It’s no wonder no-one will help Dutton
Let’s cut to the chase. Our refugee policy is a dismal failure and making it worse for cynical political purposes is despicable. Dutton is a disgrace who has been increasingly emboldened by Turnbull’s weak-kneed pandering to the far right and Labor’s cowardly chase to the bottom for fear of losing the racist vote.
Stop the bullshit, admit you got it wrong, and start looking for solutions instead of someone to blame.
For starters, the oft-repeated dog whistle of 50,000 asylum seekers arriving under Labor should be put in perspective. That is less than an average of 8,500 per year.
As Kevin Rudd points out, there were reasons for the spike in arrivals.
“During 2009-10, security circumstances changed rapidly in the region: the rolling disaster of the decision to invade Iraq led to a massive exit of asylum seekers; the new regime under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad saw a fresh exodus from Iran; followed by a major civil war in Sri Lanka with Tamils fleeing from persecution.”
As inconceivable as it may have seemed that Turnbull would so completely turn into Abbott, he has now wholeheartedly taken up the “Stop the Boats” slogan, and is showing his “strength” by coming up with even worse ways to persecute people who long ago lost all hope.
Quoting Rudd again:
“This measure is about the politics of symbols, designed to throw red meat at the right, including the Hansonite insurgency, and to grovel to the broad politics of xenophobia. Turnbull, once an intelligent, global citizen, knows better.”
So have they stopped the boats and saved lives?
A report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) found that in 2014 more people than ever took to the seas in search of asylum – an estimated 350,000 people.
The UNHCR and other agencies estimate that in 2014 more than 4000 individuals, including hundreds of children, did not survive these journeys.
In our region of Southeast Asia, the same UNHCR report estimated that, in 2014, 54,000 people undertook terrible risks on smugglers’ boats, the majority of whom left from the Bay of Bengal fleeing towards Thailand and Malaysia. Hundreds of others were moving further south in the Indian Ocean. This figure represents a 15% increase over the same period in 2013, and more than triple the estimated number of departures during the same period in 2012.
The majority of these were ethnic Rohingya fleeing ongoing violence in Burma’s Rakhine state. UNHCR estimated that, in 2014, 540 people died during these journeys, due to starvation, dehydration and beatings by crew members. UNHCR reports that those who do make it to Thailand, Malaysia or Indonesia face detention, exploitation and violence.
An update from the UNHCR on September 20 describes the situation in Europe.
Despite the number of crossings this year (300,000) being 42 % lower than during the same period last year (520,000), the number of people reported dead or missing so far this year (3,211) is only 15 % lower than the total number of casualties for the whole of 2015 (3,771). At this rate, 2016 will be the deadliest year on record in the Mediterranean Sea.
This situation highlights the urgent need for States to increase pathways for admission of refugees, such as resettlement, private sponsorship, family reunification and student scholarship schemes, among others, so they do not have to resort to dangerous journeys and the use of smugglers.
We have been calling on EU Member States to increase pledges, including for unaccompanied and separated children, speed up the registration and transfers of candidates, and for more nationalities fleeing war and persecution to have access to the scheme.
Effective relocation is key to increasing solidarity and responsibility sharing in Europe, and ensuring the better management of movements, including helping to address irregular secondary movement and reliance on smuggler networks. This is particularly vital given the humanitarian situation in Greece, and the increasing number of people staying in Italy and applying for asylum.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, has pointed out that maritime movements are a growing phenomenon, which requires a range of responses including: effective search and rescue, proper systems to deal with arrivals and identifying those with protection needs. What is also required is identifying why people are fleeing and what is preventing them from fleeing by safer means.
In a speech last year, Guterres said:
But one thing is clear: focusing only on border control and deterrence will not solve the problem. It is the duty of any government to ensure security and to manage immigration, but these policies must be designed in a way that human lives do not end up becoming collateral damage… One cannot stop a person who is fleeing for life by deterrence, without escalating the dangers even more. Any effective response must also address the root causes of this phenomenon.
We have not stopped the boats or deaths at sea. We have not stopped the people smugglers. We have just made them everyone else’s problem and the suggestion that everyone else should do likewise is met with the disgust it deserves.
Is it any wonder that that odious creature, Dutton, can’t find any country willing to help him with his paltry (in comparison) problem brought about by his stubborn insistence on destroying the lives of a mere couple of thousand people who could so easily be brought to this country – problem solved.
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All very true.
I am ashamed about Labor and the race to the bottom. Unfortunately, I expect more from Labor and Bill Shorten. This does not apply to the LNP, as I expect nothing humane or fair from them at all. So, they don'[t even form part of this discussion.
But Labor has a unique opportunity now, to distance themselves from this fascist (This is how Hitler started segregating the Jews from the rest of society) government. Bill has to grow balls now, or never!
I truly believe, the majority of the Australian government will stand behind him. The Greens have already jumped at this new Dutton/Turnbull gem.
And one last thing. Turnbull does not know better. A man of no principles, says what is fashionable at the time. But being without any high office, he could indulge in some progressive talking.
Nothing, not a single thing is more important to him than power. With know principles to rattle his consciousness, he is devoid and now a convinced right winger.
Nailed it, Kaye Lee.
Well said Kaye Lee.
Whitlam was a great leader because instead of reacting to the polls he did what was morally right!
Thank you for spelling it out, Kaye.
Dutton has failed miserably in his role as both Health Minister and now Immigration Minister : he has had one priority and that has been to resettle these folk on Nauru and Manus and, apart from the Cambodian fiasco, he has failed again with any evident progress.
However, having said that, I noted that July Bishop said on Monday in an interview that the coalition were ‘of course committed to resettling these people and closing the island detention centres’.
That surprised me as Dutton has said at various times that these folk have already been resettled (i.e. on Manus and Nauru) and that the camps will be maintained indefinitely.
Despite themselves, I think a diplomatic solution may be close : I sincerely hope so !
Political leaders are meant to make the difficult decisions and bring out the best in us – both as a national and as individuals – and some of the best decisions may take a long time to become self-evident.
These decisions will be ones that will both shame and haunt us one day.
