The NSW Council for Civil Liberties condems the appalling decision, by Immigration Minister Ruddock to transfer 53 potential Vietnamese asylum seekers to HMAS Canberra, and then send them to Christmas Island. The asylum seekers must be immediately transferred to the Australian mainland and provided with full legal representation.
NSWCCL President, Mr Cameron Murphy, said: --
"These people have entered Australia's migration zone and are therefore entitled to seek asylum."
"There is nothing illegal about the status of these people. They are entitled to seek asylum in Australia and the government must provide them with their full legal rights."
"We all know that the federal government policy of excising migration areas from Australia is absurd and will just encourage people to travel further, in dangerous conditions, in order to seek asylum. This episode clearly demonstrates the stupidity of this policy."
"The fact that the government has chosed to tow the boat to Christmas Island shows us that excising migration areas from Australia just doesn't work."
"Minister Ruddock was clearly trying to lie - pretending that these people had not legally entered Australia's migration zone by towing them back out to sea, and then to Christmas Island."
"These Asylum seekeres must be transferred to the Australian mainland immediately."
"There is nothing tough about this government's policies on asylum seekers. It just costs a fortune, targets the weak and hurts children."
For further information contact:
Cameron Murphy, NSWCCL President: 0411 769 769