Friday January 29, 2010 7:00am WST
For Immediate Release
"The mass protest of 350 Sri Lankan asylum seekers that has continued overnight in the Christmas Island detention centre can be directly traced back to the lowest political behaviour of all time by Prime Minister Kevin last year when he started a nasty period of political posturing, and when he started playing "refugee football" with the asylum seekers on the Oceanic Viking," WA human rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"As advocates have told Project SafeCom, Sri Lankans are so unhappy with delays in the processing of their claims, that one of the protest placards reads "Oceanic Viking 6 Weeks, Christmas Island 6 Months". Of course they are seeing, that when the political pressure is on, politicians can speed up the process, and that the time it takes to process claims is determined by political pressure."
"We expressed earlier this week in a press release, that the boiling pot of Christmas Island has a 'mental health clock' - following comments about mandatory detention by Australian of the Year Prof Patrick McGorrie - that stands at one minute to midnight, and we were right. This protest is the strongest expression we have seen so far on Christmas Island of the tension and the approach of that damaging process," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"Meanwhile, the opposition spokesman Scott Morrison needs more cold showers while he is visiting the tropical Christmas island," Jack Smit said. "Since 1975, over a time span of 35 years, a mere trickle of 18,400 asylum seekers have arrived by boat on Australian shores, while currently the annual number of migrants stands at about 150,000 to 180,000 per year.
"The opposition is in danger of making total idiots of themselves by continuing their attempts to set the clock back to the days of John Howard. It's time they start attacking the Prime Minister on where, how much, and how disturbingly, Australia is undermining the Refugee Convention in the treatment of boat arrivals and in the excision of 4600 islands from the migration zone and from the full reach of that Refugee Convention," Mr Smit concluded.
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]