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Catholic lobby group says Iraq strike plans explain exclusion zone urgency

The Australian Political Ministry Network Ltd (PolMin) yesterday suggested Federal Government support for the excising of thousands of small islands off northern Australia is related to its endorsement of the US Government's first strike policy against Iraq.

"We need to ask why is the Federal Governing running so hard on the issue," said a statement from PolMin. "If the United States did strike first in Iraq there would be significant flows of Iraqi asylum seekers leaving Iraq for asylum in another country, and it could be that the Federal Government wants to prevent them from entering Australia for the purposes of claiming asylum."

PolMin rejected the Federal Government's Migration Legislation Amendment (Further Border Protection Measures) Bill 2002 introduced into the House of Representatives yesterday by the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, the Hon. Philip Ruddock, MP.

The Bill gives, among other things, legislative effect to the proposed regulation excising thousands of small islands along the northern aspects of Australia that was disallowed by the Senate yesterday by 37 votes to 34.

Using Pope John XXIII's teaching on people's "right to enter a country in which they hope to be able to provide more fittingly for themselves and their dependents", PolMin sayd it is "therefore the duty of State officials to accept such immigrants and-so far as the good of their own community, rightly understood, permits-to further the aims of those who may wish to become members of a new society".

Established by members of Catholic Religious Congregations from around Australia and sponsored by Catholic Religious Congregations, the Australian Political Ministry Network Ltd (PolMin) is an incorporated membership organisation committed to bringing about systemic change in Australian society through the influencing of public policy "for the common good in accordance with the principles of Catholic social teaching".


21 Jun 2002