Saffin breaks rank on asylum issue

PAGE MP Janelle Saffin has broken ranks with the Labor Government, saying she believes asylum seekers should be processed within Australia.

Ms Saffin said the ALP's party platform supports onshore processing, although the Federal Government is still pushing for a processing centre in Malaysia despite a recent High Court decision ruling it out.

"Very small numbers come here. My view is we should hold them in community detention and process them onshore," Ms Saffin said.

"That's what I say when I am representing the Page electorate in Parliament."

Ms Saffin said Amnesty International, of which she is a long-term and active member, had calculated that at the rate asylum seekers come to Australia in boats, it would take 30 years to fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

"Fewer asylum seekers come by boat than come by plane and overstay their visas, then apply for asylum. But those who fly in have at least had health and security checks. We have to do those checks before we can process boat arrivals."

Ms Saffin said most asylum seekers were fleeing political persecution, and had been living in circumstances that most of us could not comprehend.


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