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Riot fans flames of asylum debate

Nick Bryant | 05:24 UK time, Thursday, 21 April 2011

On an issue that commonly attracts overblown rhetoric and shrill commentary, it is no longer an exaggeration to say that Australia's immigration detention system is in a state of crisis. The past five weeks have seen a mass break-out and riot at Christmas Island, Australia's high security offshore processing facility for asylum seekers, and now another violent protest at the Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney thought to involve men from Kurdish Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan.

What began as a small rooftop protest involving just two detainees escalated into a full-blown riot involving 100 men - a quarter of the 400 detainees held at Villawood. A number of buildings were destroyed, including a medical facility, a computer centre, a laundry and a kitchen. The authorities were powerless to stop a modern, high security detention facility from being torched. Given the scale of the damage, the ferocity of the protests and the intensity of the flames - which leapt over 10m (30ft) at the height of the overnight disturbances - it is a wonder that nobody was killed.

Protagonists on both sides of the asylum seeker debate will seize upon the riots. Critics of the government will claim the detention centres are overcrowded because the softening of border protection policies and the end of the Howard government's Pacific Solution has encouraged more asylum seekers to head for Australia.

It will also contribute to the ongoing process through which asylum seekers have been criminalised and portrayed as "illegals" - even though they have a legal right to claim asylum under the UN Refugeee Convention, to which Australia is a signatory. Many will cast the rioters as violent trouble-makers who have no place in the wider Australian community - a line taken by both the Department of Immigration and the conservative opposition.

For critics of Australia's mandatory detention system - which was brought in by the government of Paul Keating - the riots will be seen as an act of desperation men who have been kept under lock and key for too long in detention centres that are far too crowded. In the past seven months, there have been five suicides in Australian detention centres, which refugee groups say is "worryingly high".

The Department of Immigration claims that Australia has the highest level of care in immigration detention in the world, but concedes that the system is under strain because of "capacity" issues - which is shorthand for overcrowding. New detention centres are being opened up to temporarily relieve the problem. The government also says that the anger of detainees is often the result of them having their applications rejected rather than the long wait for those applications to be processed.

Critics of the Labor government will see in the ruins of the burnt-out buildings at Villawood a landmark for a failed policy. Opponents of the system of mandatory detention system will see a group of desperate men, kept too long in detention, whose pent-up frustrations erupted into violent fury.

PS: PeterD and Greg Warner. Gentleman, I think it is time for a truce, to swap emails or to take your argument elsewhere.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Let’s be honest the majority of these refugees are economic migrants.
    I, as an person of senior years , perhaps then also old fashioned , can not comprehend the thought process behind arriving in a country and immediately demanding your rights the same as a citizen of that country with out first fulfilling your duties.
    Would these people prefer to be in the Russian refugee camp as highlighted in yesterdays BBC report? I think not.

  • Comment number 2.

    It seems asylum seeking has become a bona fide occupation these days. All part of the "rights without responsibilities" culture that has grown up over the last 10 years.
    Australia has a tighter immigration policy than the UKs open door policy and they should stick with it.
    If these people aren't happy with the way their countries are going they should stay and do something about it rather than try to get a slice of what was built with lots of hard work by the Aussies.
    I think I'll refrain from sharing more of my opinions for fear of being moderated but common sense tells us that it isn't possible for everyone to live where they would like.

  • Comment number 3.

    The lack of humanity shown to these people is criminal, all they are guilty of is trying to improve their lives, and as australia has aided in the destruction of their countries in some cases,which is also criminal as it was not sanctioned by th UN, its just another episode in the white australia policy racist farce, they could have been put to work in planting forests or something, but the system needs victims to feed on i guess, multi multiculturalism fails because the aussies want it to, there are children in there who have grown up in there and have never seen the outside for years and years, is that really christian?, would you like to suffer that way? the same heartless cynicism is reflected in the plight of the youths, who have to use drugs to feel good, its a criminal shame in a county that has everything in spades, the wave of dementia sweeping australia could be a result of demented idealism, howard used these people as a politically divisive issue like a lot of his policies, ie gst he liked to divide and conquer, probably spent millions of tax money figuring out the percentages, but happily he lost his seat, lol.

  • Comment number 4.

    These people fly from Afghanistan to Indonesia, then pay $15,000 to people smugglers get on a leaky boat to Australian waters and claim to be refugees.
    If they are refugees then I'm the man in the moon.

  • Comment number 5.

    Oh dear 3 comments and already the "racist" card has been played. Multiculturism fails because it's wrong to force people into a way of life they don't want and that's what this is all about.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.


    I believe #19 Emps summed up the situation with the other poster in your previous blog when he wrote:

    "I would'nt call insulting and demeaning name calling ie; Betty Windsor and Charlie Wales righteous as far as their verbal stouches are concerned. Its just more than disrespectful its disgusting, and characterises some of poeple that enter BBC blogs
    just to be hateful to other contributors, and like to highlight their comments with tacky examples such as these references to those members of the royal family".

    Forgive me please for having to be "named" by you and I am very happy to declare a truce.

    Regarding Australia's immigration policy, I fully support #3 BLUES 55.

    Although I would vote Labor if an election was called tomorrow, I feel immigration is one area where Labor really does need to reform its current policy, and for me that goes far beyond choosing "another island" instead of Nauru.




  • Comment number 9.

    Such a predictable response to my remarks. This forum is for users to exchange views and express their opinions yet a certain faction always reverts to personal insult and innuendo when their views are challenged - I am not neutered I can assure you!
    Have a great weekend everybody.

  • Comment number 10.

    @BLUES55,

    So they're not guilty of burning down our infrastructure, then?

    Get your hand off it, you clown.

  • Comment number 11.

    If boat loads of white people arrived on the shores of these countries where the migrants originate from, hoping to take full economic advantage- without any contribution whatsoever, there would be outrage! Most of these so-called migrants are uneducated, adhere to their own culture and beliefs- and even if allowed to stay would not integrate. It is a pity that the UK does not take a more hard-line stance on immigration.

  • Comment number 12.

    And to think the Snowy Mountains Scheme was built by people who only a few years earlier were people whose country had been our declared enemy and had probably fought our soldiers and dropped bombs on British cities. Was it because we needed them then and don’t need them now?

    Why have we become so heartless that we must detain people while their cases are investigated. How does anyone who contributes to this blog know enough about the circumstances of these people to pass judgment?

    Consider the case of Najeeba Wazefadost who will be appearing on the next Q and A and who arrived in Australia by boat with her parents, four siblings and two uncles in September 2000. With her family, she spent several months in Curtin Detention Centre.

    She now has a bachelor of Medical Science and was awarded Young Woman of the West in 2011. Hers is not the only story like this. What did her time in detention achieve?

  • Comment number 13.

