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October 15, 2009

Refugee groups condemn Ruddock and the Liberals’ refugee bashing

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Media Release 15 October
“Desperate Liberals, sliding further behind in the opinion polls, are trying to turn refugees into a political football once again. Ruddock’s comments about a ‘pipeline of 10,000 asylum seekers’ are on a par with his claim in 1999 that ‘whole villages were packing up to come to Australia’. He had no evidence then, he has none now,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“They are discredited comments from a discredited former Immigration Minister. Likewise, WA premier Barnett’s comments about denying visas to Afghan asylum seekers.

“The Liberal Party would like to start a political arms race about which party is tougher on refugees. What irks the Liberals is that any refugees are gaining protection in Australia at all. Ruddock spent his whole political life as Immigration minister trying to make sure Australia took no responsibility for asylum seekers.

“It is well established that deterrence doesn’t work. Asylum seeker numbers rose after Ruddock introduced temporary protection visas. Worse, the deaths of 353 asylum seekers on the SIEV X in 2001 were directly attributable to the Liberals polices.

Close Christmas Island

“What is needed is a welcome refugee policy. Kevin Rudd should close Christmas Island. Excision is a disgraceful monument to the Liberals’ failed deterrence policies. The vast majority of boat arrivals are found to be refugees. Christmas Island is simply inflicting unnecessary suffering on detainees. The Labor Party should live up to its declared policy of using detention as a last resort,” said Rintoul.

“Instead of spending millions of dollars on “border protection” to use Indonesia as a warehouse for asylum seekers, that money could be spent processing refugees in Indonesia and bringing them to Australia. We don’t want any more SIEV X’s. Asylum seekers have already drowned on boats heading to Australia.”

Meanwhile, information obtained late yesterday (Mon 12 October) indicates that deported Sri Lankan asylum seeker, Sarath Tennakoon was released by the Sri Lankan air force after being in custody for over 36 hours. Sarath has been left without money or documents.

For more information contact Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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