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National Observer Home > No. 52 - Autumn 2002 >Editorial Comments

Mr. Phillip Ruddock: A Conscientious Defender of Australia's Sovereignty

Mr. Philip Ruddock, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, bears perhaps the most difficult government responsibilities today. He is beset by some of the most unpleasant manifestations of political correctness.

On the one hand Aboriginals must today be permitted to complain, however inaccurately, and on the other hand, Aboriginals must not be criticised in any respect, whatever their faults.

Similarly, it is politically correct to support illegal immigrants, even though in many cases they have criminal records, have deliberately destroyed their identification documents and are reported to have scuttled boats (putting their children at risk) in order to compel Australian ships to take them on board.

Amongst all these difficulties Mr. Ruddock has maintained a firm and dignified public position. When questioned by predictably hostile elements in the media he has responded accurately and convincingly, and has marshalled the relevant facts in such a way as to rebut unfounded criticisms and defend Australia’s record in regard to illegal immigrants and Aboriginals.

Recently he made a statement to National Observer in the following terms:

“The Australian Government recognises that people in fear of their lives will want to seek a safer place to live. As part of its contribution to the global community, Australia maintains significant humanitarian and refugee visa programmes – programmes under which people in need of protection can seek re-settlement in Australia. This results in Australia accepting, on a per capita basis, more people for re-settlement in Australia.

Under Australia’s migration law all unauthorised arrivals must be detained, and unless they are granted permission to remain in Australia, they are to be removed as soon as practicable. I can advise that there is currently no intent to end the policy of mandatory detention of unauthorised arrivals, which has bipartisan support in Parliament.

Australia has a thorough and robust protection determination system that has been endorsed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as one of the best in the world. This process seeks to quickly establish any protection obligations, and where none exist, removal is effected as soon as possible.

Dealing with aslum seekers is not an easy matter but I believe that Australia is taking a consistent position which provides protection to those persons who are assessed as engaging our protection obligations and ensures that all claims for protection are properly considered while at the same time meeting our responsibilities in maintaining the integrity of Australia’s borders and migration programmes.”

It has long been evident that the majority of Australians have become impatient towards false statements by Aboriginal activists. They have also demonstrated strong opposition to illegal immigrants. It may be expected that Mr. Ruddock will maintain his principled and well-informed defence of Australia’s sovereignty, and he should be applauded for the conscientiousness and firmness that he is displaying.

National Observer No. 52 - Autumn 2002