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Where is the outrage when the media lie?

As I’m not a subscriber to The Australian I’m rather fortunate that their paywall obstructs me from reading their daily diatribes. As was the case with a recent article by Janet Albrechtsen; ‘Compassion junkies back on their choice fix’ – which unless you are a subscriber to Rupert Murdoch’s masthead you will also be blocked from enjoying this fine example of journalist integrity. I’m encouraged to assume it’s an absolutely factual article and one of utmost importance because Andrew Bolt refers to it in his sensationally named piece; ‘ The Left prefers to kill 1100 with compassion’. And Andrew has kindly quoted from the article, giving me a glimpse of what was previously hidden from all but that small number of Australians who care to bother what people like Ms Albrechtsen write.

Quoting Albrechtsen, Bolt wrote:

Start with the rank hypocrisy of those who favour emotion over reason. Did the human candle-holders demand a change in the former Labor government’s policies that encouraged the people-smuggling business that led to 1200 tragedies between 2007 and last year? Did these grandstanders call for the resignation of the stream of Labor immigration ministers under whose watch 1200 men, women and children died? …

(At least Andrew trimmed the number down to 1100 while still pushing the 1200 figure of Albrechtsen’s).

Albrechtsen’s article was about the unfortunate death of Reza Berati whose death, she shrilly adds, ‘provided a useful reminder that the so-called intellectual Left is anything but intellectual’. It was a statement seized upon by Bolt. The gist of his own article was an opportunity to rub it in.

But there is something terribly wrong with Albrechtsen’s claim that 1200 people died under Labor’s watch. There is also something terribly wrong with Bolt promoting this claim. Namely, is that figure correct? And if the figure is incorrect, where did it come from?

The answer to the first question is easy: It is not correct.

After the very paper Albrechtsen works for reported in July last year that ‘More than 1000 asylum seekers have perished at sea since Labor relaxed its policies in 2008 . . . ‘ The Conversation produced evidence in ‘FactCheck: have more than 1000 asylum seekers died at sea under Labor?‘ showing this to be incorrect, reporting that:

No official records are kept by any government agency as to how many people trying to reach our shores to seek asylum are dying en route. The most reliable open source data is kept by the Monash Australian Border Deaths Database which “maintains a record of all known deaths associated with Australia’s borders since 1 January 2000”.

And that the data revealed:

Between 2000 and 2007 (the period which includes the introduction of the “Pacific Solution” for asylum seekers travelling by boat under the Coalition government), the database documents 746 reported deaths of asylum seekers. Of those, 363 asylum seekers died at sea while on their way to Australia. As well, 350 were presumed dead (their status is missing at sea with status unknown); 22 died in detention (the majority of those cases were suicide, but there were some deaths of natural causes); and 11 people were returned to Afghanistan and reportedly murdered for being “Australian spies”.

Between 2008 and July 2013 (under Labor), 877 asylum seekers have reportedly died. Of those, 15 committed suicide or died of natural causes in detention centres. So during this period, approximately 862 individuals died trying to reach Australia’s mainland to seek asylum.

Just under 900 deaths (still a tragedy), but it’s a fair way off 1200 claimed by Albrechtsen.

So where did they get that figure from? That is a question I cannot answer. Perhaps they can. Someone has obviously fabricated the figure and the media are quite happy to run with it. It has been bandied about quite freely since Labor lost the election, being used relentlessly by the ‘Right’ in all forms of media to attack the ‘Left’ as being hypocrites for expressing outrage over the death of Reza Berati. (It does not occur to them that the ‘Left’ is also just as outraged about the 877 deaths under the previous Labor Governments as it was over the apparently now-forgotten 746 deaths under the Howard Government).

But I digress.

As was evident at The AIMN yesterday, we in the social media are held to account if disputed information is published. Why not the mainstream media too? Last year it was revealed that The Australian had exaggerated the number of asylum seeker deaths under Labor’s watch and yet, despite publicly accessible data being available to them, they now publish an even more exaggerated and grossly inaccurate figure. Where is the outrage? Information has been pulled out from thin air or an outright lie has been fed to us.

Like I said, not being a subscriber to The Australian I’m fortunate that their paywall prevents me from taking a look at what lies there within. From snippets such as this, it reassures me that there’s nothing credible to see.

