Friday November 28, 2008 9:30am WST
For Immediate Release
"Project SafeCom applauds the seamanship of the boatload of 'assumed asylum seekers' who made it all the way to Shark Bay in Western Australia and sailed around Australia's Orwellian Refugee Excision Zone yesterday," WA Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"The fact that these asylum seekers have sailed into the area where the excision zone has ended (reportedly in waters south of the 23st latitude south) provides the very first test for the Immigration Minister to show heart and decency on the excision zone," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
Map of the Excision Zone:
"Will the Minister, who has repeatedly avoided dealing with the Orwellian legislation of the Howard government that sees 4,600 islands excised from the Refugee Convention's reach, since he received his Ministerial portfolio, now acknowledge that these asylum seekers should be accorded all the rights of any asylum seeker who arrives on an Australian airport and is inside Australia proper, or will he curtail the reach of Australian refugee law for the Sri Lankans and "deport" them to the Christmas Island detention centre at a massive cost to the Australian taxpayer?"
NOTE: when the Howard government changed regulations in August 2005, immediately after it won majority in the Senate following the 2004 election, Labor voted with Greens and Democrats opposing the regulation change, in a motion put by former Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett.
For details see http://www.safecom.org.au/excisionzone-backflip.htm
"It's a relatively cheap exercise to bring the asylum seekers to the Perth Detention centre and its associated brand new community detention housing units. The Minister now can put substance to his words of compassion and decency," Mr Smit concluded.
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]