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No we are not “better than this”. We are worse.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton seems to be of the opinion that because people fleeing their home countries pay “people smugglers” for passage to Australia, it is perfectly acceptable for them to be subjected to every imaginable kind of suffering. He includes children in this belief.

Dutton’s world view is mirrored by politicians such as Adam Giles in the Northern Territory, who share the narcissistic sense of entitlement that regards any perceived offence against them and their laws however mundane, however explicable, as a crime deserving of extreme punishment guaranteed to destroy the spirit.

In short, if you offend me I’ll destroy you. The crime here is offending these men, and both Giles and Dutton are profoundly offended by recalcitrant indigenous youth in the first, and waterborne asylum seekers in the second. You can see their indignation seeping out of every shining pore. They are incapable of seeing context: they can only perceive offence.

This overblown sense of offence and indignation, coupled with a sociopathic inability to imagine the conditions of lives other than their own, is the breeding ground for an extreme cruelty that ought never to be coupled with power, but unfortunately all too frequently is.

The manner in which successive immigration ministers, including those from the ALP, have treated waterborne asylum seekers beggars belief. They have been able to do this because enough Australians share the same narcissistic sense of entitlement and belief that being offended, personally, collectively and nationalistically, is a crime for which, unlike real crimes, punishment must be unrestrained and infinite. So kids in Don Dale don’t ever deserve a chance at life. So waterborne asylum seekers and refugees don’t ever deserve a chance at life. They’ve both offended white Australia in a variety of ways, and so they must die, metaphorically and sometimes literally.

elie-wieselIt isn’t even so much what they’ve done. It’s the fact that they had the bloody gall to do it in the first place.

When outrages such as Don Dale and the Nauru files erupt, a lot of people get on social media to claim: “We’re better than this.”

Well, here’s the thing. We are not better than this. We’ve been torturing indigenous people since invasion day and we’re still doing it. We’ve been torturing waterborne asylum seekers for almost two decades, and we’re still doing it. We’re still voting in politicians who’ll continue the barbaric practices we don’t really want to know about as long as we feel we’re “being kept safe” from boats, or thieving black kids.

There are no innocent bystanders in these situations. We all know what’s happening. We’ve always known about our off-shore concentration camps. Keeping your mouth shut is enabling torture. These crimes are perpetrated by the powerful on the powerless because “good” people keep their mouths shut. Well, here’s another thing. You aren’t a “good”person if you keep your mouth shut. You’re an enabler of torment and torture.

As Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs pointed out yesterday, the only way anything will change in our treatment of asylum seekers is through public pressure. The government knows this as well, which is why they don’t allow anyone to see the camps and the suffering people in them. This is what every government intent on the torment and torture of a particular group do: they herd them into facilities where no one can hear their screams.

And when we do finally hear their screams, as we have since the Don Dale revelations, Adam Giles blames those who bring their screams to our ears, and Peter Dutton blames the victims for screaming.

Think about that. I mean, really, really think about the mind sets of Giles and Dutton and those who support them, who shoot the messengers, and blame the victims for the suffering they inflict upon them.

Then get on social media and say “we’re better than this.” We aren’t. We could be, but we aren’t.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.


48 comments

  1. keerti

    Agreed!!! It is not un-australian to steal other people’s land, commit genocide against them and blame the victim (we had to do it for their own good! Or they are not human therefore they have/had no rights!),. It is not un-australian to poison, maim and rape aboriginals….white australians have been doing it for well over 200 years. It is not un-australian to take aboriginals wages and when they complain for long enough to give them a small percentage of what was taken. It is not un-australian to refuse the rights that australia is a signatory to regarding refugees. It is not un-australian to pretend not to notice or to know about the abuse of children…australian churches, (esp) the catholic ones, have been doing that for countless years.Our “government” is now abusing the poor by removing healthcare and by taking money from the already too small benefits. In the past workers have been forced to work when they were legitimately with-holding labour (a right australia is signatory to in the United Nations)…this is not un-australian either! It is not un-australian to sign agreements on climate change mitigation and to then ignore them either. All of these things are a large part of what forms the australian character and are what makes this country what it is fast becoming , a rogue nation and an international pariah!

