Queensland Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett condemned the move to transfer 82 Sri Lankan asylum seekers from Christmas Island to Nauru as a waste of taxpayers money that does nothing to enhance border protection or deter people smugglers.

“Australian taxpayers and asylum seekers are the only people disadvantaged by the government’s Pacific Solution,” Senator Bartlett said.

“This is a brutal, inhuman and cynical way of dealing with the claims of those seeking asylum and the public knows it.

“People smugglers won’t be deterred by a policy that does nothing to stop such ventures at its source and terrorists are not likely to be smuggled in by boat at a high risk of being locked up for years on end.

“To think that most people smugglers are going to inform their human cargo about Australia’s immigration policies or even care about their fate is simply ludicrous. Most won’t be engaged in the business of trading in human suffering because they care.

“It would be much more cost effective and humane to bring the 82 asylum seekers on-shore for processing.

“On-shore, they will have greater access to community support and legal representation. It is also essential that the claims are processed as quickly as possible so that these people can get on with their lives.

“We have witnessed the human cost of being locked up on Nauru under the Pacific Solution for years with no end in sight. It must not be allowed to continue for the sake of misguided policy that attacks the wrong target,” Senator Bartlett concluded.

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