Victorian MLC Moira Deeming: the pretty face of…

“I can’t wait until I’m legally able to hunt you down.” This curse…

Science & Technology Australia welcomes National Reconstruction Fund

Science & Technology Australia Media Release The nation’s peak body representing 115,000 Australian…

Calculated Exoneration: Command Responsibility and War Crimes in…

Being the scapegoat of tribal lore cast out with the heavy weight…

The Voice: Remember When The Liberals Were Still…

At the moment we're witnessing the Liberal Party at their absurd best.…

Nazis on our streets: don't judge protesters by…

On some level, it is straightforward for a Neo-Nazi protest to be…

Whither Constitutional Change?

Within a very short space of time, we are going to be…

A Hazardous Decision: Supplying Ukraine with Depleted Uranium…

Should they be taking them? Ukraine is desperate for any bit of…

Murdoch's Zero Sum games: divisive propaganda meant to…

The Murdoch media drives resentment with propaganda as constant as drums of…


Tag Archives: Nauru

Let’s fix this mess

In 2012–13 a total of 50 444 people lodged applications for asylum under the offshore component of the Humanitarian Programme. The Labor government increased the intake to 20,000 and granted a total of 20 019 visas, of which 12 515 visas were granted under the offshore component and 7504 visas were granted under the onshore component.

Even though there are estimated to be over 40 million refugees worldwide, when the Coalition formed government they reduced the humanitarian intake to 13,750.

As at 31 October 2013 there were 22,873 asylum seekers who had arrived by boat (including 1,811 children) who had been permitted to live in the community on Bridging Visas while waiting for their claims for protection to be processed.

The Coalition government* has now decided that anyone who arrived after 13 August 2012 will not be allowed to work so these people are now in limbo, facing uncertainty and financial distress.

[*Correction: As pointed out by Marilyn, this policy was introduced by Labor under Julia Gillard as part of their “No advantage” policy. Both major parties are complicit in this infamy.]

As at 31 October 2013 there were:

6,401 people in immigration detention facilities, and 3,290 people in community detention in Australia. This included 1,045 children in immigration detention facilities and 1,770 children in community detention.

Location: 4,072 people detained on the mainland (+ 3,290 in community detention) and 2,329 people detained on Christmas Island.

Length of detention in immigration detention facilities:

•2,432 people has been in detention for 0-3 months

•2,812 people had been in detention for 3-6 months

•864 people had been in detention for 6-12 months

•170 people had been in detention for 12-18 months

•23 people had been in detention for 18 months to 2 years

•100 people had been in detention for over 2 years.

Due to Kevin Rudd’s “PNG solution”, anyone who arrived by boat after 19 July 2013 was transported to offshore detention camps. There are more than 1,700 asylum seekers being held in detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island with capacity for many more.

Since they reopened in 2012, only one application has been processed on Nauru and none from Manus Island.

In December 2013 the Coalition announced the removal of the 4000 Migration Programme places allocated to Illegal Maritime Arrival sponsored Family.

They also announced that they would not be renewing the Salvation Army’s contract to provide “emotional support, humanitarian assistance and general education and recreation programs” to asylum seekers in detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island beyond February. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says the Government has been forced to make contract changes, because of the way the system was being administered by the former Labor government.

Several eyewitness accounts of the recent riots on Manus Island suggest they happened because the government refused to listen to questions from refugee representatives about their future and the conditions at the camp. Instead they inflamed the situation by telling them “You’re never getting out of this camp, it’s indefinite detention”. The deadly clashes on Manus Island allegedly flared after asylum seekers realised the Australian government had been ‘lying to them’ about plans to resettle them, and some asylum seekers decided to protest.

‘G4S were aware of tensions on compounds and intelligence reports indicated potential unrest for the period 16-18 Feb. DIBP [Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection ] were advised NOT to hold briefing and meeting with compound representatives [allegedly to advise them that they would not be resettled]. Despite several protests from centre managers on the day, the decision to hold said meeting was dictated from Canberra and was the catalyst for the violence.’

Reza Berati came to us seeking safe haven. He was murdered while under our care. Scores of his fellow asylum seekers have been grievously wounded, others have committed suicide, others are driven to self-harm, all under our care.