    In France we have the same issue with immigration. It is becoming unbearable. French people have a way of living just as Australian people have theirs. When people emigrate to another country, they should at least adopt the same way of living rather than impose their ways that are not compatible with the freedom that we experience. What governments and international laws ignore is peoples. Peoples are the first people involved, their opinion matter most. In Europe, Finland is governed by a far right party restricting banning immigration just as Austria and the Netherlands, Switzerland also although it isn't part of the EEC. In France the far right party is leading in the polls, the government is acting strongly now because the elections will take place in one year. Immigration laws should be tightened and illegal immigrants from non dangerous countries should be sent back to their countries. As the French minister for immigration said, we can't afford to welcome the misery of the whole world. It affects our social protection, it impoverishes everyone.

  • Comment number 14.

    #11 Watt.
    Nice angle sir, that holes the "racist theory" below the waterline doesn't it.

    It seems rather quiet here, is everyone on holiday?

  • Comment number 15.

    It would be interesting for our intrepid correspondent to find out how correct is the "asylum seeker" tag being used so freely.

    I am no reporter, but I have been inside Villawood and most of the detainees I spoke to were fighting deportation for a variety of reasons, often related to the criminal justice system, and not claiming asylum.

    Some were simply overstayers who'd come to the attention of police for persistent offending.

    Each one, asylum-seeker or whatever, is assigned a lawyer to work through their case as soon as they appeal against deportation.These lawyers are often under-resourced , as detention is a relatively recent area of law without much accumulated expertise, and are sometimes doing it on a "pro-bono" basis.

    It was also quite apparent that seeking asylum is seen as one of the many options available for avoiding deportation and not always the first resort.

    That cannot help genuine asylum-seekers, of whom I'm sure there are many in Villawood - I just didn't speak to that many of them

    It's not a scientific sample, but there is a woeful lack of detail or care in the reporting on this - we expect better from the BBC than the lurid report I just saw on BBC 24.

    Again - not everyone in Villawood is an"asylum seeker", not every "asylum-seeker" there is a refugee ... and of course, the overwhelming number of asylum seekers in Australia are processed without detention

  • Comment number 16.

    3 BLUES55

    How very sad. Just be happy that you live in a country where you can freely promulgate diatribes like this in the public domain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Stephane also frames this rather well. It's not being "nasty" trying to protect ones own position, actually it's human nature. Or don't the loony libs care about their own families and friends welfare above that of strangers?

  • Comment number 18.

    I think the headline is a bit sensationalist, as so far the flames of this debate are barely flickering on this discussion board. :-)

  • Comment number 19.

    There is a lot of anger directed at so called 'asylum seekers' but all they are doing is exploiting a flimsy and obsolete agreement - the UN Refugee Convention. Drafted in the 1950's to protect the likes of Jews fleeing Nazis, this convention is now used as a vehicle for people hoping for a better life in the West.

    If the refugee problem is ever going to be resolved, the first thing the incompetents of the UN have to do is drag the convention into the 21st century although I doubt they have the will or the ability, they're too busy living it up in Geneva and New York.

  • Comment number 20.

    11 - Watt

    Your comments are misinformed. I work with asylum seekers and refugees and many do their utmost best to integrate into society, taking English lessons. Do you know what a vast majority of asylum seekers in the UK volunteer in their local community?

    If someone is persecuted due to war, terror, gender in their home country, then they have to right to seek asylum. This should be done with the blatant prejudice of people such as yourself. You are assuming that all asylum seekers are uneducated and if they stayed in Australia would not integrate. Many asylum seekers I work with have university degrees and attend courses in the UK in order to further their education.

  • Comment number 21.

    The difference between white people rocking up on the shore of Australia is that, more than likely, these people would have had a relatively comfortable life free of persecution and war. For example, how would you feel having being persecuted in your home country and, even losing your family, to then arrive and find discrimination and prejudice in a country you should would be your safe haven?

  • Comment number 22.

    The fact is, asylum seekers are badly treated in the UK and Australia, and alot of citizens due to tabloid pressure do not care. An asylum seeker, who I work with, case took 7 years to come to a conclusion. After rejection, appeal, homelessness for several months the government finally accepted he had been persecuted in Sierra Leone. The system is based on a 'guilty until proven innocent' premise with destitution a common occurance. 28% of cases are accepted on appeal, which means that the Home Offices' decision making remains poor. Also, cuts to funding of Legal Aid has meant that asylum seekers often do not get a fair hearing. In Australia, the over crowding, prison like conditions are a violation of human rights. Imagine being 'detained' for 3 years and then being given status - it's like being convicted for murder and then after 3 years being proved innocent.

  • Comment number 23.

    Overall, 13000 migrants a year to Australia is a small amount compared to the 170,000 from countries such as England. These people, regardless of whether they have a case or not, deserve to being given a fair and just hearing and in the process be able to live a life, not only free of prejudice but also one that lets them keep self decency and respect. Should the 5 people who have actually being persecuted be treated any worse because of the 1 person who has come because he or she sees Australia as a nice life? The answer is, obviously, no.

    Apologies - the rubbishness of the BBC comment system is that is didn't work when I tried to post these comments as one comment.

  • Comment number 24.

    Point taken on the joust with GW Nick. No problem with the “naming”. I really appreciated the chance to strongly assert that Australia is an independent nation right now and it exercises that independence through its freely elected government within the context of global interconnectivity but free from the influence of a symbolic head-of-state. (Who probably is very disinclined to try to exercise any influence anyway)

    Comments on the asylum situation to follow later. Cheers

  • Comment number 25.

    Dude 4242 - you have answered your own case - 13,000 "humanitarian" admissions to Australia each year - and just 400-odd people in Villawood, many of whom are a)white and/or b)not seeking asylum, just appealing against deportation for whatever reason .... and all of whom have representation .

    There are many heart-breaking stories among genuine asylum-seekers. And there are many people exploiting sympathies. It's only fair to the former to weed out the latter.

    Australia is not doing such a bad job as the media makes out

  • Comment number 26.

    I feel sorry for the poster who is so bitter about Autralias attitude. It's their attitude and they have every right to take that view if they so wish.
    As for Sierra Leone, I have a lot of experience of West Africa and I can concurr that it is largely a hellhole for the unprivileged man in the street. This is due to despotic leaderships which are often supported by the west. Those who feel that these people deserve better should put pressure on our "leaders" to change things rather than just wanting to ship the whole world into Australia etc. it solves nothing and just brings more problems for everyone else. As I stated earlier, they should stay and work to improve things in their own countries.

  • Comment number 27.

