During a commercial television interview, Ruddock mentioned plans for Federal legislation to allow the awarding of personal costs against immigration advocates, such as lawyers acting for asylum seekers in the courts.

He said, “Advocates bringing cases that they know are non-meritorious will be exposed to some potential penalty by the court, and that should be very salutary in terms of advocates”. (“Sunday”, Nine network, 27/3/05).

Remember, this is the same Mr Ruddock who’s resisting Australia-wide moves to clamp down on defamation lawsuits launched by big business against ordinary people daring to raise issues about environmental, social and economic damage. These lawsuits are commonly called SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).

If only Mr Ruddock could extend the same “salutary” threat to the silver-tailed advocates of big companies that use their wealth, power and political connections to silence and intimidate ordinary people standing up for their families, their way of life and their environment.