  2. Fedup

    People have to be realistic. We can’t take the world into this country but this is not what a lot of Australians are saying. They are saying there is more than enough room! Crap! There is not. Our Welfare system is through the bloody roof, rising unemployment, housing. I’m fed up with the Australian government being branded when it come the time to say no!
    You can also stop blaming Australia for what may or may not be happening in these camps! These people have a choice to go somewhere else! More then likely these people are harming themselves to get sympathy from this country to take them in regardless! You only have to look at the culture of these people, nothing is beyond them especially the men. They have little regard for any human being that includes their own.
    I don’t like their plight any more than the next person, it’s terrible, it’s horrible, but just how much is due to their country’s real problems or how much is due to the fact that they just want to leave! No one knows yet! I am not being a racist or anything else here, just facing reality and it’s high time the government started listening to the people who do have genuine concerns for the safety of the people here. I doubt if any of my comments will be taken in any realistic fashion. I don’t much care what people think about my comments, because I know it’s the truth. Enough is enough.

  3. helvityni

    Excellent post, Jennifer.

    Mal was angry, VERY angry, they ALL were very angry about the Census debacle…the heads were going to roll, many heads…

    Where is his anger now ? He must be agreeing with D’s views.

  4. Tracie

    I agree as well, to everything Jennifer Wilson and keerti have said.

    Something to note – the part in the chapter about food and fluid refusal in the detention services manual, for which it states that the only reason for food and fluid refusal is due to a manipulative attempt to live in Australia, was drafted while Labor was in government. Liberal kept it in there, and made it their mantra.

    Both are liable.

  5. Jennifer Wilson

    Yes, Tracie, both are liable, I agree. ALP opened up the Nauru Manus option

  6. Kaye Lee

    “Our Welfare system is through the bloody roof”

    Australia spends 19.5% of our GDP on social welfare, whereas some European countries like France and Belgium spend upwards of 30% of their GDP on the welfare system.

    Australia ranks 25th of 30 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development with data available in terms of expenditure for unemployment.

    According to OECD Pensions at a Glance 2013, Australia’s public spending on the age pension is much lower than pension spending in Europe.

    Australia spends 3.5% of GDP on the age pension, while Italy spends 15%, France spends 14% and the United Kingdom spends 6%.

    “I am not being a racist or anything else here, just facing reality”

    In the 10 years to 31 December 2014, the 141,047 refugees recognised or resettled by Australia accounted for 1.16% of the global total of 12,107,623 – with Australia ranked 23rd overall, 27th per capita and 46th relative to national GDP.

    Reality is better faced when armed with facts.

  7. keerti

    In answer to Fedup…whilst I have had little to do with present refugees, your assertions about “these people” are uniinformed, naive and dare I say it stupid. A few years ago I had regular business dealings with Kashmiri refugees in India. Yes their values were different, I could always trust that when I had struck a bargain with them that it would be carried out. A worker who I employed wanted a passport in order to travel and work in Bahrein. I went to one of these Kashmiris who I had helped with some free treatment for injuries recieved from beatings by Indian military in Kahmir. He did a fantastic job, going far beyond what I thought might be necessary, getting help for a part of the task that he couldn’t do. Further your belief that we don’t know why “these people” are coming here…WHAT? With the usa we started the war in Iraq and afghanistan causing economic collaspe in both countries. Syria has an ongoing internal conflict which has been, not instigated by, at least made worse by our “Allies” the usa. If you wish to make a comment at least inform yourself about the basics before opening your mind and spraying it’s contents around!

  8. Matters Not

    Fedup:

    because I know it’s the truth.

    Well it’s not my ‘truth’. And I suspect it’s not the ‘truth’ of many who frequent this site. The best slant I can put on it is that your ‘truth’ is just that – ‘yours’. And your welcome to it but for me it’s an ‘untruth’ that is also mean, nasty and lacking in Christian compassion.

    (While Pauline is fond of telling us we are a Christian Nation the evidence suggests otherwise. Indeed, we are very unchristian. No alms for the poor here.)

  9. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Well said, Jennifer.

