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BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor

Australian PM proposes an asylum-seeker processing centre in Timor-Leste

Primeira Ministra Australia anunsiu ona ninia intensaun atu harii sentru iha Timor-Leste ba ema ne’ebe buka aziliu iha Australia

Um centro de processamento de refugiados em Timor-Leste?

A collection of articles about Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's proposal to establish a processing centre in East Timor for people seeking asylum in Australia.

November 2010

Link to main Asylum-Seeker Processing Contents page

updated / atualiza: 18 November 2010
Wherever possible, we have included links to postings on the east-timor news list: These postings are usually plain text only and are particularly suitable for readers using computers that require small downloads.

Articles are in reverse chronological order. The newest articles appear first.

17 Nov 2010: The Guardian: Discrimination against asylum seekers dealt a major blow
"Last week’s decision of the High Court of Australia was of major significance for those who seek asylum within our shores. ... The Court did not make a finding that the current policy of off-shore processing of applications was invalid, so if it wanted to, the government could still maintain the off-shore Australian detention centres, and could also pursue the opening of another centre in East Timor, without contradicting the Court’s decision." Peter Mac

17 Nov 2010: 9 News: Aust names new ambassador to East Timor
"Australia has appointed a new ambassador to East Timor as the two countries continue negotiating over plans to build a asylum seeker processing centre in the fledgling state. Miles Armitage, a career public servant with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, will take up the post in February. ... Australia is also hoping East Timor will agree to host a new regional processing centre for asylum seekers."

15 Nov 2010: Age: Gillard's unfair 'solution'
"A strange bipartisanship now hangs over asylum seeker boat arrivals. On becoming Prime Minister, Julia Gillard confronted two stark questions on asylum seekers, an immediate domestic political issue and a profound question of policy and principle with implications well beyond our borders and the imminent election. ... On the policy question, the plan - sold as a fresh "vision" - involves exiling asylum seekers who arrive by boat to another country in our region for ''processing''. Whether that be East Timor or elsewhere, the policy is unfair and unworkable in equal measure. ... " David Manne is executive director of the Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre.

14 Nov 2010: ABC Insiders: High Court ruling will have 'terrible consequences'
"Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison discusses Australia's population and says the High Court's ruling on asylum seekers will lengthen the processing period. ...
BARRIE CASSIDY: And presumably they can use East Timor as well because there are no implications on this for, in terms of having a regional processing centre?
SCOTT MORRISON: Yeah well the problem with the regional processing centre in East Timor is it's just never going to happen. They can't get support. I'm not surprised because it's effectively an asylum magnet. Nauru can be done today. And that is the real difference between Nauru and East Timor is that Nauru can actually happen. But this judgment doesn't go to the legitimacy of third country processing. If anything, I think it actually highlights the need for it. And that's why our policy is ready to go. "

12 Nov 2010: New Matilda: Why Bother With Offshore Processing Now?
"Building yet another detention centre in East Timor is no solution — contrary to [Australian Immigration Minister] Chris Bowen’s statement yesterday that the [High Court] decision has no significant implications for regional processing. As long as the Australian government is involved in any aspect of the decision process in asylum claims, the plain message from the High Court is that it will not be easily dislodged from its constitutionally entrenched role as guardian of justice and the rule of law." Daniel Ghezelbash and Mary Crock

12 Nov 2010: SMH: Timor solution in tatters
"THE [Australian] government's plans for a detention centre in East Timor have been thrown into doubt by a High Court judgment demanding the equal treatment of asylum seekers, regardless of how they arrive. In a landmark decision, the High Court ruled that two Sri Lankans who arrived by boat were denied ''procedural fairness'' because their asylum claims were reviewed through a process unchecked by Australian law. ... ''It's unlikely the government could cure the fundamentally flawed process, as identified by the High Court, by sending people to Timor or Nauru,'' [The lawyer who led the High Court challenge] Mr Manne said." Yuko Narushima

11 Nov 2010: SMH: High Court finding no impact on East Timor
"A High Court judgment has raised questions over whether the [Australian] government can successfully process refugee claims quickly and efficiently, Acting Prime Minister Chris Evans says. But he says it does not undermine the government's pursuit of a regional processing centre in East Timor."

