It is the beginning of summer and the humidity is stifling. Yesterday’s rain still lingers underfoot, serving as a reminder of the dismal surrounds.  The tent - a shelter if you could call it shelter at all - is a constant reminder of the misery to be found here in this forsaken place.

It's not working… it's just not working. Picture: Clint Deidenang

Rows upon rows line the grounds with some holding with up to 14 people inside.  As night draws closer, so too do the storms of the rain season. The tents offer little resistance to the almost nightly torrents thrown down from above. The bedding is damp, the surrounds are bleak, and hope begins to fade. This is Nauru as Amnesty International’s Dr Graham Thom has described seeing on his recent visit. This is the Pacific Solution.

A delegation from Amnesty International has recently called on the Australian Government to rethink its Pacific Solution, describing conditions in the Nauru detention camp in no uncertain terms as “completely unacceptable”.

This was in reference to fact that the Government had not begun the process involved in determining the validity of asylum claims for most of the 387 asylum seekers housed on Nauru, despite some of the detainees being already held for months on the island. In addition, the conditions inside the detention camps were found to be anything but a source of pride for Australia.

Apart from concerns for the physical wellbeing of asylum seekers, the Amnesty International delegation also noted the high rates of mental duress placed on the detainees. As one detainee said “We think we will die here. We can’t see any future.”

As criticism was levelled at the Pacific Solution and at the Government, a spokesman for the immigration minister Chris Bowen said “Conditions in Nauru at times may not be pleasant, but they are the same conditions immigration staff and service providers are working under.”

These wise words were all that could be spoken in defence of the detention facility. What the spokesman failed to note was the living conditions of the immigration staff are far superior to those of the detainees. All is not equal in Nauru.

But in fairness to the Government, the Pacific Solution was intended to deter further people smuggling, and to stem the tide of the radical queue jumping extremists from far distant lands which we in Australia have very little to no idea of including Tamils, Iranians, Afghans and Iraqis to name but a few.

As the question of whether the program is a success or failure rages in Canberra, with statistics on boat numbers being passed like the proverbial hot potato, the question of means should also be discussed as it can provide a great insight into the Governments mindset and manner in dealing with a politically and socially challenging issue.

In the plain light of day, these are facts. For the indiscretion of fleeing your country of origin and seeking asylum in Australia (whether for a valid reason or not) it is the policy of the Australian Government to detain you until your case is processed. This seems to be a fair system, checks and balances must be kept. However the story does not stop there.

You are then (if you are one of the unlucky ones) shipped off, sometimes without even setting foot on Australian soil, to another country to be held until the Government can begin your application, sometimes taking months.

You are put into a detention facility which international observers have described as “completely unacceptable”, which fail to meet international standards for asylum seekers.

You are then forced to wait, while enduring the daily misery and mental degradation which comes with being housed in such a facility. That is unless of course, you decide to voluntarily go home and return to the country from which you fled.

Perhaps this is the reasoning behind Nauru and other centres like it. Perhaps the process to seek asylum in this country, including being forcibly housed offshore has been made deliberately harsh and inhumane in order to coerce the detainees to forgo the process in fear of their own sanity and health.

This would of course take a grotesque lack of care and humanity on the part of our leaders, some of which was on display when both Opposition leader Tony Abbott and Foreign Minister Bob Carr spoke of the issue.

When questioned over the Amnesty International findings, Mr Abbott said: “The people who have come illegally to this country need to know that they are breaking our laws. They are… taking unfair advantage of our decency as a people. There needs to be consequences for people who do the wrong thing.”

To further compound the abject lack of humanity in the Australian Parliament, Mr Carr also put on record when confronted with what Amnesty sawt: “I think Australia stands out, stands out in the world as having a humane commitment that I’m very proud of.”

A shocking disconnect from reality.

There is one question that is routinely posed to the Government, is it working? On that issue the Government has finally provided an answer of sorts, by admitting that all of its’ offshore detention centres were at capacity and that new arrivals would be in fact processed on Australian soil.

The announcement that not only is the policy inhumane as described the Amnesty International delegation, but that it is also ineffective has ignited little debate amongst officials in Canberra.  Despite not achieved its’ goals, despite it being the most Orwellian of deterrents which the Government could provide, and despite the fact that it is not making any discernible difference to the number of boat arrivals, the policy remains.

