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Asylum seeker policy offensive and reprehensible

Asylum seeker policy offensive and reprehensible

The Rudd Government's controversial decision to freeze the processing of visa applications for Sri Lankan and Afghani asylum seekers has been labeled offensive and reprehensible by the…

The Rudd Government's controversial decision to freeze the processing of visa applications for Sri Lankan and Afghani asylum seekers has been labeled offensive and reprehensible by the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

The ALA joins a growing number of humanitarian and political groups labeling the decision discriminatory and contrary to the rule of law.

"It is a fundamental tenet of the Australian judicial system that our laws apply irrespective of race or nationality and our constitution is based on prohibiting such discrimination since 1967," said Greg Barns, director of the ALA, in a statement released today.

"The Rudd Government's decision is further evidence of the need for greater human rights protections for all people who come within the Australian jurisdiction."

While speculation of an impending legal challenge mounts, the Rudd Government continues to defend its decision to suspend visa processing in an attempt to stop the flow of illegal boats carrying asylum seekers.

According to the ALA, a legal challenge to the validity or otherwise of the decision would not be unexpected.

"It would be no surprise if today's decision is challenged on the basis of it being offensive to our principles of administrative law such as fairness and natural justice," he said.

The Rudd Government's decision is based on reports that conditions in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan are improving to the extent that people should no longer have to seek asylum in Australia.

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