Below is a campaign message from refugee rights lobby group A Just Australia. It includes the following:
‘For human rights, for refugees in Australia, and for a country we can be proud of again, we’ve surveyed the candidates [of WENTWORTH, SYDNEY]and recommend a vote for David Patch 1, Peter King 2, Mithra Cox 3 and then number other candidates.’
The election material also inlcudes the following comment from Britain’s Independent newspaper, dated 28 September 2004:
‘Australians are understandably concerned about national security, and many of them may, as a result, be tempted to turn to Mr Howard rather than his less experienced rivals. But Mr Howard has not made Australia safer. And the recent bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta appears only to have reinforced his dangerous faith in the Bush doctrine of pre-emption. Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are rightly appalled at his suggestion that anti-terrorist police squads could carry out pre-emptive strikes on terror suspects on their soil.
‘If Mr Howard’s credibility was not shaken by his unquestioning support for George Bush’s ‘war on terror’, his government’s shameful immigration policy should cause voters to question his fitness for government. He oversaw an official campaign to demonise asylum-seekers and create the impression that Australia was being overrun by illegal immigrants. He stands accused of deliberately misleading voters on the eve of the last election by claiming that a boatload of refugees had thrown their own children into the sea.
‘Mr Howard is now cynically pledging billions of dollars in new spending to woo voters in marginal seats. Australians would do well to look beyond the gimmicks and consider the wider consequences of returning him to power.’
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