This Pacific Solution has become a stain on our once fair, proud and caring nation. A xenophobic and racist undercurrent can only been enhanced by such National policies, the fruits of which are now coming to bare.

The racially charged riots in Cronulla, Indian students being targeted for assault and now a French national being abused by thugs on a bus are all examples of how far we as a nation have fallen from the lofty ideals of Australian Multiculturalism.

As the latest in a long line of un-Australian racist outbursts fill our news-stands and televisions, and we wonder how we became such a bigoted, racist uneducated folk, perhaps we should look to our leaders to show us the way out of this quagmire, instead of marching us towards the darkness of history through the persecution of a group of people.

All for no apparent gain.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm Eastern time.

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57 comments

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    • nihonin says:

      01:17pm | 22/11/12

      Careful Victor, you might water down your latte with your crocodile tears. What about the refugees stuck in the camps for years longer due to these country hopping opportunist.

    • Dr B S Goh, Australian in Asia says:

      01:59pm | 22/11/12

      Australia’s current problems with the boatpeople are sadly self inflicted.

      Control of borders is a common problem among many nations.

      India has a 3,400kms of high fence with Bagladesh, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladesh–India_border. Border guards shoot and kill hundreds each year.

      Our big brother, USA has an effective policy to control boatpeople from Cuba and Haiti. All boatpeople are returned, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wet_feet,_dry_feet_policy. We should not feel guilty to force boats back to Indonesia which is a safe country for these refugees.

    • ramases says:

      03:34pm | 22/11/12

      Yes nihonin another article by another bleeding heart. The majority of Australians don’t give a toss about the illegal immigrants as long as they don’t keep coming which seems to be a wishful thought as this Government hasn’t got a clue.
        They also don’t want them given free reign to live in Australia being paid by the tax payer to sit on their arses and wait for citizen ship which is about to happen with the collapse of yet another Labor policy.
        Of course we do have latte sipping tossers who would allow anyone to come here regardless and pay them and house them and feed them but the majority are against that and rightly so. These people pass countries where they are safe from persecution and that’s where under UN Law they should stay but no, they know we have an open door policy due to the lack of intestinal fortitude shown by this Government and continue through more countries until they can board a boat for the land of milk and honey and free money and housing and whatever else they can rort from us aided and abetted by clowns who think this okay. Well I have news for you Victor, its not okay.

    • AdamC says:

      01:22pm | 22/11/12

      Well, this was a bit of a moving feast. (There is something to be said for using an editor.)

      I agree with the article (or, at least, the headline) that simply inflicting detention on asylum seekers has not been show to discourage boat arrivals. There is an obvious reason for that. A couple of years on Nauru in exchange for the spoils of Australian citizenship is a pretty good deal for a Hazara Afghan, for example.

      Deterrent approaches like offshore detention only work if access to the ultimate prize (resetllement) becomes unavailable, or at least uncertain. That changes the calculation of costs and benefits. Sadly, Labor relied on a single deterrent strategy,  offshore processing, which was vulnerable to be being ovwhelmed with a flood of arrivals. There is no surprise that this strategy did not work. The Coalition was warning Labor about that from the start.

      People come to Australia because we resettle boat arrivals. We do not have to do that. A stay on Nauru is pointless if there is no prospect of citizenship at the end of this. Labor are either too stupid or too obtuse to learn the lesson of their own failures. Hopefully they will eventually.

    • Troy Flynn says:

      02:20pm | 22/11/12

      This is why the TPV’s need to be re-instated. When they knew they would never get permanent residence, the boat flow stopped. Look after them while their home country is in turmoil, when the percieved threat is passed, return them to their native land.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      04:36pm | 22/11/12

      Agree AdamC, the fact that Asylum seekers expect that if they put enough pressure on Australians, we will EVENTUALLY cave in and give them citizenship, is the problem.

      But TPVs (Troy Flynn) won’t stop them either- because they expect that we will eventually cave in and give them proper residential rights.

