Monday, August 16, 2004

Children Overboard Affair: Howard 'unfit to lead'

The Federal Opposition says John Howard is not fit to be Prime Minister after new revelations about the children overboard affair.

A former federal ministerial adviser says he told Howard in the lead-up to the 2001 election that no children had been thrown overboard from a boat carrying asylum seekers in Australian waters.

Mike Scrafton, an adviser to then-defence minister Peter Reith, has written a letter to The Australian newspaper saying he had three telephone conversations with Howard on November 7, 2001.

Mr Scrafton says he told the Prime Minister that a tape of the incident "certainly didn't support the proposition that the event had occurred".

He says he told Howard "that no-one in defence that I had dealt with on the matter still believed any children were thrown overboard".

The adviser says he also told the PM that photographs released during the debate were not of children thrown into the water.

"I spoke to him again telling him that we didn't believe the event actually happened," Mr Scrafton said. The day after Mr Scrafton says he briefed Howard the Prime Minister continued to say it did happen.

Labor leader Mark Latham says the revelations are extraordinary. "[I'm] outraged, absolutely outraged, that the Australian people could be so badly deceived and misled in the days leading up to the last election and the Prime Minister's covered it up ever since."

Mr Latham says it is an outragous cover-up. "Mr Howard has been badly caught out and shown that he's not fit to hold the high office of prime minister in this country," Mr Latham said.

Senate inquiry

The Opposition wants to re-open a Senate inquiry into the children overboard affair.

Labor's defence spokesman, Kim Beazley, says the claims put Mr Howard's credibility in question and must be investigated. Mr Beazley wants the Senate inquiry to resume "so that Mr Scrafton can place his views before the Senate, have them considered and investigated and if the Prime Minister has misled, then he's in a very serious position".

Greens Senator Bob Brown is calling for Mr Howard to resign over the revelations.

"Defence adviser Mike Scrafton's finally become the missing link in showing that the Prime Minister lied to 20 million Australians on the eve of the last federal election," Senator Brown said.

"There's no more serious matter I don't think in politics than the deliberate deception of a nation by its leader for self-interest. That's what the Prime Minster was doing. He should resign."

Howard's war crimes, Turnbull, at least he's honest

HIGH-profile Liberal candidate Malcolm Turnbull has told voters the Iraq invasion was "an unadulterated error".

Alexanda Downer guilty of war crimes!

The agreement for going to war on Iraq carried with it and incentive and that was free trade with the US. The Howard Government knew about it and went along with it with the US under the guise of Iraq's WMDs. In criminal law this is commonly know as collusion to commit a crime.

John Howard's war crimes blameworthy

General Peter Gration is the spokesman for a group of 43 ex-military leaders, diplomats and departmental heads who have criticised the Government, saying involvement in Iraq has put Australia at greater risk of a terrorist attack.
Senate passes FTA deal amid US lies

The legislation for Australia's Free Raid Agreement (FRA) with the United States has passed the Senate, along with Labor's amendments.

By Howard Out 16 August 04


'Refugees and Indigenous People in John Howard's Australia'Politician - Senator Aden Ridgeway, the only Indigenous Federal parliamentarian, visits Villawood immigration detention centre and is a vocal critic of current refugee and Indigenous policy. Senator Ridgeway will discuss the proposed abolition of ATSIC as well as current refugee and Indigenous policy changes being fought for by the Australian Democrats. Advocate.

Forum on refugee and indigenous human rights
The long-term mandatory detention of asylum seekers not only breaches multiple UN treaties to which Australia is a signatory, it goes against the principals of any decent and humane society.

Baxter detainee continues hunger strike
A detainee at the Baxter detention centre near Port Augusta in South Australia has been on a hunger strike for a week. Sri Lankan Zeldon Daggie, 23, says he has been detained since arriving in Australia four years ago.

Senior cleric damns Baxter as 'disgraceful'
A senior world religious figure has called on the Federal Government to scrap its mandatory detention policy after visiting the Baxter detention centre in South Australia's north.

Australia's "GITMO" System
Australia's "GITMO" System In June 2002 on the PM program on ABC radio, PHILIP RUDDOCK is quoted as saying: "Well, let me just say, detention centres are not prisons. They are administrative detention. They're conducted in quite a different way." Detainees at Baxter report on a new regime instituted by Global Solutions Limited (GSL). Its purpose is to "teach you detainees to be respectful in the Australian way".

Detention centre media ban criticised
The Howard Government has been criticised in a report by media freedom advocate Reporters Without Borders for stopping journalists covering the conditions in refugee detention centres.

Compo claims could follow child detention, group warns
A refugee group has predicted a string of compensation claims, after the Human Rights Commission found numerous and repeated breaches of the UN convention on the rights of the child in immigration detention.

Child detention breaches UN convention: human rights report
A leaked final draft report by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) is calling for urgent changes to Australia's immigration detention laws.

Detention centre media ban criticised
The Howard Government has been criticised in a report by media freedom advocate Reporters Without Borders for stopping journalists covering the conditions in refugee detention centres.

Report recommends freeing child detainees
The Human Rights Commission has found that some children held in Australia's immigration detention centres have been exposed to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

No more children for Baxter, pleads SA
The South Australian Government is urging the Commonwealth not to shift any more children into the Baxter detention centre in the state's north.

Nauru staff 'fear children are next'
Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone says women and children are sitting in on a hunger strike at the Nauru detention centre, but are not participating.

Australian Govt human rights record 'worsening'
Community groups have given the Federal Government five out of ten for its record on human rights this year. Mr Purcell said the Government was also marked down because of the policy of holding children in immigration detention centres.

Here is a new project
1. Do you believe it is right to imprison innocent children?
2. Do you believe it is right to imprison innocent women?
3. Do you believe it is right to imprison innocent people?