Wednesday November 23, 2011 9:00am WST
For Immediate Release
"The Deterring People Smuggling Bill, rammed through the House of Representatives within 54 minutes last week and now scheduled to be rammed through the Senate in the same manner, is one giant and filthy middle finger of disdain raised against former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his Immigration Minister Chris Evans - while its 12-year retrospective aspects ranks Australia at the bottom rung of the world's nations in undermining the rule of law," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"In 2008 Kevin Rudd's Immigration Minister Chris Evans, following nationwide consultations with refugee advocates and activists, instructed the Immigration Department to stop using the term "unauthorised arrivals", and when I inquired into the changes, the Department told me they no longer used the term because of its connotation with presumed and inappropriate "illegality" of seeking asylum using boats and arriving without prior agreement or with entrance visas," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"The legislation is a retrograde step away from the careful but decent reforms introduced by Senator Chris Evans in his role as Immigration Minister between 2007-10. It inserts the phrase "no lawful right to come to Australia" for unauthorised arrivals into the Migration Act. The insertion is one that defies all intents and purposes of the UN Refugee Convention, it ignores clear safeguards in the UN Smuggling Protocol and it is a denial of all aspects of refugee law as established in international law. If Senator Evans had any guts and moral decency he should cross the floor and oppose the laws with the Greens, the only party that has maintained its honesty and decency in relation to the legislation."
"The legislation's callous nature is further exemplified with its twelve-year retrospectivity, roundly condemned by all legal bodies who made submissions within the ridiculously short 3-day window of the hurried Senate Inquiry. As it stands, this retrospectivity would be illegal "anywhere in the European Union, the United States, Japan, New Zealand or Russia", while it would be frowned upon by "countries like India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Iran" and many other nations, according to senior ABC journalist Jeff Waters (1)".
(1) - http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-22/waters-government-immigration-bill/3685120
"The Gillard government also stands condemned for ramming the legislation through the Parliament without giving the Scrutiny of Bills Committee a timely opportunity to issue its Alert Digest before steaming ahead with the Bill. Only today the Committee, which issues warnings to the Parliament about Constitutional and human rights implications of draft legislation, will meet. Just like it has ignored all submissions to the Senate Inquiry from NGO's and legal bodies, it will no doubt ignore the Alert of the Scrutiny Committee - which may not even arrive in time. This is another sign that whenever politicians talk about boats, boat arrivals and asylum seekers, they transform into idiots and drag Australia into the sewer of dictatorship nations."
"The stench of this legislation wafts all the way to High Heaven and its stench wafts right around the world. Once again, the world community knows that Australia is The Idiot Nation whenever a boatload of asylum seekers arrives."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]