    I should also add that some of those I met were fighting deportation to such scary countries as New Zealand, Samoa, USA, UK, India, China (genuine problem for that guy, for reasons I can't go into)

    It's not so much "guilty until proven innocent" as "not entitled to stay without good reason"

    The detention centre wasn't great, it was like a motel with a picnic ground but had barbed wire round it. But I've stayed in worse motels, and if you ask any "£10 pom" what the migrant hostels were like back in the day, they'll tell you it was worse. It's not good being imprisoned like that, but then some of the ones I spoke to had just come from a prison sentence and were considered a flight risk.

    I repeat, the vast majority of asylum seekers and overstayers in Australia are processed outside detention centres, most are given "bridging visas" and stay in the community

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    Bren54 - To be honest, I do not know an exceptional amount about the Australian immigration system and all the news I recieve is from the BBC. Thus, I accept your opinion and will not argue against it.

    My issue is really with the UK system and the undignifed system means that many asylum seekers are often desitute before they rightly recieve refugee status.

  • Comment number 30.

    "who feel that these people deserve better should put pressure on our "leaders" to change things rather than just wanting to ship the whole world into Australia etc. it solves nothing and just brings more problems for everyone else."

    13,000 people annually are the whole world? It solves a lot, actually. For the individuals who are from countries like Sierra Leone. For them, I am sure it solves a lot. The world is unequal and, most likely, will be for a long time. Me putting pressure on governments to not back governments due to oil, will do absolutely nothing. What is needed is to change opinions of asylum seekers and doing that is done by raising awareness of myths and stereotypes that people often have due to awful bigoted newspapers such as the Daily Mail.

  • Comment number 31.

    "As I stated earlier, they should stay and work to improve things in their own countries."

    I feel sorry for you, with this attitude. My god. If you are in a war and your leg gets shot, and you fear for your life. Are you going to stay to die? or will you run? I would run, and, push comes to shove, so would 99% of people. Why should these people be forced to be a hero or martyr when all they want to do is live normal lives?

  • Comment number 32.

    An asylum seeker is someone escaping Political and Religious persecution in their own Country, Many of these Illegal Arrivals are from Iraq and Afghanistan and Muslims. Both Countries have Democratically Muslim Governments, so how can those arriiving anywhere in the World, from Iraq and Afghanistan, claim to be Asylum Seekers/Refugees

  • Comment number 33.

    I must correct the assumption made by one poster. I NEVER stated that Afghans were lazy in fact I never even mentioned Afghans, so please try to stick to the facts. I find it almost impossible to have a reasoned discussion with some people as they always descend into insults and untruths.
    The reason that the human race has progressed from living in caves is that there were people who could see a better way and worked for it, rather than used envy as a tool. We don't admire the Cuckoo for freeloading, so why is this different?
    To pre-empt the next attack on my viewpoint, I do not condone what is happening in Afghanistan but I probably have a better understanding of what's going on as it's not clouded by sentiment. There are people who mistake my view for one that supports what Britain and USA are doing in these various countries.
    I wouldn't like to be quite so prosaic as Woorigal but I endorse his viewpoint.

  • Comment number 34.

    Stirling222 I read your posts with interest on these blogs and can not help but think that you have a problem with Australia. Am I wrong or are you just giving your opinion?

    You questioned COL1940's understanding of the term refugee and yet offered no definition yourself. Do you know what defines a person as a refugee? I was hoping that having questioned someone else you would have corrected them yet you offered no response.

    You have said that the conditions are inhumane so I assuming that you have been to Villawood and seen this for yourself? Or is that based on the opinions you have read in newspaper articles.

    I apologise if this seems a personal attack but I do wonder what the motivation is for your comments and why it is that you feel you know more about a topic and yet offer no evidence of that.

  • Comment number 35.

    The Illegal arrivals are mostly young men of military age! Where do they get $15000 from or who is paying it fior them? They should be offered 2 choices. 1. Rerurn home or 2. Given Military training for 3 months and then return to help Australian Soldiers in their own Country.

  • Comment number 36.

    I would like people to stop taking my remarks out of context, once again I never mentioned people who are in need of medical assistance being refused help. I rather doubt however that they would have the strength to travel halway across the planet to get medical treatment if they had such a wound. If they were truly in dire straits they would stop at the first place they could obtain assistance, I would.
    Please dump the bleeding heart stuff and get real, it's not doing your argument much good.

  • Comment number 37.

    Well said Glenalta "An asylum seeker is someone escaping Political and Religious persecution in their own Country", you'll fair raise the hackles of some of the Liberals by quoting facts though! Facts are genrally not welcome in such discussions.

  • Comment number 38.

    I can't believe some here are implying these Afghan folks are merely avoiding their duty to their own society! That they should tolerate belong caught in the violence forced upon them by world events! As if that's their place and they should be forced to put up with it. How dare they look to the people of a country partly responsible for their land's destruction for help! Lest we forget only days ago Australians were congratulating themselves on apparently being so very generous.

    COL1940 I think you may not understand the term 'refugee', or maybe you believe the countries these people come from to be peaceful havens in which everyone lives happily, apart from these greedy bad apples who want more for their families than to live in constant fear of persecution and death.

    This column is always full of Australians telling the world about how great their economy is doing, how much space they have compared to others, how generous of spirit the average Aussie is etc etc. Yet it seems many of these generously spirited people would, given the choice, would rather see large groups of people persecuted and slaughtered than share what they have.

    As for adhering to their own culture and beliefs, so what? That's what humans do. Walk around Shepherds Bush and look in the Walkabout pubs, and what will you see? That's right, hoardes of Aussies emersed in their own culture and sticking together.

    If Australia wants new immigrants to smoothly adopt its culture immediately on entering the country, a good idea might be to not introduce them to the Australian culture of keeping desperate people in overcrowded, inhumane conditions. Should I be chucked in jail having committed no crime and kept there without knowing when I'll get out I shouldn't think I'd be too excited about blowing the froth of a couple of tinnies with the locals once I get out.

  • Comment number 39.

    Glenalta #32 "how can those arriiving anywhere in the World, from Iraq and Afghanistan, claim to be Asylum Seekers/Refugees"

    *sigh* No, Glen, you are absolutely right. These people should have no complaints.

    Incidentally, are you serious? Do you genuinely believe that the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan are good and democratic and continually put the safety of their citizens at the top of their list of priorities? Do you honestly (honestly now) consider the lives of people fleeing these battered and beleaguered states to be pretty good and that they are merely being greedy, wanting more than they are actually entitled to?

    Honestly, remember...

  • Comment number 40.

    Thank goodness for The_dude4242... reading some of the other comments was starting to make me lose faith in humanity.

    One wonders what all the naysayers would do if the shoe were on the other foot. Unbelievable. I have so much to say but I'm actually just a bit gobsmacked at the moment by the amount of people who jump to the 'you can't play with our toys' mentality. Having recently visited Auschwitz and Birkenau and read some of the comments, reports, and letters there... the echo of the sentiments/justifications in this comments section is truly worrying.

  • Comment number 41.