      Only withdrawing from the UN convention and introducing more stringent entry criteria for asylum seekers than we do normal migrants, with mandatory deportation for failing these grounds, will work. We should also publicize our criteria of what kind of people we will never give asylum to (religious fanatics, extremists, or people with dubious history)

      Otherwise they just need to bide their time and hassle, blackmail and threaten us enough to give them what they want.

      With an unambiguous policy with no room to maneuver, asylum seekers would see less opportunity to take advantage of our system unless they are the people we actually want to bring in.

    • andye says:

      01:23pm | 22/11/12

      “The people who have come illegally to this country need to know that they are breaking our laws. They are… taking unfair advantage of our decency as a people. There needs to be consequences for people who do the wrong thing.”

      And this is the crux of why this is such a big issue. Nothing seems to get the hordes worked up more than the impression that someone is getting something they don’t deserve. Abbott is doing very well taking advantage of this.

    • Dolt says:

      01:54pm | 22/11/12

      Abbott puts it do perfectly in those words. It’s about us, not them. And we are poor unfortunate ‘victims’. These people only come here to hurt us, god we must be good. Poor us!

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      01:57pm | 22/11/12

      “Nothing seems to get the hordes worked up more than the impression that someone is getting something they don’t deserve.”

      Which is a bit rich coming from middle class family welfare junkie-parasites…...

    • Borderer says:

      02:40pm | 22/11/12

      Which is a bit rich coming from middle class family welfare junkie-parasites…...
      Yeah, because the poor buggers in the camps get no voice and these guys take their place because they can pay criminals.
      Show a picture of the refugee camps and the people being left there because these people leave the safety of Indonesia to take a place off them. Do you not care about them? They have the least of everbody and are in the greatest peril, spare me your piety.

    • Gregg says:

      03:56pm | 22/11/12

      And Andye, do you not care that hundreds and perhaps even more than a thousand over the past five years have met their deaths, the ultimate consequence.
      It is not Abbott that revoked an approach that had worked over six years, even if it did take two years to start to take effect.

      It is the Gillard government that has put in place the no advantage approach as illdefined as that is and now just prepared to load up the welfare bill.

      There are millions of people in refugee camps annually and yes those using people smugglers are forcing their way in ahead of people we should be taking, people prepared to use the international system whereas those using people smugglers aim at using our generosity.

      Tony Abbott is doing what any opposition leader should do and that is working as hard as possible to correct ineffective government.
      If you do not like it, tough titties for you.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      04:55pm | 22/11/12

      That and nobody wants to risk extending their hand and opening their homes to people from some of the most violent, tribalistic and extreme religious countries in the world might have something to do with it- especially when they think those people are attempting to take from us dishonestly. Perhaps some people rather their neighborhoods don’t face the same problems as South-West Sydney and Cronulla? And to add to it, don’t feel ‘inland’ people deserve to experience it either?

    • Ash says:

      01:25pm | 22/11/12

      Here’s the way I see it.

      If these people are willing to sacrifice everything they have, spend all their life’s savings, travel through multiple dangerous countries, climb on some crappy little putt-putt boat and put their lives in danger all to make a life for themselves here…

      Those sound like the kind of people I want in this country.

      Here’s how I would do it.

      1) Once processed (preferably onshore, but I’m not completely opposed to off-shore processing) all refugees get a temporary protection visa. In return, they’re sent to areas of the country where we need workers (out in the mines in particular) and they can start working and earning. (If they have any education or skilled trades, look where their skills are needed). Children go to school but none of the dodgy religious schools - they go to public schools and learn to mix with kids of all backgrounds.

      2) After the TPV period is up, their case is re-assesed. If their home country is safe, they and their families can return with assistance from the Australian government. If they still want to stay in Australia, they need to meet certain criteria. Specifically:
      - have you worked the entire period of your TPV?
      - do you have qualifications or skills?
      - how good is your English?
      among others. You get the point. Make the criteria strict but not impossible.

      3) If they are found to be suitable, they get PR. At this point, family reunion is possible but has to be tightened significantly. Not all the cousins can come in off you. I personally would limit it to spouses, children and parents.

    • Me says:

      01:55pm | 22/11/12

      I thought that way for a bit, but then I noticed something else altogether.

