Monday September 18 2006 - 17:00pm WST
For Immediate Release
"The citizenship test flagged by the Howard government, while it once again is a wedge policy, splitting asunder harmony and homogeneity in the Australian community, and while it harps back to the days of the White Australia policy - and as such should be condemned by all Australians - should also declare what its consequences are, when applied to people wanting to be citizens after four years," West Australian Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this afternoon.
"Will those who repeatedly fail the test after four years, be subject to forced deportation and detention to join those innocents jailed in Baxter, Villawood or Maribyrnong - or worse, join those on Christmas Island or the godforsaken birdpoo island of Nauru?", spokesman Jack H Smit asks.
Will those who fail Mr Howard's exam questions get the same "voluntary repatriation package" as reserved for asylum seekers who have been and now are locked away in our refugee prisons, with its "footnote clause" to never undertake any form of court action against the Australian government, and to not return to our country?, Mr Smit asked.
"Mr Howard makes a mockery of the Australian notion of "mateship" by purporting to define in this way what he thinks mateship is. The truth is, that the notion of mateship in Australian history did not extend just to those who spoke the Australian language. Like a leech, the Prime Minister once more feeds his policies on the thin end of the wedge of negativity, that has always permeated throughout the nation's consciousness in Australia."
"Prime Ministers before Mr Howard at best had the personal grace to 'look the other way' when this negativity reared its ugly head in our country, and this also extended to governments that were responsible to bring the White Australia policy to an end. It seems that the Prime Minister does not have or understand this personal grace," Mr Smit concluded.
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]