    It looks like a world at tipping point regarding economic immigrants landing at liberal countries expecting a hand out, a place to live, turning areas into little no go areas and then de-riding the country for its western lifestyle. Sad really but I think we are now reaping the rewards of trying to be helpful (misguided in most cases) and guilt ridden for stripping the assets of the third world for our past gains.

  • Comment number 42.

    At least they don't drink our supply of beer!

  • Comment number 43.

  • Comment number 44.

    Randy Newman - Politicial Science

    No one likes us
    I don't know why.
    We may not be perfect
    But heaven knows we try.
    But all around even our old friends put us down.
    Let's drop the big one and see what happens.

    We give them money
    But are they grateful?
    No they're spiteful
    And they're hateful.
    They don't respect us so let's surprise them;
    We'll drop the big one and pulverize them.

  • Comment number 45.

    Australia ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol. How could you not? No one should be afflicted with the persecution that some people in this world have to bear. It is right that they should seek asylum.

    Asylum Seekers languish in Refugee Camps all around the world for years and in some instances decades. Terminology is wonderful though, isn't it? "Refugee Camp", almost conjures an idyllic wistful vista. Far from the truth. Australia's Detention Centres are a more humane place but forget the terminology. In either place, you can seek asylum, enter and be processed or you can withdraw your application and return home. If you are granted asylum then 'good-on-ya, mate', "Welcome!". It doesn't mean you get permanent residence under the convention as it is not meant to regulate migration. It is refuge...

    Can you imagine that? Decades in a dustbowl living in a tent, dealing with black-markets and swill. I'm not convinced that the detention centres are perfect but they are far more protective than the camps elsewhere. They also serve another purpose which is to protect Australia's citizenry.

    When you travel to another country the number one priority is to respect and where necessary obey the laws and custom of that country. In Australia there are two types of people as far as the Migration Act is concerned, Citizens and Non-Citizens. Non-Citizens must have a valid Visa. If they overstay their visa; do not abide by the stipulations of their visa; or do not have a visa, they are considered to be Illegal Non-Citizens and are detained pending removal.

    This removal will not occur if they have a valid reason to stay. Being a bonafide Refugee is an acceptable reason under the legislation. All asylum seekers who do not present documentation must be investigated and this is where the system gets bogged down and I hope you understand why...

  • Comment number 46.

    Re #34

    Yes I do know what a refugee is. A refugee is a person who, by simply existing as the person they are (race, religion, political allegience, social group etc) is in fear of persecution should they remain where they are. With this in mind the comments of COL1940 and Glenalta become glaringly ignorant. They ask how can these people can be refugees when they live in Muslim countries or because they managed to leave by other means than by foot.

    In discussions such as this I hope others will not need to have the two major denominations of Islam explained to them. I hope that contributors will already be conscious of the relations between Sunni and Shia muslims, and the sectarian violence that plagues them. I also assume that the corruption of the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq is well known. Perhaps I was wrong to assume such knowledge on the part of people whose first response to reading the phrase 'asylum-seeker' is 'send em back'.

    Many of the desperate people arriving at our shores are indeed Muslims, but that doesn't mean they haven't had their food rations stolen from them and sold by their own government. Nor does it mean their wives and daughters have not been raped by the local police, or that potential new recruits to the army are exploited for cash in order to be let in. Apologies if you feel I should have gone into further depth over this side of the debate earlier.

    As for my problem with Australians, I've met some I like, some I don't like, but my problem lies with the superior image too many Australians hold of themselves. Phrases like 'fair go' and 'classless' are overused by many of the Australians I have met yet I'm convinced the majority give no thought to their actual meaning. Personally I do not call a society that blocks a visa based on a physical or mental disability a 'fair go' society, do you?

    If I were Australian I would be ashamed of a policy that imprisons children who's only crime is to attempt to escape violence. A favourite activity of many Australians is to spread the word about what an amazing place Australia is and how fantastic the people are, yet there are too many examples of those people coldly slamming the door in the faces of some of the most needy people on our planet.

  • Comment number 47.

    If this was in UK it would be "construction industry and employment gets boost from government rebuilding plans".

  • Comment number 48.

    Privatisation has totally failed in regards to detainees. On Monday morning, the Federal government will take back control of immigration detention centres. We will start by ending the incarceration of all children and allowing all genuine refugees to live in the community. We will review all asylum seeker claims within three months. All genuine refugees will be required to live in new migrant camps for two years until they learn English and acquire skills for living in Australia. Thank you, my name is not Julia Gillard.

  • Comment number 49.

    There seems to be a bit of Aussie bashing going on here. Perhaps I should put the record straight, I'm not an Aussie but I hope that doesn't preclude my posting on this site....

  • Comment number 50.

    My personal experience of Aussies has been only positive, especially when I visited the place. Actually my first impression was, what a long way it was from anywhere, hardly the first place you come to after Pakistan!
    The remarks about Aussies in Shepherds Bush are a bit weak too as my experience is that Aussies are great travellers, you might find one in a "den in Bombay" or wherever but they seldom stay, they just like to travel and why not?

  • Comment number 51.

    46 - If the violence is betwee Sunni and Shia muslims (sectarian violence), whats stopping them starting the same violence in the country the turn up in? Do we what that?

  • Comment number 52.

    Anyhow that's my point of view and if the loony libs want to invite a refugee to live with them then I'm not stopping them. Just don't complain when the reality kicks in, a refugee is for life not just for Christmas.
    PS there seems to be some sort of limit to the size of postings so forgive the piecemeal approach

  • Comment number 53.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 55.

    Re #50 How about Brits on the Costa del Sol then Bambergas? Does that strike a chord with you?

    Re #51 I'm sure you could answer this if you gave it a nanosecond's thought. I tell you what, here's a teaser to help you. Will the government and police force in wealthy countries be run to a Shia agenda?

  • Comment number 56.

    I fail to see the relevance of "Brits on costa" to this thread, one might reasonably say it was off topic, don't you think? This is a discussion about asylum seekers in Australia.
    If you really wish to pursue that line, then think on. The Brits are not seeking to enter Spain under dubious pretences and are all self supporting as the Spanish aren't quite such a soft touch.
    Insults merely fall from my broad shoulders, please try to stick to the subject in hand.

  • Comment number 57.

    I am a British Citizen, who has no resident address in UK and so have no vote
    Lived in Australia for 5 years paid tax but on a 457 visa had no vote
    Now live in Belgium pay tax but have no vote
    Please may I apply for refugee status in Australia :-)??

  • Comment number 58.

    Stirling222 thank you for your definition though I think simplistic and ommitting a couple of key factors.

    So my next question is how many of these countries have you visited and seen what you have said is happening is actually happening to the people that have fled? I am not denying that it is not happening having seen it first hand and dealt with the consequences with my own hands. But to make a generalisation that the people in Villawood have all suffered those atrocites is rather misguided in my opinion. In fact again from my experience in having worked in some of the worst "hell holes" the people that need the protection which is granted under refugee status are not the people that have left but those that remain and can not leave.