Nobody will ever raise a statue to any of this current crop of inward-looking opportunists.
Refugees and even people-smugglers are not the problem – they are the symptom of a problem that lies elsewhere and one largely of our own making.
If Shorten goes along with this monstrosity, he’ll prove Keating right: Australia will be seen as the ‘arse end of the world’….
Tourists will stay away, and no refugee/migrant will want to come here by any means, the backpackers will let our farmers pick their own apples and head off to friendlier places….
Does the slogan “Stop helping our exceptionally dangerous ally blow up people into bits of protoplasm with our war planes so the refugees don’t need to jump in the boats” seem too long?
This is the way it should be……
A 2,000 strong volunteer sea rescue team, credited with saving thousands of lives during the 2015 refugee crisis, and a passionate human rights activist who provided a safe haven for thousands of the most vulnerable refugees arriving on Greek shores, are the joint 2016 winners of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)’s Nansen Refugee Award.
Konstantinos Mitragas on behalf of the Hellenic Rescue Team (HRT) and Efi Latsoudi from “PIKPA village”, a community-run accommodation area on the Greek island of Lesvos were both chosen for their tireless volunteer work during the 2015 refugee crisis on Greece’s shores: the HRT for their round-the-clock efforts to save refugees and migrants in distress from the sea, and Efi Latsoudi for her compassion and care for the most vulnerable refugees and migrants arriving on the island of Lesvos.
This award recognizes the work of volunteers and the support and assistance provided by people in Europe and around the world last year, and who continue to welcome refugees in their communities and assist with their integration.
Over 850,000 people arrived in Greece by sea in 2015 with more than 500,000 of these arriving on the island of Lesvos. In October 2015, arrivals peaked at more than 10,000 per day, as conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq continued to uproot people from their homes. Sadly, over 270 people died in Greek waters over the year.
Speaking about their nomination for the award, UNHCR High Commissioner Filippo Grandi said:
“Hundreds of thousands of people fleeing conflict and persecution last year made the desperate bid to reach Europe in search of safety, many risking their lives in unseaworthy boats and dinghies, in a journey which all too often proved insurmountable.
Both the Hellenic Rescue Team and Efi Latsoudi refused to stand by as they witnessed the dramatic humanitarian situation unfolding on their shores, and are fully deserving of the Nansen Refugee Award. Their efforts characterize the massive public response to the refugee and migrant emergency in Greece and across Europe, in which thousands of people stood in solidarity with those forced to flee, and the humanity and generosity of communities around the world who open their hearts and homes to refugees.”
More than 2,000 volunteers make up the HRT and have been rescuing people from the Aegean Sea and Greek mountains since 1978. In 2015, the volunteers worked 24 hours a day, responding to endless rescue calls in the middle of the night. During this time they undertook 1,035 rescue operations, saving 2,500 lives, and assisted more than 7,000 people to safety.
On Lesvos, PIKPA village provides a safe and welcoming environment on the island for particularly vulnerable refugees including women who had lost their children during the crossing and adults and children with physical disabilities. Efi Latsoudi is one of the volunteers who in 2012 transformed the former children’s summer camp into a refugee haven with the help of local authorities. PIKPA has hosted up to 600 refugees a day, despite a capacity of just 150, and distributed over 2,000 meals each day.
Konstantinos Mitragas, a sea captain and The Hellenic Rescue Team’s (HRT) secretary-general, is a Thessaloniki businessman by trade, he said: “2015 was the most difficult year that we have ever faced as a rescue team. We lived absolute horror. There were many casualties, among them many children, which is the thing that affects you most.”
“I believe it’s something in your heart that moves you and makes you volunteer and I can say our volunteers are heroes. No matter where someone comes from, or their religion, as a rescue organization we have to be there. We have to be united in periods of crisis.”
Efi Latsoudi, a trained psychologist and human rights activist, is a driving force behind PIKPA village, she said: “PIKPA started as a dream – a place where refugees would receive fair and decent treatment. Our idea of PIKPA village is a community of people; volunteers and refugees are part of this community.
“For me supporting refugees is not something exceptional, it’s something that we have to do. I think the reason that Greek and international volunteers come to the island every day has to do with solidarity. I think this is something that comes in our blood. There is a face of Europe that is very human and it’s amazing. It can do miracles and this is a miracle.”
The announcement of this year’s Nansen Refugee Award winners comes at a time when UNHCR is urging the world’s governments to work together and find joint solutions for the current global refugee crisis through its #WithRefugees petition, which currently has over 700,000 signatures.
And in the meantime this is happening http://www.smh.com.au/national/customs-officials-involved-in-drug-and-tobacco-smuggling-20160518-goy672.html
But of course, blaming innocent victims is more worthwhile to the department than catching the real criminals that bring drugs into the country, thereby destroying the fabric of society.
The RAND report into the DIBP says more than 100 corruption case investigations are pending and more comprehensive screening of the workforce is under way, although one senior official warned that at the current pace, “it will take eight years to achieve”.
“Failure to vet individuals – both initially and during the course of their service – had created a culture with a lack of accountability,” the RAND review says. Workforce screening was now focused on “looking for people with links to organised crime” and “identifying networks within the workforce”.
On the broader question of monitoring criminal activity within immigration, the RAND review casts doubt on the department’s capacity to conduct investigations, flagging that as recently as six months before last year’s merger, a “number of reports” indicated it lacked the necessary law-enforcement and other skills.
This was despite having been warned in 2013 via an internal memo from a senior investigations officer, Wayne Sievers, that the investigations teams were becoming “unviable”.
The RAND review says Sievers’ document also warned that the Australian Federal Police “did not have the resources to conduct criminal investigations into all public service agencies” and so were outsourcing their investigations to the agencies themselves.
And it warned that immigration “emphasised visa cancellations over criminal investigations and focused too much on ancillary activities over core investigation business (such as the successful prosecution of high-value targets)”.
Zathras, how very true.
This problem is not about refugees.
It is about politics and power, the latest episode initiated by Howard.
Scare the masses.
Worked before with “Reds under the bed”, “The yellow peril”, “swamped with boat people”,
All to ensure a win at the election!
