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Part 3: Arise Scott Morrison, Lord Sixwords of Cronulla!

Part 3 of George Venturini’s piece cites The Green’s opposition to the draconian legislation Scott Morrison introduced into Parliament in his final weeks as the Minister for Immigration. You may wish to read/re-read Part 1 and Part 2 before proceeding.

Arise Scott John Morrison, Lord Sixwords of Cronulla!

But why Sixwords? Simple: Eine Sprache, ein Gezetz, ein Kultur – translated into ‘One Language, One Law, One Culture’ for the benefit of the ‘boys of Cronulla’, Morrison’s grand electors.

A Parliament, but what ‘democracy’?

The Parliamentary debate on the final text of the bill had been one of the harshest and most anguished in a long time. Parliament was bitterly divided.

Few members in the House of Representatives could and did speak against the bill in good conscience, by having opposed it from the very beginning.

Most comfortable, despite their anguish, were the Australian Greens members of the Senate. They had the advantage of never having proposed and organised the mis-treatment of asylum seekers as the so-called Labor Party and the so-called Liberal Party, with its Country Party appendix, had done for some twenty years at least.

The final debate on the bill got on the way at mid-afternoon of 4 December 2014.

First amongst the Greens to speak was Senator Milne. She said:

“On 5 April 2013 the now Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who was the opposition leader at the time, in a speech to his favourite organisation, the Institute of Public Affairs – that is, the Rupert Murdoch-Gina Rinehart think tank – said this: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ is the foundation of our justice. ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself’ is the foundation of our mercy.

That was our Prime Minister when he was the Leader of the Opposition, and now this government is engaged in what I think will be regarded as crimes against humanity because it is systematic abuse. It is not one-off, not by any means: it is systematic and deliberate humiliation and degradation of people, and a deliberate and systemic process to destroy people’s mental health. …   The fact that there are children locked up in detention at all is a disgrace, and the minister has the power right now to free all of those children and their families, but he will not do it. He will not do it because he wants to treat those children as pawns in a political game to try to get more power and to get more disgraceful legislation through this parliament. What sort of a person uses the fact that he has the power to keep children locked up behind barbed wire in detention centres and decides to trade or not to trade their freedom depending on whether he can get other people to agree to give him more powers which are against international law?”

Further on:

“There are so many things wrong with this legislation that it is hard to know where to begin. Schedule 6 provides that you can classify children born in Australia to asylum seeker parents as unauthorised maritime arrivals. No, they are not. They are babies born in Australia on Australian soil, and they should be regarded in the same way as any other child born here and be given their citizenship – their statehood.

What do you call this treatment of pregnant women? There are two women on Nauru who are eight months pregnant. They had been classified as genuine refugees and were settled as refugees on Nauru – not criminals but settled refugees – but, because Australia has determined to send people to Nauru, where, clearly, the medical facilities are not good enough and these women had to be sent to Australia to have their babies, they have been put in detention. They are eight months pregnant and were put in detention, when they are settled refugees. I call that disgraceful and grave humiliation of those people. It is degradation of their human rights. They are settled refugees – they should be treated with the respect that they deserve, not shoved into detention.

I want to talk first of all about the minister’s grab for power – that is, the removal of judicial oversight of the use of maritime powers.

The fact that this bill will amend the Maritime Powers Act and remove judicial scrutiny of whether Australia complies with certain human rights obligations, by removing a role for judges and removing a role for the courts to invalidate government actions at sea, proves and provides that the rules of natural justice do not apply to certain key actions.

It suspends Australia’s international obligations in the context of powers exercised under the Maritime Powers Act. This is the parliament saying that it will exempt itself and its behaviour from the scrutiny of the courts. This is absolutely shocking behaviour in international law terms – we are abrogating our responsibilities under international law just so this minister can do what he likes on behalf of his government.”

Senator Milne went on:

“The other thing that is appalling is that [the intended legislation] is allowing for fast-tracking to occur. To make things worse, under this fast-track process, applicants for protection visas will no longer be entitled to have the merits of their claim reviewed by the Refugee Review Tribunal. In some cases but not all they will be able to have their case looked at by the immigration assessment authority, but it will not involve any hearings where the applicant can set out their claims and a decision will be made purely on the papers. Of course everybody knows that for refugees and people seeking asylum that is going to be virtually impossible. Many of them are already frightened of the authorities because of the way they have had to leave the countries they have been in. They will have no papers and no-one to justify or prove or verify some of the things they are saying.