    As for your response to your issues with Australia, I am somewhat confused. Was the a problem with a visa application relating to this blog or a personal thing? And what is the issue with a person stating how good they believe their country to be? Are you ashamed of your country? Or is everything rosey where you are?

  • Comment number 59.

    Ah, so they think I'm a Daily Mail reader, I had no idea who Richard Littlejohn was until I just looked it up. I don't read any politically biassed newspapers dear chaps. However I'm getting a sense that you might read the Guardian...? Not of course that is anything other than unbiassed truth and honesty.
    Forgive me if I spelled this wrong, do they still have that little quirk, it was so endearing.
    Now surely this is off topic enough for someone to have it removed, or am I correct that liberals would never dream of curtailing someone's rights to free speech.
    Seems like a bit of a quandry......do you have me removed like I know you want to or are you slaves to your own principles?
    Have a great weekend everyone of whatever political bent you may be.

  • Comment number 60.

    @COL1940 "These people fly from Afghanistan to Indonesia, then pay $15,000 to people smugglers get on a leaky boat to Australian waters and claim to be refugees.
    If they are refugees then I'm the man in the moon."

    Seriously, have a think about what you've written there... If they weren't assylum seekers why would they pay $15,000 to people smugglers and risk their lives on "Leaky Boats"?


  • Comment number 61.

    The asylum issue is divisive and fair or not, it is closely linked to that of immigration. To some 'native' people, asylum seekers or not, are just more people coming to 'their' country to scrounge off the benefits system or take their jobs and homes. I for one, don't think many of us could say that if we lived in a poor war-torn country, we wouldn't do everything we could to improve the prospects for our families. However, equally the system is abused and with the best will in the world you can't let everyone in asylum seeker or not.
    I do agree with the view of other people on this blog that, despite the lack of freedom, surely these centers must be better than where the asylum seekers came from and with the view of both the government and opposition that the perpetrators will have their applications denied why are they taking the risk?
    Lastly, it really annoys me that people can't say that they don't want more immigration, without being called racist. If we want to have an honest debate on the subject then such labels should be put aside because you can't expect a population to just keep absorbing different cultures without causing friction and equally it doesn't work well when you demand they conform to the "native' culture as with France.

  • Comment number 62.

    Re #56 I used it as an illustration of our species' inclination to stick together in familiar groups. After watt in post #11 made the anti-immigration point that refugees stick to their own culture and beliefs. Regardless of whether Brits are self-sufficient or not they are hardly bonding with their hosts, are they? Therefore my point that refugees are far from the only ones who stick to their own is quite vaild, i think, and worth raising.

    Now was it not you who complained about make-calling before resorting to labelling those who disagree with you as 'looney liberals'? You may regard me as liberal but I believe I countered the lazy points you have made. Would you care to respond without complaining about this post?

  • Comment number 63.

    DrQuarn seriously think about what you have written. Are you implying that some who would pay $15,000 to people smugglers and risk their lives on "Leaky Boats" would only do that if they were only seeking asylum?

    If so surely it would have been easier and cheaper to have gone to another one of the 142 States Parties to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol. Australia is long way away and they could have even avoided a "Leaky Boat" by not going to an island.

  • Comment number 64.

    Most of the great waves of migration to Australia during the 20th Century were brought about by economic depression and warfare in Europe and to a lesser extent the Vietnam War.

    The current wave of people attempting to find a home in Australia is doing so mainly due to wars in the Middle East and Africa.

    All of the different peoples who have came to Australia during the 20th Century have successfully integrated into Australian society, in fact they have helped define Australian society.

    Why should it be different in the 21st century?

    We should make it far easier for people from all countries to become Australian citizens.

    We should base our immigration policy on a far more equitable and embracing view of humanity.

    We should show more mercy, more compassion, and give people the "fair go" we pride ourselves upon.

    But where is the current Australian leader with the guts to accept such a vision even though it may not be what the "focus groups" want?

    If unempoyment was at 10%, granted this may not be the wisest political policy, but at 4.9% it's fairly obvious we need a lot more workers and people to create the Australia of the 21st Century.

    Within a generation, their kids will be watching the footy, eating meat pies and driving Holdens or Fords...it has always been so.

  • Comment number 65.

    Shame, once on benefits it'll no longer be free.They'll be paid to Destroy.

  • Comment number 66.

    #62 @stirling22

    I came to AUS 43 years ago and avoided "sticking" to people from the old country.
    If I wanted "sticking" I would have stayed in the old country.

    It is much simpler to learn the language and integrate if you avoid "sticking" with those from the old country.

    When I arrived at the Matraville (Sydney) immigration camp, I was told the next day that there were jobs going at Holden or I could find one myself.
    I found one for myself in a newspaper despite my then rudimentary English language skills.

    My first job was in South Australia and I only stayed about a week in the camp in Sydney. I took a bus to SA and paid my own fare.

    In those days there were no social benefit entitlements for new arrivals.

    I am not sure whether I knew anything about any right I was supposed to have.
    Never worried me because I was used to looking after myself.

    Things certainly have changed since then. With all that support the illegal arrivals are getting I am not surprised that many want to come to AUS. It beats working in their old country.

    As far as being oppressed in their old country, what about all their country men and women who don't want or can't leave. Are they enjoying oppression??



  • Comment number 67.

    #49 bamberGAS

    I am an Australian by choice. I don't give a stuff what people in other countries think of me. They probably don't want to know what I think of them.

    I traveled all five continents and IMO things are not too bad in AUS by comparison.

    If illegal arrivals don't like what they encounter when they get to AUS well that just too bad. No one ask them to come here.

  • Comment number 68.

    I would like people to stop taking my remarks out of context, once again I never mentioned people who are in need of medical assistance being refused help. I rather doubt however that they would have the strength to travel halway across the planet to get medical treatment if they had such a wound. If they were truly in dire straits they would stop at the first place they could obtain assistance, I would.
    Please dump the bleeding heart stuff and get real, it's not doing your argument much good.

    Amber - I guess this is directed at me? Bleeding heart stuff? It's a true story. One my volunteers is from Kurdistan - shot in the leg during conflict, fled to Iran and got granted asylum in Holland and now lives and works in England, whilst volunteering at the British Red Cross. Lovely man, you'd like him.

  • Comment number 69.

    "Ah, so they think I'm a Daily Mail reader, I had no idea who Richard Littlejohn was until I just looked it up. I don't read any politically biassed newspapers dear chaps. However I'm getting a sense that you might read the Guardian...? Not of course that is anything other than unbiassed truth and honesty"

    Amber - Again, I guess this is directed at me as no one else mentioned the Daily Mail? Please put the persons name you are addressing in future. I never said you read the Daily Mail, I just said that it reinforces stereotypes and myths about asylum seekers and refugees.