And of course the waves of Greeks, Italians, and Vietnamese, all of whom seemed to make Australia their home, and for the benafit of all! ……….Refugees / immigrants 1. Lying politicians 0!
The gullibility of many, who should know better than beIieve what politicians constantly lie about, is the driving momentum of this policy. Fortunately there are many of us that call the government to account.
Keep up the good work Kaye Lee!
That’s the article I had wanted to find. Thank you Kaye!
In any case, yet again you have hit the nail on the head. Focusing on the denigration of asylum seekers and refugees instead of the real problems will ensure failure at every level. Dutton will not be able to be taken seriously by the rest of the world. The only choice he will have will be to resettle the refugees in Australia.
Forced migration will not only continue, it will worsen.
Kinda makes a mockery of their claim of lawlessness in the CFMEU where the people are being prosecuted for attending stop work meetings over health and safety issues. Oh for a journalst with the guts to point that out to Michaelia Cash and P Duddy.
The RAND report also “finds that despite the problems identified through the Rau and Alvarez cases, immigration “had not developed adequate control mechanisms to reduce the risk of future systemic failures of process” and that both agencies lacked the “professionalisation” required of a modern border force.”
Aside from corrupt border protection (aka customs) officials, high flying criminals can buy visas.
“the Productivity Commission’s study of Australia’s migrant intake identified two classes of high-end business visa it says are effectively offering an easy shortcut to Australian residency for rich foreigners – most of whom are Chinese – and exposing Australia to the real risk of foreign money laundering.”
Unfortunately the right will continue to keep this area murky because there are votes in it. The last thing they want to do is actually solve the problem! Kill the Golden Goose? Not likely!
Consider. The first thing that Morrisson did on becoming the Minister for Immigration was to stop making statements about boat arrivals because that only encourages people smugglers. Yet when in opposition, both he and Tony were more than happy to appear in front of a bus with the latest numbers emblazoned on the side which they regularly announced to the media at every opportunity – suggesting by their logic that they knowingly encouraged people smugglers (as long as it was on Labors watch).
Secondly, as has been reported before, when Labor developed the Malaysian solution (apparently the kind of thing that Dutton is allegedly trying to develop just now), it was fought tooth and nail by the Coalition as being cruel and barbaric because Malaysia were not signatories to the refugee convention. Yet so far all we have seen from this government is the sending of a few people to Cambodia, hardly a better choice than Malaysia would have been. (Again Labor idea bad, Coalition idea good – despite idea being largely the same).
And the problem is that because they see this policy area as a vote winner, they will try and drag their feet on doing anything just as long as they can. Even when Labor are largely in step with them, they have to find ways to create a wedge, simply because they know there are votes in it. And this is also in part what the latest little announcement (which unsurprisingly their cabinet ministers seem less than informed of the detail because it was only dreamt up last week as a diversion), is aimed at doing. It is yet another drearily inhumane political stunt.
This is the Coalitions “go to” policy area when anything is looking bad for them. The human collateral is immaterial. The only way that it will be changed is if the perpetrators of these policies can be punished in some manner – but they’ve already foreseen that one, and legislated so that can’t happen.
If change is to occur, making the dreadful outcomes of these awful policies punishable is the only way that I can see it might happen whilst politics operates in this country as it does – a system designed to gain and keep power, rather than to try and solve problems. Or change the system to be less adversarial. You choose.
Doctors for Refugees calls on all Australian doctors and their supporters — specifically other health professionals and indeed all concerned citizens — to march on November 5th in major Australian cities to demand humane treatment of asylum seekers and refugees. We are asking for the following:
An end to the detention of children.
An end to the mandatory, indefinite detention of asylum seekers.
Closure of the Australian detention camps which have been outsourced to Nauru and PNG, which deliver appalling living conditions at arms length in a dark regime beyond independent scrutiny.
Standards of medical care for asylum seekers comparable with those for the Australian public.
Independent oversight of healthcare and conditions for asylum seekers.
Repeal of Section 42 of the 2015 Border Force Act, which gags disclosures from the detention regime under threat of imprisonment.
March route in Sydney: http://bit.ly/2eEoFXl
It is so good to hear Kevin Rudd speaking on the issue.
Bill Shorten should be speaking out in a similar way.
Shorten’s problem though is also with the far right – they are the ones calling the shots and that is why Labor is so weak.
Sadly, Shorten is haunted by the role he has played in pandering to the right, so they own him. When Gillard shafted Rudd, Kevin warned us of the lurch to the right, and Gillard immediately delivered it with her sentiment that talking about race etc was not racist…
Shorten’s role in supporting Gillard taints him in my mind, because I distinctly recall her telling me she supported Howard’s hard line against asylum seekers (admitted she was a shadow minister and was rather angry at me because I asked her hard questions). Her attitude towards Indigenous Australians shocked me as she scathingly said she couldn’t see why they weren’t treated the same as any other ethnic minority.
The right still has Labor, under Shorten, by the throat as was evidenced the other day when I was appalled to hear from a highly learned Labor supporter that she believed Gillard was actually the author of Kevin Rudd’s historic Apology to the stolen generations. With lies like that floating around in the Labor camp it is clear that Shorten is still bowing to the ‘right’ of the Labor party.
Shorten needs to harden up and listen to the Labor voting base, or bow out. The ghost of Gillard is hard for him to shake.
There is another angle that has not been pursued by Dutton which I suspect he is saving for another time. The Dept has form in refusing to allow people to stay here if there are health problems. They deported a family, from Darwin I think it was, because their child had autism – the reason given was that Australia is not obliged to take responsibility for the health of someone with a pre-existing condition. The inmates of Manus and Nauru and for all I know Christmas Island have been driven to depths of despair and are acknowledged by qualified medical professionals of suffering extreme mental health problems as a result of three years of inhumane treatment. What is to become of them if the Dept brings this into the equation? Are they to be left to become permanently damaged, permanently incarcerated on islands where the locals can attack them with machetes when the mood takes them? Support groups on Facebook regularly, and immediately, show photos of terrible woundings, on a regular basis. This is never mentioned in media reports, independent or MSM. There is NO resettlement possible on Nauru or Manus Island because the local people simply will not accept refugees into their communities.
