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Ruddock says no evidence to support Catholic false passport claims

Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock says the Immigration Department is yet to find any evidence to support the Edmund Rice Centre's claims that its officials encouraged failed asylum seekers to use false passports to enter other countries.

Researchers from the Sydney-based justice organisation and the Australian Catholic University made the claims, after interviewing more than 20 rejected asylum seekers in Syria.

Mr Ruddock says the Department has sought more details from the researchers and two media organisations that aired the claims. However, he says that is yet to produce any new information.

He has also told Parliament similar claims put to him by a migration agent two years ago were investigated and found to be unsubstantiated.

"The Government would not be party, not its officers, to giving people documents that were false," Mr Ruddock said. "There is no evidence to suggest that they have and those matters have been investigated where evidence has been provided.

"Evidence has been sought from those who have provided information to the media and it has not been forthcoming."


Allegations of Corruption - Investigations Proceeding (Departmental media release 3/10/03)
Ruddock's 'people smugglers' put cash in 'passports': report (Text of report, Sydney Morning Herald)
Labor takes aim at Ruddock (ABC Radio PM)
Federal Opposition calls for Ruddock to stand down (2/10/03)
False passport allegations dog Ruddock (ABC Radio AM)
Edmund Rice Centre | Background Briefing Material on False Passport Allegations
What the Australian Did Not Tell You - Allegations of Corruption (Department of Immigration & Multicultural & Indigenous Affairs media release)
Allegations reflect deliberate policy secrecy (PolMin)
Catholic 'false passport' claims spark inquiry calls (1/10/03)
Immigration using smuggling tactics to evict asylum seekers (ABC TV Lateline 29/9/03)
Catholic 'false passport' claims spark inquiry calls (1/10/03)

9 Oct 2003