From Woomera to Manus: 12 years of state brutality in exchange for votes

2 May

I have beside me on my desk the transcript of ABC Four Corners, May 19 2003. This is the link to ABC Four Corners, April 29 2013

The transcript I’m currently reading is that of reporter Debbie Whitmont’s investigation into the secrecy surrounding the conditions at the Woomera Detention Centre.

Whitmont is also the reporter on the April 29 programme, an investigation into the secrecy and the conditions at the Manus Island Detention Centre.

Excerpts, 2003 transcript

80% of those detained [in Woomera] were found to be genuine refugees and given temporary visas. Many who worked at the centre say they were pressured to stay silent about what they saw and did. It is only now that the full story is starting to be told.

Alley Crace, Welfare Officer [at Woomera] 1999-2001: Just basically, I see the compound all the time. I see hundreds and hundreds of people begging and crying, and I see people dehydrating in the sun. I see people with sewn lips and buried in the ground, cause that’s what they did. I see people slashed up and cut their throats and their arms.

Phillip Ruddock, Minister for Immigration (Howard Government): It is not a holiday camp nor should it be seen as one.

After a riot at Woomera, detainees were put in lock down. Psychiatric nurse Peter Ostarek-Gammon, who worked at Woomera during 2000-2001 and witnessed the aftermath of the riot:

Yeah, well, there was a lot of anger from the officers and the management, a lot of anger directed towards the detainees. In fact, some of them were not just locked into their dongas, but they were drilled in. The doors were drilled closed. I did see that, yeah. Another nurse and myself actually had to visit one of those guys one day and they had to get an electric drill to open the cabin. 

Debbie Whitmont: Four Corners has obtained the computer records of thousands of official reports written by Australian Correctional Management (ACM) [who ran the centre at the time] and given daily to the Department of Immigration. They document the relentlessness of hundreds and hundreds of self-harms and suicide attempts. Like this boy, who smashed his own head with a rock. And this fourteen-year-old girl who saw him do it cut herself and told staff she was frustrated with the Department of Immigration.

After repeated attempts by staff to assist and protect a 12 year-old Iranian boy who was being sexually assaulted, Alley Crace tells Whitmont:

At that stage, I was told that because the people had no identity and that they weren’t actual people in Australia, there was no need, or necessities to report to Family and Community Services – as in FACS.

During the time of the Four Corners investigation, some detainees were on a hunger strike. Whitmont spoke to one of them:

He tries to explain that the detainees have nothing left to use but their bodies to plead their desperation.

Man: We are crying, we are screaming. And we are all “What to do?” We have nothing. This is what you want? This is Australia say to us? Please help us and listen as we are suffering inside. We don’t want to make any rampage. We don’t want any things to do this. (Sobs) We all came from bad condition. We want help.

Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 13 May, 2003

Children locked up in Australia’s immigration centres have the highest rate of mental illness ever recorded in modern medical literature, according to a new study. 

The study found each of the 20 children surveyed had at least one psychiatric illness with more than half suffering major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder…

Dr Zachary Steel, [from the University of NSW’s School of Psychiatry] said the findings showed detention centre were not the place for children. 

The above events took place during the Coalition government of John Howard. Since then, we’ve had a change of government. Now identical events are taking place under the Labor government of Julia Gillard, this time off-shore, more secretly and less accessibly.

Politicians of both major parties have continued to brutalise, scapegoat  and illegally detain, in shocking conditions, those who have arrived here by boat, requesting asylum.

Communicate with your local member and let her or him know this is unacceptable to you. The only way this will change is if politicians believe there are more votes in behaving humanely, than there are in brutally abusing arrivals.

This is what it boils down to. Votes. This is a very frightening comment on the type of people who run this country, no matter what their political allegiance.

97 Responses to “From Woomera to Manus: 12 years of state brutality in exchange for votes”

  1. Hypocritophobe May 2, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    The foul megalomaniac is now using the disabled as political footballs.The NDIS issue brought forward a year to preserve her toxic political legacy.
    No doubt the feeble minded will go on defending her and calling her critics deranged.Gillard is a curse on Labor and egalitarianism and a puppet of opportunist scum, who hold undemocratic control.
    Nothing new to be seen in your latest discovery,JW,I’m afraid.