11 Nov 2010: TVNZ: Australia govt's immigration laws rapped
"Australia's minority government suffered a setback in its promise to strengthen border security when the country's highest court ruled today that tough laws meant to deter asylum seekers were unfair. The unanimous ruling by the High Court of Australia's seven judges will force the Labor government to reshape its policy of detaining asylum seekers on offshore islands and blocking their access to appeal courts when refugee claims are rejected."

11 Nov 2010: Australian: Offshore processing to continue, despite High Court ruling, says Gillard government
"REFUGEE claims may now take longer but a landmark [Australian] High Court ruling does not mean offshore processing of asylum-seekers is invalid, the government says. However Immigration Minister Chris Bowen today admitted today's judgment had “significant ramifications” and needed to be worked through methodically. The full bench of the High Court unanimously rejected the federal government's attempt to keep asylum-seekers on Christmas Island outside the protection of Australian law." Lauren Wilson, Joe Kelly

9 Nov 2010: Japan Times: Gillard fighting rough seas over Asian refugee flow
"Is she up to the job? That rude question is being spoken out loud by Australian voters in the wake of the first Southeast Asian tour of new Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The Australian public normally do not hold high expectations of a new leader strutting the world stage. But this one was different. Behind Gillard's first foray into international diplomacy was a down-to-earth challenge — how to stem the flow of South Asian refugees into Australia."  Alan Goodall

7 Nov 2010: SMH: Labor policy a 'three word slogan': Bishop
"[Australian government] Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop says it was premature for the prime minister to discuss plans for a regional processing centre for asylum seekers with Asian leaders because it's just a "three word slogan". Ms Bishop told the Ten Network on Sunday the government's policy for an East Timor-based facility, which Prime Minister Julia Gillard has discussed with leaders including Indonesia's president, would not transpire."

6 Nov 2010: Green Left: Gillard’s East Timor plan in trouble
"Prime Minister Julia Gillard used a series of meetings with Asian leaders at the UN Regional Summit on October 30 to lobby for her government’s proposal to build a “regional” detention centre for refugees in East Timor. She met with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh of Laos and President Benigno Aquino of the Philippines, the October 30 Australian reported. She also met with United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, who “noted” her proposal — the only outcome reported." Niko Leka

5 Nov 2010: east-timor: Timor-Leste News November 05, 2010
Timorese leaders should say yes no to Australia: Bishop Nacimento
Televizaun Timor-Leste, November 5, 2010 language source: Tetun
east-timor: [scroll down page]

5 Nov 2010: sifi news: Tamils want refugee centre in SE Asia to stop human smuggling
"Toronto, Nov 5 (IANS) The Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora here has urged Canada and Australia, which are struggling to stop illegal refugees or so-called boat people from Sri Lanka, to quickly set up a refugee centre in South-East Asia to process cases of genuine people. Thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils, who have fled to South-Est Asia during and after the civil war, are falling victims to human smugglers promising them to take to Canada and Australia."

4 Novembru 2010: SAPO Notícias: Kambera sei ajuda país viziñu sira atu hodi harii sentru refujiadu iha Timor-Leste- - PM Gillard
"Austrália hakarak ajuda finanseiramente país viziñu sira hodi garante konstrusaun sentru refujiadu ida iha Timor-Leste, fó sai primeira ministra Julia Gillard iha vizita ne’ebé maka hala’o tersa-feira iha Indonésia, hakerek ohin imprensa indonézia. Konstrusaun iha Timor-Leste konabá Sentru Refujiadus ne’e hanesan proposta ida husi Julia Gillard iha jullu fulan kotuk nó konabá projetu ida ne’e, prezidente timor-oan José Ramos-Horta dehan ona, iha setembru ba Lusa, katak ninia dezpeza sira bele ultrapasa millaun dólares 100 (habesik ba millaun 70 iha euru iha ninia kámbiu atuál)."

