Monday August 9 2004 8:30pm WST
For Immediate Release
"The ALP stands to gain an estimated minimum of 100,000 extra votes in the upcoming federal election if it becomes more explicit and vocal about the ongoing human rights abuses that have resulted from the Howard government's implementation of mandatory detention and its refugee policy, refugee group Project SafeCom commented today."
"In the light of last week's Full High Court decision, which legitimizes lifelong detention of stateless failed asylum seekers, both The Greens and Australian democrats have strongly condemned policies leading to the High Court decision, with the Democrats calling to 'close the loophole' in legislation that made this High Court verdict possible; while Greens leader Bob Brown called for the detention laws to be overhauled -- but the ALP responded with "a deafening silence" on this issue."
"Last week's High Court judgment has shocking human rights implications, once unthinkable in our country - but not since the Howard government has had its hand on the helm of 'Australia's sinking human rights vessel'."
"We can now lock up anyone for the rest of their lives, who comes to Australia, asking for asylum for various reasons. Depending on the quality - or the lack of it - of Australia's assessment of people's asylum claim, we can do with these people as we please."
"And an ongoing silence on the part of the ALP will no doubt result in an outspoken and radical abandonment of the party by the tens of thousands of voters who are part of 'the refugee lobby', and with it, the tens of thousands of Australians who would want Australia to be restored as a country that upholds the highest standards of human rights in general."
"Labor, right now, has the opportunity to bring a Bill of Rights into the equations of the election. Doing so would increase its chances of winning the election."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]