diplomacy by which it was sprung upon East Timor, under the right conditions, a co-operative regional solution could work well."

View the entirle article - Some ifs, but Timor could be a solution - The National Times

Contact: Greg Sherington

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