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School kit backlash continues for Vanstone.



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M E D I A R E L E A S E

Stephen Smith MP Shadow Minister for Immigration Member for Perth

30/04 8 June 2004

SCHOOL KIT BACKLASH CONTINUES FOR VANSTONE

The backlash to the Howard Government’s Australia says YES to refugees primary school information kit continues as the kit’s distribution broadens across Australia.

The brain child of Minister for Immigration, Amanda Vanstone, the kit has come under harsh criticism from parents and school principles.

Minister Vanstone has spent $100,000 to produce a package that is nothing less than glossy propaganda.

At a time when the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) damning report into the Howard Government’s children in detention policy has been made public, the Australia says YES to refugees kit ignores the very bad period of immigration administration that the Howard Government has presided over.

There’s nothing wrong with providing factual information to our schools for the education of our children. But you’ve got to provide the good facts with the bad facts. The school kit is simply an attempt to gloss over the bad period that lead to the HREOC inquiry.

In the lead up to World Refugee Day 2004 on 20 June, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offers schools their view of refugees and asylum seekers.

This year the UNHCR World Refugee Day theme is: A place to call home: Rebuilding lives in safety and dignity.

Labor welcomes the UNHCR’s education program for primary and secondary schools and encourages secondary school students throughout Australia to participate in the World Refugee Day 2004 national writing competition.

Information on the UNHCR’s World Refugee Day 2004 program and activities can be found at their website: www.unhcr.ch or by contacting the UNHCR directly on (02) 6290 1355.

Contact: Courtney Hoogen on (02) 6277 4108 or 0414 364 651