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Monday, 26 September 2011 13:09

Asylum-seekers get some LUV

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A prominent figure from Melbourne's free and open source software community has complained to the Australian Labor Party that attempts to legalise the offshore processing of asylum-seekers are against party rules.

Lev Lafayette, who is president of the Linux Users of Victoria, has lodged the plaint with the party's office in West Melbourne as a private individual; any appeals to the party's Disputes Tribunal could only be lodged in this capacity, he told iTWire.

Lafayette issued a media release about his complaint and, as a result, figured on the ABC news on Saturday, and on the corporation's website yesterday.

In the release, he stated that the Prime Minister Julia Gillard was being "charged with a breach of Australian Labor Party rules by a fellow party member over amendments to the Migration Act".

Lafayette clarified that he had nothing against the federal government as a whole.

"This has been a very good government in nearly all significant issues. It has introduced an excellent industrial relations system. It has protected Australians from the grave economic conditions afflicting the world. It has shown international leadership in the development of the National Broadband Network and with developing an emissions trading scheme that is the envy of others," his release said.

The matter will be brought to the Disputes Tribunal which has the power to reprimand, suspend, or even expel the Ms Gillard from the party.

Asked whether it was a good thing for LUV to have a politically active president and whether he encouraged others in the group to be similarly active, Lafayette told iTWire: "I certainly encourage people to be involved in the political arena because it affects the laws that we live under and the distribution of resources.

"I think that the free and open source movement as a whole requires people who are politically involved to protect individuals and businesses from monopolistic practices of proprietary software companies, for example."

He added a word of caution. "By the same token, I do wish to caution against any form of political partisanship within community organisations such as LUV. By all means, let us have a full and frank discussion about what are the best actions and strategies that are in the interest of increasing the adoption of Linux and other free software.

"But I hope we never descend to the sort of petty politics where a person is elected or not elected to a committee because of their membership to external political organisations, or even their political views on matters not relevant to the organisation."

Lafayette was the original founder of the internal advocacy group Labor For Refugees in 2001 but says he has not held any internal positions within the party for several years.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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