4 de Novembro de 2010: SAPO Notícias: Camberra vai ajudar países vizinhos para se construir centro de refugiados em Timor-Leste -- PM Gillard
"Jacarta, 03 nov (Lusa) -- A Austrália tenciona ajudar financeiramente os países vizinhos para garantir a construção de um centro de refugiados em Timor-Leste, anunciou a primeira ministra Julia Gillard na visita que efetuou terça- feira à Indonésia, escreve hoje a imprensa indonésia. A construção em Timor-Leste do Centro de Refugiados foi proposta por Julia Gillard em julho passado e sobre este projeto, o presidente timorense José Ramos-Horta disse, em setembro à Lusa, que as despesas deverão ultrapassar os 100 milhões de dólares (cerca de 70 milhões de euros ao câmbio atual)."

4 Nov 2010: Christian Science Monitor: Australia's Julia Gillard struggles to sell asylum center plan to neighbors
"Illegal immigration has long been a political hot potato in Australia, which has a lot of foreign-born residents and an economy that is increasingly integrated with Asia. Australia's neighbors aren't biting on [Australian Prime Minister] Julia Gillard's asylum center plan. ... Neither Malaysia nor Indonesia, which are key transit points for refugees trying to reach Australia by sea, have committed to the plan." Simon Montlake

4 Nov 2010: Herald Sun: Gillard could fund East Timor solution
east-timor: [scroll down page]
"[Australia's Prime Minister] JULIA Gillard has left open the option of giving money to Australia’s neighbours to help meet the cost of being part of her East Timor Solution. As two more boats carrying 144 people were intercepted off Christmas Island, Ms Gillard met with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta to discuss people smuggling. This year 114 boats carrying more than 5700 people have arrived and Ms Gillard wants to build a processing centre in East Timor as part of a regional plan to fight people smuggling." Phillip Hudson in Jakarta

4 Nov 2010: NTDTV: Australian PM Meets with Indonesian President
"Sources say Gillard and Yudhoyono discussed how to increase cooperation across economic, security, development and environmental challenges. Asylum is a major issue between the two countries. Gillard has plans of opening a regional asylum seeker-processing center in East Timor."

4 Nov 2010: east-timor: GreensMPs_Media: Lines on Immigration
"[Australian] Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on Immigration: "The Greens believe the figures that should be focused on today are 52 and 500 - the number of genuine refugees warehoused in Indonesia that Australia has agreed to resettle, compared to the number they have committed to take in discussions with Jakarta. "If we are serious about reducing the number of boats that come to Australia, the first thing we should be doing is living up to our obligations and acting as a leader in the region by taking our fair share of genuine refugees."

3 Nov 2010: east-timor: Timor-Leste News November 03, 2010
It is better to hold research before accepting Australia’s proposal: UNMIT’s Nielsen
Radio Timor-Leste, October 30, 2010 language source: Tetun
east-timor: [scroll down page]

3 Nov 2010: east-timor: Timor-Leste News November 03, 2010
A profound discussion on asylum seekers processing center needed:Academic
Radio Timor-Leste, October 30, 2010 language source: Tetun
east-timor: [scroll down page]

3 Nov 2010: east-timor: Timor-Leste News November 03, 2010
Govt should not accept Australia’s proposal: FONGTIL
Radio Timor-Leste, October 30, 2010 language source: Tetun
east-timor: [scroll down page]

3 Nov 2010: Jakarta Globe: Gillard Puts People Smuggling Top of Indonesian Talks
"Jakarta. Canberra and Jakarta had agreed to step up cooperation in dealing with people smuggling and other transnational crimes, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said during her first official trip to Indonesia on Tuesday. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he had proposed a ministerial meeting be held next year to discuss ways to combat people smuggling, including the need for a regional processing center." Camelia Pasandaran

3 Nov 2010: Australian: Jakarta says let's talk later as PM hands over $500m
"[Australia's Prime Minister] JULIA Gillard has failed to win Jakarta's clear support for her proposal to build a regional asylum-seeker processing centre in East Timor. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has instead referred the Prime Minister's plan for a regional framework on people-smuggling for consideration early next year at a meeting of the Bali Process, saying while he is open to the proposal, he needs to be convinced of its efficacy." Matthew Franklin, Jakarta

