Thursday May 26 2005 6:30am WST
For Immediate Release
"Federal ALP leader Kim Beazley should stop playing politics in relation to the Liberal backbenchers' Private Members Bill or he will risk a similar revolt within his own backbench," WA refugee group Project SafeCom's spokesman Jack H Smit said this morning.
"Yesterday, Mr Beazley announced in The House as soon as he could and in reply to the Prime Minister's fury over the liberal backbenchers' Bill that the ALP would not allow a conscience vote, and with it, he played entirely on the Prime Minister's turf again."
"Beazley has clearly given evidence that he's more happy for a "me too" position on mandatory detention because of his fears that this atrocious policy, a creation by the ALP, comes unstuck, than that he cares to undo a very deep, very serious, and and ongoing human rights crisis in Australia. Beazley doesn't have the ticker when it matters."
"This week sees an opportunity for Beazley to join with the few in liberal ranks that use a desperate democratic process to address this serious crisis. While Beazley screams for a Royal Commission, he uses parliamentary quipping and playing ping-pong with John Howard instead of talking about the real issues."
"Beazley needs to state categorically that the ALP will support the Private Member's Bills brought by Petro Georgiou and his team, because the entire plan is in line with stated ALP policy, and in addition the facts have clearly shown that thousands of people, both those on TPVs and those in detention, are at mental and psychological risk because of John Howard's human rights abuses."
"If Beazley does not do this, he also risks a situation where dissent in his own ranks of backbenchers will grow to such an extent that Labor will just duplicate the coalition with own crisis of dissent. Beazley needs to ask himself whether people such as Carmen Lawrence, John Faulkner and others are also living as ticking time-bombs in relation to what we do to refugees."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]