We have been told we must stop the boats to save people’s lives. One thousand deaths at sea is certainly a tragedy. The greater tragedy is that we ignore this cry for help and punish the people who are desperate enough to risk their lives seeking our protection.

I don’t presume to be the suppository of all wisdom but you have to admit guys, what you are doing is not working. Stopping the boats and locking people up does not help one single refugee but it costs us a fortune, threatens our relationship with our neighbours, and draws international condemnation.

When you remove hope you remove life so, in order to save the lives of the over 30,000 asylum seekers who are currently under our protection, I would like to offer the following observations and suggestions.

Department of Immigration figures project that in the year ending 31 March 2014, 63,700 people arrived in Australia with working holiday visas. A further 48,300 arrived on 457 visas. These are not citizens of our country and do not aspire to be. They are here to earn a buck and then go home.

Why can’t we give some of these 112,000 temporary visas to asylum seekers who have passed health and security checks while they are awaiting processing? Instead of paying for them to be incarcerated or on below-poverty welfare payments, why not let them work and pay taxes? Even if the jobs are not ideal, they have to be better than being locked up with nothing to do and no chance to become a productive member of our society. Children should be in school, not locked up on a Pacific Island wondering why their mother can’t stop crying, and if they will live in a tent forever.

We do not have to increase total immigration to do this. We could give all the asylum seekers temporary working visas and still have over 80,000 available. More should also be done to see if Australian citizens could fill these jobs even if they are temporary in nature.

Instead of making our unemployed, disabled and single parents work in our Green Army, offer that work to asylum seekers or working holiday makers, and give our unemployed the opportunity to apply for the jobs in hospitality, agriculture and services that backpackers often fill.

Instead of importing labour on 457 visas, see if asylum seekers and our unemployed have the necessary skills to fill the positions. Train people where there are skills shortages. Only issue 457 visas where we truly cannot find anyone with the necessary skills.

In the last year we issued 101,300 permanent visas but only 16,500 of these were on humanitarian grounds and this number is predicted to fall to 11,000.

Increase the humanitarian intake from 13,750 to at least 30,000. Send representatives to all transit countries to start taking applications and begin processing them. They must give applicants a realistic time frame for processing and resettlement options.

Increase foreign aid and participate in condemning, and sanctions against, human rights abuses around the world.

Let’s fix this mess.

 1,288 total views

Let no child who arrives in Australia ever suffer detention again

Ten years ago, the Australian Human Rights Commission released a previous report into children in immigration detention, when there were around 700 children in detention.

Today, there are over 1000 children in Australian detention centres including unaccompanied minors sent off-shore. The average length of time spent in closed immigration detention facilities is 226 days, the highest level in more than two years.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has announced it will conduct yet another national inquiry into the ways in which life in immigration detention affects the health, well-being and development of children.

Even though refugee advocacy group welcome the inquiry, the federal government has expressed disappointment that an inquiry into children in immigration detention was not launched under the previous Labor government.

Rather than both sides of politics blaming each other, or worse still backing each other up, rather than spending more time and money endlessly redoing investigations and reports, read what was written ten years ago and act on it NOW.

This is an excerpt from the paper written by Human Rights Commissioner Dr Sev Ozdowski OAM published in 2004 entitled A last resort? National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention. He began his paper with the following quote:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Martin Luther King Jnr

“The primary focus of this report has been on the human rights that all children in Australia should enjoy.

The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be … used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time. Few people would disagree with these words from the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In fact, most Australians would agree that all other options should be explored before a child is locked up. The words from the Convention form the basis for the title of the report of the National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention: A last resort?

A last resort? talks about children who arrived in Australia to seek protection from despotic regimes like those of Iraq and Afghanistan where breaches of human rights were the norm. Most of these children arrived with their families, some were unaccompanied. More than 92 percent of all children arriving by boat since 1999 have been recognised by Australian authorities to be refugees. In the case of Iraqi children the figures are as high as 98 percent. This means they left their homelands because they had little real choice. Seeking asylum elsewhere was, for them, a last resort.

