Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Joint Statement: Malcolm Fraser and Barry Jones

In the current struggle to defend bourgeois rights and freedoms, the term “parliamentary cretinism”, used by Lenin, comes readily to mind. By the term parliamentary cretinism Lenin characterised the opportunists' view that the parliamentary system of government was all-powerful and parliamentary struggle the sole and, under all conditions, the principal form of political struggle. It was an epithet thrown mainly at those reformist politicians who constantly subordinated the principles and ideals of their followers to the goal of obtaining parliamentary office.

With a federal election due before the end of the year, the Labor Party smells victory in the air.

Wary of falling into the trap of Howard’s “wedge politics”, it is parroting his every pronouncement in the lead-up to the polls.

Many are calling for an Opposition in clear rejection of Labor leader Rudd’s opportunism.

The Queensland Premier yesterday said he would not be silenced in relation to his “Keystone Cops” criticism of the Australian Federal Police performance in the case of Dr Haneef. Tellingly, he not only bagged the Prime Minister – he also had to criticise the Leader of the Opposition. “I am not going to be silenced by the Prime Minister or by Kevin Rudd,” he declared.

Writers of letters to the editors of daily newspapers express dismay and shame at the Labor leader’s refusal to engage the Prime Minister on fundamental issues of principle. Unlike the Labor leader, the people are not afraid to defend Haneef’s rights or to question what the Government is doing to him.

Former political enemies come together in defence of the fundamentals of bourgeois democracy and freedom because they sense the outrage of the people and are aware of the challenge to the whole system of an awakened people.

The statement below is from the Australians All website initiated by former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. It is issued jointly with former National President of the Labor Party, Barry Jones (1992-2000, 2005-2006).

Their coming together indicates the growing gap between the Howards and the Rudds on the one hand, and key members and supporters of the Liberal and Labor parties respectively.

It is essentially a rejection of parliamentary cretinism and a call for principled action.

The statement follows:

The political revocation of Dr Mohamed Haneef’s visa is an attack on the fundamental rights of every Australian.

Haneef allegedly gave an unused SIM card to a cousin around a year ago as he was leaving England, the card being of no further use to him. There is no suggestion the card was used in any way in relation to, or in support of, a terrorist incident.

A Brisbane magistrate granted bail. The Minister pushed the legal process aside, revoked his visa and placed him in Villawood Detention Centre, far from his legal counsel and defence team. Under the powers available to the Government, he could stay in that jail for the term of his natural life.

The suggestion that the Government had available to it information not available to the Magistrate is not credible. If there is such sensitive information, it could have been given to the Magistrate in closed session.

We call on every Member of Federal Parliament to condemn this outrageous and destructive abuse of executive power. This is another step too far. The Government and those who support this action have demonstrated in the clearest terms that the basic concept of the Rule of Law is of no consequence to them.

What the Government has done, what all those who have supported this action have done, strikes at the heart of the basic freedom of every person in Australia.

About Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser and Hon Barry O Jones

Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser was Prime Minister of Australia from 1975 to 1983. He had previously served in various junior and senior Ministerial portfolios after entering the Federal Parliament in 1955.

As Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser welcomed refugees from Vietnam and elsewhere, led international condemnation of the apartheid regime in South Africa, moved to recognize aboriginal land rights, championed the cause of multi-culturalism (including the establishment of SBS Broadcasting) and developed significant strategic relationships with Asian and sub-continent nations.

He remains a prominent member of the InterAction Council. He was Chairman of CARE Australia from 1987 to 2001, President of CARE International from 1990 to 1995. In 2000

Malcolm Fraser was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal.

He is a prolific writer, columnist and speaker on human rights issues.

Hon. Barry Jones is a significant figure in contemporary Australian life.

He is a former teacher, lawyer, State and Federal politician, writer, broadcaster and academic.

Millions of Australians would remember him as a radio and television quiz champion.

Barry is the only person to have been elected as Fellow of the four Australian Academies.

In 1998 he was Deputy Chair of the Constitutional Convention, and chaired the Victorian Schools Innovation Commission from 2001-2005. He is a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at Melbourne University and remains a much-read and loved author.

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