Australian Immigration Minister accosted by Protesters - Sydney
Australian Federal Immigration Minister Chris Bowen was loudly criticised by pro-refugee activists over the government's proposed "Malaysia solution" whilst giving a press conference in the suburban area of Smithfield. Australia. 17th September 2011
Chris Bowen, Australian Federal Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, was loudly challenged by pro-refugee protesters over the controversial "Malaysia Solution" in Sydney today.
Mr Bowen was giving a press conference in a park in suburban Smithfield when protesters who had gathered outside his electoral office in nearby Fairfield arrived and loudly voiced their views.
The swap deal with Malaysia, which would have seen Australia exchange 600 asylum seekers for 4000 already processed refugees over four years, was deemed illegal by the Australian High Court on August 31.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is now seeking to make changes to the Migration Act which would make the swap deal legal, but needs support from the Opposition to do so.
Mr Bowen's Smithfield press conference was to announce details of the proposed legislation changes, but he was soon drowned out by pro-refugee protesters.
After Mr Bowen called an end to the press conference, he was followed from the park by protesters who continued to call out chants and slogans criticising the Malaysia deal and the Minister himself.
Mr Bowen invited the protesters to contact his office to make an appointment and have "a rational discussion" about the issue before departing.