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63 comments

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  1. Fed up

    Michael, they just do not get it.

    It is about a man being murdered and sixty others injured, some seriously while in custody, in Australian detention centres.

    It is about Australia’s duty of care to these people.

    Nothing to do with people who drowned. We did not sink their boats allowing this too happen.

  2. uknowispeaksense

    This faux outrage from Bolt etc and using the “you killed more than us” argument is vile and designed solely to distract from the fact that the Coalition won that battle of the bastards and have managed to outdoor Labor in the cruelty stakes. If Bolt really carefully about human life he would be demanding the government end the cruelty but he won’t. He us a rightwing racist xenophobe and if he turned on the government he would lose his rabid cranky old white male audience and be out of a job.

  3. Anon E Mouse

    Maybe we can learn something from Egypt where they apparently have a law against false news reporting.

  4. Roswell

    Canada has the same laws. Is it any surprise then that Murdoch has no media interests in Canada?

  5. rangermike1

    Michael, All credibility went out the window when Abbott took charge, What We have to look forward to, is a Despot in Charge with No vision. I must say the LNP supporters have done well. They think the Best is yet to come. They are right, though it is all BAD for them. Reap what you sow.

  6. ShaunJ

    G’day Michael,

    I gave you a big tick for ethics on your apologies to “Dave Smith (Dr)” for obvious reasons, this is the reason that makes it obvious. The current (low) level of “MSM news” just flat out lies, it doesn’t check and if it “pulled up” for any reason it just ignores the rebuke, total opposite to your ethical actions. If it needs any explanation (which I am sure it doesn’t, to the reasoning reader) then it is because they are dealing in obfuscation and propaganda, this is the “Raison d’être” for ADolt and his ilk.

  7. rangermike1

    Anon E Mouse, You are right, This Govt. is getting away with all types of lies. It is time someone held them to account.

  8. john921fraser

    <

    There's just not enough print in the world that could possibly tell Australians the truth about the Murdoch and Abbott gangs.

    A moron in the Lodge.

    A dead teenager phone hacking media baron …. bunga bunga !

    Here in Queensland a simpleton for a Premier who is currently doing a photo shoot for citizen America's Queensland monopoly newspaper and meeting and doing deals with the lame duck Rick Perry the Governor of Texas who is described in this article as "It turns out George Bush was actually the smart Texas governor."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/08/rick-perry_n_3562959.html

  9. rangermike1

    Hi Michael, You have my vote, You are a person that tells it as it is. When something is mistaken , You put your hand up and apologize. Everybody admires that in a person. Keep up the Great work. Pity our Govt. could not do the same thing.Truth will Kill Lies every time.

  10. AsGrayAsGray

    I don’t read the stuff either. Fabrications, sensationalism, fake journalists, propaganda. I find some of it nauseating.
    And that’s just the bits that get repeated or talked about, as the paywall prevents casual ‘enjoyment’ of the drivel, and like you, I am usually thankful for that…

  11. rangermike1

    John, according to all QLD’ers You love Newman as most others do. (Tongue in Cheek). I went back to my Home State 8 Months ago. No one wanted “Can’t Do” as their Boss.They are sick and tired of Him.

  12. lawrencewinder

    Albechtson… a humanity short of a soul. Bolt …a Blot on the Landscape. The liarbrils tend not to “go on” at all about the two or three asulum seekers who died struggling through jungle after their forced return via orange life-boat a few weeks back…Their policy implementation has directly killed people. ..a fact they try to ignore…. they do have blood on their hands.

  13. Ernest Gavey

    Michael, thanks for the great reporting. Does anybody even care what Bolt writes, or the Australian prints any more? Seriously, you would get better reporting from the trashy late afternoon tv shows. Maybe these opinion pieces are just trending through irrelevance, unto oblivion.

  14. xiaoecho

    The fact that persons with the ‘humanity’ of Albrechtsen are feted by the Prime Minister of our nation at our expense makes me heartsick. In fact he has surrounded himself with such people and given them free reign over the people he is supposed to be serving The sneering superiority, lack of empathy and predatory nature of her ilk have a name in medicine. they are classed as a inter-species predator and a danger to the wider population. You all know the word. They despise empathy as weakness. Witness the sneer on Morrison’s face as he spits out the words “No Comment”. I am so disgusted and heartsick for Australia’s future under these predators I cannot even articulate a coherent comment. You get my drift

  15. mars08

    Democracy is a basket case.