Also from Kevin Rudd…(and I agree Bill Shorten should be making all these points)
“Public service officials had warned us of a new wave of people smuggling activity. This July 2013 policy was conceived as a mechanism to break the gathering momentum of the people-smuggling industry, the proliferation of drownings, and an ability to reassess the external security environment after 12 months….any extension of the agreement beyond a year would be reliant on the annual reviews that would have examined both Australia’s and PNG’s treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.
….given the subsequent reports by the UNHCR, the Australian Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International and the 2016 determination of the PNG High Court, there is no way that the PNG agreement as administered by the Coalition government should have been renewed, unless the government was prepared to make radical changes, which they weren’t.”
I heard our PM recently say that Australia has the best border protection and anti-terrorism forces in the world. If that is so, why can we not bring the refugees on Nauru and Manus into Australia and process them here? If he is that confident in our ability to weed out potential threats, what is the point of processing them offshore?
Attempting to have other countries take them is an abrogation of our responsibilities. The refugees were headed here, not to Cambodia, Malaysia, New Zealand or elsewhere.
Australia is being made to look like a pariah to the rest of the world. The once famous land of the fair go and mateship has become a joke.
I appreciate that Labor is concerned about being wedged on this issue and possibly losing an election if they advocate changing tack and bringing the refugees here for processing. Fair enough, it cannot change things if it is not the Government but what about our morality, our honour, our international responsibilities?
What has happened to Statesmanship?, where is the light on the hill? I am ashamed.
Has Dutton or that matter Morrison even tried to find alternative countries or regional solution. They are not interested. They believe that they don’t have this responsibility. They believe that over time most will return to their previous homes voluntary, as they have no other options.
Why Morrison fought so hard for temporary visas which did work for Howard with the Timor and Yugoslavia refugees, worked because they were short term conflicts. No way could anyone believe this will be the case in the Middle East,
News.com are reporting :
“REFUGEES on Manus Island and Nauru will be offered permanent resettlement in Canada and the US as part of a Turnbull government plan.
The government is in the final stages of negotiations to offer permanent resettlement to most of about 1800 refugees on Manus and Nauru, according to The Australian.”
A leak to the Australian but this may be the good news that these folk have been awaiting .
We can pontificate for the rest of the year re refugee policy (& who is to blame) while the bigger picture remains dormant.
Forgive my naivety but I thought the first responsibility of government was to look after their citizens. Unheard of increases in house prices & escalating levels of homelessness & loss of the much loved Aussie larrikan culture, directly correlate with continued immigration.
Why?? …presumably to foster the flawed modern economic doctrine of “growth at ANY cost”
Canada would be a great outcome for them but I can’t see a Trump administration agreeing. If the US did agree you can be sure we would pay a high price – perhaps not in dollars but in sovereignty. Look for new military bases or a more aggressive stance towards China.
Excellent reportage, Kaye Lee. Telling it like it is.
Although, I am leery of ANYTHING Rudd has to say – he did little to resolve the policy of refugee detention when he held the power. While he is correct to call out Turnbull & Co – I see too much of pot and kettle in this. He’s not exactly into mea culpa… had he admitted his own mistakes…
In fact, considering the standard of politicians of any political hue, I give greater credence to others you quoted such as The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, than a former divisive Prime Minister.
Politicians are just well paid populists these days.
I have not noticed any “loss of culture” and you can hardly blame refugees for house prices or homelessness. Blame the ridiculous tax concessions that our government gives to investors. Blame the lack of decentralsiation that a FttP NBN would have addressed. Blame the lack of infrastructure like high speed rail that would allow people to live in regional areas. Blame the people who are making deliberate policy decisions that exacerbate the problem because they are too gutless to ever rein in the perks for the wealthy or spend money investing in our future.
Abbott isn’t the only one doing legacy defending.
Australia’s immigration department has been “freezing” the release of documents about asylum seekers at in its offshore detention centre on Nauru, according to a internal email, suggesting it has been deliberately breaching freedom of information laws.
The email, sent by Ian Campbell, the immigration department’s freedom of information officer, asks two other officials:
We note that our Nauru-related FOI cases (ie summary incident reports, health data set and several others) continue to be on hold pending confirmation from you about when we can proceed to finalise them.
Are you able to please give us an update/indication of when you consider we will be able to proceed?
There are some risks associated with not proceeding these FOI requests.
Rather than freezing the processing of these cases for several more weeks or months, we might be better off releasing the documents sooner, with the Nauru information fully exempted under grounds of international relations. This is something we’d want to discuss with Susan [Mathew]given the concerns previously expressed about such an approach.
The Dutton approach – don’t tell anyone and you won’t have a problem. Kinda like never going to the doctor – it tends to have dire repercussions eventually.
Should you choose to believe this miserable rabble, their concern is border security. little johnnie’s proclamation that ‘we shall decide who comes here’ was the precursor.
Put aside their barbaric policies, their trashing of all human rights conventions and charters, their ignorance of maritime law, their complete denial of any decency, as difficult as that may be to do. Put it aside for a minute.
If you think their concern is border security, why don’t their actions match their words?
Since the merger of ‘Customs’ and ‘Immigration’, created by scummo, they have weakened our borders. Your Saturday Paper link (at 10.22) highlighted some of those weaknesses.
Broader Farce have been in a pay dispute between the CPSU and the government ab initio. From the time it was created, the merged departments have been trying to negotiate pay and conditions. Our ‘government’ doesn’t negotiate with unions. Even if the workers in that union are the very workers they rely upon to defend our borders. Even if the workers in that union postpone industrial action due to an attack in Brussels. I’m no geographic genius, but I don’t think Brussels is in the same hemisphere. The workers were concerned enough to postpone their industrial action. It seems only appropriate the ‘government’ sends out erica.
This next bit is unlikely to surprise you. The two departments had two different IT providers. The winner was IBM. A company banned by the Qld government from tendering due to their feck up of the health system thingy. The company that sort of oversaw the census.
The company now in charge of our border security IT.
Oddly enough, they can’t deliver.