      Rioting and carrying on after staying on Nauru for three months, tops.

      The absolute self-righteousness of it, the demand that they immediately be allowed in, the anger on display.

      Reminds me of another refugee group that we took in during the 70s and 80s who managed to turn Western Sydney into a free range shooting gallery out of gratitude to us for it.

      Not wishing to repeat that lapse of judgment about letting unknown strangers in, my suspicions were raised when I observed similar aggressive behavior from this new mob.

    • Michael S says:

      02:17pm | 22/11/12

      4) Any boat that is deliberately sabotaged or which knowingly makes a false distress claim will result in all persons on board having their refugee claims automatically refused and are automatically deported to their country of origin.
      Any person who, while in detention or on a TPV, is part of a riot, wilful destruction of property, assault or other criminal act, has their refugee claim automatically refused or refugee status automatically revoked and are automatically deported to their country of origin. (I’m not talking about hunger strikes or peaceful roof-top protests; but anything where other detainees or staff are placed in physical danger).

    • Gregg says:

      03:43pm | 22/11/12

      Sometimes I get utterly amazed at what BS people dream of.
      ” In return, they’re sent to areas of the country where we need workers (out in the mines in particular) and they can start working and earning. (If they have any education or skilled trades, look where their skills are needed). “

      Even if some may have an education or a skill they may not be suited to working in the mining industry and then just how many vacancies do you reckon there would be!
      Why should vacancies not be filled by Australians first and any company has a right to select anyway.
      Then there is housing and if you go and try and get a job in the mining industry you might just be surprised that it is not a walk in proposition and that you might have to take a tent.

      And with your plan, what control do you have on numbers to just keep on coming?
      None whatsoever.

    • egg says:

      04:14pm | 22/11/12

      @Me, because if you’d fled persecution in your home country, risked your life and sought asylum somewhere you thought was safe, you’d be entirely happy to be illegally and indefinitely detained for your troubles in disgusting, inhumane conditions?

      Yeah, they’re just ungrateful scum, aren’t they?

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      05:08pm | 22/11/12

      5) they are subjected to personality assessment- if they show any extremist leanings, antisocial tendencies, integration difficulties or criminal history (even theft), their application is immediately cancelled and they are deported permenantly. Why would we want people like that in Australia? So they can throw a violent riot and make death threats in Sydney over some American making a youtube video? No thanks.

      @egg- “Me” was referring to the people we had let in BEFORE we implemented the Pacific solution turning Western Sydney into a high-crime area- your analogy is baseless, as we never did anything but let them straight in- and they repay us with crime and extremism.
      Secondly, you are NOT entitled to live in somebody else’s home just because you put yourself through hardship to break into it, ‘for your troubles’.

    • Tim says:

      01:27pm | 22/11/12

      Exactly,
      nothing will work except to remove ourselves from the completely outdated Refugee convention and not allow any boat arrival to be given residency or status ever.

      This will free up billions to help more people in overseas refugee camps.

      Organisations like Amnesty will never admit that their solutions won’t work anymore than the current government policy.

    • AdamC says:

      01:56pm | 22/11/12

      Tim, I reckon you could do quite a few more things to discourage arrivals, while still remaining within the framework of the Refugee Convention.

      As hapless Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has mentioned before, the Convention is an often invoked, rarely read document.

    • Tim says:

      02:15pm | 22/11/12

      AdamC,
      I’m not sure, what are you proposing?

      The fact is the refugee convention puts us into a corner with relation to what we do with boat arrivals. Sure there is some room to move, but I just think either:
      a) The convention needs a complete overhaul as it was designed for a completely different world and a completely different time. OR
      b) We remove ourselves from the convention.

      50-60 years ago, large groups of refugees weren’t hopping onto international flights to go half way around the world, hop on a boat and then claim asylum.

    • TheRealDave says:

      01:40pm | 22/11/12

      So, plenty of good quality food, accomodation, safety, medical care, support, education, legal representation, entertainment ammenities etc are ‘unnacceptable’ or ‘below standards’??

      Well, they could wait at a proper refugee camp setup and run by the UN and hsot countries that they flew or sailed past on their way here or they could have waited in the comfort of theiri places of origin couldn’t they?