    And I don't read the Guardian, but what newspaper I read has no relevance to this topic.

  • Comment number 70.

    "Anyhow that's my point of view and if the loony libs want to invite a refugee to live with them then I'm not stopping them. Just don't complain when the reality kicks in, a refugee is for life not just for Christmas"

    Do you even know the difference between an asylum seeker and a refugee? A refugee is someone who has being accepted and now has a right to work and live in the country i.e. they have faced persecution due to gender, war etc. and left their own country for just reasons. So this comment above is just plain ridiculous.

  • Comment number 71.

    As an Englishman living in New Zealand, I've always been impressed with Australia's & New Zealand's strict immigration policies. They are fair & enforced. With obviously no meddling from the EU Court of Human Rights. The polar opposite of the UK.

    What I find amusing is the usual BBC & Bryant pro immigration stance. They can moan & squeal about it all they like, but they can't change a thing. This isn't the UK. Get used to it or go home.

  • Comment number 72.

    I have arrived Australia in 18 months as a expat. My observation over this issue is that the debate lacks substance. The more I hear it -it seems to be nations's favourite past time. Media, politicians, everyone like to talk about it as if it's life and death issue - there is very little in terms of policy. There will always be more "against" immigration than for in terms of voicing opinion. There is always general insecurity on both sides initially -however majority of people move on and get on with life. Australia as a nation seems to at a stage where it wants to get over the "selective entry policy" to being "open nation" but can't commit to it.
    PS: The quality of debate on these forums seems to be very personal..time to focus on the issue than the noise folks?

  • Comment number 73.

    The primary goal of Australia’s governments is and should be to craft policies they perceive to be in the best overall interest of Australia’s current citizens and their descendants. If one accepts this reality, then I believe Australia has crafted sound immigration policies which continue to serve its citizens well. The fact that other developed states have followed similar policy paths supports this view. If more posters on this site spent less time blowing smoke out of their behinds and instead spent an hour or so reviewing those policies with an open mind, many would reach the same conclusion. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship provides a very informative and user-friendly website.

    http://www.immi.gov.au/

    Incidentally, Australia is a global policy leader in many other areas, including: pension reform, developing tertiary education, central banking operations, air traffic services, aviation regulation and airport commercialization. A few years ago, I was on a civil aviation development project in Mongolia and the country representative for the Asia Development Bank briefed me on a large project to improve public administration. The three states chosen as good examples were Sweden, New Zealand and Australia. At a subsequent social event, I shared a table with a number of very bright and youngish Mongolian officials moving into the upper ranks of the civil service. All had received tertiary education in Australia soon after the demise of the Communist system. They proudly named themselves the Mozzie club. All this is clear evidence that Australia is a fully independent and progressive country that is not constrained by its current constitutional framework as some with a post-colonial hang-up would lead us to believe.

    Anyway, back to immigration. As far as dealing with the emotive and complex subject of illegal immigration is concerned there are no easy policy solutions. It comes down to deciding on the least worse options. The first priority in immigration is border controls as in many other domains: public health, agriculture, and the importation of goods and services. Without immigration controls, widespread social and economic chaos would ensue. The Howard government’s Pacific Solution using a detention centre at Nauru to control illegal immigration was sensible and effective. The occupants were located in habitable and safe accommodation, and were provided with services needed to stay healthy and fit. They only had two options for leaving: wait for their cases to be reviewed and hope to be allowed to live freely in Australia, or return to their orig

  • Comment number 74.

    There is either a technical problem with this site or there is a limit on the number of words that can be posted. If the former, the BBC should fix it or promply close the site until it is fixed. If the latter, no problem, but the BBC should clearly show what that limit is. I'll post the remainder of my submission in chunks. Apologies for any inconvience caused.

    They only had two options for leaving: wait for their cases to be reviewed and hope to be allowed to live freely in Australia, or return to their original homelands at any time they wished or because they were denied official entry. The fact that the centre was not on Australian territory was important. That meant that illegals acquired no perceived ‘in-country-fact-on-the-ground-status’ and there was no incentive to embark on extreme publicity stunts such as inflicting self-harm and torching buildings. The most important feature of this program was its deterrent effect, resulting in a dramatic fall in illegal immigration attempts.

    Then along came the ALP government led by the serial buffoon Rudd. He grandly announced the end of the Pacific Solution leading to hundreds of boat-people smugglers around the Indian Ocean rim resuming their lucrative and disgraceful trade. This led in turn to the rapid overcrowding of the Christmas Island detention centre (the Indian Ocean Solution) which was far less suitable than Nauru and Australian territory to boot. After hoofing Rudd, Gillard and Co. then scrambled around trying to re-establish a Pacific Island Solution without making an embarrassing admission that it was a Pacific Island Solution. They then compounded their embarrassment by suggesting that a detention centre be established on Timor Leste whose government promptly told them to get lost. This continuing policy stalemate inevitably leads to unfortunate incidents such that at Villawood.

  • Comment number 75.

    I believe it’s generally accepted that most people would prefer to live in their native countries provided that they and their families can lead a decent life in peace and security. The fact that this is unachievable in many countries is due mostly to inept, selfish and cruel governments. Changing such situations is very difficult because those governments usually maintain a powerful and pervasive security apparatus. Other states are usually reluctant to intervene to enable regime change unless vital national interests are involved and there’s no clear assurance that the new regime will be any improvement. Witness the current situation in Libya. In Zimbabwe, the loathsome Mugabe regime has caused tens of thousands of its citizens to flee and illegally enter neighbouring states causing great social and economic discord. However, the leaders of those neighbouring African states have done little or nothing to get rid of the Mugabe regime despite being well-placed to do so. After all, President Bob led the campaign to end colonial rule so we have to cut him a lot of slack, right?

    Illegal migration is a global problem and requires a global solution. The best that Australia or any other state can do is be part of a concerted multi-national effort to effectively address the drivers of this problem. This is an immense undertaking and sadly is unlikely to get underway until the problem becomes even worse on a global basis than it is now. In the meantime, the best policy is to re-open Nauru, as the Liberal/National Coalition has advocated, and continue to apply the current immigration programs as efficiently and humanely as possible.

  • Comment number 76.

    Just like showing up, uninvited to another person’s home and demanding a beer.
    If I can't afford my own dental care, why do they expect that I can afford their dental care with an added layer of bureaucratic stench thrown all over it, not to mention all the other healthcare, education, housing, transport and more.
    The consequence is now that there is a sense of welfare 'entitlement' and these illegal entrants feel that we owe them something, just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.

  • Comment number 77.