    I particularly agree with this comment, “Dutton’s world view is mirrored by politicians such as Adam Giles in the Northern Territory, who share the narcissistic sense of entitlement that regards any perceived offence against them and their laws however mundane, however explicable, as a crime deserving of extreme punishment guaranteed to destroy the spirit.”

    Dutton’s Dirty Detention and Giles’ Gruesome Gaols are extreme examples of what is prevalent throughout Australian institutions of government: legislative, executive and judicial, that make a mockery of the democratic principle of power vesting in the people and where more and moreso, ordinary people are devalued.

    When ordinary people feel devalued, they can often reciprocate with less compassion for others, or less diligence in determining fairer treatment for more vulnerable people.

    The Australian People must stay vigilant whatever variety of neoliberal government is cracking the whip to ensure their own human rights are respected and to empower themselves, so that they grow their capacity for compassion for people trapped in any figurative or literal incarceration that these institutions operate in our name and to our shame.

  10. diannaart

    It is very difficult to admit that Australia is not the great nation many of us believe it to be.

    Giving up a precious belief is difficult, change is difficult.

    If we are to mature as a nation it means facing ourselves for what we really are – a group of people who were lucky enough to either be born here or migrate here. Nothing more. We got lucky we were not born a Jew in 1930’s Germany, a woman in most nations of the world – we do not have full equity in Australia. Yet, we pretend we are just and fair and continue lying to ourselves.

    We bully, we applaud bigots, we lock away children (and torture a few of them for good measure).

    We pretend we have stopped refugee boats – we haven’t, we have limited reporting on asylum seekers. We will not allow cameras from independent journalists into our detention centres, yet deny that we are accountable if detainees are harmed – apparently this is now Nauru’s or PNG’s fault.

    We also blame victims for everything. Even people who claim to be about a fair go, have their hidden little dark sides which, if commented upon, unleashes a great deal of vitriolic response. Tried to discuss the patriarchy lately? Dared to call out some misogynist behaviour – that just means you are a misandrist, who is too stupid to get jokes, is negative and… whatever the f*ck else.

    I’ve had enough.

    (For now)

  11. My say

    There has to be someone who can hold this disgusting government to account for the appalling treatment of people in our care,will it take photos of women and children being raped and people self harming before any one acts,shame Australia shame

  12. David1

    Fedup: …” I am not being a racist or anything else here”. Your own words say yes you are.

  13. Kyran

    At the risk of sounding argumentative, there are a few issues that need to be separated, in my opinion.
    Certainly, we can no longer claim ignorance as a defence. Whether it be our First People, asylum seekers, refugee’s or any of the other weak and vulnerable sub sets in our society, the critical issues are so well defined and documented that denying them is little more than an admission as to your own lack of intelligence.
    If you’re on facebook, check out ASRC, Save the children, Freethechildren;NAURU or any of the other dozens of sites that document our reality. Nah, ignorance is no excuse.

    As to defining the nature and extent of the abuse, we hold RC’s and, no matter how harrowing the findings may be, we impose no legal obligation on our parliamentarians to rectify the faults discovered through the process. There are currently (at least) three submissions to the current RC into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse requesting our current off shore detention sites be included. They didn’t even get a response.
    We have the AHRC, which is a body empowered to do little more than ‘report’. By its own charter, its ability to investigate is restricted. If they do issue reports, the (ir)relevant minister will merely subject them to vitriol and abuse.

    ‘Survey’s’ on Australian’s attitudes to all of these issues consistently reflect that the majority are aware of the problems AND want something done about it. In response, we are told that, because the government is elected (both types), they have a ‘man date’ to do whatever the hell they like. If we have protests, regardless of the numbers attending, they will only be reported if (a) they disrupt traffic, or (b) the galah’s from ‘patriot/parrot’ turn up, offering a prospect of violence (if it bleed’s, it leads). Over the past few years, there have been dozens of ‘petitions’ signed by hundreds of thousands of Australians regarding human rights. They are ignored.
    My point there is that we get an ‘elected’ voice every few years, but anything we may say in the interim is not only ignored, but treated with disdain and repulsion, from the likes of dutton. A more disdainful, repulsive character could not be imagined.