This is setting up a grossly unfair procedural process. And you are knowingly doing it. It is beyond my understanding of how you continue to use this Orwellian language. ‘Unauthorised maritime arrival’ – no, person, people like you and I, people with parents, with children, with brothers and sisters and families and hopes for a better future, people who have had to leave Afghanistan, Hazaras who have had to leave because they are being persecuted. And this government thinks it is fine to turn them around at sea and send them back to Sri Lanka, for example, where you know and I know that the Rajapaksa government is engaged in crimes against humanity all the time, yet you appease them. You appease the Rajapaksas. You know exactly what they are doing in Sri Lanka. You know what they are doing to the Tamils. You know that the white vans turn up and people disappear, yet you send asylum seekers back because it suits you to do so and, what is more, you give to the Rajapaksa regime some of the vessels which will better able them to intercept people leaving or to return them.

You are more than happy to turn people around, to traumatise the Navy, for example, as we saw on the 7.30 Report this week where people were horrified about what they have been expected to do. They have been given no counselling or assistance even though they are experiencing the humanity they feel about seeing the way these people are being treated. There is the fact that anyone could say it would be inconvenient for a refugee vessel to turn up on Australia Day, ‘So let’s make sure that doesn’t happen, let’s turn them around, let’s push them back, let’s do what we like, let’s get rid of them because they’re unauthorised maritime arrivals.’ No, they are people of whom the Prime Minister has said, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ It is very clear that he does not believe that. The Prime Minister would not have his own family treated in this way. He would not have a child of his own family left stateless.

Every child has a right to a name and a nationality, a statehood. In the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child every child has a right to a name and a nationality, yet you are taking that away from them.

You are saying: ‘That child will be stateless and, what’s more, we’re not even calling a child a child; we’re just going to label them’ – in Orwellian terms – ‘an “unauthorised maritime arrival.” ’

International law will catch up with this government. The International Criminal Court was set up to look at systemic abuse by governments around the world.”

Senator Ludlam, also of the Australian Greens, opened his speech with a bang: “[The bill] is the latest sordid chapter in a race to the bottom.”

And he continued:

“ … many of us thought it would not come to this. Just when you think this government cannot get any more vindictive in its treatment of innocent families fleeing war and violence and just when you think this government could not get any more sadistic, secretive and authoritarian in its attitude towards some of the most vulnerable people in the world, this government finds a way to surprise you.

So I am now beyond surprising. In truth, the ruination of Australia’s arguably proud record of providing safe harbour to people seeking to escape political or sectarian violence has been a long time coming and there is no point in laying all of the blame at the feet of Minister Scott Morrison. From the moment the ALP and the Liberal-National parties settled their bipartisan consensus that henceforth Australian refugee policy would rest on the principle of deterrence, a bill like the one we are debating tonight was practically inevitable.

To deter people from fleeing the Iranian secret police, the medieval violence of the Taliban, the horrors faced by the Rohingya in the western part of Burma and the murderous repression that passes for official state policy in Sri Lanka inevitably means your policy ends up in a very dark place indeed. The United Nations has recognised this. The Australian High Court has recognised this. Advocates who work face to face with refugees fleeing the unfortunate circumstances that people find themselves in, refugees themselves and advocates, like Amnesty International, which keep an eye on the kinds of horrific situations that people find themselves in around the world, have looked at Australian government policy in recent years and found it extremely wanting.

We have a bill tonight that will grant almost total impunity to Minister Scott Morrison and whoever comes after him in the continued process of the militarisation of a humanitarian crisis …  and I genuinely fear for what powers this bill would grant an individual like Minister Scott Morrison – his authoritarian tendencies when he thinks he can score some kind of political point; brutalising people who already have lost so much – and I genuinely fear what this will actually mean for people who, through no fault of their own, find themselves on the front line.

