Scarlett Squire (sitting) on the roof of Peter Dutton's Brisbane electorate office with Kelly Purnell and Ellen Sargent protesting proposed asylum seeker laws.
Scarlett Squire (sitting) on the roof of Peter Dutton's Brisbane electorate office with Kelly Purnell and Ellen Sargent protesting proposed asylum seeker laws.

Scarlett's rooftop stand against new refugee plans

FORMER Maclean High School student Scarlett Squire found herself making national news on the roof of Federal Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton's electoral office in Brisbane last week as part of a protest against the Coalition's new plans to ban people who have arrived illegally in Australia by boat since mid-July of 2013.

Ms Squire said the protestors tried many different avenues of communicating their issues with asylum seeker policies before scaling the roof.

"None of that has really broken through," she said. "We send emails, call, and as the policy gets more and more extreme it becomes apparent that our strategy needs to ramp up to get the message across.

"Arguably most people have issues with how we are treating asylum seekers and refugees.

"The minister was asserting that if it was passed Australia would not be breaking international law... but that is factually incorrect.

"By actually enshrining in law refoulment, that contravenes the UN convention that we signed onto."

Refoulment refers to the forcible return of refugees or asylum seekers to a country where they were likely to be subjected to persecution.

Ms Squire added that she was disappointed by how their message had been sidelined in the media by Minister Dutton's comments about the trio wasting tax payer money.

"First of all my involvement in other political things doesn't make up my identity and I can act as a person, even if I do have political affiliations," she said.

"Looking at the billions of dollars to keep people locked up, there are so many ways you could save billions of dollars processing those people here.

"Spend tax payer dollars that benefit people in this country, bringing these people here and engaging them in our society and economy will be the most beneficial thing.

"You need to look at the bigger picture of where the money is being spent."

Ms Squire added that there needs to be a better way of presenting opposing arguments.

"We need more avenues to have that conversation," she said.



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