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Racist attacks on refugees from Africa shows Coalition is not fit for government.



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Media Statement Friday 5th October 2007

SENATOR ANDREW BARTLETT Queensland Democrat Senator QUEENSLAND’S ONLY INDEPENDENT VOICE IN THE SENATE

Racist attacks on refugees from Africa shows Coalition is not fit for government

Democrats’ Immigration spokesperson, Senator Andrew Bartlett, says the Howard government’s continuing deliberate and destructive attacks on African refugees living in Australia shows they are unfit for government.

“This is a clear example of John Howard and his Ministers deliberately generating division and hostility within our community for their own political gain,” Senator Bartlett said.

“Any government willing to divide the community by launching a pre-meditated and dishonest attack on a visible and vulnerable minority within our community is not fit to govern.”

“Australians should ask themselves whether we really want our country to be run by people who are prepared to engage in such despicable and destructive behaviour in a desperate bid to hang on to power.

“I call on all Australians to speak out in support of their fellow Aussies of African heritage who are building new lives in our community, and to speak out against deliberate, calculated racist smears from the federal government.

“No one is suggesting that every single refugee who comes here fits in perfectly or easily, but there is no evidence that there is any greater problem than with any other section of the community, particularly once you take into account the extraordinarily difficult experiences these refugees have endured over the years.

“The Howard government spends a fortune on polling and focus groups - there is simply no way they would ignite these attacks on Australians of African background and keep fuelling the debate through the media unless they thought there was potential political advantage in it for them,” Senator Bartlett concluded.

Media contact - Tracee McPate - 0417 607 655

Electoral office: Suite 14 B1, 7/421 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006 t: 07 3252 7101 local call cost (Qld): 1300 301 879 f: 07 3252 8957 e: senator.bartlett@aph.gov.au web: www.andrewbartlett.com