Monday September 26, 2011 7:00am WST
For Immediate Release
"Both Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott should be very careful to accept the briefings of Gillard Labor and public servants of the Immigration Department as "factual", where Labor seeks to convince the Independents that the Migration Act Amendments enabling the thus far failed Malaysia refugee swap deal to proceed, and they should at all times remember that the deal received outright condemnation by all of the Parliament in the Senate and in the House of Representatives before being damned also by the Full Bench of the High Court," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"The Members for Lyne and New England are highly respected members of Parliament, and they have proven that they are capable of high levels of political understanding while maintaining their fierce independence. From Mr Oakeshott we also know about his committed positioning as a refugee and asylum seeker advocate," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"The two independents should not for one second buy into the illusions peddled by the Prime Minister and the Immigration Minister that the Malaysian refugee swap deal has any relation to a regional solution in the sense that UNHCR would support such a shared responsibility for nations in the region. They can accept Tony Abbott's pretty good summation that "Malaysia is for dumping". Abbott is a high-level political opportunist, but this is an accurate summary by the opposition leader."
"The High Court has spoken, but the Gillard/Bowen Migration Act Amendment proposal to counter the damnation of Australia's Highest Court about the Malaysia proposals represents Australia's first 21st Century scandal in relation to its treatment of asylum seekers. The independents should closely follow the testimony emerging from the current Senate Inquiry, and they should, as independents, get independent advice from International Law experts and experts on International Refugee Law."
"Oakeshott and Windsor should run a mile from advice delivered by the Immigration Department too. Bowen and Gillard have gone to great lengths to peel off the scab of the eternally present festering sore in the Immigration Department's culture when things hurt. We've had recent evidence of that festering sore during the journalists briefing by Metcalfe and others, suggesting London-style riots and an invasion of asylum seeker boats. The Immigration Department still resorts to peddling its old White Australia Policy and Northern Invasion fears and bringing out the old Yellow Hordes invasion fears. These nasty aspects are still peddled by the Immigration Department, now repackaged in a contemporary jacket."
"Only one thing is important for the two independents. Australia is the only Refugee Convention signatory country in the region with the resources to process asylum seekers, and even to settle all of the pissy little trickle of boat arrivals making their way to our shores. The vile and seductive argument by Bowen and others about "dangerous journeys" and "deaths at sea" also belongs to the scandalous treatment of asylum seeker journeys by Australian politicians. Way back in the 1970's Malcolm Fraser and his Immigration Ministers already peddled the same vile and manipulative do-gooder line in relation to boats, brazenly lying to the Australian people about mortality rates at sea."
"We know Windsor and Oakeshott are being condemned by some in their electorates for siding with Labor to put Gillard in power. For once they have the opportunity to side with Tony Abbott, pander to the Liberals and oppose the Gillard government. This is their chance to do so. We hope they do, and that they condemn Chris Bowen and Julia Gillard's scandalous abandonment of asylum seeker rights."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]