Immigration Minister Takes Anti-People Smuggling Campaign to WA
DIMA Media Release
1 December 1999 - MPS 169/99
The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, today took his new Overseas Information Campaign, aimed at stopping illegal air and boat arrivals, to Western Australia.
"The campaign will see a range of material distributed throughout identified people smuggling source and transit countries," the Minister explained.
"The campaign is already underway. During my recent trip to China, I held high-level meetings with authorities in Beijing and Fujian Province on people smuggling.
"I also spoke to the provincial media and explained that illegal travel to Australia will not succeed. Five thousand anti-smuggling posters are now being distributed throughout the province.
"This material will warn people of the risks associated with trying to enter Australia illegally and the penalties smugglers face.
"We will be sending a clear message that people thinking about undertaking such a trip will fail, will be ruined financially and could even die undertaking such a hazardous journey. We will emphasise that Australia is introducing even tougher penalties for people smugglers."
Mr Ruddock said the campaign would have both an international and domestic focus.
On the international front, the campaign will target would-be illegal entrants in high risk source countries, such as China, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Turkey, as well as people smugglers in transit countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.
"Campaigns will be tailor-made for individual countries to ensure they are culturally appropriate," the Minister said.
"This will include videos, radio news clips, posters and special information kits that will be translated into 12 languages. These items will be distributed to media outlets by DIMA staff on the ground.
"On the domestic front I am calling on all Australians to let their friends and relatives know that the message is clear: Pay a people smuggler and you'll pay the price.
"People must understand that Australia welcomes migrants - not illegal entrants."
To help migrants in Australia spread the message in their country of origin, Mr Ruddock said four information leaflets had been developed.
The leaflets explain what happens to illegal air and boat arrivals, what the Australian Government is doing to stop arrivals, why people must help stop illegal entrants and how they can do so.
The leaflets have been translated into Chinese (standard), Arabic and Bahasa Indonesia and will be translated into other languages in due course.
Mr Ruddock said the launch of the Overseas Information Campaign was yet another opportunity for the Government to remind people of the tough new penalties for people smugglers, such as the recent introduction of 20-year jail terms for traffickers and fines up to $220,000.
"In addition unauthorised arrivals who are found to be refugees are excluded from accessing permanent residence and will now be granted a three year temporary protecion visa or a short-term safe haven visa," the Minister said.
"People who are not refugees will be sent home as soon as possible. Other recent measures include legislation introducing tests such as fingerprinting and palm recognition, to ascertain the true identity of asylum seekers, and to ensure they do not already have protection elsewhere, or have been refused refugee status overseas.
"The Government also recently introduced legislation to give DIMA and Customs officers powers to board and detain boats in international waters suspected of being involved in people smuggling.
"With this campaign the Australian Government is sending a clear message that we will do everything in our power to stop smugglers who trade in human cargo. We also want to emphasise that attempting to enter Australia illegally is not worth the risk.
"If you pay a people smuggler then you pay the price when you are sent home to a possible lifetime of debt."