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May 12, 2011

AS GILLARD MORPHS INTO HOWARD, REFUGEE PROTEST: “RETURN OF THE LIBERAL DEAD”

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

The Refugee Action Coalition is holding a “zombie” protest at the Sydney Department of Immigration offices, 22 Lee Street, City, beginning 12.30pm Friday 13 May. Zombie masks of John Howard and Philip Ruddock will be a feature of the protest.

The protest has been given a zombie theme to highlight the fact that the Gillard Labor government has brought ‘back to life’, the failed Howard polices of temporary protection visas and the Pacific (ie Malaysia) solution, almost four years after they were thought to be dead and buried.

“At the moment the only policy that separates the Gillard government from the Howard government is that refugees in Australia gain permanent protection instead of temporary visas (TPVs). But Chris Bowen’s threatened legislation to only allow TPVs for any refugee convicted of a criminal offence while in detention has puts TPVs back on the agenda,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“We will be protesting in support of the people taken to Silverwater prison and charged after the recent protests at Villawood. While 15 of the 22 taken to Silverwater have now been transferred to either Villawood or Maribynong detention centres, seven asylum seekers are still being held in high security section of the Silverwater jail. To threaten these asylum seekers with TPVs is a travesty.

“People are protesting in Villawood, Christmas Island and Curtin because the conditions have become intolerable.

“The Malaysia solution announced this week to return 800 asylum seekers from Australia to Malaysia is in some ways even more cruel than Howard diverting asylum seekers to Nauru. Nauru. While we welcome the fact that 4000 refugees from Malaysia will be bought to Australia over the next four years, the price of violating the rights of 800 asylum seekers is too high,” said Rintoul.

“A grass roots movement delivered ‘a stake to the heart’ of John Howard policies in 2006, and 2007. We are determined that those policies will not haunt the streets or stalk the lives of refugees again. The refugee movement is just as ready to deliver a ‘stake to the heart’ of Chris Bowen TPVs and Julia Gillard’s Malaysia solution.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul mob 0417 275 713

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