Refugee and Immigrant Rights

The internal rifts inside the Liberal Party means the task of building a stronger socialist left in this country is even more urgent.

And so it begins — an offensive, on behalf of the Australian ruling class and corporate interests, to steal the future from the majority of Australians, to dismantle what remains of our social welfare system, in order to carry out, in the words of Treasurer Joe Hockey, "the government's solemn duty ... to build a stronger Australia".

Bellicose and racist jingoism is the last refuge of scoundrel Prime Minister Tony Abbott. His February 23 “National Security Statement” was blatant incitement of hatred, bigotry and suspicion against Australia's Muslim minority.

The impacts of neo-liberalism, including rising unemployment (up to 25% in areas like Broadmeadows), the crisis in housing; cuts to social services and attacks on workers' rights, provide fertile ground for the far right to organise, if left unchallenged by the progressive movement.

Sue Bolton explains that there needs to be a strong response against racism and racist scapegoating. But to really undercut right-wing populism, the left needs to put forward a political and economic alternative and fight for it.

If we’re going to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe on Manus, the campaign will need to broaden out, escalate and challenge Labor's bipartisan support for cruelty.

With the re-election of the Coalition government, conservatives have become emboldened to intensify their agenda of transferring even more wealth and power to the already dominant at the expense of the rest of us.

Forty-eight hours to send newly arrived refugees back the way they came and a plan to conceal when boats are “turned around” at sea, were among immigration minister Scott Morrison's statements at his first weekly briefing under “Operation Sovereign Borders” on September 23.

At Geelong's Walk Together rally on October 25, Labor's shadow immigration minister Richard Marles told the crowd Labor would “welcome” refugees.

The global refugee crisis has its roots in the wars waged by global powers for resources and territory. These conflicts have left millions of people displaced and driven hundreds of thousands to seek safety and protection in countries like Australia.

The good turnout to national rallies on August 27 and 28 shows the refugee rights' movement is starting to gain political ground. A number of pro-asylum seeker groups are forming to force an end to the cruel policy of locking up refugees in offshore detention.

While Phelps is no candidate of the left, her victory is a huge morale boost for those movements that have been fighting against the Coalition government.