Missy Higgins performed at the ‘Welcome to Australia’ rally in Melbourne. Poorly attended (not surprising, given the weather). Her song was ‘Oh Canada’, inspired by her recollection of little Alan Kurdi.
As always, with this ‘government’, all talk. No substance, no integrity, no guts.
And most certainly, no decency.
Thank you Ms Lee. Take care
Excellent article. I have no confidence in any Australian Government (Inc.) to solve the real issues for the benefit of the Australian people. I wonder if they have adopted the “pharmaceutical” model of health and well-being. Treat the symptoms, not the cause?
Sure, they “stopped the boats”, they stopped reporting the boats! Covering up the use of lifeboats to send them back to Indonesia with a veil of secrecy for “operational” purposes, they then extended it to the detention centres. Shame on the Australian Representatives of the Australian people
Since 1946 Australia resettled more that 850 000 refugees. The numbers grow and will continue to grow into the foreseeable future. Refugees come from many Nations: are of different ethnicities, religions and cultures more generally. Their influences are profound. They change the way we live, what and where we eat, how we inform ourselves (where would we be without SBS) and so on. They are drivers of cultural change. But to suggest that they are the main drivers of cultural change is not credible. Indeed their contributions, while significant, are miniscule when compared to the influence of American culture. With that we are swamped, and have been for decades. Look what’s currently happening all around us. Take the US election as an example.
Our thinking – our very common sense – is determined in large part by the United States which subject us to a:
Whereas our Refugees don’t take us to war, our great and powerful ally does. With great frequency – resulting in an almost never ending supply of refugees. The irony abounds.
In a good and just society, Dutton wouldn’t be in charge of anything. Rather he would be on a charge or two or maybe many more himself.
That he is in charge of the political bus at the moment, with Turnbull a mere paying passenger getting deeper and deeper into moral debt as each day goes by, is a cause of national shame. Brennan charts the depths to which we sink.
KL, that Email, sent in error by Ian Campbell, will probably signal his public service death-knell.
On the other hand, Dutton may recall his ‘blunder’.
Not that Maiden herself doesn’t have ‘form’. I am reliably informed that Credlin and Maiden are members of the same branch of AA and have now taken to using UBER as their preferred mode of travel – when temptation strikes and resistance weak.
For what it’s worth, the Melbourne walk on Saturday.
Matters Not, at the risk of poking the bear, we are currently subservient to the US. Thank’s, little johnnie. We were previously subservient to ‘mother England’. Thank’s, menzies. For the record, I think we are big enough to define our own future. Whether the ‘master’ be a foreign power, or the miserable miscreants we call politicians. The tail has wagged the dog for long enough.
How about we start defining our future? (Your last two posts notwithstanding).
Yep! A large part of our future lies in Asia and while we verbalise that recognition, the lived experience is in sharp contrast. Our nearest neighbour is Indonesia, with the largest population of Muslims in the world. Yet we demonise Muslims and do so on the basis of sweeping ignorance.
Further north, we have China which has clear territorial ambitions. Our response is to order 12 conventional submarines (the most expensive on record at $4.6B each) and some flying lemons. It is though we are trying to be a modern day recreation of The Mouse that Roared .
No strategic ambitions. No vision. Band aids all round.
More like Lord of the Flies.
What I would love to see, and could be started at the walks on Saturday, is a community groundswell where we can find towns who would be happy to house some refugees and help get them started, and people who have houses or rooms they would be willing to share, perhaps with some government assistance. We need to hear from farmers, and others, who might like to offer employment to refugees when they are ready. We need to hear from health and teaching services and churches who would help. THEN we go to the government and say we will help look after them. Let them come. I read about the people in Greece and I am ashamed.
Like New Zealand did and will do again, provided they are not to become second class citizens?
Sorry, I don’t think the government really wants this problem to be solved any time soon. Too useful as a political wedge. But there will be a day of reckoning and I hope it’s soon.
On the other hand a ‘deal’ may be in the offing provided we will concede territory, sovereignty, or perhaps an arm or leg or maybe another more vital part of the anatomy?
Refugee Action Coalition Sydney RAC TAKE A STAND – MARCH FOR REFUGEES THIS SATURDAY NOV 5.
– Sydney 1pm Hyde Park
– Melbourne 1pm State Library
– Cairns 10am DIBP
– Newcastle 2pm Town Hall
– Hobart 9am Parliament Lawn
– Darwin 12:30 Smith St Mall
– Fremantle 2pm outside Round House
MN, I am way past caring what this government wants. They can piss right off. They are an impediment that will have to be bypassed. I know they will have to be shamed into it – a tough job that we need the international community to help us with. We provide a solution, they provide the censure.
With the greatest of respect, Ms Lee, (at 4.25) we have been doing just that for decades. The ‘Snowy’ scheme is probably the oldest I can remember. Shepparton, here in Victoria, have been doing that for decades. Having met a man of Koori heritage, I first went to Shepparton to see how disadvantaged ‘his people’ were. Whilst they were clearly disadvantaged, the people I met were embracing and caring. They would give you the shirt off their back’s (not that that was necessary, due to the weather). It took me awhile to work out they weren’t ‘his people’. He was part of this fantastic community, that accepted me without blinking an eye.
In NSW, there is Wagga Wagga and Orange.
Then there is dutton. Just one more miniature that tells you they are defined by what they can’t do, as opposed to what they should do.
“Yep! A large part of our future lies in Asia.”
Do we follow, like our dalliance with England or America? Or do we lead?
I think it was MN who spoke of Dutton driving the bus and Turnbull being a mere passenger.
I see Abbott on his bike, and closely following are Dutton and Turnbull in tandem on ONE bike, in harmony…
Very true Kyran. There is also Sanctuary which has assisted over 180 African refugees to settle in Lismore and Mullumbimby.
Thanks Kaye. Very important piece.
Greg Poole, yes, the poor refugees are being used as a distraction from other pressing problems and this nasty government is hoping people will blame the refugees for things that have nothing to do with them. Please don’t be sucked in by them. Any government worthy of the name can handle more than one problem at a time. This government doesn’t want to solve any of the problems you mention because it would mean depriving their rich mates of money. Poor people, the working class, and refugees don’t matter. For this government it is a major win if they can get poor people and the working class to be angry at the refugees. For them that is the solution, not fixing things.