    Australia really doesn't have a serious problem with 'asylum seekers', 'boat people' or illegal immigrants compared with Europe, the US or many Third World nations. Unfortunately riots,suicides and loss of life occur in other areas of the world as well, the situation is not unique to Australia eg there's a tragic migration situation around the Mediterannean that receives very little publicity in Australia.
    We Australians are islanders and many of us seem to have a rather "insular" mentality,this attitude is manipulated by the rhetoric of an irresponsible and opportunistic Coalition.
    Conservative politicians know very well that Australian government policy probably makes little difference to the flow of refuges-- unless we sink the boats, or tow them back out to sea. However, there are votes in claiming that a change in government will make a difference.

    I'm certainly not claiming that those refugees who committed criminal acts shouldn't be prosecuted or deported.

  • Comment number 78.

    When Labor were voted in they took the "humanitarian" route and relaxed the refugee rules. We now find ourselves in this position and some are proposing a further relaxation as a possible solution. It didn't work last time and I'd like to know why a further relaxation won't make the problem even worse.

    It is reported that the perpetrators are people who have had their visa applications rejected twice. I fail to see why Australia bears any responsibility for their destructive behaviour. Their behaviour does not appear to be due to the speed of the decision but the decision itself. If the process does take a long time may be some of the applicants shouldn't try to conceal their true identity. In order to shorten the process may be the appeal process needs to be curtailed. I'd also like to know why the oppressed visitors to our shores are overwhelmingly young or middle aged males. I've been around long enough to remember the influx of refugees from Viet Nam. I remember seeing mothers,fathers,sons,daughters and even grandfathers and grandmothers all in the one boat. To me, they looked like desperate people.

    These protestors don't appear to have a lot of compassion for their fellow "refugees". They don't care that the backlash will not be limited to just a few bad eggs. They also don't care that their fellow residents no longer have nine buildings to live in. Buildings which are furnished with medical supplies/equipment, computers,pool tables, plasma TVs,etc,etc. It's the kind of attitude which is hardly conducive to any future harmonious integration into this country.

    If the perpetrators don't like Villawood I don't expect they will be overly thrilled with Long Bay Gaol. If they muck up there they won't get away with throwing roof tiles at firemen.

  • Comment number 79.

    #73 PeterD

    "All this is clear evidence that Australia is a fully independent and progressive country that is not constrained by its current constitutional framework as some with a post-colonial hang-up would lead us to believe".

    This thought does not logically flow from the previous sentences in your post #73 and I do hope you are not referring to me as one of those with a "post-colonial hang-up".

    Because if you are I find the description insulting and not in step with the concept of a truce, although I note in your post #24 you didn't really agree to one but said "point taken".

    Does "point taken" mean truce, or no truce?

    And if you feel inclined to explain the logic of how some young Mongolians who studied in Australia is connected to Australia's status as a Constitutional Monarchy, please do so, and I trust within the spirit which Nick has requested of us.

  • Comment number 80.

    "Just like showing up, uninvited to another person’s home and demanding a beer.
    If I can't afford my own dental care, why do they expect that I can afford their dental care with an added layer of bureaucratic stench thrown all over it, not to mention all the other healthcare, education, housing, transport and more.
    The consequence is now that there is a sense of welfare 'entitlement' and these illegal entrants feel that we owe them something, just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence".

    How many asylum seekers have you actually met in your life? Probably none, otherwise you would be gracing this board with your tripe!

    Firstly, do you know what an asylum seeker is? Everyone has the legal right to claim asylum. If you do that then you are not an illegal entrant so everyone in Villawood who is an asylum seeker is claiming asylum is not illegal.

    Secondly, how many asylum seekers have you actually met? Many are just trying to make a life for themselves, often in challenging circumstances and certainly not scrounging off the state. In England they get £35 a week max.

    Often, they have gone through horrible horrible things and would prefer to be in their home countries if they were not scared for their lives. It's a stuggle and a fight to go through the indignified process of getting status, and you compare it to just showing up in someone else's house and demanding a beer! Show some humanity man.

  • Comment number 81.

    Thanks, AB. I could have simply copied and pasted the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees but I considered it unnecessary. I have not visited Iraq or Afghanistan although I have family who run a security company in Baghdad and we do talk about such issues. I have, however, visited war-torn countries in Africa, and have taught people and have friends in London who have left Iraq to come here. Curiously enough we talk about these issues too, and I am quite regularly left feeling traumatised by their stories. Do I pass your initiation test to be allowed to comment now?

    As for people stating how good they believe their country to be, of course I have no problem with that, and I am cerainly not ashamed of my own country (though I am regularly dismayed by the attitude of some of its citizens).

    However, the main difference is that nor am I overly defensive about my country and I am able to see its faults and discuss them. If you look back over Nick's blogs you will see that is something of a rarity among our Australian contributors. Indeed Nick himself has been attacked for his nationality for raising a subject that didn't paint Australia in a wonderful light.

    To use a simile I'd say too many Australians love their country like a five year old boy loves his mother, blind to her flaws and aggressive toward anyone who dares criticise her

  • Comment number 82.

    What a large response
    this topic raises issues which are the most important ones for the West ;viz

    (a) Isn't it part of being western to be compassionate , to discourage barriers to the free movement of ideas capital and people and to discourage provincialism and tribalism and to let the future be as it may .....where what will be will be ( or maybe the more assertive will dominate ) - In fact to take the position that there is nothong special about being western and it's just another culture neither better nor worse than other cultures - or

    (b) Isn't it natural for any society and any country ...western or otherwise ..... to attempt to prevent the efforts of others to fundamentally change the nature of their country ( ie say to dewesternise their society ) by scrupulously controlling the entry of peoples who may well have strong desires to replace the countries western character with something else )

    ie maybe it's a case of be self serving and hypocritical and live - vs - be open and pure and disapear

    nothing is more natural and more human than self interest......................but unfortunately the world is not going to run out of useful fools anytime soon

  • Comment number 83.

    #79 Greg Warner

    “This thought does not logically flow from the previous sentences in your post #73 and I do hope you are not referring to me as one of those with a "post-colonial hang-up".

    I think it does flow from all the previous sentences in the same paragraph. If you disagree, so be it.

    "some with a post-colonial hang-up" clearly refers to multiple people, therefore, there was no need to name anybody.

    “Point taken on the joust with GW Nick.” The statement is clear to me. It’s unfortunate if it’s not clear to you. I choose my own words and will continue to do so.

  • Comment number 84.

    #83 PeterD

    "I think it does flow from all the previous sentences in the same paragraph. If you disagree, so be it".

    As I read "all the sentences in the same paragraph" it seems to me you are talking about "public administration"...it seems illogical to me for you to then jump to a comment on Consitutional Monarchy...surely that subject goes somewhere beyond "public administration".

    However, as you say "I think it does flow" I respect your opinion.

