In today's Canberra Times Jacquie Everitt puts the lie to any defence Howard govt frontbenchers may launch against a critique of their human rights record. It was abysmal and I remain concerned that a judicial review has not been convened into the worst excesses of the Howard experiment.
"The stars of the former government are in decline, none more absolutely than Philip Ruddock, who recently celebrated 35 years in Parliament. With his hard stance on refugees, he assisted John Howard more than any other minister to win an election the Coalition had been in danger of losing before the Tampa incident.
In a last-minute conversion to humanity or a desperate attempt to resurrect his depleted reputation, this Father of the House, has finally expressed unease about one aspect of Australia's mandatory immigration detention policy: the length of time it took the Howard Government to release the children from detention.
While others might be concerned at the legacy of mental damage done to the children, he told The Australian (August 13, 2008), ''If I have any regrets, it's not so much the question of the policies but the question of the speed and implementation.'' He went on to blame lack of funding as the reason the children had remained locked up for so long.
This is specious nonsense. As minister for immigration from 1996 to 2003, he had it in his power to release the children at any time and chose not to...."