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Issue #1603      July 24, 2013

Public rally in Perth against Rudd’s New Guinea Solution

In the wake of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s decision on July 19 to banish asylum seekers to Manus Island and other parts of the Papua New Guinea mainland, refugee rights rallies were called in capital cities around the country, including Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

The Greens Scott Ludlam addresses the Refugee Rights Rally in Murray Street Mall, Perth. (Photo: Richard Titelius)

The Perth rally was called by Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN) and other groups who support refugee rights, and held in the Murray Street Mall in the centre of Perth.

The rally was attended by about 200 people and heard from a number of speakers. The first was Phil Chilton – long time RRAN activist – who condemned the move by Rudd to outdo federal Liberal Party spokesman on immigration Scott Morrison who had earlier in the week, declared war on people smugglers; a poorly disguised attempt to say that the Liberals had declared a war on refugees.

Chilton condemned the hysteria being whipped up by the corporate media and the Opposition on the back of the increase in the tens of millions of refugees now being thrown up by wars, famines, climate change and oppression around the world.

Senator Scott Ludlam of the Greens spoke next and noted, “Just when you thought this policy – the racist and exploitative policy on refugees – could not get any worse- it does!” Ludlam condemned the Australian government of self-contracting out our human rights obligations pursuant to the United Nations 1951 Convention on Human Rights. The United Nations had created this convention following the plight of the masses of refugees thrown up by World War II and the tragedies which occurred when some countries refused to accept refugees.

Ludlam called on Australians to link up with those who are next to us at the rally and in our communities and start voting for genuine alternatives.

The next speaker was Sam Wainwright, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Fremantle in the upcoming federal election and a member of a Sri Lankan Tamil support group.

Wainwright suggested that “The fear and loathing of refugees is a deliberately cynical concoction, while the refugee problem is a very real one.”

The fight to protect refugees was a fight to protect the dignity of asylum seekers and it is about fighting to protect the dignity of all Australians.

Once the speakers had finished the 200 people marched through the Hay and Murray Street Malls with a brief sit down on William Street which held up traffic and helped to publicise the cause.   

Next article – McDonald’s protesters hit by writs

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