    Regarding "post-colonial hang-ups"...I am glad you were nor referring to me specifically however why should this be a "hang-up"? "Hang-up" for me is a clearly negative expression...why can't it merely be a different opinion?

    Thanks too for clarifying your "point taken" comment...I trust we can continue to enjoy Niick's blogs and the wide range of opionions expressed by posters without resorting to personal insults.

    As it is said, "Play the ball, not the man".






  • Comment number 85.

    Struth what a debacle. fact - these people are human yes, but not allowed cross our border till processed. Why is this so hard to fathom. Thats standard. We have so much to protect number one is each other. What or more importantly who are these people - what illness are they bringing in, what ideals, what connections to terriorisits or are they innocent. Where are the women folk, oh thats right most cases they are left behind. Most have families already over here and cant gain entry the legal way, so lets be refugees. One way to think is aye fight for freedom in you own homeland to make it a better place. ANZAC day is sacrilige here, men and women fought for our way of life. Earnt repect. Yes refugges are peope, thats not in question. These people have not been allowed entry - they have been processed and denied. Thats the fact. If you want them in your back yard fine, set up a home for them. Me, send them home. Come in the correct way. They.ve past too many other countries to be refugees. They are aiming for Aust to join others.

  • Comment number 86.

    Actually Stirling222 old boy if you look at most of Nick's columns over the past few months a very common thread is a commenter bearing your handle who always has something negative to say about Australia. As far as I'm concerned you're more than welcome to express your opinion and this blog would be rather dull without it. There's plenty that is good and plenty that is bad about both our nations. But if you're wanted an objective assessment on your own personal bias on this matter, there is a massively obvious chip on your shoulder there that you might want to see a chiropractor about...maybe one day you can tell us what's behind it?
    There are plenty of regular Brit and Aussie commenters on this blog, with balanced things to say about their own and the other's countries...you're not one of them.

    Nick's posts can border on being a bit bland sometimes, partly because he's writing about a country that on balance is not altogether newsworthy. But to his credit he is balanced and doesn't resort to the grand old hackneyed stereotypes of Australia other British correspondents feed their editors in London.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is you haven't even been to Australia yet you have oh so much to so about it and its people...how so?

    On the issue of asylum seekers, assuming you're not just playing devil's advocate to express your anti-Australian bias, I broadly agree with you. The amount of misinformation out there about this issue in Australia is sickening...

    To that point, no, Eliza_NSW @85, I think you mean ANZAC Day is sacred, not sacrilege.

  • Comment number 87.

    It would be easier if we said no to the legitimate refugees as well as these economically driven people to end the confusion over definitions. Australia is an old, dry continent. We cannot drink iron ore. We cannot make Australians out of war traumitised people who are yet too proud to assimilate to the society and culture which we have.

    We have already threatened the right of Australians to feel at home. Those who up and move are not the only suffering. Nobody argues we should extend our health system to Papua New Guinea and yet people are there, close and suffering. Should they head to the boats? And would these Anzac Day protesters let them in? For do they recognise any limits to numbers of human beings in Australia?

  • Comment number 88.

    The British assault on the Turkish Dardanelles - dead, wounded 392,000. The Australian and New Zealander losses were among the highest = April 25, 1915 declared: "Anzac Day". Anzac serves well for those that support the mad cult of violence (aka militarism, aka imperialism). Anzac has no room for the heroes who fought on Australian soil for Australian soil -the Aboriginal people.
    Australia’s military budget is A$32B/year - one of the highest in the world.
    Less than 2 months’ worth of this war-budget could have, would have paid for the reconstruction of the State of Queensland, but what was forthcoming? Not one cent! In July, the same fragile plains will be invaded by a joint US-Australian military force, firing laser-guided missiles, bombing, blasting.
    DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS?
    Rupert Murdoch controls 70% of the capital city press; his world-view is incest with the Australian media. In a 2009 US cable released by WikiLeaks, the then Labor prime minister, Kevin Rudd, who is now foreign affairs minister, implored the Americans to “deploy force” against China if Beijing DOES NOT DO AS IT IS TOLD.
    In the 1960s, PM Robert Menzies lied that he had received a request from the American-created regime in Saigon requesting Australian troops. Oblivious, Australians got conscripted army - 3000 were killed or wounded.
    The first Australian troops were run by the CIA in “black teams” - assassination squads. When the government in Canberra made a rare complaint to Washington that the British knew more than they did about Vietnam, the US national security adviser, McGeorge Bundy, replied, “We have to inform the British to keep them on our side. You in Australia are with us come what may.”
    Really? Is this the way if works down under? Knee-jerking, thoughtless...
    WikiLeaks has disclosed the American role in the Canberra “coup” in 2010 against Rudd by Julia Gillard. Praised in US cables as a “rising star”, Gillard’s Labor Party have turned out to be assets of the US embassy. Installation complete, Gillard committed Australia to America’s war in Afghanistan war for the next TEN YEARS! On April 6th, Gillard said, “We live in a free country... only because the Australian people answered the call when the decision came.”
    Whose call? What freedom?
    Here's my bottom line:
    The displaced, the potential immigrants have been "created" by American foreign policy and AUSTRALIA'S ride on the American-imperialist coat-tails.
    Well, now pay

  • Comment number 89.

    Australia’s military budget is A$32B/year - one of the highest in the world.
    Less than 2 months’ worth of this war-budget could have, would have paid for the reconstruction of the State of Queensland, but what was forthcoming? Not one cent! In July, the same fragile plains will be invaded by a joint US-Australian military force, firing laser-guided missiles, bombing, blasting.
    DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS?
    Rupert Murdoch controls 70% of the capital city press; his world-view is incested with the Australian media.
    The first Australian troops were run by the CIA in “black teams” - assassination squads. When the government in Canberra made a rare complaint to Washington that the British knew more than they did about Vietnam, the US national security adviser, McGeorge Bundy, replied, “We have to inform the British to keep them on our side. You in Australia are with us come what may.”
    Really? Is this the way if works down under? Knee-jerking, thoughtless...
    WikiLeaks has disclosed the American role in the Canberra “coup” in 2010 against Rudd by Julia Gillard. Praised in US cables as a “rising star”, Gillard’s Labor Party have turned out to be assets of the US embassy. Installation complete, Gillard committed Australia to America’s war in Afghanistan war for the next TEN YEARS! On April 6th, Gillard said, “We live in a free country... only because the Australian people answered the call when the decision came.”
    Whose call? What freedom?
    Here's my bottom line:
    The displaced, the potential immigrants have been "created" by American foreign policy and AUSTRALIA'S ride on the American-imperialist coat-tails.
    Well, now pay the price! Have you asked the Americans what you should do about the rioters? Maybe you should just torture them into submission, blow them up, shoot them...transfer them back to their home countries...Why haven't you asked the Americans?

 

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