Yet, since 1992, we have welcomed these children by taking them to remote facilities, detaining them there to wait for a visa. Australia’s immigration policy makes the detention of these children the first and only option and it puts no limit on the time that they are held there. Children wait in detention for months or years – one child spent almost five and a half years in detention before being released into the community as a refugee. In fact, as at the end of 2003, the majority of children in detention had been held there for more than two years. This policy seems a complete departure from the principle of detention as a measure of last resort.

The irony is that the long-term impact of this system on children is likely to be borne by Australian society as a whole, since almost all children in the detention centres eventually become members of the Australian community. They will carry the effects of their experience with them throughout their lives.

However, even if we were to ignore these human rights concerns, what is the rationale for, or logic of, the current immigration detention system? Does this rationale withstand vigorous examination?

Some have argued that mandatory detention is necessary to prevent floods of boat arrivals. We must take a reality check here. Even if we agree that between 1999 and 2002 the number of people arriving by boat was relatively significant, from a midrange time perspective the number of arrivals is small. Over the past 14 years approximately 13,500 people have arrived by boat – this number of people would fill approximately 15 percent of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Compare this to the approximately 1.4 million new settlers who arrived in Australia over the same period. In other words, ‘boat people’ constituted roughly one per cent of our total intake over that period.

But even if these numbers were greater, the detention of one group of children to deter another group from coming to Australia raises the issue of the proportionality of our policy response. Compare this with our treatment of children who commit a crime: such young offenders are only detained after prompt and careful consideration by a magistrate, the period of imprisonment is strictly limited and is reviewable at several levels. Yet under our immigration laws, children who have not been accused of any crime are detained automatically and for indefinite periods and there is also no real opportunity to argue their case before an independent tribunal or court. A comparison of the two regimes highlights the lack of proportionality of our immigration detention policy.

The international community must take into account the ’cause and effect’ nature of migratory movements when developing policies; if one part of the globe is under pressure there is likely to be a corresponding increase in asylum seekers elsewhere. The Australian experience with boat people is testimony to this reality. People smugglers who risk children’s lives by taking them on a perilous voyage in an unseaworthy boat, should be appropriately dealt with through international policing co-operation. However the answer to these issues lies more in international cooperation and planning than in the creation of ‘fortress Australia’.

Others have argued that in the post 9/11-Bali world the terrorist threat requires a total embargo on unauthorised arrivals. I am fully conscious of the threat posed by terrorism which, when all is said and done, represents the utter negation of human rights. But in the case of boat people, these are the children who are the victims of the Saddam Hussein’s of this world, not the perpetrators. That is why most of them left their homes in the first place. In any case, Dennis Richardson, the Director-General of ASIO, stated that not one person arriving by boat between 2001 and 2002 ‘had received an adverse security assessment in terms of posing a direct or indirect threat to Australia’s security’.

Finally, some have warned that without detention, children and families will disappear into the community and will not be available for removal if they are found not to be refugees. This argument lacks supporting evidence and disregards the fact that, according to the Department’s own statistics, around 90 per cent of boat arrivals whether adult or child – are found to be genuine refugees. While there is always some flight risk, since almost all children arriving by boat are given protection visas in the end, there seems little incentive for these refugees to go underground. In any event, our domestic justice system deals with hundreds of children charged with a crime, who may also present a flight risk, but are released on bail. We accept this system as a necessary hallmark of a ‘civil society’, yet fail to apply these principles to children seeking asylum in Australia.

While recognising the right of each country to protect its borders, I hope that A last resort? removes, once and for all, any doubts about the harmful effects of long term immigration detention on children. It warns governments, in Australia and around the world, that mandatory, indefinite and unreviewable detention of children is no answer to the global issue of refugee movements.

Even if there is no child in detention when this report is tabled in Parliament, it is now time for our elected parliamentary representatives to amend our immigration legislation to ensure that it complies with Australia’s accepted human rights standards.

Let no child who arrives in Australia ever suffer under this system again.”

Now I understand

What you tried to say to me

And how you suffered for your sanity

And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen, they did not know how

Perhaps they’ll listen now



Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Donate Button

 467 total views,  1 views today

“They’re Illegal, and they don’t even thank us for locking them up!”