    Nauru is an easy target. They went to the poll’s a week after we did, with equally suspicious results. At least they have the decency to arrest or deport their opposition. A depraved government, however, was elected to ensure its own people were deprived. It’s not like we would ever do that. Here’s some ‘fun fact’s’ for you.
    Nauru signed up to ‘Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture’ in 2013. A requirement of that treaty is that they establish a monitoring program, defined as ‘National Preventive Mechanism’, within one year. Nauru never did that. They were inspected by the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture in May, 2015. Imagine, if you can, a UN subcommittee whose powers are so limited that their only decree can be “Please, please, pretty please”?

    http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiygdWD-brOAhUMn5QKHVohDIgQFggiMAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fun.org.au%2F2015%2F05%2F08%2Fun-torture-prevention-body-urges-nauru-to-set-up-detention-monitoring-mechanism%2F&usg=AFQjCNHU-sE2CXorVkzPLHFP8YejfPRODQ

    But wait, there is more. Nauru passed a piece of legislation prior to their election. The ‘Child Protection and Welfare Act’.

    “In particular, we welcome the mandatory reporting of any sexual abuse or exploitation of a child by persons in authority in a school, church or other religious institution, health facility, prison, detention or corrections facility, or any other place where children are supervised or cared. This sends a strong signal that sexual abuse or exploitation will not be tolerated – and supports child victims to safely report abuse and seek help,” Dr Allen said.”

    http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiQkPDR-LrOAhUMnZQKHUaFA2kQFggzMAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spc.int%2Ffr%2Fmedia-releases%2F2522-passage-of-nauru-child-protection-law-welcomed.html&usg=AFQjCNE86azzelhdYaIXikvMuqszIPwWmw

    “I mean, really, really think about the mind sets of Giles and Dutton…”
    Suggesting those two have minds could be little other than support for exploratory surgery. Good luck with micro surgery.
    In the absence of any venue where they can be held to account (asides from an election every few years), we are, as the pharaohs used to say, phucked. That does not make me complicit in their delusion. Nor does it make me less ignorant. Can you please direct me to the complaint’s department that actually hears the complaint, understands the complaint and has the power to enforce their decision?
    Thank you Ms Wilson (and commenters). Take care

  14. Sir ScotchMistery

    I’m only going to address one issue in this, and that is Giles’ need to be seen to be tough on blackfellas.

    If he wasn’t “tough on blackfellas”, then his government’s white majority would not let him play in their sandpit, which would be quite sad, up to a point. The point being that aboriginal upstarts, even if they are Chief Minister, (a normally “white” job), would be thrown out of the sandpit and their personal bucket and spade tossed after them. And thereafter not invited back.

    This is Orstraya mate. We don’t eff round with blackfellas in parliament, unless they are well trained to behave themselves, and not piss on the floor in the public bar.

    This is Adam’s one hope. Actually it’s his last because his first and originally only hope was to join the Liarberal Party and make cups of tea, wear a straw hat and say “Yas massah” as often as the opportunity arose.

    His last hope, to stop his South African born colleagues from sending him off down the Larapinta, is to mistreat blackfellas, especially young ones, as badly as possible, so the South African contingent in the NT “government” would talk to him on their golf days.

    So there..

  15. Rhonda

    I wholeheartedly agree with you Jennifer. What we are doing is a total rubbish of shit

  16. Pingback: » Same Old Patriarchal Crap: Abuse and violence against refugee women and children.MairiVoice

  17. helvityni

    Thank you Kyran for yet another excellent post. And Rhonda, for ‘shit’ there’s no better name…under any name it’s still only, well ‘shit’…..

  18. Freethinker

    I agree Kyran with your views but I would not put the blame on Dutton, Morrison or even the previous ALP ministers.
    The politicians (senators and members in the HoR) are as guilty to go along with this policies just because they agree with them.
    Having said that, these politician just implement policies that are in favor or voted by the majority of the electorate.
    The imprisonment of these people in Nauru are the wishing of the majority of the electorate, like it or not.