    The truth is out of fashion. These days the ends justifies the means… even though we are rarely being told what the ends actually are…

  16. Kerri

    More importantly will the Australian voting public learn from their haste in getting rid of a Government vilified by the Murdoch media et al, that you need to vote FOR what you want not AGAINST what you don’t
    (ignorance of truth included)? Will future elections be characterised by average Aussies doing some independant research before they vote?
    And, incidentally, watch Morrison and Abbott strip refugees of their right to citizenship and the vote to keep the numbers in their favour. I am sure Abbott has a copy of Mein Kampf under his pillow at night.

  17. mars08

    Part of Julie Bishop’s interview on BBC radio. She was asked about death of Reza Berati on Manus Island… “This is what happens in unruly behaviour when violence occurs – and it’s tragic.”

    F@&#)NG WEASEL WORDS!!!! Trying to blame the victim… again. And not even a whisper about it in the straaayn meeja!

  18. John Kelly

    Reblogged this on THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN and commented:

    The notion of ‘The Right’ being concerned with deaths at sea only began during Rudd’s first term. Prior to that it was only, ‘stop them.’

  19. scotchmistery

    So long as we maintain the rage against #credlinsbitch and bring more to our table, the tunnel we are part of has 1036 days to run.

  20. CMMC

    Sorry about being off-topic, but the “Contact Us” button cannot be reached on Android.

    A.G. Brandis is now threatening artists who boycott the Sydney Bienalle will not receive Australia Council funding. Brandis is also Arts Minister (stop laughing).

    The boycott arises from the sponsorship of the Bienalle by Transfield, who build immigrant detention gulags.

    Transfield is run by Luca Belgiorno-Nettis, who also founded the New Democracy think-tank, which includes the almost inevitable Lucy Turnbull and Nick Greiner, along with other fun people who want to “tweak” democracy just a little bit.

  21. Dan Rowden

    The exaggeration of numbers is a far lesser intellectual and moral crime than the exploitation of tragic deaths for political purposes. That is sickening no matter who indulges in it. The Rudd/Gillard Government is not in any way responsible for deaths at sea. Australia is not responsible for deaths at sea. We do not determine how Asylum Seekers attempt to get there, we simply allow their arrival under the humanitarian conventions we have now utterly abandoned. It’s terrible that it ever happens, of course, but the global situation is such that refugees capable of mobility face the threat of persecution or death no matter what they do.

    What we can say is that the current Australian Government is responsible for deaths and hardship experienced as a result of our overt and conscious decision to try to stop people seeking asylum in the first place (in the complete absence of any remedial actions designed to mitigate their potential fate in their home nations). How many Sri Lankans are dead because of “our” deeply despicable actions? We’ll never know because “we” don’t give a fig.

    People such as Janet Albrechtsen are simply too freaking stupid to know how lacking in basic humanitarian impulses they are. Our current approach to asylum seekers in nothing more than the tedious “not in my backyard” syndrome being expressed on a national level. It wouldn’t be so horrid if some of the justifications for it were remotely cogent and coherent, but they are not.

  22. Max

    All we can do is teach our children what is right and true ,as the media has been corrupted by MurDuck for too long. Boycott his businesses and send Albrechtsen to the dole queue where she and all MurDucks self serving Scribes belong.

  23. Kaye Lee

    I couldn’t agree more. We not only will decide who will come to our country, we decide if and how they must flee. Using the tragedy of others as a political exercise is cynical in the extreme. Incarcerating people who have survived the perilous journey indefinitely in inhumane concentration camps with no hope for the future is unconscionable. If there was any other way for these people to get here don’t you think they would have taken it rather than risk their lives at great cost?

    There can be no justification for this abhorrent treatment of people in our care. There is no coherent plan to help refugees. We are cutting foreign aid and giving gun boats to a government guilty of the very human rights abuses these people are fleeing. We are bottling up refugees in transit countries and stopping them leaving countries of origin.

    And as for Albrechtsen, correcting the inaccuracies in her reporting would be a lifetime of tortuous mind-numbing irrelevancy.

