Saturday, July 11, 2009
The great cover-up of the illegal asylum-seeker traffic to Australia is beginning to unravel.
The Rudd government’s relentless claims that “push” factors - the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, unrest in Pakistan - have been responsible for driving more refugees to our shores are proving to be hollow.
The “pull” factors - Labor’s softening of the Howard government’s hard line against people-smugglers and opportunistic asylum-seekers - remain the principal factors in the huge increase in numbers of undocumented illegal arrivals in Australia, the biggest since 2001.
Now it is revealed that a refugee advocate Ian Rintoul was in constant mobile-phone contact with boatloads of refugees even as they prepared to leave Indonesian waters for Christmas Island.
According to reports in The Australian newspaper last Friday, Rintoul acted as a conduit for messages between asylum-seekers aboard an illegal people-smuggling boat in Indonesian waters, Pakistani people-smuggling facilitators and Australian authorities.
His role came to light when he contacted the Australian Border Protection Command about the plight of passengers, including women and children, aboard an Australia-bound vessel, which contacts in Pakistan had conveyed to him.
Rintoul was in touch with both the Pakistan end of the operation and those aboard the vessel, who apparently feared for their lives and wanted to be rescued.
As the boat was still in Indonesian waters, the Indonesian navy was alerted and brought into the operation.
Although it could not locate the vessel, its passengers have indicated that they reached safety on an island in East Nusa Tenggara province.
Will the Australian Federal Police investigate Rintoul’s involvement in the incident?
Since Labor came to office, Immigration Minister Chris Evans has moved with ferocious haste to remove possible impediments for queue-jumpers.
There’s no doubt the new arrivals reaching Christmas Island, where they are assured of residency permits within 90 days, are jumping the queues administered by the UN High Commission for Refugees and bodies such as the International Organisation for Migration.
Acting under the radar, Evans has surreptitiously removed the character test that used to apply to new arrivals and protected Australians from those whose general conduct was questionable.
Shadow immigration minister Sharman Stone says Senator Evans directed the Immigration Department to disregard a person’s character, the provision of bogus documents, behaviour that was disreputable and acts that fell short of criminal fraud.
Evans’ latest direction also widens the scope of considerations to allow people who are found not to be of good character to nevertheless enter and remain here in Australia.
This may well be why the Government has done nothing about accused East Timorese human-rights violator and murderer Guy Campos, who is still at large, having entered Australia on a pilgrim’s visa for the World Youth Day celebrations last year.
Evans has significantly increased the “pull” factor for illegal entrants by changing rules that required the expectations of the community to be considered when decisions were taken on whether to refuse illegal immigrants entry to Australia or remove them from the country.
Someone who commits serious crimes against the Migration Act is no longer considered to be of character concern.
Further, this minister has personally overturned the decisions of the Migration and Refugee Review Tribunal and the courts more than 1000 times.
Yet he has claimed in his statements that ministerial intervention cannot result in a fair outcome and has stated that he doesn’t want to “play God”.
Evans has also said he wants to delegate his powers back to tribunals and the department, but has not done so.
As with so many of the public statements of the Rudd ministry, there’s a huge gulf between what is said and what is done.
The previous Coalition government managed to halt the number of unsafe and illegal people-smuggling boats attempting the hazardous voyage to Australia.
The Rudd government has abolished almost every barrier to this traffic.
It has discarded temporary protection visas, it has dropped the 45-day rule that required applications for protection visas to be made within 45 days of arrival in this country, and it has now proposed a new category of visa for those who currently are ineligible for refugee protection under United Nations High Commission for Refugees rules.
Waiving the rules for those who can afford to jump the queue, those who have been living safely for the most part in third nations and not in refugee camps, hurts the most needy: those living under blue plastic in camps around the world.
Yet once again, we see the Rudd government secretly destroying policy that clearly worked and replacing it with flawed regulation that relies on ministerial discretion.
Such flouting of the community will is doubtless going to result in increased numbers embracing unwholesome anti-immigration groups.
Simply flood Australia with as many illegal hostile aliens and impose their predominantly Muslim culture,facilitated by satellite Labor Party groups,"concerned citizens" and other fronts for International Socialism,and bingo who they gonna vote for?