THE Cross-Party Working Group on Refugees took a small but important step this week when its focus moved to people, not boats, said Independent Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott.
“At a glance, the group’s public statement [attached] might not seem like much but what it does do is place the focus on the regional nature of a response,” Mr Oakeshott said.
“This is quite an important first step in finding common ground.
"Further work needs to occur to define what a regional response would look like, and I am obviously on the record pointing to the principles of the Bali Process as the foundation blocks of any agreement.
“That said, I respect the different constituencies of different political parties, and the need for all issues of border protection and human rights to be considered.
"Hopefully, we can make further progress towards an agreement at the next working group meeting on August 6.
“I also look forward to the spectrum of issues - stopping the deaths at sea, minimising the movement of people within our region and tackling the trafficking and smuggling business model – being priority issues for the Parliament when it resumes in mid-August.
“Australians want the Parliament to resolve this issue, and soon.”