Wednesday May 5, 2010 7:30am WST
For Immediate Release
"Newly proposed Anti-People Smuggling Laws that include a deliberate design to undermine the definition of what constitutes smuggling (the 'financial benefit' clause) as defined in the United Nations Smuggling Protocol, so that in Australia anyone organising refugee voyages 'for love or for money' can be jailed, are likely to pass without any protest of the Liberal opposition during next week's busy Parliamentary sitting week," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee published its report yesterday evening - it is accessible online here:
"With the exception of The Greens, the entire committee has blatantly ignored all highly valid, legally founded and clearly argued recommendations of Australia's senior legal bodies and civil society. At the hearings two weeks ago, refugee law expert Dr Mary Crock told the committee that in the ten years she has testified before it, she has never seen such a badly drafted law as the one under question," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"If the Uniting Church, Amnesty International or the Red Cross organises a boat to extract groups of people from war zones, they will be applauded around the world, and such an act would be likely to be feted in Refugee Convention countries such as the USA, the UK and Canada when they will enter their harbours - but in Australia the crew, captain and organisers will be prosecuted and jailed as people smugglers from next week."
"With this ghastly law, Australia makes vile criminals out of humanitarian heroes, international aid organisations and out of refugee leaders who have enough character to gather their family or ethnic group around them, collect enough money and organise a boat to flee to safety."
"Even more graphically, Qantas Captains will end up in our jails if they have, unbeknownst to them, a stow-away on board or a passenger with a false passport trying to come to Australia to submit to authorities, confess about the false passport and tell them they're seeking protection under the UN Convention."
"Next week another day of shame comes around for Australia. Kevin Rudd, the refugee jailer who aligns with his God to throw smugglers in Hell to Rot forever, will join with Tony Abbott who lies about the United Nations Refugee Convention rights around boat arrivals. Neither Rudd nor Abbott have the heart to be decent about refugees when they arrive by boat."
"While Kevin Rudd has made much mileage out of claiming that Australia's international name and standing was damaged during the Howard years and its hardline treatment of refugees, he has now promoted our country to become a laughing stock in the international community."
Everybody who knows the issues will now be able to say that "in Australia they jail everyone as a people smuggler, because down-under, the country that became part of the British Commonwealth through the pretty much 'illegal' boat arrivals of the First Fleet, they sh*t their pants every time a boat arrives, and the whole country goes ape-sh*t about it - and Australian politicians always use that for their own electoral advantage."
"Both major parties are with this legislation brazenly peddling and marketing the falsehood that it is illegal to carry asylum seekers running away from persecution across Australia's border. As many submissions to the committee have made clear, including Project SafeCom's submission, the laws undermine Australia's international obligations under the UN Conventions we have signed."
"From next week Kevin Rudd will jail for up to 20 years his biggest hero and spiritual example in life, German pastor and peace activist Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was arrested by the Gestapo in 1943 for having smuggled 14 Jews from the Nazi regime to safety in Switserland."
"This week I will be burning a copy of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's article "Faith in Politics" on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as published in The Montly in October 2006," Mr Smit concluded.
Time: May 7, 7:30pm-7:45pm
Location: Perth Airport Immigration Detention Centre, Cnr Baker & McComb Road, Redcliffe WA 6104 (opposite boom gates to short term parking at the Perth Domestic Airport)
Event Title: All Night Perth Airport Detention Centre Vigil
Date & Time: Friday, May 7, 2010 6:00pm - Saturday May 8, 6:00am
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]