      Wait….thats racist to suggest such isn’t it? Can I get a ruling on that? I can’t remember what is and isn’t racist any more…...I’d hate to offend some arts student in Manly by accident…I try to do that on purpose…

    • andye says:

      02:44pm | 22/11/12

      @TheRealDave - “Well, they could wait at a proper refugee camp setup and run by the UN and hsot countries that they flew or sailed past on their way here”

      There are around 8 million refugees that are categorised as “perpetual refugees”. Some of these camps are over 50 years old. Our problems are miniscule compared to the larger world issue and the numbers of refugees hosted by countries poorer than us.


      @TheRealDave - “or they could have waited in the comfort of theiri places of origin couldn’t they?”

      It depends if they are genuine refugees, I guess. I am sure that you will tell me that you know they are all fake.


      @TheRealDave - “Wait….thats racist to suggest such isn’t it? Can I get a ruling on that? I can’t remember what is and isn’t racist any more…...I’d hate to offend some arts student in Manly by accident…I try to do that on purpose…”

      You are not offensive enough to brag about it, champ. Try harder.

    • Me says:

      03:40pm | 22/11/12

      “Our problems are miniscule compared to the larger world issue and the number of refugees hosted by countries poorer than us”

      Well there you go, sounds like a good reason for us to suddenly tell the guard to nick off from the gate, throw the doors wide open and see what floats into the harbour.

      If it’s such a problem overseas, it only makes sense to encourage them to come here and become our problem too.

    • Stephen T says:

      03:48pm | 22/11/12

      @andye:  The arrivals are not necessarily refuges, and in most cases they certainly can not be defined as needy when you compare them to those refugees stuck in camps, my understanding of the 1951 Refugee Convention defines people moving across national borders with no immediate intention of returning are classified either as economic migrants, voluntarily abandoning their homes to earn a better wage, or as political refugees forced to leave for their own safety.  The convention also clearly states a refugee is entitled to reside, “at least temporarily, in the host country” and is protected by the principle of non-refoulement. 

      Those camps you referenced are a horror, and we should be providing better access to resettlement to those refugees in genuine need. However in the case of those who seeking to circumvent normal channels unless they are indeed identified as being in immediate danger by returning them to their country of origin I believe that that under the convention Australia is perfectly entitled to issue Temporary Protection Visa’s, then deport them when the situation in their origin country stabilises.

    • PJ says:

      06:11pm | 22/11/12

      So, plenty of good quality food, accomodation, safety, medical care, support, education, legal representation, entertainment ammenities etc are ‘unnacceptable’ or ‘below standards’??

      - in that case we should open the prisons and free the inmates as well.

    • TheRealDave says:

      01:45pm | 22/11/12

      Jsut one other comment, if I may…

      Indian Students being targetted’...isn’t it pretty much well known that the majority, infact overwhelming majority, of these alledged attacks were actually perpetrated by another recently arrived migrant group from Africa?

      I am more than happy to be corrected as I am only referencing comments from peopl ein Melbourne at the time.

    • Andrew c says:

      01:48pm | 22/11/12

      It is easy to see why we are so racist. A policy such as this says to the common person in the street, it’s ok to be racist. Look at the current punch article headlines “endless cash donations do nothing to aid Asia” - don’t give money to asians, they’ll just invade. and “we should make an example of dumb racists” - is there such a thing as a smart racist?

      Whether asylum seekers are genuine or not is beside the point. Accept them, treat them humanely, assess their claim, allow asylum or send them home. Housing and providing services to 387 people - sounds like a business opportunity to me, the government can either pay a foreign government to do it, or it could generate additional employment in Australia.

      This has been a national shame for far too long.

    • egg says:

      04:24pm | 22/11/12

      Sir, I love you, and one day aspire to have your non-racist babies.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      01:53pm | 22/11/12

      The solution is simple- make the only processing facility for refugees in Hobart. How they they make their way to the facility is their own problem. Until then they aren’t recognized as existing in Australia, i.e. no welfare, no family reunions, no permanent residency or Australian citizenship. Hope they brought enough money for a plane ticket from wherever they land because it is a long walk….

