GIVE THE WEST PAPUANS REFUGE (Jan) | Sustainable Population Australia

An independent not-for-profit organisation seeking to protect the environment and our quality of life by ending population growth in Australia and globally, while rejecting racism and coercive population control. SPA is an environmental advocacy organisation, not a political party.


24 January 2006. 



The West Papuan asylum seekers who recently arrived by outrigger canoe should be 

given at least temporary refuge in Australia, according to Sustainable Population 

Australia inc. (SPA). 


National President of SPA, Ms Jenny Goldie, says the 43 West Papuans, currently 

housed on Christmas Island, clearly fit the definition of political refugee under the 

1951 Refugee Convention. 


“Once the necessary health checks have been done, they should be brought to 

mainland Australia and given bridging visas while their formal claims are assessed,” 

she says.  


Ms Goldie says it is clear that the West Papuans were facing serious persecution 

and, unlike a number of other asylum seekers in recent years, Australia is their first 

port of call. 


“We have obligations under the Refugee Convention to take genuine refugees, that 

is, those that have a genuine fear of persecution in their homeland,” says Ms Goldie.  


“Australia’s immigration program should be re-oriented towards taking in more 

refugees but fewer skilled migrants,” she says. “In the year to June 2005, our net 

overseas migration (immigration minus emigration) was 110,100 of which the 

humanitarian program was a mere 13,000.” 


Ms Goldie says that 43 West Papuans are a mere drop in the bucket compared to 

that excessively large figure of 110,100.  


“We have to reduce our overall immigration program significantly but not at the 

expense of the refugee intake,” she says. “While we cannot take every refugee in the 

world, we should feel a particular obligation to take those in our immediate region.” 


Further information: Jenny Goldie 02 6235 5488 (w) 02 6235 9190 (h)