Tuesday September 30, 2008 6:30am WST
For Immediate Release
"We have absolutely no need for stupid spin and bullying statements about border security and border protection coming from the Immigration Minister Chris Evans as a small boat arrives at Ashmore Reef (Report reprinted below)", WA Rights group Project SafeCom's spokesman Jack H Smit said this morning.
"Not since World War II has any boat, no matter how small, arrived on our shores, with the intent to have its passengers clandestinely settle in our country and disappear into the community. It's time Minister Evans stops acting like John Howard, and it's time he stops uttering the nonsense lines of the widely reviled former Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock."
"Not a single asylum seeker, arriving at our shores, conform with their International rights under the United Nations Refugee Convention, has ever been a danger to Australian borders."
Chris Evans employs the same vilifying tactics as the Howard government, every time he acts like a drunk bully and starts rabbeting on about border security when an asylum boat arrives, and we're not interested in his spin."
Chris Evans just needs to do his job, and engage our obligations under the United Nations Refugee Convention with generosity, honesty, compassion and fast and due processing, especially when his chief Kevin Rudd sinks millions of dollars into a bid for Australia to get a seat on the UN Security Council. His current spin, recalling notions of illegality or unlawfulness around the arrival of this boat, does him no favours in Geneva."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]
Boat travellers taken into detention on Christmas Island
Sydney Morning Herald
September 30, 2008
THE navy has intercepted 14 unidentified people on a boat near the Ashmore Islands off Australia's north-west coast and was last night taking them to the empty Christmas Island detention centre.
The Immigration Minister, Chris Evans, said there were two crew and 12 passengers - 11 men and one woman. "Their nationalities and reasons for travel to Australia are yet to be confirmed."
He said they were expected to arrive at Christmas Island later this week, where they will be detained while they undergo health, security, identity and other checks.
The vessel was detected by the navy yesterday. It is the first unauthorised boat arrival this year and only the second since the election of the Rudd Government.
Senator Evans congratulated the navy on the "apprehension" of those on board and issued a warning against "people-smuggling".
"The interception of this group of unauthorised arrivals clearly demonstrates the Rudd Government's border security arrangements are working," he said.
"Attempting to breach Australia's borders and the integrity of its immigration system is a serious matter and the Government will continue to take robust measures to protect Australia's borders."
While the boat is the first unauthorised arrival detected this year, there were five last year and six the year before.
The Howard government created the so-called Pacific solution in 2001 to prevent asylum seekers and people smugglers reaching Australia. Many boats were intercepted near Ashmore Reef, about 320 kilometres off the north-west coast.
Senator Evans said Australia was working closely with other countries in the region to combat people-smuggling - "an insidious trade where criminals exploit vulnerable people whose lives may be put at risk".