New Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has signalled a scary, renewed willingness to trump Tony Abbott in the battle to bash asylum seekers.
Rudd’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr showed last night that the Labor Government was determined to come up a winner in the shameless race to the bottom in the treatment of some of the world’s most desperate, helpless people.
Carr’s renowned capacity for demonization of asylum seekers was on show on the ABC’s Lateline program last night as he pounded out Labor’s determination to “stop the boats” no matter what the facts tell him, or how much of a failure his Government’s policy of deterrence has proven.
“Carr has dismissed Immigration Department acknowledgment that 90 per cent of asylum seekers are genuine refugees, saying, without presenting any evidence, that they were mostly economic migrants ,” said Tamil Refugee Council spokesperson, Trevor Grant.
“Any clear-thinking person – not one obsessed with short-term political goals — knows there is only one way to stop the boats and that is to stop the terror from which people flee. “In the case of Sri Lanka, Carr and his Government choose to engage with the brutal regime that terrorises Tamils and forces them to flee – and sadly the Coalition has promised to do the same if elected. “So, in effect, the Australian Government, helps keep the boats coming because it gives the green light for the terror to continue. It’s not only a cruel policy, it’s a dumb one. As so many Tamils have said a leaky boat is always preferable to a torture chamber.
“Carr’s response to the continued flow of people feeling persecution is not to assess the facts from the relevant departments, and apply them to policy, but to shift the goal posts because he doesn’t like the way the game is being played.
“Carr indicated he believed the assessments were too lenient, or wrong, and this would now change, re-iterating earlier statements from the Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor that there would be reviews of the way asylum seeker claims were judged.
“Given that this flies in the face of the evidence he has before him, Carr has chosen the politician’s “go-to” weapons in such cases – fear-mongering and de-humanisation.
“Sadly this came on a day when an inquest into the sinking of an asylum seeker boat heard evidence that Australian authorities ignored repeated distress calls from the boat with more than 200 people on board. About 112 people drowned. The inquest was told that a senior official from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority judged the distress calls to be ‘refugee patter.’ “Australia’s name is being blackened around the world because of the way our Government, and the Coalition, treats asylum seekers and refugees.
Carr’s mendacious attempts to convince the Australian people that it’s OK to be cruel and inhumane to desperate people are being exposed for what they are. This is not the Australian way of the fair go.” For further information contact Tamil Refugee Council: Trevor Grant 0400 597 351