The bill effectively will redefine the definition of refugee to be whatever the minister of the day says it is. And although Mr Morrison appears to be using hundreds of children who should never have been detained in the first place as a bargaining chip – and, again, we see the kind of compassion that I think has driven this debate for many years … The compassion that was felt by people right across the debate was so callously manipulated, and, again, that is what is happening tonight. The crossbenchers have been told that Minister Morrison will trade off children behind razor wire – who should never have been put there in the first place – as though they were poker chips in a political negotiation. What kind of sociopath engages in a political debate or a political negotiation using the lives of children who have fled from Hazara lands in Afghanistan or from Sri Lanka? It is very, very hard to fathom how it could possibly have come to this. Those children could be released tomorrow, irrespective of the outcome of this debate tonight. That is what the Labor Party understands, it is what the Greens understand, and I would urge the other crossbenchers – some of whom have made their position clear and some of whom have not – to rest with that consideration overnight, because that decision will be on their conscience and on all of our consciences irrespective of which way the vote goes when it is committed.

The bill effectively removes most references to the refugee convention from Australia’s Migration Act. This is something that I am not expecting will make the front pages of the papers tomorrow because for whatever reason most Australians, through spending our lives in such a fortunate part of the world, if we are lucky will not ever have to think carefully about what human rights actually mean in the flesh or what international humanitarian law actually means to families, to real individuals. These things are seen by most of us, mediated through television screens, happening to other people.

But these instruments were put there for a purpose. As I described briefly earlier, they were put there so that nobody would ever have to face what those of Jewish descent fleeing the horrors of Nazi Germany had faced, or that the story of those fleeing Poland would never be repeated. That is the flesh and blood behind these human rights instruments that this government is so casually violating in the terms outlined in this bill. What kind of legislator  – what kind of leader; what kind of politician – determines that the children of boat arrivals who were born in Australia, in Australian hospitals, are nonetheless unauthorised maritime arrivals? It is bleak. It is not even ironic; it is an incredibly black piece of legislation. And yet that is what this bill does -newborn children are classified as unauthorised maritime arrivals. How did it come to this degree of political dehumanisation?

Of course, there will be further debate on the amendments that are outlined in this bill when we get to the committee stage, and further amendments will shape the final form of the bill. I will leave comment on those to my colleague Senator Hanson-Young, who has carried the burden of government policies under the former government and under this government as they have sought this race to the bottom – as governments of both persuasion have sought to outdo each other in that deterrent effect that would somehow make Australian government policy scarier than the Taliban or the Iranian secret police.

We can talk about the high-level policy of lifting the humanitarian intake and about the Greens’ safer pathways proposal, which would lift the humanitarian intake to 30,000 to take the pressure off those people who found themselves stranded in transit camps in Malaysia and Indonesia. Under that proposal, out of that target of 30,000, we would take 10,000 from those camps in our region, where people have been told there is no queue. That is what creates the business model that the people-smugglers exploit. Momentarily lapsing into the language adopted by the coalition, if you want to smash that business model, remove the incentive to climb onto a boat. Rather than making people more terrified of the Australian government than they are of the Sri Lankan white vans, offer them hope by offering them a chance at a safe harbour—you might be in this camp for a period of time, but you will be safe while you are here, and you will eventually be resettled. If you want to dissolve the people-smugglers’ business model, that is how to do it. The Greens propose an additional $70 million per year in emergency funding for safe assessment centres in Indonesia to enable this kind of process and to give people confidence that they will not be in these camps forever while they wait for assessment and resettlement. We propose to shut down all offshore detention in Nauru and [Papua New Guinea]. This is not simply about getting children out of detention; it is about getting all human beings out of detention.

There are many, many policy instruments if we simply set the racist undertones of this debate aside, cease the race to the bottom – where we try and terrify people out of fleeing military dictatorships and war zones – and actually adopt a compassionate approach.”

But it was left to the Shadow Minister for Immigration, Senator Hanson-Young to place the final nail in the moral coffin of the Abbott government. Rising to speak late in the evening, she began this way:

“I obviously have an awful lot of questions for the minister as well in relation to how on earth the government thinks it is appropriate to hold children as hostages in order to change fundamental pieces of legislation to simply grant the minister more power for himself. I have had many debates in this place over asylum seeker and refugee policy and many of them have been pretty undignified, but I must say I have never seen anything so appalling and abusive as I have seen in this place tonight. We heard from Senator Muir, who said he felt he was in such a difficult position – with a choice to vote for a bad bill or a terrible bill, because he was told that, if he did not do what the government wanted, the children would get it. He was told the only way to get these children out of detention was to pass this bill and this package.

