Thursday December 1, 2011 10:00am WST
For Immediate Release
"The overnight arrival of two asylum seeker vessels denotes the 600th (and 601st) boat arrival on our shores since April 1976, and it's about time that the infantile politics of xenophobia and the peddling of callous and manipulative asylum seeker hatred ends for good - right around the country," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"Since the first small vessel arrived from Vietnam in April 1976, 30,750 asylum seekers have made it to our shores - representing less than a third of a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground stadium. Everyone, be they politicians, church spokespeople, radio shock jocks, newspaper or television editors or reporters, who sensationalises this trickle of maritime arrivals or who uses this teeny trickle of arrivals (less than one per cent of the world's refugees) to get more votes or sell more newspapers, is less than the worst second-hand car salesman and more opportunistic than a nasty manipulative dictator who sells children into slavery," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"On average, the 601 boats that arrived since 1976 have brought us 51 passengers per vessel, they brought 878 passengers per year and they did so using 17 boats per year. It is time that we drive the poison from the Australian Parliament and that we commit the billions of dollars of squandered taxpayer funds in useless and damaging policies that damage human beings to better things - things that bring the nation respect and good standing in the world community and in the United Nations. What we have done thus far around boat arrivals has produced nothing more than the rotten stench of xenophobia, and has produced nothing more than manipulative and hypocritical debates, false claims about "queue jumpers" and confected outrage about smugglers - who are the only agents around the world who assist refugees to reach the shelter of Australia as a UN Refugee Convention signatory."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]