Friday June 24 2005 0:01am WST
For Immediate Release
WA Refugee advocates Project SafeCom, while warmly welcoming the Member for Watson Mr Tony Burke to the Immigration Shadow Portfolio, want to impress on the former Small Business spokesman that the Immigration portfolio also attracts the gigantic mess and great scandal the Howard government has brought into it, and that this pandora's box of lies, public servants' bungles and redhot core of human rights abuses remains one of the most difficult Federal government portfolios in the country.
"We welcome Mr Burke indeed," spokesman Jack Smit said this morning on hearing of the news, "but considering that Mr Burke is very much a junior MP, and while we will assist him to get informed as much as we can, we also express serious concerns about the wisdom of ALP leader Kim Beazley with this choice."
"It seems that Mr Beazley still does not see that the Immigration portfolio, since the passing of the Tampa Bills around the 2001 election, remains a section of Australian politics that contains the most grave and politically charged issues, representing a blight on Australia as a nation, and the fact that Beazley chooses a junior MP for this portfolio may well prove another extremely costly mistake."
"Project SafeCom launched a massive e-mailing campaign when Laurie Ferguson was appointed by Mark Latham into the Immigration Portfolio, where we encouraged advocates to write to Mr Ferguson and share with him all the stories from Nauru, Christmas Island, and Baxter, Villawood and Maribyrnong, yet within weeks Ferguson had managed to put thousands of Australians off-side with his blunt, arrogant and often plainly stupid replies," Mr Smit said.
"The abject failure of Laurie Ferguson to bring a strong reply as an opposition representative to the Coalition government did not diminish for one single day since his appointment, and it took Beazley six months and relentless pressure from thousands of advocates, members of the Labor party and from MPs and Senators in Federal Labor caucus before he saw fit to dump Mr Ferguson."
"Today, by choosing one of the most junior MPs in his group, Mr Beazley seems to confirm that he does not take serious that DIMIA and the politicisation of refugees and asylum seekers since 2001 will eventually be recorded in history as one of the darkest decades in Australia, which will only end when the Royal Commission into the treatment of asylum seekers, refugees and immigration detainees will have completed its exhaustive and most likely exhausting work, somewhere in the near future."
"We wish Mr Burke well, said Mr Smit, "and strongly invite him to consider the tens of thousands of ordinary Australians around the country in "the refugee movement" as his strongest allies and his best tutors for the job at hand."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]