A Perth professor is spearheading a push by more than 200 academics for the Federal Government and Opposition to reconsider their asylum seeker policies.
Anne Pedersen of Murdoch University said the group included many of Australia’s leading experts in refugee and asylum seeker research.
“As a longstanding asylum seeker and refugee advocate, I see first-hand what Australia’s past and present policies are doing to the people caught up in an already unjust system,” Professor Pedersen said.
“The Labor and Liberal offshore processing policies, either in Malaysia or Nauru, have been designed simply to ‘Stop the Boats’.”
Professor Pedersen said the policies did not take account of the reasons why people fled persecution in their own countries.
“Neither do [the policies] help asylum seekers find a reasonable solution to their circumstances or offer them protection,” she said.
Professor Pedersen said a letter signed by the group had been sent to politicians from different political parties, and the government’s Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers.
“Australia is a relatively rich and stable country compared with the regions from which asylum seekers flee,” she said.
“We can therefore afford to have a humanitarian policy that shares responsibility rather than shifts the burden.”
About 15 per cent of the signatures on the letter are from Western Australian university staff.
Photo: Greta Carroll