23 April 2003
Testing time for Philip Ruddock
So a group of 42 Vietnamese asylum seekers have decided to brave the elements and escape from a repressive communist regime and are attempting to reach our shores (The Age, 22/4), just like thousands of others over years.
Should they manage to leave Indonesian waters en route for Australia, as is expected, the Immigration Minister, Philip Ruddock, could well find himself faced with several choices:
It'll be up to you, Mr Ruddock.
Marilyn Shepherd, Kensington, SA
Grist for the mill
The discovery of the boatload of 42 Vietnamese asylum seekers heading for our shores should be enough to crank up the "we are about to be invaded" crowd and a Federal Government that is more than willing to feed on this unfounded fear and xenophobia.
Some might even see it as a plus if the boat sank en route, taking many of those seeking a better life to a watery grave. After all, this would not be the first time we had turned a blind eye to the sinking of a boatload of asylum seekers and the resultant loss of life.
D. J. Fraser, Mudgeeraba, Qld