Join Indonesian protest against Howard’s illegal zone

Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Keith Locke is calling for the Government to back Indonesia’s protest against Australia’s provocative proclamation of a 1000-mile maritime security zone.

“Indonesian Foreign Minister Wirayuda is right when he says the zone violates international maritime laws,” said Mr Locke.

“Goff is pulling the wool over our eyes by claiming Australian is doing nothing different from New Zealand when it asks for advance information from planes and boats arriving here.

“There is a world of difference between requiring incoming craft to provide information in advance, and interrogating all shipping within a zone extending into international waters.

“The Howard Government has said all ships within the zone, even those not coming to Australia, will be questioned about their cargo and crew.

“How would Australia like having New Zealand, Indonesia and other nations demanding cargo and crew information from Australian ships passing through international waters?

“The freedom of passage without interrogation was established centuries ago to avoid acrimony and conflict between nations. Imagine what would happen in the China Sea today if Taiwan, China, Japan and North and South Korea interrogated all shipping, including US ships, within a 1000 mile radius.

“New Zealand court cases have established that we don’t have jurisdiction over ships outside our waters. In 1998, for example, the Court of Appeal ruled that American yachtsman William Sellers would not be required to carry a radio when he left New Zealand. Exclusive jurisdiction over the yacht lay with the country the ship had been registered,” said Mr Locke.