I have been saying for a number of weeks that the minister was using children in detention as hostages – it was a figure of speech until tonight. Tonight we saw children on Christmas Island being handed the phone number of [an other crossbench senator, who might have been undecided], and they were asked to call that number and beg that senator to let them out. If that is not treating children as hostages, what is it?

This minister has become one of the most sociopathic people in this country. I want to give you the definition of a sociopath. It is characterised by a lack of regard for the moral or legal standards of society, a master deceiver and manipulator, someone who will do whatever it takes to get what he wants with no regard for consequences. Minister Morrison is a sociopath who has held children as hostages in order to grab the power he wants in this place tonight.

I do not blame [that senator]. I do not blame any of the members on this crossbench. I do not even blame a number of the backbenchers of the Liberal-National party who I know are appalled at where this government’s policy is doing but I sure as hell blame Minister Morrison and Tony Abbott. They have been desperate for months to get a win on this issue. They have done everything they could to make it a hard moral choice for people in this place. What is in this bill is not just temporary protection visas, not just a new visa created to allow people to work. We know there are seven schedules in this piece of legislation and the majority of them do exactly the opposite of helping children and their families resettle properly in this country.

Minister Morrison has held children in detention for months, children he could have been released at any time. The conditions inside the detention centre on Christmas Island are appalling. Children have been abused. They have been raped and their parents have been raped. I am not exaggerating. This is what the evidence has shown. Why did he not get the children out when they started to be abused? Why did he not let the children out when they called, wrote and begged him to let them go to school six months ago? Why did he not let them out when the Human Rights Commission said they are the most disgraceful conditions children should ever be held in? Why did he not let them out then? Because he was waiting for his prime time to use them as bargaining chips, as pawns in his political play, to get legislation that he wanted through this place which previously had no support in this chamber.

The amendments moved today by the minister do not improve the substance of this bill. The amendments put forward in this piece of legislation do not make any real difference to the use of those SHEVs or those TPVs, despite what the crossbench has been told. There is no way that somebody can honestly believe that there is a pathway to permanency for any of the people in this 30,000 caseload backlog.”

Almost in tears, Senator Hanson-Young shouted:

“I want those kids off Christmas Island. I want the kids off Nauru. I want the people out of detention on Manus Island. But I do not believe in setting 30,000 people up to fail, giving them false hope that they will get their refugee claims assessed fairly – which they will not, because schedules 4 and 5 scrap their ability to ever have their claims assessed fairly – and pretending that somehow there is a pathway to permanency when the minister has said himself that it is going to be a ‘very high bar to get there and good luck to them.’ These people are being sold false hope, and who did the final deal but a distraught, broken, abused child on Christmas Island, down the telephone to a compassionate senator who wanted to do the right thing. This minister has not just used children as a bargaining chip. He has sold them a false dream once more.”

Coming towards the end of her intervention, Senator Hanson-Young concluded:

“We know that when you strip away the ability to have a genuine appeal process, to have cases reviewed, you risk 60 per cent of applications being marked as wrong. Sixty per cent of the children on Christmas Island tonight who will come to Australia will never be given a visa under this legislation. It does not matter how compromising or willing we are to try to move on and give people some form of temporary visa or a SHEV. The reality is, the statistics tell us and past history and evidence show us that if this assessment process is changed the way the minister wants it changed, 60 per cent of those children are never even going to be given a temporary protection visa. This minister is not just a sociopath, not just grabber of power for himself who is prepared to take everything and use children to get it; he has sold senators in this place who are trying to do the right thing a lie. Sociopaths are masters and deceivers and manipulators. That is what we have seen here tonight, colleagues. That is exactly what we have seen here tonight.

I have looked through the amendments. There ain’t no family reunion in here. We heard that people would be able to have a pathway to permanency. Well it is not in there, and it will not be in there for the majority of people we apparently must do this for to get them off the island. Why didn’t the minister act to get those children out of detention when he was told that the conditions were damaging them – months ago? Why has he spent months attacking [the President of the Human Right Commission] for standing up and saying these kids needed to be off the island and out of detention ? Why didn’t he act then ? Because he was desperate to keep his chips in his pocket for exactly this occasion. Who would have been on the end of that phone call, distressed and crying, if he had already taken all the children out?  I am appalled. Many people in this country tonight would be appalled. Using children as hostages is never okay, and only a sociopath would do it.”