  24. scotchmistery

    Here in Queensland, in a couple of organisations I am involved with I have successfully moved that the use of the appellation “Attorney General” not be used in terms of the member for Kawana. I have also successfully moved that the expression not be capitalised. This is premised on neither of the “gentlemen” concerned, (Federal and State), would, in the real world, add up to a proper attorney’s arse-hole.

    So can we try to stick with the expression “Brandis” rather than “the AG”. Likewise for that moronic baby sometimes referred to as the boy wonder and #theconveyancer .

    I thank you

  25. DanDark

    Rupert Rotten and his right hand woman Rebecca Brooks
    have disrespected/broken every law,exploited every loophole
    in the UK they possibly could.

    To inflict their journalistic lies,falsities,fraud,and judgements
    on the public,is truly barbaric
    They even went as low, as to hack young Milly Dowler’s
    phone, who had been abducted and eventually murdered

    The public backlash was enormous
    on Rupie and his crap papers
    So what better country to inflict more
    of this type of rubbish on, than Aussie
    Rupie needs to take a short walk off a long plank

    Rupie Rotten was in pretty thick with Govs over their too
    He is quite a dangerous individual,who will stop at nothing
    to exploit anybody and everything…

  26. Kaye Lee

    Albrechtsen on the Stolen Generation which apparently didn’t happen

    “These sorts of falsehoods are, however, nothing compared with the bigger, sustained fraud of the Stolen Generations and genocide fed to the Australian people.”

    http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/janetalbrechtsen/index.php/theaustralian/comments/establishment_challenged_on_the_stolen_generations/

    Albrechtsen on financial regulation post GFC (leverage and liquidity ratios that she describes as “adopting stupid regulations so we can show off to our G20 pals”)

    “This will be particularly disastrous for the home lending business. Why would a bank voluntarily lend money to home buyers at profit margins already squeezed to the bone by political monitoring, when mortgage lending requires the banks to put aside as much expensive capital as is required for more profitable forms of lending?”

    http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/janetalbrechtsen/index.php/theaustralian/comments/we_cant_bank_on_risky_rudd/

    I could go on but it just isn’t worth it. What a load of ill-informed drivel.

  27. Terry2

    The government are making much of the new slogan “we stopped the boats ” but who exactly is doing the processing in Nauru, Manus and at Christmas Island. I had understood that the UNHCR would be processing these folk and that resettlement would be scheduled for those found to be refugees.

    In her BBC interview Julie Bishop hinted that resettlement would be facilitated ‘in Australia’ and elsewhere. So perhaps there is a change of policy coming up.

  28. Keith

    In relation to the sad asylum seeker deaths at sea, a post on another article posited the view that with all the noise the Abbott gang made prior to the election they were indicating to would be asylum seekers that going to Australia was a good prospect.If you believe the underlying premise of the Abbott gang now about now needing to keep silent; then, this is not a fanciful view.
    Australia is beginning to become know as a pariah country in a number of areas, a legitimate press would be following up on these matters. Asylum seekers being the foremost, with environmental concerns/vandalism, and Foreign Affairs ( Gun Boats to Sri Lanka) being others.

    It is great that we have the avenue of social media and the Guardian online paper to provide insight into what is actually happening.

  29. uknowispeaksense

    You didn’t stop the boats you geezer
    Instead you invaded Indonesia

    #MarchinMarch

  30. Bacchus

    the “Contact Us” button cannot be reached on Android.

    CMMC, I’ve just successfully used “Contact Us” from both of my Android devices. (Tablet & phone).

  31. scotchmistery

    Of course it would be churlish of me to suggest it cost Australia a few million headed to Nauru, to get rid of the only way anyone has/had on that steamy little cess pit of inbreeding, a day in court to present their basis for an asylum claim, when Nauru sacked their only magistrate, then exiled their Cheif Justice, both of whom of course, were Australian.

    1036 Days 22 Hours

  32. CMMC

    Yes, Bacchus, I can reach it at bottom of this page, but on the front page you get infinite loading when scrolling to the bottom.

  33. john921fraser

    <

    @scotchmistery

    The simpleton sitting in the Queensland Premier's Office has long been referred by me as "newman".

    In posts across numerous mediums.

    As in …. "newman is a simpleton and Abbott is a moron".

    and

    "Murdoch and Abbott / newman lied to Australians".

