1 May 2006

Australian Immigration Minister's Papua nationalism comments "despicable" say Greens

7:00 pm on 1 May 2006

Australia's Green Party has described comments by the Immigration Minister that Papuan nationalism in Indonesia is racist as despicable.

Minister Amanda Vanstone wrote in the weekend Australian newspaper that Papuan nationalism in Indonesia is a "racist sentiment" based on hostility to people from other parts of Indonesia.

Senator Vanstone says that separatism is a toxic cause that could, if encouraged, result in chaos, death and suffering on Australia's doorstop.

However Greens Senator Kerry Nettle says that Senator Vanstone trying to argue that Melanesians aren't a distinct people to Indonesians is disappointing...

"Yeah and that's why I think that the Minister's argument is such a hard argument to run. Everyone recognises when you look at a West Papuan and then you look at an Indonesian, it's so obvious to the eye. I think the argument is just not tenable, I don't think that people will respect her attempts to put that argument forward because it's so obviously wrong."

Kerry Nettle says that the Minister's comments that pro-Papuan support equates to Anti-Indonesian sentiment shows a lack of understanding and leadership from someone in her position.