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Candidates in marginal seats ranked on refugees

Candidates in marginal seats ranked on refugees

The Justice Project - Candidates in marginal seats across Australia have been ranked on their commitment to reforming Australia's refugee policy.

The rankings - issued by the Justice Project - are based on candidates' responses questionnaires that covered refugee policy and personal involvement with refugees and refugee issues. The responses were scored against The Justice Project's refugee policy.

Greens and Democrats consistently ranked highest in the seats, followed by Labor and independents. Only two Liberal/National candidates responded.

Justice Project spokesperson and prominent lawyer Julian Burnside QC said the rankings are expected to have a considerable impact, following media reports last week the Liberal Party could potentially lose Adelaide, Deakin and Wentworth and face a significant swing against them in other blue-ribbon seats as part of a backlash against their refugee policy.

Ranking cards for 35 electorates, including 24 marginal seats will be available on from Wednesday September 29. A Senate ranking card which ranks the major parties according to their policies, has also been developed.

"Last election, the Coalition were happy to beat the drum about refugees and espouse a policy they said they were proud of. Clearly they are no longer proud of their policy and want to duck for cover," Mr Burnside said.

"Sadly those within the Coalition who actually support refugee reform haven't had the courage of their convictions."

50% of Labor candidates responded, with scores varying widely depending on the candidates.

"Those candidates who ranked highly on the questionnaire in many instances broke with Labor party policy, particularly on mandatory detention."

They also showed a strong personal involvement with helping refugees and asylum seekers, Mr Burnside said.

"Many candidates, including most sitting Labor members were reluctant to discuss their policy and personal views on refugees. They may well be shooting themselves in the foot refugee issues remain of deep concern with tens of thousands of voters.

"The rankings are clear. If people believe in a fair go, believe in helping others in need and treating them decently, then they will now be able to vote for a refugee-friendly candidate," he said.

Grassroots groups campaigning for refugees in the individual electorates will distribute the ranking cards. This includes in shopping centres, train stations and on polling day.

© Scoop Media

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