“The Prime Minister’s ‘whistle-stop’ visit to Christmas Island last week was just a political stunt and was not about Christmas Island or the community. Warren Snowdon, Member for Lingiari said today.
“A stunt which cost tens of thousands of dollars for a TV grab and photo opportunity with the Christmas Island community being used as political pawns.”
“Apart from a visit to the school, no community leaders or organisations met with the Prime Minister. This is despite requests from the Shire Council and its elected members to meet with the Prime Minister.
“This was a much publicised first visit by a Prime Minister to the island and the Prime Minister couldn’t even be bothered to meet with the islands locally elected representatives to hear what they think about the re- opening of the detention facilities and their hopes and plans for the island’s future.
“He was squired around by the Administrator the Government’s own representative on the island and its own political appointment. Such disrespect by the Prime Minister and the Administrator is disgraceful. Once again Islanders are being treated as second class citizens.
“No mainland community would tolerate such disregard. Islanders are no different. They are quite rightly disappointed their voice has not reached the Prime Minister.
“Had he bothered to meet with the island community he would have been able to hear their concerns for certainty of their freight, postal and travel services, their desire to have a licence issued for the Christmas Island Casino and the ongoing strategic direction of the Island’s economy and environmental protection.
“The future of the casino resort on Christmas Island has been a source of concern to the community for years and there has been an expectation that the Government would be making an announcement around the question of a casino licence around now. Sadly though they heard nothing from a Prime Minister who had no interest in talking to them.
“The Prime Minister has left the island with no local knowledge, leaving Christmas Islanders to wonder why he came at all, other than to conduct an expensive, cynical stunt that hasn’t fooled anybody.