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Abbott should apologise for 'ethnic cleansing' remarks.

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Media Release

Robert McClelland MP

Shadow Attorney-General

Federal Member for Barton


1 September 1999






The Minister for Employment Services, the Hon. Tony Abbott, should apologise to the victim s of ‘ethnic cleansing’ for the highly offensive remarks he has made about the actions of some fringe republicans, according to the Shadow Attorney-General, Robert McClelland.


Mr McClelland’s comments followed remarks made by Mr Abbott concerning court action proposed by Mr Harold Scruby.


“The Australian Labor Party does not support the actions of Mr Harold Scruby in seeking to prevent British citizens who came to Australia prior to 1984 from voting in November’s referendum,” Mr McClelland said. “These long standing Australian residents hold democratic rights in this country that the Australian Labor Party has consistently supported.


“However, it is utterly offensive to all those people who either personally, or whose friends or families, have been the victims of ‘ethnic cleansing’ in various overseas conflicts to compare Mr Scruby’s misguided actions with the commission of such atrocities.


“I call on Mr Abbott to apologise immediately to all those who have been the victims of ‘ethnic cleansing’, and to their friends and families, for his grossly inappropriate remarks.


“It is becoming a regrettable feature of the referendum debate that some of those advocating a NO vote are seeking to make extravagant and offensive claims,” Mr McClelland said. “These inappropriate statements are no substitute for reasoned debate and only serve to diminish the people who make them.


“I call upon Mr Abbott and others to temper their remarks in future rather than seeking to build their reputations and further their personal ambitions by making highly inflammatory remarks and trivialising the human suffering of the innocent.”



Simon Banks Ph: (02) 6277 4323 or 0419 638 587



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