Wednesday May 18 2005 12:00am WST
For Immediate Release
"The Australian prime Minister should get himself briefed over the right to enter Australia with the expressed intent to seek asylum, either 'unannounced', by aircraft, or by boat," WA Refugee group Project SafeCom said this morning in response to statements by the PM in Parliament yesterday, as reported in The Age newspaper (below).
"It is clear that the Prime Minister has no idea about the right to do so, or he knowingly maintains a false notion about the status of 'unauthorised arrivals', in this case the passengers of the Hao Kiet vessel that brought Vietnamese asylum seekers to Australia."
"It took an extensive project, initiated by Project SafeCom with the help of thousands of refugee advocates and run over almost a year that led to a reluctant admission by the Australian Press Council and subsequent rulings and bulletins by this Council, stating that use of the word "illegal" in reporting of asylum seekers and boat arrivals may well amount to incorrect reporting."
"It seems that the PM still has no idea that it is perfectly legal to arrive unannounced in Australia, also by boat, and do so with the intent to seek asylum. Either the PM is too stupid to understand this or he deliberately maintains a serious misrepresentation of the rights of asylum seekers."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]
Baby's parents illegals, says PM
By Michelle Grattan and Andra Jackson
May 27, 2005
People should remember that the Vietnamese parents of newborn Michael Tran were illegally in Australia, Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday, as he denied making policy on the run about where they will live.
"When their final status is determined, there is a question of whether the family returns to Vietnam," he said, adding that they could choose to go back there any time before that.
The baby was born on Monday in a Perth hospital. His parents, Minh Dat Tran and Hoai Thu Nguyen, are awaiting the outcome of an appeal to the Refugee Review Tribunal and are among 35 asylum seekers who have spent two years in detention on Christmas Island.
Mr Howard said his statement on Wednesday that the baby would not be sent to Christmas Island had been based on his department's advice. It had been told by immigration that the family would continue in community accommodation in Perth - to where the parents had come before the birth - and "there was no immediate plan to return them to Christmas Island".
Mr Howard's statement had contradicted evidence that day from an immigration official and minister Amanda Vanstone to a Senate committee. They had indicated the family would be returned to Christmas Island.
Mr Howard said yesterday that immigration would discuss the family's options with them, "which include community accommodation and possibly return to Christmas Island".
An immigration spokesman said the family would return to community detention in Perth, where they will live under 24-hour guard.
Refugee advocate Kay Bernard said the couple wanted to move to Melbourne, where they have relatives.
Asked yesterday on the ABC about the inconsistency of having some children released from detention while others remained, Senator Vanstone said each case was considered individually.