Friday September 7, 2012 9:00am WST
For Immediate Release
"Gillard Labor's reactionary, panic-driven and cheapskate populist asylum seeker policy, the latest "Ban-The-Boatpeople measure", has already come apart at the seams within the space of three weeks following the latest boat arrivals in recent days," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"Twenty-eight boats have arrived since August 14, bringing 1,633 people to Australia who are seeking protection from persecution under UN terms, but the latest policy seeks to "break the business of asylum seekers" by callously dumping them forever on Nauru - where only 1,500 places are being prepared, scheduled to be operative by November this year. At this rate, the second planned facility on Manus Island (of 500 places) will be filled up by the end of next week."
"While Gillard and Bowen's latest Offshore Processing Bill declares to have come into force as an Act of Parliament one day after its 17 August Royal Assent, Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare has been adamant to identify -- and promote so loudly in his press releases -- the cut-off date of August 13, after which date all boat arrivals are subject to deportation to Nauru, all the plans were based on the veneer-thin assumption that the "punishment news" will trickle back to Indonesia and other countries and that the boats would slow down or stop," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
The veneer-thin hope - which is illusory - of "stopping the boats" is based on years of bullying of Labor by the Liberal Coalition, who continue to manipulatively portray the fantasy that when boats slowed and stopped arriving during the Howard government's hardline 'Pacific Solution' offshore dumping period that it was John Howard who "stopped the boats" - while there is clear evidence that geopolitical circumstances formed the background of Howard's Big Boat Stopping Luck."
The Gillard government needs to tear up its Offshore Processing policy, it needs to realise that nothing but killing and shooting asylum seekers will stop their rightful, UN-rights based, expensive, desperate journeys unless we meet them before they step on leaky boats, shake their hands, look them in the eye, and - in accordance with Australia's commitment under the UN Refugee Convention - promise them resettlement and hope to end their Life In Limbo."
"Earlier this week we saw a dramatic abandonment by Resources Minister Martin Ferguson of the buy-out of the Latrobe Valley's dirtiest coal-powered electricity factories - clearly intended to not blow the Budget. Yet Australia's Asylum Seeker Paranoia provides a filthy bottomless pit of Taxpayer monies to destroy the lives of asylum seekers. We need to stop squandering the shiploads of money to torture asylum seekers and process them on arrival, in Australia, in the community, while also working with a considerable team of Immigration Department staff in collaboration with Indonesian UNHCR. Without sending in Qantas we cannot stop the boats."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]