New party to focus on asylum seeker policy
A new political party has launched this week with a comprehensive asylum seeker and refugee management policy at the heart of its agenda.
The new centrist Australian Progressive Party (APP) set out its asylum seeker policy in detail, while calling for comment, as it seeks to appeal to the middle ground of politics and voters disenchanted with both major parties.
The APP says its policy covers a proposal to empower local communities who want to become ‘refugee welcoming communities’ and significant reforms to processing and management of asylum seekers.
It also includes measures to change the path that asylum seekers take and reduce the demand for people smuggling.
The party says it is proposing a series of initiatives that it says “repairs the damage” done by past policies, including reversing the excising of Australia from the migration zone, ending all offshore detention, and an amnesty for everyone currently held in offshore detention or stuck in the system.
Australian Progressive Party Executive Director Kathryn Crosby, a former senior strategist with the Australian Democrats, said the policy will be open for comment throughout the week.
“We’ve started a six week Beta phase, during which we’ll be testing some of our systems, starting a lot of the committees, and recruiting more new members and potential leaders,” Ms Crosby said.
“Each week during the Beta phase we’re going to release a keystone policy for comment – allowing everyone to have a say before we finalise the policy,” she said.
The APP says it intends to “promote a classically progressive ideology, which is to seek change made possible by advances in science, technology and social organisation to improve the lives of Australians. It says this ideology is supported by five core values: freedom, progress, community, equality and openness”.
And it appears to be targeting former members of the Australian Democrats.
In her online Blog, Ms Crosby says: “As part of the background work in announcing the establishment of the Australian Progressive Party I emailed all of the old Democrats I had in my address book. A couple of thousand of them.”
“The responses to the news have been overwhelmingly positive – many people quite happily signed up as members, many more joined the email list, or fired a whole heap of questions. The old organisers sent through helpful information of who to talk to and many forwarded the information on to others.
“It’s been great to do some catching up with old friends, burying a few hatchets, and getting to know a number of people I didn’t know well before but who had perhaps just been on the email list or volunteered once,” she wrote.
The party’s other keystone policies will to be launched in December.
Ms Crosby says they will help illustrate what the party stands for and what true progressivism is.
She said all members of the party will be able to be actively become involved in the policy process through joining in one of 22 policy working groups.
AMES Staff writer