    • Haxton Waag says:

      01:55pm | 22/11/12

      There is also the possibility, I suppose, that we ourselves may one day require refuge. If that day ever comes, it is to be hoped that our prospective hosts have a good opinion of us, based in part on how we have treated refugees in the past.

    • Me says:

      02:26pm | 22/11/12

      Our ‘prospective neighbours’ don’t treat any foreigners well. I’d prefer to go down with the ship, myself, than to throw myself on the mercy of Indonesia, Malaysia, et al.

    • Troy Flynn says:

      02:35pm | 22/11/12

      Yes it is a possibility. But, unlike these able bodied men that make up the bulk of these refugees, I would be willing to fight to the death to get my country back to what it is now. Not run off and expect another country to protect me.

    • Mack says:

      02:36pm | 22/11/12

      Oh yeah, sure. Name ONE country that these people are ‘fleeing’ from that would ever accept Australians as refugees, if that ‘one day’ you are talking about ever occurs….................(sound of crickets chirping)

      More likely that we would be treated the same way as Malaysia treats their unwanted refugees.

    • Mack says:

      02:36pm | 22/11/12

      Oh yeah, sure. Name ONE country that these people are ‘fleeing’ from that would ever accept Australians as refugees, if that ‘one day’ you are talking about ever occurs….................(sound of crickets chirping)

      More likely that we would be treated the same way as Malaysia treats their unwanted refugees.

    • Millsy says:

      01:56pm | 22/11/12

      Australia needs to nut up or shut up. We either humanely accept refugees coming to out shores or we abandon any pretext of having actual morals or giving a damn about people suffering, withdraw from the refugee convention and start sinking refugee boats and murdering “the illegals” wholesale. Its time to quit with the “concerned about the safety of people being smuggled in unsafe boats” dogwhistle and take an honest stand, one way or the other.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      05:25pm | 22/11/12

      I actually agree with this proposal. This rubbish about ‘leaky boats’ is just obfuscating a proper solution. Either we want them here or we don’t, and we should be adjust our policy properly and stop pretending about what we are doing.

      This is why I think we need to have a referendum on the issue; because political parties’ solutions are more about faking appearances to voters who agree and disagree with the policy at the same time. If there was a vote, the issue is solved and we implement a proper policy that doesn’t attract people we had no intentions of letting in.

      And definitely ditch the refugee convention- it is full of loopholes large enough to fly a plane through- yet the UN refuses to acknowledge it.

    • Reg Whiteman says:

      02:13pm | 22/11/12

      I don’t remember voting in a referendum for “multi-culturalism”. I was unaware we had “...fallen from the lofty ideals of Australian multi-culturalism”. Here was me thinking it had been forced upon us by Al Grassby, the Minister for the Mafia in the Whitlam Government and kept in place by jelly-backs like Fraser and Hawk, their heirs and successors.

      Can someone please explain to me why I owe all these people anything? Why do I have to pay for them and provide them with food, housing, medical care and unemployment benefits?

      What sort of hide do you have to have to just turn up on someone’s doorstep and demand free room and board and access to the bank account - forever?

      If they were in such great fear for their lives, how come they have by-passed half a dozen safe havens to get here? It has nothing to do with escaping tyranny and everything to do with shopping around for a country where they can get the most for nothing and then import their 4,000 closest relatives. And then, of course, we have seen the way Australia’s generosity is repaid in that disgraceful display in Sydney recently with thugs and children holding up signs demanding that we “behead those who insult the prophet”.

      These people who destroy their ID and then turn up here should be informed that they will not be given citizenship - ever - and will returned to the place from whence they came and will pay the fare themselves. If they’ve got the $10-$20K to pay smugglers then they can pay for the cost of us booting them out.

      This article has more holes than Swiss cheese and is little more than an insult to this country and its people.

    • AliceC says:

      02:40pm | 22/11/12

      Are you serious Reg?