To be continued . . .

Updated 4/4/2016. Click on the link to access Part 4.

Dr. George Venturini has devoted sixty years to the study, practice, teaching, writing and administering of law in four continents. He is the author of eight books and about 100 articles and essays for learned periodicals and conferences. Since his ‘retirement’ Dr. Venturini has been Senior Associate in the School of Political and Social Inquiry at Monash; he is also an Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Social Research at Swinburne University, Melbourne. He may be reached at George.Venturini@bigpond.com.

34 comments

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  1. John Fraser

    <

    Morrison a bastard of the first order.

  2. stephentardrew

    Appreciate your work George however it such a sad reflection upon the state of morality as to be a crime against humanity.

    Our country has chosen cruelty, brutality and torture over justice and equity. What sad and worrying times.

    The road to fascism is paved in the bodies of the innocent and Morrison seems intent upon getting us there post haste.

  3. John Fraser

    <

    Why is it that The Greens are the conscience of Australia ?

    Where are the so called defenders of morality ? …… the religious "Leaders" ?

  4. Zathras

    I thought the original six words were something like – “Ein Folk, Ein Flag, Ein Fuhrer” – but both versions seem to fit well enough.

  5. corvus boreus

    “Ein reich, ein volk, ein fuhrer.”
    One empire, one people, one leader.
    The ideal ‘team’.
    Totalitarianism is the opiate of the disempowered and misinformed.

  6. stephentardrew

    Absolutely John.

    Where are the loud voices of protest.

    The silence is deafening.

  7. stephengb2014

    I do not understand how we xan come to this – I am totally speechless

  8. Kerri

    The only consolation in this whole human tragedy is that many of those Australians who voted for this mongrel and his fellow sociopaths so that they could gain the powers to commit crimes against people painted as queue jumpers, illegals, terrorists and unworthy of safety and protection in Australia, will now suffer at the hands of Mongrel Morrison the Minister for Social Services!!!! Enjoy having your rights trashed people. Karma can be such a bitch!

  9. mars08

    John Fraser:

    Why is it that The Greens are the conscience of Australia ?

    Where are the so called defenders of morality ? …… the religious “Leaders” ?

    I can see understand your grievance… especially when groups like the Salvation Army are making money from the inhuman treatment of asylum seekers. But I also think you are making a generalisation. For quite some time religious leaders have been occupying government buildings and politician’s offices (and been arrested) in protest at this government’s cruel policies and actions.

    Frankly I am astounded at how people on this forum have taken the vile actions of Morrison and the Coalition as an excuse to bash religion. This government is not acting to achieve the will of God… they are only interested in gathering easy VOTES!!! The ALP is focused on exactly the same thing!

    I was born a Catholic, but do not have a religious cell in my body. From an early age, I determined that religion was not for me. What I’d seen of Catholicism seemed narrow-minded, facile and self-serving.

    BUT… that’s not to say that the abuse of asylum seekers is totally unrelated to ideology.

    According to several surveys a sizeable majority of voters support the harsh treatment of asylum seekers. In fact they are in favour of MORE cruelty.

    Most Australians are not particularly religious. Most Australians aren’t avid Christians. The recent public holidays should make that perfectly obvious.

    I suspect that the main ideology at work here is MATERIALISM. The Australian public fears that asylum seekers are coming to take stuff from real Australians. They want to protect what they have and the opportunity to own more.

  10. DanDark

    Mars said” I suspect that the main ideology at work here is MATERIALISM. The Australian public fears that asylum seekers are coming to take stuff from real Australians. They want to protect what they have and the opportunity to own more.”

    And if you go on msn that’s what you will read, the sheer fear someone will get something and they won’t, I see on people’s fb pages the meme how the asylum seekers pull in more welfare than ” Aussies” and this is crime being inflicted and we need to stop them ”
    “Moslems are coming here and raping our daughters” …..” they marry girl children” are two other big reasons on Msn, ” they control their women by having them wear the” burka” ( which is rarely worn in Australia, it’s more the hijab or Niqab worn here) they don’t even know the difference, because they don’t want to educate themselves, it’s easier to attack these women rather than educate themselves, they prefer to be ignorant.

    It’s jealousy, greed, and ignorance that drives these red neck Aussies…and Tony and Co are proliferating it for votes, pure and simple, don’t change the recipe if it works and they will cook the cake their way, to the detriment of the country and vulnerable people that live here or want to seek asylum here.

