LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has described Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s decision to send asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea as “slap in the face” to the Torres Strait community.
“I travelled to Thursday Island today to speak with local leaders and hear their concerns,” Mr Entsch said.
“I am absolutely appalled that they have not even been consulted by the government about this.
“If Kevin Rudd was serious about this policy he should have, at the very least, talked to the leaders, authorities and other agencies during his decision making process.”
Mr Entsch warned this policy would have the same impact on the Torres Strait that Kevin Rudd’s 2008 decision to open the borders had had on Christmas Island.
“Quite frankly this policy shows that Rudd is living in la la land,” he said.
“I’m not sure what he was drinking at the time but it is obviously something he just scribbled on the back of a beer coaster.”
Mr Entsch said it was appalling that the government had promised PNG a “blank cheque” to sell the policy.
“We are $300 billion in debt thanks to Labor’s reckless spending and ridiculous borrowing, they have not even forked out the money they promised to fix the sea walls in the Torres Strait and it’s been a year since the funding was announced,” he said.
Mr Entsch said the Prime Minister’s policy was unravelling by the day.
“The government is spending one million dollars a day on full page ads in Australian papers apparently as messages to the people smugglers.
“What he is really doing is sending a message to voters as he prepares to announce an election and pretend he has fixed the problem,” he said.
“It is farcical.
“The Torres Strait community is livid about this, and they have every right to be.
“It’s not a real solution to our asylum seeker crises; it is simply a quick political fix.”
‘I’ve flown here to speak to the affected communities about the issues they’re going to face if this ridiculous policy goes ahead, while Rudd sits back in Balmain with his cabinet colleagues desperately trying to come up with a way to save his job.
“Rudd doesn’t care about the residents at the top end; he only cares about clinging on to the Prime Ministership.”
Media Contact: Nikki Taylor (Warren Entsch’s office) 0427 585 668