  19. Kyran

    Isn’t that the problem, Freethinker? I have not the desire, inclination, energy or time to attribute blame. Asides from which, if I start throwing stones, the only sound you will hear is breaking glass. What a wasteful exercise.
    The ‘western’ way hold’s a forum to find a scapegoat. The ‘eastern’ way hold’s a forum to identify the problem, then address it.
    Sir ScotchMistery posed scenarios that reminded me of Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and Haley’s “Roots”. The extension of Stowe’s title was “Life among the lowly”.
    ‘They’ want to play in the sandpit, and we offer ‘them’ the cesspool.
    This is a young country. It won’t age until it gets a meaningful ‘complaint’s department’.
    helvityni, thank you. Take care

  20. Freethinker

    Kyran, the term blame is the result after analysing the problem, English is not my language, I am sure that you will be able to find a better word.
    If nothing to do with throwing stones is have to do on being realistic.

  21. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Kyran said what many of us think but were to preoccupied to state. Well said Sir.

  22. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    tooo

  23. Kyran

    May I ask, Freethinker, what is your first language? I have no doubt that, whatever ability I might have in English, you will easily surpass in your native tongue. That is nothing more than an acknowledgement of reality.
    The rules aren’t the same for the two of us, however we may agree.That is nothing more than an acknowledgement of reality.
    Ms Wilson’s final observation
    “Then get on social media and say “we’re better than this.” We aren’t. We could be, but we aren’t.”
    My proposition is that we ARE so much better than this. We just don’t know it yet. Seems odd, arguing we are a young country, in a land occupied by one of the oldest cultures.
    There are human values, which are worth fighting for. There are corporate values (the new oxymoron that will protect the world), which are worth fighting for, in a talcum sort of way.
    Cheers, Ms Meyer-Smith. Most people spell it ‘cur’.
    Blame is retrospective. Of absolutely no use, or value, unless it is learnt by. This is one of the few countries on the planet that has the ‘luxury’ of defining its future. If it only acknowledged it’s past.
    Take care

  24. Freethinker

    KyranAugust 12, 2016 at 9:02 pm
    May I ask, Freethinker, what is your first language?
    There are human values, which are worth fighting for.
    Spanish
    My second a bad Spanglish

    Yes I know that are worth fighting for, fifty years ago cost me emigrate, and many friends lost their life of finished disable for that.

  25. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Freethinker,

    might I suggest Australian reformers need to follow in the footsteps of you and your friends of 50 years ago in Uruguay?

    Has Uruguay retained its integrity that you fought for?

    If so, I would like more information of how to do that.

  26. Freethinker

    Jennifer, the dictatorship finished, the dictators are in prision, those that struggle against the extreme right fascists politicians and the military junta are now in government for the last 10 years of so.
    José “Pepe” Mujica the previous president was one of the leaders who was 14 years in prision.
    Things are far from perfect, far from it It is a small country with a GDP of l54 billion US dollars a year but managing to have free primary, secondary and university education and free health care for the poor.
    Is one of the leaders in renewable energy in the world.
    How Uruguay Became a Wind Power Powerhouse (http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2016/03/how-uruguay-became-a-wind-power-powerhouse.html)

    There is so much to do yet, but the bastards are out.

  27. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Uruguay is an example to follow and to learn from to avoid wrong moves and associations.

  28. Freethinker

    Jennifer, I think that I have posted this quote before and I would like to have a PM in Australia with the same attitude.
    I am dreaming? perhaps, that it is a nice dream

    “A president is a high-level official who is elected to carry out a function. He is not a king, not a god. He is not the witch doctor of a tribe who knows everything. He is a civil servant. I think the ideal way of living is to live like the vast majority of people whom we attempt to serve and represent.”
    José Pepe Mujica

  29. Kyran

    Hola, amigo. Sorry, that’s all I’ve got, right now.
    Don’t know if you have read this bloke, kneel of something. Your Spanglish beats the crap out of his……, whatever.
    I suspect we arrived as immigrants at the same time, from equally tortured countries. May the new country be worth fighting for.
    Cuida de mi amigo. (Please correct me if I stuffed that up. It’s the only way we learn.)