  11. mars08

    @DanDark…. well we certainly don’t want BROWN people abusing our white women!

  12. John Fraser

    <

    @Mars08

    "Mission Statement
    We, the staff of the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office, dedicate our efforts towards the acceptance and settlement of Refugees and Migrants into Australia. We do this especially by our efforts to influence Government policies in this area. We also seek to form Catholic Church policy in Australia for the Pastoral Care of Refugees and Migrants."

    http://www.acmro.catholic.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=6&Itemid=10

    "influence Government policies" ? ……. that would have to rate as a massive failure.

    Try and find mention of refugees in this xmas message :

    http://sydneyanglicans.net/news/2014-we-experienced-the-pain-of-loss-and-frailty-of-life

    Or how about this from the same site :

    "The weight of this collective moral outrage appears to be having some impact as kids (and their parents) were cleared from Christmas Island before Christmas. Deals are being done and cross-bench compromises are being brokered to ease the national conscience. Compromises and ‘lesser-evil’ solutions are not only necessary tools of trade in any political landscape, but in conflict resolution, workplace settlements and even relationship reconciliations."

    http://sydneyanglicans.net/blogs/graceflow/hotelwanderer.com.au

    WTF !

    The rest of it is just generic crap that one could read in the american owned "The Australian".

    One would have thought that the christians could have had a rally or spoken out on xmas day …. perhaps they were too busy feeding and supplementing the congregation.

    I could go and look at the other "churches" like Morrison's mob …. but why bother ?

    At best …… the result will be the same.

    By the way whilst researching this I noticed that the websites were up to date with the Sydney siege and that cricketers death ….. but lacking any updates for refugees ….. Court cases etc

    In fact the 2 sites I have displayed are positively backward when it comes to current, and that cannot be blamed on the xmas break.

  13. DanDark

    No Mars that type of abuse is for white man solely in this country and we have seen many examples of that in past few years
    Jill Meagher a perfect example. white Aussie male with criminal convictions as long as your arm, was out on the street to harm again,
    I myself was raped at 12 yes by a stranger wait for it…… a white Australian man, whoa shock horror…..
    .
    I can go and pull some more statistics out on this, but why bother, “WE” are so focused on those Moslems who want to seek asylum in our once beautiful country and protect our freedoms and great way of life,,, yea right “pull the other leg I say it jingles “

  14. mars08

    @John Fraser… no doubt there isn’t enough official mainstream Christian criticism of asylum seeker policy. But that’s not to say that there isn’t any organised Christian resistance to the cruelty.

  15. abbienoiraude

    Like Senator Hanson-Young yelled to free the children.
    I too have been crying out to bring our asylum seekers here and free the children. ( I am constantly questioned about my use of the term ‘our’ asylum seekers.)
    How can we be moral arbitrators of the worlds behaviour toward children and innocents, and yet behave like this?

    I no longer trust or believe in the religious to do their bit for ‘morality’. They have failed in their duty of care and have become hypocrites that deserve no respect.

    It is up to us, those who care, like Senator Ludlam who has been consistent in his integrity and his desire for a better Australia, to condemn and call for Morrison and Abbott to be hauled up before the International Court against Humanity.
    I can’t wait for that day.

  16. John Fraser

    <

    @Mars08

    There is …. I don't doubt that.

    But with the amount of firepower that religions have …. well lets just say that if it were fireworks it would be a tom thumb.

    And I certainly will not be giving them credit for that.

    Hence "Why is it that The Greens are the conscience of Australia ?"

    The Greens have gone right out on the political limb at a time when it (apparently) can do them absolutely no good.

    I stand (along with others) as an exception to the "apparently" rule.

    Include abbienoiraude there.

  17. Kaye Lee

    Pope Francis’ message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees: “A Church without frontiers, mother to all”

    a more decisive and constructive action is required, one which relies on a universal network of cooperation, based on safeguarding the dignity and centrality of every human person. This will lead to greater effectiveness in the fight against the shameful and criminal trafficking of human beings, the violation of fundamental rights, and all forms of violence, oppression and enslavement. Working together, however, requires reciprocity,joint-action, openness and trust, in the knowledge that ‘no country can singlehandedly face the difficulties associated with this phenomenon, which is now so widespread that it affects every continent in the twofold movement of immigration and emigration’.