Kyran, good points. Might I suggest though, that you post the actual page addresses instead of Google’s search links? The links from Google’s search page, aside form being gigantic and opaque, also carry information about you in them. Compare, for instance, the first link above in your comment with this, which takes you to exactly the same page:
Incidentally, if you want a search that gives links that don’t spy on you, don’t use Google, use https://duckduckgo.com/
It’s faster because it gives you the actual results instead of redirecting you through Google a second time. It doesn’t spy on you. And because it gives the actual links, they can be copied and pasted.
It is precisely BECAUSE Dutton is (at the very least!) “odious” that the LNP Masters of the Universe rewarded him with greater and greater power over helpless, harmless, defenceless people
Yes, Max. Well said. They’ve picked Dutton because he has no moral scruples. He can be as low as they want him to be.
John Howard created this problem, and continues to live the high life, and all who have come and gone since have exploited it for their political benefit. The current post-modern ‘exhibition’ on Nauru and Manus is evil and needs to be stopped. Why are people so scared of boat arrivals anyway? What was the 1st fleet anyway?
People feel disempowered. They believe what they read in the Telegraph and hear on talk back radio because conservative politicians (including some from the Labor party) confirm it.
They are really scared about our debt because the government has chosen to exploit their fears about their own debt. They are really scared about migrants because the government has chosen to make their jobs insecure. They are really scared about asylum seekers because the government has blamed them for everything – terrorism, hospital waiting lists, traffic congestion, homelessness and unemployment…Pauline Hanson would include diseases on that list. They will take our jobs whilst languishing on welfare.
It doesn’t matter that none of that makes sense and is entirely contradicted by the proven benefits migrants have brought to this country.
It makes me want to scream.
The federal government has set us up so they can exploit our fears. This I already know, but they continue to misrepresent the nature of our monetary system so as to drive private debt and exploit us still further. This is criminal behaviour, and, as such, merely ‘voting them out of office’, no longer seems enough. It’s time to make them really pay. This is a class war that the punters are yet to wake up to.
These penny-pinching cost cuts aimed mainly at the socially disadvantaged and politically defenceless – if roughing up asylum seekers and their kids goes down so well with voters, why not extend the attack to bottom-of-the-pile Aussies? – are far from sufficient to make much impact on the budget deficit.
They show the government is near the bottom of the barrel in the quality of budget savings it’s prepared to make.
It wants us to believe the federal budget is close to bankruptcy but, in truth, it’s this government that’s nearer to being morally, politically and economically bankrupt.
While it’s true that Dutton has no moral scruples and can be as low as they want him to be , that’s not the main reason he was (re)assigned to this portfolio. Any ‘history’ will show his original assignment was the Health portfolio where he was a complete and absolute political disaster:
Given that the various medical unions are real power players who invariably support conservative governments, his removal became a political imperative. Yet he was, and remains, a powerful political operative. What to do? He couldn’t be discarded. His ambitions had to be accommodated. He had to remain a Minister.
Look into his ‘history’ to understand his ‘natural’ fit. In a past life, he was a Queensland walloper, where the subtleties of the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ concept were merely a speed bump – a minor irritation in the quest to ensure a conviction. Clearly the protocols of negotiation were far beyond his ‘work experience’. So, while Doctors could respond with political clout (and they did), refugees were powerless, relying on conventions and the like. That portfolio was the perfect personality and political fit.
And he thinks he can be Prime Minister. After all Tony did that.
And Tony said “If you don’t make me Minister for the Aborigines who love me then I will throw a tanty like you haven’t seen.”
I have read commentators who I usually give some credence say that this should happen….none of them happen to be Aboriginal.
This is the man who cut over half a billion from Indigenous funding. Countless successful programs were dismantled so we could employ more truancy officers and build more police stations. He spends a motza having his photo taken in very staged and awkward settings but what has he actually ever achieved for Indigenous people? His party wouldn’t say Sorry, his party started the NT intervention, his party don’t want a treaty, they want income management rather than self-determination. Tony failed to understand the significance of the Tent Embassy and also said living in remote communities was a lifestyle choice we couldn’t afford.
Do you pick the kid that shoves the others aside and yells pick me pick me pick me……or do you pick the kid who understands the game, who values his fellow players, and who doesn’t subscribe to the theory that you should throw the first punch.
Dutton will always be remember as the Minister who argued in Cabinet against ‘judicial referral’ (as opposed to ministerial discretion) on the grounds that the judges might ‘let them off’.
For Dutton, anything less that a 100% conviction rate is clear evidence of judicial failure.
As a Minister, he won’t ever fail. If they’re down, then Peter can be relied on to give them another kicking.
Dutton, speaking about judges in Queensland, said it was “no wonder” there were lenient sentences “when you look at who appointed the judges and magistrates”.
“Have a look at the background of some of these appointments, some of their friendships, their affiliations,” he told Macquarie Radio. “Look at the appointment of magistrates by attorneys general [Rod] Welford, [Linda] Lavarch and Yvette D’Ath.
“Have a look back at the appointments and the backgrounds of these people and then ask yourself why are we getting some of the decisions we’re getting at the moment.”
I seem to recall George Brandis just appointed the Liberal party donor who defended his son to the Appeals court….not to mention Tim Wilson’s appointment to the AHRC which I would rather not speculate on.
Like most cops,dutton is a sadist.mark
Perhaps Dyson could investigate? There’s a pressing need for a Federal ICAC.
Labor at some stage must get on board. Or be left behind.
I would like Dyson to compare the crimes of the over 100 Border Force/customs personnel who are before the courts with those of the CFMEU.
A complete waste of time. Border Force personnel under the guidance and tutelage of Dutton et al are all pure as the driven snow. Except of course, those who are engaged in ongoing industrial action. Which by definition (and by mantra) can be explained by: It’s all Labor’s fault.
But I must away. The years are condemning me. And in part, Labor has much to do with that.
Don’t denigrate the police Mark. Those patrolling the streets put their lives on the line on a daily basis dealing with ice addicts and other out of control individuals.
