Wednesday August 2, 2006, 07:30am WST
For Immediate Release
"The decision to 'farm out border control' to private operators will soon set the scene where no citizen or conscientious parliamentarian will ever know about any asylum seekers attempting to reach Australia in their genuine hope for United Nations protection by Australia," WA Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"There is no doubt that private operators currently called for through tender processes - as reported by ABC News, see below - under the Howard government's "preferred" methods of dealing with refugees and asylum seekers will have their 'private agreements' with the Australian government governed by "commercial in confidence clauses" and perhaps even special secret performance bonuses for deterring, turning back, and perhaps even doling out punishing torture assisted by the use of a variety of weapons, ranging from the custom-fitted threatening machine guns to Taser guns, stun guns or electrical prods," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"Now that the Senate Inquiry system that up till recently provided some after-the-fact measures of accountability, has been deliberately gutted by the government, no measure of public inquiry will ever be necessary.
"A private operator, patrolling the northern coastline and waters, just needs to suggest its accompanying Defence and Customs personnel disappear below decks, telling them that "all is well and quiet" and to "keep playing cards", while it under the terms of its contract deals with what this abysmal government keeps calling "illegal immigrants" to keep its sickening spin alive," Mr Smit said.
"We know what arrangements with private operators of detention centres, medical services and psychological health provision have led to in the last five years in detention centres.
"Everyone should be alert and alarmed about this arrangement, and Labor should hammer on its intent for a coast guard, and it should oppose these proposals and instead share with Australians how its coast guard deals with asylum seekers, and Labor should also on this issue vigorously define its "opposition of difference" with this disastrous plan."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]
Govt wants private boat to patrol northern waters
ABC ONLINE NEWS
Tuesday, August 1, 2006. 6:44pm (AEST)
The Federal Government has has decided to hire a private patrol boat to search for illegal fishing boats in Australia's northern waters.
The Government says the boat will act as a mother ship, detaining suspected illegal fishermen.
It is advertising a $17 million contract for a private boat that will be fitted with machine guns and used to patrol the waters off the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
The Government wants a boat and a civilian crew, who will be accompanied by up to 30 customs and defence personnel and be able to take to the water in January next year.
The Government says the boat has to also be able to hold up to 30 suspected illegal fishermen, and be fast enough to chase and catch foreign boats, even into international waters.
The tender says it would be desirable if the patrol boat had a fitness centre for 30 people.