Thursday August 18 2005 10:45am WST
For Immediate Release
"All Liberal and National party coalition Senators who supported the abhorring migration regulations' change supporting the prime minister's "thousand island dressing" stand condemned and will be remembered in Australia's history as belonging to John Howard's Orwellian army, distorting the international rights of boatpeople," WA human rights lobby group Project SafeCom said this morning, after the motion by Senator Andrew Bartlett to disallow the excision of thousands of islands from the migration act was defeated.
"John Howard's shameful lies about the status of refugees are once more entrenched in Australian society. Instead of correcting the prime minister's power-hungry manipulation, who with his coalition MP's, greedy to win power at the 2001 election, falsely told electors that it's "illegal" to come to Australia unannounced by boat to claim asylum, and that Australia would be flooded by those illegals who would steal Australian jobs and who may be terrorists, the coalition Senators have once more shown that they have sacrificed the notion that the Senate is an esteemed House of Review, trading that notion in with ganging up with the power-hungry, and with the PM, who was not afraid to use con-man methods to win the 2001 election over refugees," said spokesman Jack H Smit.
"In two weeks time, during the weekend rallies following the "Tampa Day" remembrance protests, we commemorate the most shameful time in Australia's history."
"As if the UN Refugee Convention was not drafted to stop countries from repelling boat people, Howard declared a war on refugees during Tampa, and established his War Headquarters in the Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet."
"World history will list the scandal of Tampa right next to SIEV X, where 353 asylum seekers drowned en route to Australia, and right next to the STRUMA, the 1942 ship filled with 770 Jews fleeing Hitler, who were all murdered by bombing after Turkish authorities refused it entry, and right next to the St Louis (May 1939), the Patria (November 1940), and the Exodus (July 1947)."
"It was because of those boats, that the UN Convention was drafted. But, regardless of all the Mea Culpas from the Department of Immigration and from the Prime Minister over recent months, the Australian scandal keeps getting legislated."
"As long as this keeps happening, Australia's most powerful lobby and action group will stay alive, vocal and loud, because nothing can save this prime minister from a Royal Commission. Just yesterday more than 8000 signatures, demanding such a Royal Commission into the treatment of asylum seekers, refugees and immigration detainees were sent to the office of the ALP's Tony Burke, who will table them in Parliament next month."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]