  30. Freethinker

    Is Ok Kyran, each of us have a story behind, “one because” and sharing our experience make us richer.
    After seen so much suffering just because greed I have become more reactant to believe that there is good in the majority of humanity.
    How we can repeat on and on the same atrocities, the same mistakes?

  31. Jennifer Wilson

    Yes, My say, I fear only images will cause us to act.

  32. Jennifer Wilson

    Interestingly, Kyran, a commenter on my blog suggested that Dutton et al aren’t genuinely offended at all by either asylum seekers or indigenous youth, rather they pretend they are because this is what their electorate wants to hear. They actually don’t give a toss, as long as they maintain power.
    Which makes them even worse, in my book.

  33. Jennifer Wilson

    Kyran, I think we CAN be better than this, but we’re stuck right now.
    We aren’t young country at all: the white presence in this country is of short duration, and unfortunately that is how we measure. It is an arrogant and untruthful measure.

  34. Jennifer Wilson

    Thank you for that link, Freethinker.
    So, it can be done…

  35. Jennifer Wilson

    An excellent description of a politician’s role, Freethinker.
    Contrast that ideal with those representing us…

  36. Freethinker

    Jennifer said, quote: Interestingly, Kyran, a commenter on my blog suggested that Dutton et al aren’t genuinely offended at all by either asylum seekers or indigenous youth, rather they pretend they are because this is what their electorate wants to hear. End of Quote

    Then again Jennifer, a politician have to follow the wishing of the electorate, if not will be like a dictator.
    The authority of the politicians emanates from the people.
    Having said that if I was a politician I will resign before implementing laws that go against my belief.

  37. wam

    A look at dadaab, europe, burqas and beards will allow any rationalisation of attitudes to accept nauru as a necessary means of deterrent (how could anyone imagine 150 to NZ a year would deter?) to reduce the number of runaway economic refugee men, women and children, from muslim countries.
    To the vast majority, of bottom end labor supporters, s. h. y. epitomises the loonies and the media know how to whip up the two ‘lefts’.
    None of the boat people will get into uruguay, as they have no identification. This would make them illegal???
    Dianaart, religious training makes it easy to accept that women’s position in society is due to a god given physiology and problems caused by women who believe they are the equal of men. Dissent gets you called idiot lefty or, more usually ‘your(sic) just a fu ckwit’. If you try ‘racism is a learned trait and can be unlearned’ a simple ‘what would you know your just a moron’
    Well in this question I might well be because, despite the atrocities, I agree with offshore and onshore detention of criminals and economic runaways.
    freethinker like bullock???

  38. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    wam,

    asylum seekers and refugees are not economic runaways. They are lawful seekers of rightful asylum.

    Your comment stinks of the lack of compassion that I was alluding to yesterday. I was trying to be nice and balanced then but not now.

    And for the record, Hanson-Young epitomises people with civilised class, and who have not regressed on their evolutionary scale.

    If that includes bottom end Labor supporters and nasty neoliberals all round in the Lib/Labs, then you know how the saying goes, ‘if the boot fits, wear it’!

  39. Freethinker

    wam said, quote: None of the boat people will get into uruguay, as they have no identification. This would make them illegal??? end of quote

    Before making a comment like that study a bit of geography and look where is Uruguay and the chances to arrive by boat from the Middle East
    Second , the majority of immigrants before and after both world wars arrived to Uruguay without papers, that including people from countries world wide.
    You are writing absolutely uninformed rubbish, sounds like Pauline Hanson.
    I will no waste more energy in debating with you.

  40. wam

    free ‘not so much a ‘thinker, if that is your level of debate energy is hardly a consideration.
    the point is:
    ‘ID’
    the ww1/2 left europe as Immigrants with no free choice, having been refugees
    how many of your friends support hanson or dutton or giles’

  41. Deanna Jones

    What we are doing to children is no surprise when you look at it in the broader historical context of child ‘welfare’ perpetrated here by the state since white invasion. We’ve always been hideous. First Nation children were abducted and enslaved by whites who abused and exploited them for the purpose of colonisation, for approximately 70 or 80 years. White children were also incarcerated under child ‘welfare’ policy that saw the children of poor families charged with the offence of being neglected and locked up in institutions like the Parramatta Girl’s Home and the Hay Gaol when they were tortured and abused. Girls were locked up for being thought to be sexually active; some were escaping abusive homes and family violence. Google “Forgotten Australians”. Then there were the Child Migrants that the good ol’ mother country wanted to offload. Britain approached several european countries to take their unwanted, socially unapprovable children. Only we said yes. We imported more children to subject to systemic exploitation and abuse.The Forced Adoptions era followed. There have been National Apologies to all of these groups, in recent years, yet still we are doing it. Clergy-perpetrated sexual abuse probably spans the entire white history.

