Thursday March 2 2006 10:15am WST
For Immediate Release
"The hugely embarrassing gaffe this morning in the Senate, where Labor "by accident" voted with the government, opposing compensation demands put by The Greens' Senator Kerry Nettle for Ms Cornelia Rau, who was mistakenly locked up by Immigration officials for almost a year, it so shameful, that it makes us want to crawl under a rock as Australian residents," WA Rights group Project SafeCom said upon the news of this blunder (AAP transcript below).
"This enormous sloppiness shows once again, what we have seen since the day that the ALP went limp over the Tampa legislation under the leadership of Kim Beazley, and where we have witnessed on many occasions how the ALP on immigration issues, Migration Act amendments put by the former Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock, goes limp and votes with the government; we have also seen this on the appalling Anti-terrorism Bill 2005 and the attached sedition legislation," spokesman Jack H Smit commented on the astounding news.
"Time and again the ALP is missing in action and asleep at the wheel; and the safeguarding of international conventions and human rights issues is left entirely in the hands of The Greens and The Democrats, and the odd independent MP's such as Mr Peter Andren.
"The ALP, as a large party with many MPs, has manyfold the research and investigative resources than the Greens and the Democrats, yet the only safe place Australians who are concerned about universal human rights can find, is with the Greens and the Democrats, and this loss of principle within the ALP will remain the Australian Labor party's most shameful legacy since Tampa.
"Under Kim Beazley the ALP cannot be trusted as a Guardian of International Conventions and Human Rights issues, and the disgraceful state of Australia's human rights record under John Howard can be traced back largely to the fact that the ALP chooses "political opportunism" above conscience and keeping Australia safe from terrorizing governments that seek to sneak in a raft of instruments that seek to give elected politicians sole power, control and discretion while undermining reviews by the courts and by International statutes and conventions."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]
Labor votes against Rau compo in blunder
Thursday Mar 2 12:50 AEDT
Labor has voted not to give a mentally ill woman wrongfully locked up for 10 months in immigration detention compensation for her ordeal.
In an embarrassing gaffe, Labor senators crossed the floor to vote with the government against a Greens motion calling on Cornelia Rau to be compensated.
Ms Rau, a mentally ill Australian resident, was detained for 10 months before her identity was discovered last February.
She is yet to receive financial compensation for the experience.
Greens senator Kerry Nettle called on the government to acknowledge the wrong-doing and to compensate Ms Rau.
Labor, which has pursued the government and the Department of Immigration over the affair and a string of other immigration bungles, mistakenly voted against the motion.
In all, 46 senators voted the motion down, including Labor.
Just nine people, including four Greens, four Democrats and Family First senator Steve Fielding, voted in favour.
Realising its mistake, Labor asked permission to retake the vote.
The second time around, it got it right.
But the outcome was the same; the motion was lost 32 votes to 34.
Nationals leader in the Senate Ron Boswell was also forced to call for a repeat vote on a motion congratulating the government on lifting the cap on full fee-paying university places in medicine.
The motion was initially lost 31 to 33 because there were not enough government senators in the chamber to carry it.