Thursday July 14 2005 11:00am WST
For Immediate Release
"The fact that Mick Palmer does not recommend a Royal Commission into the Immigration department and the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, firms the resolve of advocates around Australia to demand a Royal Commission, and keep demanding one until there is one," WA Refugee lobby group Project SafeCom said upon the release of Palmer's recommendations this afternoon.
Spokesman Jack Smit said: "We already know how damaging the Palmer report is to the government from the leaked draft report - a copy of the draft report was sent to Project SafeCom last week - as well as from Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock's comments on ABC Lateline this week, in which he sneakily introduced his now familiar "cold-blooded Ruddock blame-shifter" with his underhand remarks which presumed blame for their 'identity identification failure' on the part of Ms Vivian Alvarez and Ms Cornelia Rau, as if they had misled authorities."
"Mr Ruddock's remarks, combined with Mr Howard's admission that he cannot rule out future failure of the Immigration Department and his appointment of staff from his own office to head the Immigration Department, make it abundantly clear that any changes within DIMIA will be merely window dressing, and that no clear and independent judicial review and scrutiny over the department will result."
"The failure of the Immigration Department is a clear result of bureaucrats, and only those who support John Howard's agenda, being sovereign in their decision making, free of what is regarded as 'unhelpful interference' by the judiciary, both by the Attorney-General and the Prime Minister. It is highly unlikely that the Prime Minister will want to end the autocratic dictatorial regime by his office by opening up of the secret rule of the department to outside scrutiny."
"Our Royal Commission demand through the petition we released eight weeks ago has been taken up right across the country, and the number of signatures is expected to rise to over 10,000 within days."
Project SafeCom recently affirmed its continuing presence as an Australian NGO well into the future - since the Tampa stand-off in 2001 it had a 'virtually' full-time operations office - and it has started to broaden its mandate as a civil response to human rights and social justice issues, starting with the support for a Bill of Rights as expressed in recent years around Australia, while it is also exploring how to support human rights and social justice education at primary and secondary schools as well as other colleges.
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]