    Except for us of course.

  18. Kaye Lee

    abbie

    ANDREW WILKIE has written to the International Criminal Court seeking to prosecute the Abbott government for crimes against humanity, specifically asylum seekers.

    The Tasmanian Independent MP and human rights advocate and lawyer Greg Barns have requested Tony Abbott and his 19 Cabinet colleagues be the subject of inquiries by the ICC prosecutor.

    In his letter, Mr Wilkie nominates evidence of crimes against humanity, including “imprisonment and other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law”.

    There is also the “deportation and other forcible transfer of population” and “other intential acts causing great suffering, or serious injury to body and mental and physical health,” he writes.

    http://www.news.com.au/national/andrew-wilkie-seeks-to-prosecute-abbott-government-over-inhumane-treatment-of-asylum-seekers/story-fncynjr2-1227098266151

  19. John Fraser

    <

    @Kaye Lee

    Do you suppose the Pope's representatives here in Australia are right now marshalling their congregations to take on the Abbott gang with protest marches, delegations of bishops requesting an audience with Abbott ?

    No sign of the Queens religious representatives here in Australia doing it.

  20. mars08

    @John Fraser:

    “…marshalling their congregations to take on the Abbott gang with protest marches…”

    If you really want to see powerful religious leaders pushing for change…. might I suggest the Australian cricket team, assorted sports celebrities and TV chefs. Now THAT would get the government’s attention…

  21. Kaye Lee

    A quiet, curious insurrection has been happening on the periphery of the public eye in Australia in the past few months. Nuns arrested, priests occupying politicians’ offices, bishops slamming government policy as ”cruelty”.

    Usually dutiful Christians have been radicalised by a mounting outrage, concern and grief at the way we have been treating asylum seekers. This has prompted an unprecedented coalition of church groups determined to persuade the two Christian leaders responsible for the policy – Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison – to show more compassion to the vulnerable.

    In a foreword to a report by the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce – which represents nine Christian churches and three ecumenical bodies – the Anglican Dean of Brisbane, the Reverend Peter Catt, said Morrison’s position, as guardian of these children, was ”untenable”.

    ”The churches have a responsibility to speak,” Catt said, because of their own history. ”We’ll never again stand by and do nothing about child abuse … Institutional child abuse occurs in many different settings and it’s illegal, it’s horrific and it’s unacceptable.”

    Sister Brigid Arthur from the Victorian Council of Churches went further. She said the fact that we condone the indefinite imprisonment of children ”seems to be abusive and it is state-sanctioned”.

    Speedy processing is crucial, says the Sydney Archbishop, the Right Reverend Glenn Davies, as ”vulnerable children can be scarred by detention and feel as as though they are being treated as criminals behind barbed wire”.

    Even Pope Francis has condemned the ”globalisation of indifference” towards refugees.

    The founding director of the Australian Centre for Public Christianity, the Reverend John Dickson, says while the church has ”lost some credibility” when it comes to the treatment of children, the Bible ”placed the highest demands on believers to honour and protect children, especially orphans, as special examples of God’s own precious children”.

    ”When Jesus saw his own disciples preventing children from being brought to him, ‘he was indignant’, the text says, and uttered those famous words, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,’ ” he said.

    ”These words should haunt the Immigration Minister, every Australian politician, every Australian with a vestige of respect for Christ, as our policies prevent children, many of them deeply traumatised, from entering into the freedoms and protection of our little kingdom.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/asylum-seeker-children-in-detention-why-the-church-has-a-duty-to-speak-up-20140801-zz6ca.html

    And of course we have Father Rod of the Gosford Anglican Church who fights a never-ending battle both in person and with his signs that have received international attention, like the one on Melbourne Cup Day that said “The nation that stops many races”

  22. helvityni

    “I suspect that the main ideology at work here is MATERIALISM. The Australian public fears that asylum seekers are coming to take stuff from real Australians. They want to protect what they have and the opportunity to own more”.

    I think mars08 is on something here, I have come to the same conclusion, Aussies fear that something will be taken away from them, instead of seeing that their society would be enriched by the new-comers.

  23. Anon E Mouse

    I predict that Morrison will try to grab the PM spot – if successful we could end up missing Abbott. Scary thought.