@Kaye Lee “For starters, the oft-repeated dog whistle of 50,000 asylum seekers arriving under Labor should be put in perspective. That is less than an average of 8,500 per year.” Exactly. Yet on ABC news breakfast Prof Stephen Martin advocated increasing our immigration intake to 400,000 per year but he didn’t advocate increasing the refugee intake accordingly. Their latest report can be found here:
Martin stated that doubling our migrant intake would be good for GDP but he didn’t say it would be bad for GDP per capita. In a post industrial era what is the point of increasing our population?
See page 24 of the report “So an increase in migration, resulting in a decline in labour productivity, would make existing workers worse off than without the migration but the owners of capital better off.” So immigration is good for the capitalists no matter what but not necessarily good for the immigrants or the existing population.
That is an interesting report but your quote misrepresents their findings…
“According to census data migrants have raised the level of Australia’s labour productivity by six per cent. Between 2006 and 2011 migrant’s contributed at least 10 per cent to growth in the nation’s skilled capacity. This accounted for 0.17 of a percentage point of annual labour productivity growth.
The benefits associated with a larger population could be substantial. Adjusting for the potential effect of agglomeration benefits associated with a larger population finds that the current migration program will result in Australia’s per capita income being 5.9 per cent higher than if there was zero net migration.”
The problems are coming from employers exploiting migrant workers and misusing the 457 visa program and from capital investment not keeping up to adequately utilise labour resources.
“So many Australians – Asian, African and European – came to this land because it promised them freedom from oppression. They helped build our country, economically, culturally and ethically. Today’s asylum seekers are no different. Odds-on they will prove to be better nation builders than most of the red-necks who oppose them or the cashed-up migrants who take their place in the queue.”
Bruce Haigh writing about asylum seekers “I’m ashamed to be Australian”.
Australia would be a boring Colonial outpost without the addition of the Greek, Italian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Lebanese, Syrian, Dutch, German, Afghans, Iraqi etc. It would be a land of lamb-chops and Xenophobia, the latter of course still lingers on ( Hanson &co). Luckily the lamb cutlets are now frenched, but sadly also overprized… 🙂
“As detailed by Professor Andrew Markus in “Current opinion on Australia’s immigration policy”, community surveys consistently find that the vast majority (83 per cent of respondents) agreed that immigration has generally been good for the Australian economy. In addition, these surveys find between 84 to 86 per cent of respondents have agreed to the proposition that “multiculturalism has been good for Australia”
The Hansonites do not represent the majority – they just shout the loudest
We have always been since 1788 been multicultural country.
Other cultures have not been assimilated but over time merged to form new culture.
This renewal has occurred with each wave migration.
No one culture swamps the other.
Culture even where no migration occurs, also changes over time. This is as it should be.
True Kaye – the Hansonites are also the people with the simplest world view. They believe that getting rid of “foreigners” will solve everything – it is the “one-size, fits all” solution to all of their woes. Nothing else really matters for them, hence why it is so difficult to persuade them that what they want is akin to undiscovering atomic power – it is simply impossible to do when we are already living in the multicultural nation that Australia is (whether you chose to accept that reality or not).
The Brexiters will increasingly struggle as they try to disconnect themselves from Europe, because they didn’t actually have an alternative plan. They will discover the hard way that it will not solve their woes.
The single biggest example of the effect of the lack of diversity is the Coalition. Totally bereft of ideas, and utterly incapable of understanding cause and effect.
Beautifully stated, Florence
Although we can do better, particularly with First Nation people whose culture we barely discovered or acknowledged.
Highly recommend this book: https://darkemu.wordpress.com/
We use others as political pawns in our detention centres – this will come back to Australia – eventually. I doubt the current crop of politicians will be darkening the halls of parliament, we will need political leaders of great courage, compassion and sensitivity to reap the consequences and stop the blame game.
Kaye, thank you so much for finding the statistic that a majority of Australians are in favor of multiculturalism and immigrants. I am so relieved.
Labor can’t use it as an excuse to pander to the xenophobes anymore then. Let’s hope they get the message. (There’s no hope for the LNP. They’re a lost cause.)
Perhaps we need to shout louder.
Where did you read the details of Professor Andrew Markus’ research? I’d love to be able to link to it in future conversations with people.
Was it this?
It is from Divergent Aussie’s link to a CEDA report – well worth the read. They are all about the economics but make good suggestions. Chapter 1 beginning on p 31
This was the SMH’s summary though I think they leave important stuff out
Thanks Kaye. Wow! 110 pages long! Now there’s some bedtime reading.
I have developed a skill for skim reading. I usually start with the executive summary and the conclusion and any recommendations and then look more deeply into the parts that interest me. I have not read the whole thing.
The Huffington Post article talks more about age groups’ attitudes to multiculturalism.
It’s talking about a 2015 survey. I don’t know if that’s the same survey analysed in the ebook you posted the link for. I’ll have to look (though not tonight — too much to do).
It certainly agrees with my view of the youth today. They are better people, on the whole, than our peers. This is good news for our society, so long as it isn’t choked out of them by our nasty, greedy generation.
Miriam, page 37 in the report….
The most significant variance for Australia-born respondents was based on five key attributes. These were:
• Political alignment – a relatively high proportion of negative scores were obtained by those intending to vote Independent (44 per cent) or National (41 per cent). This was compared to Liberal (17 per cent), Labor (12 per cent) and Greens (one per cent).
• Level of education – a small proportion of those with Bachelor (12 per cent) or higher degree (eight per cent) obtained a low score. Those whose highest qualification is at the trade or apprentice level were more likely to receive a low score (61 per cent).
• Gender – 35 per cent of men obtained low scores, whereas a much lower 17 per cent of women obtained low scores.
• Financial situation – respondents who described their financial situation as “just getting along”, or “struggling to pay bills” were more likely to obtain a low score (both responses scoring 32 per cent), as were those who described their financial situation as “poor” (37 per cent).
• Regional analysis found 22 per cent of low scores came from major cities, 26 per cent from inner regional areas, and 42 per cent came from outer regional areas.
