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30 August 2001
First the Australian government banned the Norwegian freighter carrying around 450 refugees (rescued at sea from their sinking vessel) from entering Australian waters. Yesterday, when the captain sent out a distress call and then moved the ship into Australian waters because of his concern for the wellbeing of the people on board, 45 Australian Special Air Service soldiers boarded to force the ship back out to sea.
Isn't is just fascinating how governments such as that of Australia will happily profit from selling weapons, will fuel armed conflict, support repressive governments and promote economic policies which put profit before people ... but they won't accept any responsibility for the consequences when desperate people are forced to leave their homes and become refugees.
If you would like to let the Australian government know what you think about this, please contact the Australian High Commission and/or Consulate General and ask them to relay your concerns on to their government.
"Our commitment to democracy, to fundamental human rights, to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the independence and authority of the rule of law must not be compromised. "
John Howard, Australian Prime Minister, 'Australia's International Relations - Ready for the Future', speech transcript, 22 August 2001.