Wednesday November 13, 2007 7:00am WST
For Immediate Release
"Opposition leader Kevin Rudd needs to openly commit himself to take his razor gang into the Immigration Department and hit them hard," WA human rights group Project SafeCom said this morning, after revelations that another Australian resident was unlawfully detained and his little son deported, while Immigration officials bluntly lied to him as well as other government agencies.
"What the story of Tony Tran and his little boy shows, is that the Immigration Department, even years after the Cornelia Rau and Vivian Solon bungling and subsequent inquiries, is still stacked with public servants who fail to act swiftly and decisively to enact public accountability in their roles and actions - lawyers for Mr Tran have declared on ABC-TV how they have been waiting to negotiate settlement and compensation since January this year - and this lack of swiftness and accountability is deeply disturbing," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"Further, there are deeply disturbing similarities between the Immigration Department's officers and the handling of a terrorism suspect, the Sydney medical student Izhar Ul Haque by ASIO and AFP officers."
"In both government departments, administrative accountability and clear and open procedural adherence seems to have not only been eroded if not undermined, but this accountability and procedure also seems to have been replaced by what public servants have understood to be "the political spirit of the government of the day"."
"It is deeply disturbing that the accountability and procedural instruments have been unable to withstand the pressure of politician's interference, either in deed, by direct interference by ministers or their agents, or in spirit, where public servants "think" they will do the bidding of politicians by generating a certain outcome."
"Kevin Rudd, when he wins government, will have to do what John Howard will never do, and that is to demand, without compromise, without holding back, a full scrutiny, a full and watertight system of accountability, and he will have to kick out those officers from DIAC and ASIO, who are unwilling or incapable of the highest standard of administrative rigor and process, and he will have to declare his intent now, before the election, so Australian voters know where he stands in this and what he intends to do," Mr Smit said.
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]