    • Mik says:

      04:05pm | 22/11/12

      It is not uncommon for people with some money to use that money to escape, as also happened in the world wars, if there is a way. I have heard it said that there are few professionals in current refugee camps as they have used their money and contacts to flee ( perhaps a reader could tell us if this is indeed so?).
      As for destroying IDs then that has to raise suspicion. It would be easy enough for Australian or Indonesian agents to access the whisper web in Indonesia and let them know the original IDs have to be kept, even if the originals are false, and sometimes that is the case so that the escape can happen, and that flight details and documentation also have to be kept so that the IDs can be checked against them.

    • fitter says:

      04:13pm | 22/11/12

      I don’t recall the original inhabitants of this country voting for white people to come here and then assume the moral ownership of their country, including who could come here by boat. They might think this was just forced on them, to borrow your brilliant logic, but far be it for me to point out your blatant hypocrisy. The recent display in sydney had absolutely nothing to do with people who come here seeking asylum, your clearly confused with immigration and asylum seekers, but I understand its just easier for the simplistic to lump all non anglo immigrants together. I mean, you dont see white Aussies rioting in sydney do you, completely unheard of. Everytime there’s a media incident relating to the muslim community, its taken by the bogan’s as a green light to once again attack those in most need of assistance, tedious and predictable. Keep watching a current affair.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      05:17pm | 22/11/12

      Fitter- is this really about Indigenous Australians, or is it really just about you?
      Because if we actually cared about stolen Indigenous land entitlement, we wouldn’t be using it as justification to give their stolen property to someone else (refugees). That perspective only makes sense to the original guilty party (European descendents) in the sense that they are ‘punishing themselves’ to show how ‘sorry’ they are, without actually doing the right thing for the original victims (Aborigines).
      Because if it were REALLY about Indigenous Australians, it would be about making steps to restore Indigenous lands and sovereignty and control over local resources (like Canada does to some extents, but Australia does not).
      Our asylum stance plays no issue except a non-Aboriginal Australian deciding on behalf of everyone else who we are ‘obligated’ to take in.

      Or better yet, why don’t you ASK some Indigenous people? Their perspectives are just as diverse about asylum seekers as anyone else’s.

    • Get Real says:

      02:31pm | 22/11/12

      So what would you have us do then, Victor? Perhaps you would be happy if we built 5 star luxury hotels for them all? Sorry but if you come here illegally these are the processes you must go through. How is having access to food, clean water, accommodation, medical care, etc “unacceptable”? Certainly these are all things that our very own homeless are missing out on!

    • Craig says:

      02:37pm | 22/11/12

      Most critically we have no vision of the future for Australian multi-culturalism or population levels.

      Australia is drifting without leadership or a rudder - and the opposition is as vapid as the current government.

      Perhaps this is due to the dumbing down of the public service - the promotion of mediocre time servers to senior roles, while the innovators and top performers take the voluntary redundancies and re-enter the private market where they are in high demand.

      Certainly the quality of our overall political landscape is the worst it has been in Australia’s history. Hopefully Australians will take action before we see them ruin the country.

    • Stephen T says:

      02:41pm | 22/11/12

      Victor, you need a dose of reality, genuine refugees as opposed to the migratory horde that are currently assailing our Northern borders would be counting their blessings to be boarded in installations ¼ as good as that provided by the Australian Government. I’ve seen and worked with genuine refugees, when they flee their homelands, they leave behind most of their belongings, sometimes they manage to grab a few basics, but most of the time they are just happy to escape with their lives intact. They usually end up with thousands of others in a settlement that can stretch for miles. This is a refugee camp, a place that not one of us would willingly choose to inhabit.

      The camps are comprise tents and other makeshift shelters built from whatever materials happen to be available,  sticks, plastic sheeting, mud and stones. In the best of cases, humanitarian aid agencies will provide the basics: food, clean drinking water, and rudimentary health care.  Health issues within the camps can be appalling with diseases such as cholera and dysentery affecting the thousands of people gathered in these makeshift settlements.

      Now the thing that makes the refugees in these camps different to the migratory horde and deserving of our aid is that having fled conflicts of unimaginable proportions – massacre, genocide, and other atrocities - they don’t have as much as two pennies to their name and are relieved and grateful to have reached a safe haven even if it is still akin to hell.  When I contrast their attitude to the attitude of entitlement displayed by the people on Nauru and Manus Island I know which people I would be assisting.  You can write whatever you like and you can choose not to publish this comment but your time would be better served in researching and writing an article about genuine refugees rather than a topical piece gratuitously designed to push your own views. 