Interviewer: Good evening, tonight we have Liberal Minister for Truth, Ima Lyre, who’s recently returned from a trip to Nauru. Good evening, Ms. Lyre.

Lyre: It is a good evening, just shows that there’s no need for that carbon tax, doesn’t it?

Interviewer: Sorry, I don’t follow.

Lyre: Well, you should. That’s what all the Murdoch journalists do.

Interviewer: I mean, I don’t understand.

Lyre: it’s perfectly simple. It’s a good evening. There’s no warming. Everything’s fine.

Interviewer: I don’t see how one evening…

Lyre: Are we here for an interview or for you to ram your opinion down people’s throat?

Interviewer: Ok, how would you rate your first 100 days in office?

Lyre: Well, of course, it’s not up to me to rate it. That would be arrogant. That’s the Prime Minister’s job. And he rates it A+.

Interviewer: Some of the opinion polls are suggesting that people are disappointed in your efforts so far.

Lyre: Well, that just shows that we have a lot more stupid left wing people than we thought.

Interviewer: Sorry?

Lyre: If they’re turning against us, then they must be left wing and therefore not worth listening to.

Interviewer: It doesn’t concern you that you might lose votes?

Lyre: I’m sure that these polls don’t reflect how people will vote at the next election. This is probably just a reaction to the fact that people are disappointed because the Budget emergency was far worse than we thought when we described as a catastrophe, so we’ve had to make some hard decisions.

Interviewer: Such as?

Lyre: We’ve had to cut back services to Aboriginal communities, the CSIRO and George Brandis’ library.

Interviewer: Now, you recently went to Nauru. How did you find it?

Lyre: Oh, the pilot did that. I just waited until we landed, and then walked off the…

Interviewer: How did you find the conditions there?

Lyre: I never heard any complaints.

Interviewer: You’re suggesting that the asylum seekers are perfectly happy?

Lyre: How would I know? I never spoke to any of them. And I wish you wouldn’t call them asylum seekers, can you call them by their correct name, “illegals”?

Interviewer: It’s not illegal to seek asylum.

Lyre: No, but it’s illegal to come by boat.

Interviewer: I don’t believe that it is.

Lyre: Both the PM and the Immigration Minister call them illegals, so they must be.

Interviewer: Just because a person says something it doesn’t mean it’s true. I mean I could say that Rupert Murdoch is an illegal immigrant – it doesn’t make it true!

Lyre: Yes, but you’re not Prime Minister, are you?

Interviewer: Anyway, how can you say that you had no complaints if you didn’t speak to the asylum seekers?

Lyre: I said that I didn’t hear any complaints. And obviously, if I didn’t speak to them I wouldn’t have heard any. Besides, they’re foreign. I wouldn’t have understood what they were saying anyway. I have enough trouble with Matthias, and he’s one of us.

Interviewer: One of us?

Lyre: I mean, a Liberal. You’re not going to twist that to suggest that I’m racist!

Interviewer: But what if they had a complaint. How can they raise it?

Lyre: Well they can tell the people looking after them.

Interviewer: What if the complaint is about the people looking after them?

Lyre: Then, they’re just ungrateful, aren’t they? Look, the weather was fine, rather like the last time I went to Bali, and their accommodation was fine, just like the last time I went camping. And I believe that the kids are getting as good an education as the locals on Nauru.

Interviewer: And how good is that?

Lyre: How would I know? I’m not Education Minister!

Interviewer: So, basically, you didn’t discover anything that you couldn’t have found out without wasting money actually going to Nauru?

Lyre: No, that’s not true. I found out that the Duty Free shop in Nauru isn’t worth the trip.

Interviewer: So it doesn’t worry you how these people will spend their Christmas?

Lyre: It’s not like these people celebrate Christmas, so there’s no problem there.

Interviewer: Thank you, and may you get everything you deserve this Christmas!

Lyre: Thanks, the same to you.

Interviewer: Until next year, good night!


Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button

 1,030 total views

Interviewer – Good morning, on today’s show we have a representative from the Liberal Party who promises to reveal his name closer to the election, but wishes to be known as Mr Pink, for this interview. Good morning, Mr Pink, and what’s in the Real Solutions Document. Mr Pink – Good morning, well, Terry, real…

 184 total views

Read more