Friday August 1, 2008 7:30am WST
For Immediate Release
"The changes to Labor's immigration detention policy as announced by Chris Evans earlier this week border on amounting to a "snow job", but many reporters and organisations bought it hook, line and sinker, desperately hoping for a thorough change, and accepting it with starry-eyed glow," WA Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"Within hours the news went right around the world as an "end to mandatory detention", which was untrue - in fact, the very first of the seven principle statements issued by the Immigration Minister states that "Mandatory detention is an essential component of strong border control", a point he kept reinforcing in media interviews during the week."
"The notion that the Christmas Island detention centre, built at a cost of almost $400 million by the Howard government, would close, was part of the sensational nature of the reporting, but what Chris Evans really announced was that it would remain available as an "overflow facility" while the old centre, a less harsh facility, would be operational," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"This means that the annual costs of running the empty massive 800-bed empty detention centre, as revealed in May by the Senate Estimates Committee, will remain at $25 million. The Rudd government will keep squandering twenty-five million dollars a year to keep an empty detention centre operational. The life of the Christmas Island White Elephant will continue as before."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]