      “As the latest in a long line of Un-Australian racist outbursts fill our news-stands and televisions,”  I seriously doubt that you know what your talking about here, I think you will find that most Australians have a sense of fair play and see them as displacing the genuine need of actual refugees rather than because they are asylum seekers.  Research your fact then write another article and until you actually have some credibility in the area don’t talk shit.

    • Mitch says:

      03:00pm | 22/11/12

      “the migratory horde that are currently assailing our Northern borders”

      Holy hyperbole Batman!

    • Stephen T says:

      03:19pm | 22/11/12

      @Mitch: Call it what you will Mitch, in the majority they are economic refugees and in most cases they operate from choice not from necessity.  If you want to something of value argue for better representation in the genuine refugee centres so we can improve the lot of those poor souls who genuinely need it and would not take what was given for granted.

    • Mik says:

      02:45pm | 22/11/12

      Or all of the member Nations of the UN could try living up to the ideals of the UN and really apply genuine,  combined, unrelenting pressure to any nation/nations/ warring factions creating refugees, through discrimination or war, for whatever reason.
      No genuine refugee wants to go through the terror and trauma of being a refugee.

    • Michael S says:

      02:59pm | 22/11/12

      The people smugglers will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.

    • Dolt says:

      02:59pm | 22/11/12

      I reckon we should listen to a handful of right wingers like we always do.

    • Tbird says:

      04:18pm | 22/11/12

      And the left are famous for their well thought out statements/actions Dolt?

    • Slouch Hat says:

      03:14pm | 22/11/12

      Time to revoke the out dated Refugee Convention which has Australia over a barrel and the equally controversial later protocol as the times, they are a changing.

    • Stephen T says:

      03:20pm | 22/11/12

      @Mitch: Call it what you will Mitch, in the majority they are economic refugees and they operate from choice not from necessity.  If you want to something of value argue for better representation in the genuine refugee centres so we can improve the lot of those poor souls who genuinely need it and would not take any kindness extended for granted.  Its disgusting when you look at what has been spent and what could have been accomplished with the same funding elsewhere, yes I admit it is hyperbole, but its also true and unless we set our priorities now we as a Nation will fail in helping countless needy people.  I vote for helping those who actually need it.

    • Mitch says:

      03:28pm | 22/11/12

      I guess all the racists were left feeling a bit put out by all the negative attention from the bus video. So its good they get these asylum seeker stories to spew their irrational hate at.

    • C says:

      03:38pm | 22/11/12

      How many times does it have to be repeated that the vast majority of boat arrivals are not refugees? They are economic migrants looking for a better way of life. They often come from countries which are in turmoil and where life is dangerous but that does not make them refugees. Refugee status depends on who you are, not what you are. You need to be someone who is in genuine fear of persecution - at a level where your life is in danger not merely because you get passed over for employment.
      Those who can afford to pay people smugglers could also afford plane tickets. They could front up at passport control and seel asylum - and yes, the vast majority of them do have passports and identification papers and other travel documents. It is how they get into Indonesia in the first place.
      They choose to come the sea route because they believe they can queue jump that way. They get angry when they realise that the money they have paid is not going to get them what they want as soon as they want it.
      There is nothing illegal about Temporary Protection Visas. Anyone genuinely seeking asylum would be happy to accept that - and they would accept permanant relocation to another country too.  All too often boat arrivals are saying “Australia, only Australia”. That should tell the authorities who these people are and what they really want.
      Until we return to TPVs this problem is just going to escalate. I know. I work with aid workers and people who work in refugee camps. Our government policy infuriates them.

    • Ben says:

      04:51pm | 22/11/12

      >>This Pacific Solution has become a stain on our once fair, proud and caring nation. A xenophobic and racist undercurrent can only been enhanced by such National policies, the fruits of which are now coming to bare.

      Yes, yes, yes, we know. We’ve heard all these cliches before from the professional wailers.

    • Michael R says:

      05:28pm | 22/11/12

      John. Howard. Worked.

 

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