What upsets me, is, that, the LNP, don’t even entertain the idea, and, what’s more, refuse to, in a bloody minded, cavalier mindset that, there are other solutions, to the ones they have contrived, in the management of asylum seekers
What also upsets me, is, their doggedness, their “dog-in-the-manger attitude and “dog with-a-bone”, clinging to their status quo, about this issue, as if “it”, “their policy and laws”, are an acceptable solution
A war on refugees, acceptable? NO!
The LNP continued to create, embroider, this policy, after the initial set up of the “solution” to deal ‘boat people”
It is a construct, by being one, thus, can be undone
It is a waste on every level, and on every level it is unnecessary.
These poor innocent people who have much to offer, turned their backs on a untenable, life circumstance, because, they wanted a life worth living, based on, fairness, respect of civil liberties and civil rights and would, because of this, would have created a new life, in a most positive way, where everyone would benefit, instead they are being bludgeoned for it, over and over again in every way imaginable.They are being punished worse, than the worst criminals in our penal system.
It is incomprehensible that our country is the architect of such a obscene injustice, and worse, continue to build this monstrosity and edifice of injustice
Kaye, that fits. Conservative right-wing people are more likely to hold racist views and lack of knowledge about the world tends to reinforce racism. Tolerance tends to be a luxury too.
So the LNP will naturally work to restrict education and push people into dire circumstances to increase conservatism in the community. Also, by pandering to less well educated, less worldly, more financially troubled rural folks in a few, large, but sparsely populated country areas which count the same as cities of millions of people they distort votes. And of course they will make sure women are marginalised. These are the strategies to maintain a conservative government.
Put like that it’s clear that it isn’t in Australia’s interests. Conservatism survives by hurting the community because a community blinded and in pain votes for conservatives. We need effective strategies to undo it. Most important in the near term, I think, is the internet as it reaches people everywhere and can improve people’s education and worldview. Not much can be done about the financial troubles or distortion of voting areas until we get rid of the conservative government.
We need Labor to understand that it is very much in their interests to boost education, decrease financial pressures, enable women’s voices, and undo the the regional distortions which give small numbers of conservatives undemocratic power over the rest of us.
kristapet, yes, it is appalling. It’s hard to fathom what goes through their minds when they try to justify it to themselves.
As well as direct costs for immigration such as building and maintaining infrastructure, there are also external costs such as increased pollution, environmental destruction, increasing rates of depletion and scarcity which, as far as I am aware, do not get factored. I haven’t read the report either.
I am against any form of population increase.
“Capitalism has a long, ugly history of scapegoating immigrants. The pattern has been repeated often.”
God you are persistent Harquebus. FFS PLEASE write an article on population before I am forced to take action again.
I try to keep my comments short and relevant. That is the best that I can offer.
We can not solve our problems by ignoring underlying causes.
I could’ve had an easier time of life – not gonna bore with details, because I am sure other AIMNers can say the same. I often get irritable when someone claims ‘we can create our own luck’. I have always thought that was B/S – sometimes circumstances are beyond our control and all we can do is manage.
My point is; to those who claim the ‘creating own luck’ thing:
Tell that to the millions of refugees around the world, tell that to the helpless and innocent people on Nauru or Manis. These people have been through more than I can imagine even in my most despairing moments. These people are being used by my fellow Australians who claim to represent me – no they don’t represent me at all – there has been little representation of the the lower income groups for decades. The middle class is starting to be hit by neo-con ideology as their jobs are automated or outsourced. The only way to be represented is to have a lot of wealth and power, otherwise, you’re not wanted, not considered and actively despised.
We can’t control happen-stance, we can select who represents us. Think on that Labor, people are looking for alternatives and often not in the best way, I offer Trump, Brexit as abhorrent examples. We cannot be represented by a narrowly focussed two-party system.
I am reasonably sure that Shorten will oppose the latest insult to integrity by the LNP, the clause which specifies how one arrives on or near our shores, but will Shorten campaign for the release into Australia for much needed care, the refugees on Manis and Nauru? Will all off-shore detentions be closed, so that the current situation cannot occur again.
We take care of vulnerable people, we do not isolate and exploit. That’s what wealthy civilised countries do.
Agreed Diannaart – I’ve tried “creating my own luck” and it could quite easily have financially wrecked me, and more importantly my family. Fortunately I managed to get our largely financially unharmed (other than the loss of income over 10 years that I might have enjoyed had I stayed an employee rather than trying to create my own luck, and actually just feathering the bed of far too many other larger organisations). Of course, you only hear that message from the exceptions that have done well, and never from the much longer list of failures, but it doesn’t take much digging to find them. The problem with creating your own luck is that the deck are stacked against you, and you often don’t realise it until you are too far invested to retreat.
I’m afraid I also don’t see many ideas being generated from either side of politics as to how to solve many of the problems that are proliferating, being too tied up in either blaming the other side, whilst defending their own side. Our current democratic systems are in significantly need of an overhaul. Whilst business theory and practice have leapt ahead leaps and bounds, we are still using a system that is effectively hundreds of years old. Is it any surprise that corporations with their unstoppable need for profit are increasingly ruling the world, and governments, the voices of the people, seem totally incapable of applying the brakes, or steering the ship in a better direction. Modern corporatism is the runaway train that seems destined to crash, whilst our politicians spend inordinate time arguing about the decor in the carriages.
Thank you, Steve.
I too stepped out, took chances, put my hand up when I saw opportunities. I also questioned a great many things. “Creating your own luck” may be a bit like kowtowing to the “right” people.
We only applaud the maverick if s/he is successful. If they have the temerity to flee danger and while so doing, step on a boat, for example, their luck clearly runs out – brought on themselves of course.
We do have the technology, the sheer brain power and ability to provide workable solutions to refugees, poverty, starvation and prepare for a sustainable (environmentally compatible) future, world wide. However, none of the aforementioned abilities exist in our current crop of politicians and the same blinkered vision applies to many industries – well those that do not want to change or diversify – too hard I guess.
Due to chronic ill health I can only comment these days. I miss the activity of preparing fliers, marching with like minded people, just being around people who could look forward instead of passing judgement.