  24. mars08

    helvityni:

    I think mars08 is on something here…

    Eric, my pink, psychotic, gluten-intolerant, unicorn friend… rejects your notion that I am “on something”!!!

    @Kaye Lee: “And of course we have Father Rod of the Gosford Anglican Church…”

    Yes indeed, we do…

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B2Md_ARCEAAKIL9.jpg

  25. John Fraser

    <

    Father Rod at Gosford has been able to get the attention of websites like this as well as the MSM.

    So why aren't the church leaders more visible ?

    Its not as though the MSM won't come running if they call a media conference.

  26. helvityni

    mars08, sorry for leaving ‘to’ out, it’s my eye-sight and I’m also too impatient to check my posts for mistakes.. I was agreeing with you, was that not obvious?

  27. mars08

    That’s fine, helvityni… no problem at all!!!

    Actually I understood your post perfectly… but Eric, my psychotic, pink unicorn friend took it the wrong way. He gets a bit “confused” during the festive season… Anyway he says he forgives you! 😉

  28. Kaye Lee

    Father Rod is great. I have been to several protests with him.

    He is probably the most tolerant inclusive proactive religious leader I have ever met. He even welcomes and accepts atheists.

    Some other good signs…

    “Israel. It’s an Eye for an Eye not a Village for an Eye”

    “Dear Christians, Some people are gay. Get over it. Love, God.”

    “Can’t Morally Blackmail the Morally Bankrupt”

    “Supporting Team Humanity”

    “We Can’t Fight for Peace”

    “Thanks, Rupert, but We’ll Choose Our Own Government.”

    “Tony Pls Stop Calling Asylum Seekers Illegals. I Don’t Like It. God.”

  29. Annie B

    @ stephentardrew ……… ( January 3, 2015 at 12:22 pm )

    Ref your comment : Our country has chosen cruelty, brutality and torture over justice and equity.

    Sorry stephen, but OUR COUNTRY, did not choose that at all ……… the damnable #$&%ing so-called Government did, because they were too weak to put Morrison in his place, or too afraid of him – or both.

    Our country is NOT ( at this time ) our Government – and vice versa. I refuse to equate Australia with the Australian Government – even though some voters ( marginal at that ) decided to fall for the crap and lies spun before the election.

    BIG mistake by those voters – ( I was not one of them ) ….. on September 7th, 2013.

    But this is NOT a life sentence …… they have 18 months to go ( the bastards ) ….. in which time, I hope there is a mammoth split in the Liberal and National Party. I pray for all hell to break loose in that rabid lot.

    ……..

    Your final comment on that post –

    ” The road to fascism is paved in the bodies of the innocent and Morrison seems intent upon getting us there post haste.

    Totally agree ………. we are already there – a fascist regime at the helm.

  30. Annie B

    @DanDark ……… ( January 3, 2015 at 3:04 pm )

    …. ” I see on people’s fb pages the meme how the
    asylum seekers pull in more welfare than ” Aussies”
    and this is crime being inflicted and we need to stop them ” ………

    I notice you mentioned Msn ( Microsoft Network ) ….. which is an American organisation, as you know …… although ninemsn, is allegedly Australian. …. I rather think msn, has a say over all that is printed in its’ name.

    As for the meme mentioned above, I have been reading that on FB and in ( mostly ) emails from Americans for something like up to 3 years …… complaining that Mexicans and other Central American refugees are getting waaaay more than the average American in the way of social security, jobs, housing, education etc. and how dare they – blah, blah, blah.

    Some of the emails have been particularly vile. …. { I never respond. }

    I have no doubt that some Australians have now taken up the same cudgels, and are echoing ( as they have in the past ) some American spewed ‘information’ ….. which is what they quaintly call it.

    Agree … it will be the ‘redneck’ Aussies who will follow the U.S. example like sheep ( apologies to sheep ) ….. and not all of them are rednecks either. … Some Australians (?) of well-to-do means, carry those banners, as well.

  31. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Thank God,

    for the Greens: Milne, Ludlam, Siewert, Rhiannon and everybody else.

    If it wasn’t for you conscionable, brave people, we would have a worse dictatorship than we have now.

    Bring on an Alliance between the Greens, Labor, Progressive Parties and Voices and sane Indies.

    Labor must be made to see reason and the benefit of a lasting Alliance that represents all these progressive interests.

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