Wednesday November 23, 2007 7:30am WST
For Immediate Release
"Kevin Rudd's avoidance and flustering performance this Wednesday in response to Kerry O'Brien's questions on the ABC's 7.30 Report on when exactly he intends to bring 72 Sri Lankans, held on Nauru for more than a year, and who already have been declared bona fide refugees, to Australia was in itself shocking enough, but his interview with Paul Kelly in The Australian showed his true colours, finally giving away the fact that the ALP has run an election campaign on the classic vilification of human rights with a "don't mention the refugees" platform, and it is deeply disappointing," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"First, Mr Rudd's lines on the 7.30 Report that he had not looked into the "contractual obligations" with the nation of Nauru was a cheap fallacy: bringing refugees to Australia from the Nauru camp has no bearing on any contractual obligations whatsoever," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"Secondly, while Kevin Rudd wants to exude a "holier than thou" attitude in saying how principled he intends to be in implementing the United Nations Refugee Convention - as stated to Kerry O'Brien - in his newspaper interview he intends to in fact tell the UNHCR Commissioner, who also represents "unannounced and unauthorised" arrivals by boat, to "bugger off to where you came from" in his hardline intent to turn boats back."
"Finally, and most disturbingly, it shows that Mr Rudd and Labor have, no matter how clever and intelligent the ALP's election campaign has been orchestrated, done nothing but played on Howard's turf all the way since the start of the campaign: the "me too" campaign was of such nature, because Labor felt it could do nothing else than grab John Howard's agenda and turn it on its head: intelligent, but still a campaign where the agenda was set by John Howard," Mr Smit said.
"The fact that Labor integrates Howard's hardline stance on refugees is nothing less than shocking, but it shows how Labor is and has been part of the problem, and not part of the solution in Australia's undermining of human rights, no matter how nicely Mr Rudd has theorised and extemporised on his theology, ethics, and principled stance. Labor will also undermine the UN Convention and keep the artificial and fallacious split between onshore and offshore arrivals in place," Mr Smit concluded.
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]