Alternative to Nauru
I refer to Richard Marles’s piece on Nauru (“Activists’ rumour-mongering demonises and damages our friend Nauru”, 31/10). Marles argues that were the policy of offshore processing to end then asylum-seeker vessels would again set sail from Java and many asylum-seekers would die.
It has been pointed out to Marles that the answer to this argument is for Australia to increase its processing of asylum-seekers in Indonesia and admit those whose refugee claims are accepted. But Marles has continually ignored this response. To think that stopping the boats from departing Java solves the problem is to ignore the facts. Asylum-seekers in Indonesia can’t work and can’t send their children to Indonesian schools. If they choose to risk their lives by getting on a boat, it is because they do not consider that by remaining in Indonesia they are living.
Robin Rothfield, National Co-convenor, Labor for Refugees, Alphington, Vic
Published in The Australian 3 November 2015