    And do it on a daily basis.

  34. john921fraser

    <

    The AIMN readers should do this "Political Quiz" and perhaps post their results (?).

    There are extra Questions at the bottom of most Issues …. which I answered.

    And there is a slide .. "How important is this to you" that can be moved left or right …. beside each question.

    Doing the extra Questions and using the slide will give a more accurate result.

    For those interested my results were :

    Greens 76%
    Labor 66%
    Liberal 8%

    http://australia.isidewith.com/political-quiz

    Feel as though I have a little sh*t between my toes but quite proud of my Greens result.

  35. scotchmistery

    My results were 90% Greens, 67% Labor and 16% with #CredlinsBitch

    Wonder what that says about me…

  36. Tanya Rossi

    In case anyone is interested in signing this petition. It would be interesting to see what the end result could be… maybe nothing at all, but people are signing, having their say, and the figure is growing every minute…… Oh and please don’t ridicule me for sharing this, like some are.. the fact that people are signing surely means something? Don’t you think?
    http://www.change.org/petitions/to-the-australian-government-and-the-governor-general-we-reject-tony-abbott-and-the-lnp?share_id=EXBZtbDTBz&utm_campaign=share_button_action_box&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition

  37. john921fraser

    <

    @scotchmistery

    It says you have a bit more sh*t between your toes than me.

    Congratulations on the 90%.

    I wonder if Shorten and pals took the test would they then get some backbone and stand up for what should be Labor values ?

  38. uknowispeaksense

    Greens 78%
    Labor 59%
    Liberal 3%

  39. Dan Rowden

    Greens 80%
    Labor 67%
    Libs 4%

    No doubt immigration issues pushed up my Greens score. Labor might wish to take note how highly their own voter base is scoring for the Greens on this quiz (and why).

  40. Tanya Rossi

    Greens 75%
    Labor 59%
    Liberal 18%

  41. Bacchus

    Greens 76%
    Labor 65%
    Liberals 2%

  42. Bacchus

    I have no problem at all CMMC. What browser are you using? Mine works OK on the built-in Android browser, Chrome & Firefox. Perhaps try a different one…

  43. scotchmistery

    Congratulations to Bacchus and UKnow on having 2 & 3 with #CredlinsBitch

  44. Kaye Lee

    77% Greens
    65% Labor
    3% Liberal

    I want to know what that 3% was….I may want to change my mind 😉

  45. john921fraser

    <

    I'm fairly comfortable with my 8% Liberal.

    It gives perspective to my comment that there is a moron in the Lodge.

  46. john921fraser

    <

    Just in case some don't scroll back and read all the Comments :

    The AIMN readers should do this "Political Quiz" and perhaps post their results (?).

    There are extra Questions at the bottom of most Issues …. which I answered.

    And there is a slide .. "How important is this to you" that can be moved left or right …. beside each question.

    Doing the extra Questions and using the slide will give a more accurate result.

    For those interested my results were :

    Greens 76%
    Labor 66%
    Liberal 8%

    http://australia.isidewith.com/political-quiz

    Feel as though I have a little sh*t between my toes but quite proud of my Greens result.

  47. randalstella

    82-61-8
    The quiz gives me an 8% support for Liberal policies, so it’s pretty accurate.
    It’s only 8 out.

  48. Roswell

    82% Greens
    67% Labor
    9% Liberals

    I’m utterly embarrassed and ashamed that the Liberals scored so high.

  49. JohnB

    80% Green
    67% Labor
    5% Liberal
    Proves how insidious wall to wall propaganda is – I wasn’t aware I had a Liberal bone in my body.
    A dose of Vermox is in order.

  50. Tanya Rossi

    Doh!.. I think I scored the highest for the libs at 18% … should’ve used that slider bar more :/ but still proud of 75% Greens

  51. ShaunJ

    G’day All,

    74% Green
    36% Labor
    3% Lieberal

    Bit ashamed the Green is so low, but I looked into some of the result reasoning, and apparently the 3% toejam is because I said yes to a Universal Dental Care plan, since when has that been Lieberal policy? Similarly a lot of the Labor stuff was that they had similar “stances” to the Greens. Couldn’t see why my Greens percentage was so low.

