Friday May 4, 2007 7:30am WST
For Immediate Release
"The plans announced by the Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews as reported in the press overnight, give the impression of another 'Golden Shekels' attempt to not just block any entry into Australia of asylum seekers attempting to reach Australia because we have signed the Refugee Convention, but more disturbingly, of a liberally funded attempt to make Indonesia into Australia's warehousing centre," WA Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"This initiative has all the hallmarks of carting bucketloads of money to Indonesia so it will do Australia's bidding and warehouse refugees who want to make the crossing into Australia," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"The Immigration Minister just repeats its hypnotic mantra of people smugglers and illegals - Andrews has repeated this magic mantra already hundreds of times in the lead-up to another election, hoping it has still traction with the electorate."
"Kevin Andrews is worse than the Sandman, as he has already shown in his Blogging failure in the press, in The Australian as well as the Daily Telegraph, during the month of April: his writings about the government's US Refugee swap deal have been condemned by hundreds of Australians in their online responses to him."
"The government plans to double the amount of money thrown at the International Organisation for Migration, but it also gives an extra half a million dollars to UNHCR in Indonesia, hoping that the UN Refugee Agency will do processing in Indonesia without being critical of Australia shirking its responsibilities."
"This is another example of the Howard's government's money-throwing games in Immigration, a government that does whatever it takes to avoid its local responsibilities."
"And rather than call anyone a people smuggler when it suits him politically, the Minister should remind himself that many of those who organise boat voyages are not people smugglers at all, but friends or family, as many smuggling court cases in Australia, that have come unstuck in the last five years, have shown conclusively."
"No matter what bucketloads of money and hypnotic terminology the Minister may throw around during his term in the portfolio, it is not illegal to make the crossing into Australia, as millions of backpackers and tourists can tell him. Indonesia is not a UN Convention signatory, and a refugee is NEVER home until a Convention country has been reached," Mr Smit concluded.
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]