    Currently we are still subjecting children to unimaginable atrocities on Nauru and Manus. Aboriginal children are way over-represented in juvenile justice and out of home care. The state removes children from their families at a rate that is disproportionate to the level of resources allocated to their state ‘care’ for the rest of their childhood. Many, anecdotally I would say most, children experience some level of systemic abuse in our out of home care system. Many foster carers are abusive to the children whose ‘care’ they are entrusted with. I’ve known children in ‘care’ to have to spend time in motels or sleep in offices when there is nowhere else for them to go. I’ve had foster carers dump children at the office without even saying goodbye to them. I’ve known children to be placed with carers in homes where I would not even leave my cat. This is now; we are doing this now. We literally do not give a shit about children in this country despite being a signatory to the UNCROC for many years.

    I hear people say “How did we come to this?” but we have always been this bad and thank you Jennifer, for saying it. We have to face up to our terrible history and admit that all the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, are bullshit.

  42. cornlegend

    Now that the determination of Senate terms {6/3 years } has been settled, order-elected method in preference to the recount method Pauline and Jacqui are firmly ensconced for 6 years. Hinch has indicated he may head to the High Court ,declaring the recount method more to his liking.
    Malcolm comes in under totally different circumstances numbers wise to what Gillard had. He has the added buffer of 3 or 4 Indies to add ro his support at varying times.
    The LNP WILL survive the next two and a half years although it may be same horse, different jockey.
    Things certain are, the failed NBN will continue and be beyond saving by 2019, Marriage equality will drag on with no conclusion, Climate will be a steady Direct Action policy, again with no decent outcomes,Asylim Seeker policy will continue as is , attacks will continue on Health services, Education, Welfare safety net and a plethora of other policies will stagnate . and all in all it will be a lame duck 45th Parliament, treading water till the 2019 election,
    Labors tactics committee would be well served by formulating a sit back and let them destroy themselves policy in regards to the HOR.
    If there is significant issues, that would give the Green/NXT/ Indies the opportunity to take the fight to the LNP government and Labor support them when politically advantageous to do so.
    A good opportunity to have Bill Shorten shine as a non confrontational Opposition Leader, refreshing after Abbott and positioned himself for a clear majority in 2019.
    I guess it will be fun to watch the bunfights, but not Labor versus LNP, but LNP vs LNP and in the Senate, Hansons teams of unknows looking to charm the right of the LNP, Greens trying to show they are still relevant, Hich being a human head line ,Lambie being a follow on of Hinch, NXT trying to flex their new found muscle and the other Indies being unpredictable s always .
    Still, could be fund to watch.
    Me, i feel another holiday, devoid of politics coming on

  43. Deanna Jones

    Bloody hell, wam, deterrence is wrong and should not be the goal. These people have to go somewhere. Your commentary is cruel and out of date.

  44. Jennifer Wilson

    Yes, Freethinker, you’re right, and you’d never get to be a politician if you didn’t represent your demographic, at least in a liberal democracy.

  45. Jennifer Wilson

    Very good decision Freethinker and I agree with you.

  46. diannaart

    asylum seekers and refugees are not economic runaways

    what is it about “economic refugees” that even many progressives are in chorus with the wealth obsessed neo-cons?

    After all, our previous PM was from a family of economic migrants.

    I guess it is only acceptable to pursue a more secure life if one is of the correct ancestry.

  47. David1

    Despite being a diehard Labor supporter. I have nothing but admiration for Sarah Hanson-Young and her continuous at times brave support for Asylum Seekers. She has the courage re their desperate plight, most Labor politicians do not.

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