2 Nov 2010: Herald Sun: Malaysia warming to East Timor asylum planning
"MALAYSIA has agreed to have further talks about Prime Minister Julia Gillard's East Timor solution for asylum seekers, but has raised questions about who will pay for it and what implications it will have across the Asia-Pacific region." Phillip Hudson

2 Nov 2010: Bloomberg: Indonesia `Open' to Australian Proposal for Asylum Center, Yudhoyono Says
"Indonesia’s government is “open” to an Australian proposal to build a processing center for asylum seekers to reduce people-smuggling and human-trafficking in the region, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said. “We need to ensure that the regional processing center is the proper way,” Yudhoyono said after a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Jakarta today. “Indonesia is open to that, but we have to discuss this in depth.” " Agus Suhana

2 Nov 2010: SMH: Indonesia warns Gillard not to interfere in torture case
"Some officials in Indonesia have said that the centre would probably increase irregular migration in the region, not least because East Timor wants it to process people within three years, a stance that the [Australian] Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, has endorsed." Tom Allard

2 Nov 2010: Australian: Julia Gillard showing her inexperience in regional talks, the Coalition claims
"[Australia's Prime Minister] JULIA Gillard is using important foreign forums to raise her proposed asylum-seeker processing centre when there are more worthy issues to discuss, the Coalition says. The Prime Minister also appeared to be mistaking diplomatic courtesy with support for the plan during her first regional tour, said opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison." Joe Kelly

2 Nov 2010: SMH: Gillard asylum talks a 'charade': oppn
"[Australia's] Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said the burden on Christmas Island continued to grow while Ms Gillard was in Indonesia holding talks on an East Timor-based facility for asylum seekers. "Australia's failed border protection polices are the reason why our region now has a problem, and this is where Australia's attention should be focused," he said in a statement. Ms Gillard's talks with Indonesia were a "charade", Mr Morrison said."

2 Nov 2010: AFP: Australian PM Gillard to meet Indonesian leader
"JAKARTA — Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard meets Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Tuesday during her first official visit to Australia's nearest neighbour since taking office. The talks are likely to touch on economic and security issues, as well as Gillard's ambitious plans to establish a regional asylum-seeker processing centre in East Timor."

1 Nov 2010: Australian: Xanana Gusmao calls for three-way talks on Timor refugee processing
"EAST Timorese Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has proposed a three-way meeting between Australia, Indonesia and East Timor. This would be be a first step in advancing [Australia's Prime Minister] Julia Gillard's proposal for a refugee processing centre. Speaking to The Australian, Timor's Secretary of State for Security, Francisco Guterres, said Mr Gusmao had offered the suggestion during a phone call with Ms Gillard earlier this month." Paul Maley

1 Nov 2010: ABC Lateline: Malaysia not ready to endorse Timor solution
"Julia Gillard's visit to Indonesia has resulted in frustration, after Malaysia's deputy prime minister requested more information on Australia's plan for a refugee processing centre in East Timor. ...
MUHYIDDIN YASSIN, MALAYSIAN DEPUTY PM: We discussed just now that we need more information because there's a lot of implications that Malaysia would like to see how we could be in a way involved in those exercise. There are a few outstanding matters that need to be addressed before Malaysia takes its official position in this."

1 Nov 2010: NZ Herald: Bid for asylum centre harks back to crisis
"There is a sense of deja vu in Australia's bid to win New Zealand's support for a regional processing centre for asylum seekers. Prime Minister Julia Gillard is hoping to convince Wellington to back plans for a new facility in East Timor, a cause she forwarded in discussions with John Key last week at the East Asia Summit in Hanoi. Faced with continued interceptions of boats from Indonesia and the pressures they add to the fragile minority Labor Government, Gillard wants to divert all asylum seekers to a centre outside Australia and exclude them from appeals to its judicial system." Greg Ansley

1 Nov 2010: SMH: Malaysia wants more talks on asylum plan
"Malaysia says it needs to know more before it can pledge support for [Australian] Prime Minister Julia Gillard's proposal for a regional asylum seeker processing centre in East Timor. Ms Gillard on Monday met with Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin for talks on the proposal and a range of other issues." Adam Gartrell

Link to main Asylum-Seeker Processing Contents page

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