  52. scotchmistery

    I can’t work out my #CredlinsBitch numbers either. Maybe I need to do it again.

  53. diannaart

    Thank you. Michael for this piece of journalism.

    Have had it with those trolls who claim people of the left don’t care about deaths of asylum seekers on land or at sea.

    As others have pointed out, clearly we do care; many of us stopped voting Labor in favour of the Greens when Labor thought it could out-brutal the LNP – it couldn’t and Reza Berati’s murder is (at present) the nadir of Abbott’s “stop the boats” efforts.

    As for the apparent overstatement of the number of deaths (one death is one too many BTW) these claims are all from the MSM and particularly the Murdoch press – where else? Therefore, such statistics are not expected to be accurate.

    As for the apparent lack of protest from the left – why would the predominately owned Murdoch media state anything that casts a positive light on the progressive side of politics? If a person only reads MSM then they are not getting the full story let alone the truth.

    Both Labor and the LNP mucked up on the treatment of asylum seekers. Labor has the opportunity to own up, apologise and offer a humane solution. Meanwhile the LNP will only offer what is has in the past – government to suit themselves.

  54. John.R

    Using Ms Albrechtsen & Mr Bolts` form of thinking,I won`t call it logic. If Labor is responsible for the deaths of those who seek refuge here by travelling a dangerous route by not discouraging or stopping them from doing so; are the Lib/Nats responsible for the deaths of people who are fearful for their lives in their country of residence,stay there and are killed as they thought there was no hope of finding refuge anywhere……….????????????????
    I did read though that our immigration intake is up to about 380,000 PA form about 300,000 PA.Where they are coming from and under what criteria the article did not state. Perhaps Tony has not been able to renege on those commitments yet..

  55. diannaart

    @ John R

    The only time any members of the Liberal Party spoke out against brutal treatment of asylum seekers was Petro Georgiou when he joined with Russell Broadbent and Judi Moylan in crossing the floor to vote against the Migration Amendment (Designated Unauthorised Arrivals) Bill, that would force all asylum seekers to be processed offshore, on 11 August 2006.

    Since then the LNP has raced to lower the bar and never spoke out against off-shore assessment during the Rudd/Gillard years.

  56. Col Gradolf

    I for one do not care who is in government, this dog whistle response to Pauline Hanson’s hysteria over asylum seekers has gone on for too long. And I have always opposed the morally bankrupt stance taken by ‘both sides’ of our political ‘elite’.

  57. john921fraser

    <

    Surely people could get on board and stop referring to Bolt by his name.

    Shaun Micallef got his name right here :

    A matter of the moron in The Lodge being interviewed by the Idiot from Murdoch's stable.

  58. mars08

    John.R:

    …our immigration intake is up to about 380,000 PA form about 300,000 PA.Where they are coming from and under what criteria the article did not state. Perhaps Tony has not been able to renege on those commitments yet…

    I don’t know if those numbers are right, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I suspect that the LNP leadership has no ideological objection to foreigners.

    For me, the truly grotesque aspect of this saga is the shameless political opportunism. I really doubt that there are hardcore racists in the top ranks of either major party. Most of them are well educated and well traveled individuals. No… the horrible, offensive thing is the way that the treatment asylum seekers (those arriving by boat) has become an auction to win the votes of the ignorant knuckle-draggers. The inhumane treatment of some powerless brown people is a whole lot easier than trying to educate or soothe millions of white Australian voters. Both major parties have engaged in a race to the bottom, aided by a nasty and hysterical mainstream media.

    I could understand if the politicians were frightened bigots… at least the policies of recent years could be explained away as racism and hate. But to intentionally implement increasingly cruel policies on innocent human beings, to secure the votes of a few racists, is just sickening.

  59. Ian

    Many, many more people died by NOT getting on boats, I’m sure.

  60. Paul Raymond Scahill

    It would appear as though many more people (those who feel something towards humanity) would WELCOME an absolute change in boat people policy. So far as arguing about the number of persons lost at sea, one is too many and I feel that our policy should be altered to assist as best we can all those people who wish to come here. Remember this country is built on migrants, some willing, some not. However, if one looks back at ones heritage, undoubtedly one will find that they arrived by boat, more recently by aeroplane. Have some compassion, after all Australia showed some compassion towards you and your family.

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