In November 2001, there was going to be
a Federal election in Australia.....
Australia's Prime Minister John Howard
was going to loose this election
but then a ship appeared on the horizon...
the ship was rescuing asylum seekers
from a leaking boat called the Palapa
and it was called the M.V. Tampa
it had a captain called Arne Rinnan,
and it was a containership from Norway
in accordance with the Laws of the Sea
Arne Rinnan was bringing
the shipwrecked refugees to Australia
John Howard bugged the telephone
of the good captain; he threatened
to arrest him as a "people smuggler"
He declared a "no-fly" zone over the ship
to stop the media from 'knowing' the refugees
and discovering what really went on
He told lies to the Australian people
about horrible parents who threw
their children overboard
And he stormed The Tampa with
Australia's elite SAS troops.
He politicised the navy, the public service,
and destroyed many good laws
John Howard won that election
and 70% of the Australians applauded.
But 30% did not clap.
They started to work.
So did we at Project SafeCom.
We want a nation that honours
and accepts refugees, not one that
destroys their lives by locking them up.
The forefathers of most Australians came here by boat.
Before 1992 we did not lock up any refugees. We don't need to do that now either.