Thursday October 15, 2009 7:00am WST
For Immediate Release
"Prime Minister Kevin Rudd should open his brave heart - a heart until now only activated in a bout of "prime ministerial swearing" targeting the "scourge of people smugglers" and in a silly turn of resorting to derogatory language, labelling of asylum seekers as "illegal immigrants"," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"Instead if wasting media time with this kind of tripe, he should show some real guts and arrange a rescue flight to Indonesia to pick up the 260 Sri Lankans whose story, as related to reporters on Australian radio and television, clearly sounds worthy of a full hearing and assessment under the UN Refugee Convention."
"If it is Labor policy that boats should be stopped, that voyages from Indonesia should be disrupted, because it's such a "treacherous journey" or such a "dangerous voyage" as so often has been expressed by Labor to justify its condemnation of border-breaching boat voyages by asylum seekers, then Kevin Rudd has to start offering some alternatives in bringing asylum seekers from Indonesia to Australia - otherwise it's just another nasty John-Howard-type strategy, that sacrifices the world's most vulnerable population group on the altar of electoral advantage."
"The Prime Minister, in resorting to his nasty and ridiculous turn of phrase in the recent bout of Prime Ministerial swearing, is doing nothing more than the swearing and cursing we see and hear when an ordinary Aussie bloke hits himself on the thumb with the biggest hammer he has laying around in his backyard workshop," Mr Smit said.
"In just four days, it will be eight years ago that the boat known as "SIEV X" sank in the waters of Sunda Strait, and the boats will not stop, as we have seen since that time. But, disgustingly, the government of John Howard, nor Kevin Rudd's administration, have not come up with anything that even comes close to resolving the issue of bringing asylum seekers from Indonesia to Australia. Barking with spin and going about trying to stop boats is one thing, but coming up with a credible alternative seems just too hard for any Australian politician."
"The desperation and "urgent group claims" as expressed to reporters on TV and Radio by a spokesman for the 260 Sri Lankans was palpable, real, and immediate and visible to all Australians."
Kevin Rudd personally stopped the Sri Lankans from sailing to Australia, and he should declare immediately what the alternatives are he has in mind for these asylum seekers, who on the face of it, clearly ran away from persecution."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]