Media Release: Thursday, 10 August, 2006

Jim Wallace, Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby called for the Senate to demand changes to the Migration Amendment Bill, after its passage through the House of Representatives today.

“ACL is not opposed in principle to offshore processing. It has clearly deterred people smugglers and so saved hundreds of lives that would otherwise have been lost to the industry that putting people in leaky boats had become,” said Mr Wallace. “ But this Amendment puts Australia in the position that it will not necessarily accept even proven genuine refugees. We cannot see this as befitting a Christian country,” he said.

“The ACL calls on the Senate to amend the legislation to ensure that we:

? Are prepared to accept people proven to be genuine refugees into Australia;

? Limit the time that these people wait to be accepted by either a third country or Australia, so that it is consistent with the philosophy of the previous private members bill on detention; and

? Provide for inspections and oversight by not only the Ombudsman, but relevant NGOs.”

Contact: Jim Wallace