Asylum minister's daughter protests at hardline policy
Tuesday 17 September 2002
The daughter of the Australian Immigration Minister, Philip Ruddock, is so dismayed by his hardline views on refugees that she has left the country to work for an overseas aid organisation.
Kirsty Ruddock, a 30-year-old lawyer and human rights campaigner, accused her father of lacking compassion and failing to treat asylum-seekers as human beings. In a television documentary broadcast last night, she said: "It's very difficult for me to be his daughter because ... I have very different views from him."
Mr Ruddock has been the public face of the government's tough refugee policies, adopted after the Tampa controversy a year ago. He has also made plain that he is ideologically in tune with those policies, although he once had a reputation as a liberal. The Tampa, a Norwegian freighter carrying Afghan asylum-seekers, was refused permission to land on Australian soil and its occupants were dispersed on islands around the Pacific. Ms Ruddock said in the programme, which examined tensions within her family, that she had been appalled by the government's handling of the incident.
With regard to her father, she said: "I find it hard to reconcile some of the things he is doing at the moment with some of the things that he's taught me to believe in. Obviously I love my dad, but sometimes you do feel a bit let down that you can't change his view on things and that you're not getting through to him."
Ms Ruddock gave up her job as a government lawyer and left Sydney last Saturday to work as a volunteer for an aid organisation, Youth Ambassadors, in an unspecified country. She said in the interview, recorded before she left, that she had always wanted to work in a developing country. But her departure was also motivated by a desire to "get away from ... the daily grind in terms of reading about the politics that my father is involved in on a daily basis".
Ms Ruddock said she was very much opposed to the government's policy of detaining all asylum-seekers, including women and children, in remote Outback camps. She said she had raised the issue with her father.
Ms Ruddock, who wore a T-shirt with the slogan "No children in detention" during the interview, said she had asked her father – a member of Amnesty International – to refrain from wearing his Amnesty badge when speaking on immigration matters.
Mr Ruddock told the programme that he was proud of Kirsty and her younger sister, Caitlin. "I don't expect my family to be parrots," he said. "I'm proud of the fact that she does care ... but I do expect that they would also recognise that I have specific responsibilities for Australia."
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 5 'Isis' schoolgirls: Missing British teenager tweets picture of her Syrian takeaway
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Power of Nepal earthquake was equivalent to 20 huge atomic bombs
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...
£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...
£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Support Engi...
£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...