    • samjandwich May 2, 2013 at 11:14 am #

      I’m not going to defend Julia Gillard. However I’m going to maintain that the PM’s not the only source of this toxicity- rather it pervades most facets of Australian society. consequently, as long as whatever party that’s in opposition relies on “big data”, polls and focus groups to form the basis of their policies, then the government is more than likely going to do the same, with predictable results..

      Which is why it would be useful to make a study of the experience of former detainees following their certification as “genuine” refugees and subsequent release into the rapacious arms of the same society which has treated them so badly. Maybe this would help to convince some voters that locking these people up on their arrival probably wasn’t such a good idea.


      • Hypocritophobe May 2, 2013 at 11:43 am #

        If our PM does not set an example?
        This is the same person who championed young women/girls when she first became PM.

        She is effectively endorsing her inhumanity, and justifying it all for the sake of her political advancement.
        The NDIS,single mothers,dole recipients etc, define her.
        The reality is that Gillard is so far to the right, that the only time it appeared she had any compassion or direction was when still aligned with the indies and Greens.
        When she chose to listen to Howe, and the subsequent plummeting poles beyond that, her tiny little pea sized charcoal heart was exposed.

        Our society does need to face it’s bigoted demons, but sadly that takes a real person with real character, leading from the front.
        I won’t even bother to use vision in the same sentence as Gillard.

        The hateful policy laid before belongs to one person alone.Julia Gillard.
        Her ‘party’ support her 100%,remember?
        Which means those who reinstall them, also do.
        If the cheer squad here continue to argue the ‘dichotomy’, then there is the reality.


        • samjandwich May 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

          I’ll agree with you there… but I still think it’s a reciprocal phenomenon. Kind of like the chicken and the egg. In this case I’d say Gillard is the chicken, but it’s still not clear who came first.

          Rudd meanwhile, well we thought he was an eagle, but he turned out to be a turkey – and turkeys also lay eggs.

          Perhaps what we need is a unicorn!


          • atomou May 2, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

            Where’s the fucking “chicken” sam? She’s the leader of her fucked up party and the leader of a screwed Australia! At what point does she do “the right thing” which she and her vile co-creature keep spouting? What “right thing” have these putrid scumbags done? The economy? It is still shoved right up their own rear orifices. It’s their economy and they play with it as they want. Means bugger all to me.
            I had to control my vomit from chundering all the way past my gullet when I saw Macklin’s piece of vulgar hypocrisy on the DRUM yesterday: Look at me, look at how compassionate I am by giving 69c a day to the disabled! The moron! I’ll believe her and her 69c when I see her living on $35 a day!

            People shit me when they ask, “where’s the money coming from?” They’ve already stolen the fucking money! From the single mothers, from Unis, from chopping off dental care, from keeping the miners free of any tax responsibilities, from everything that they touched. They’ve got money to make all the promises they want – and since they’ll put nothing into practice, they’ll be raking it in!

            This morning Brendan Connor said, the 4Corners report was old! Well shit, even if things have become fantastic now, does he agree that their offshore treatment of the refugees has now surpassed that of the yanks’ treatment of war detainees in the torture hell holes of Guantanamo and Abu Grahib? Is the dropkick proud of that?

            This isn’t a political party, it is a mob of thugs demolishing with alacrity and boundless joy, everything that someone with a semblance of a heart holds dear!

            It’s a dung heap!


            • Hypocritophobe May 2, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

              I guess the anal-ogy is apt.
              Gillard walks like a chicken and has the heart of an infertile egg.


            • Marilyn May 2, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

              Old being two weeks ago. Deb Whitmont and Peter McEvoy were seen in Jakarta finishing it up just last week.

              Vanstone said the torture of children was old news as well when the report The Last Resort came out.

              Today we hear that one of the poor women forced off to live in the Manus hell hole has miscarried because of the malaria drugs – I have no doubt with great compassion and care she will be sent straight fucking back.

              Why is it that not one member of our worthless media bothers to ask when Manus and Nauru became our fucking countries.

              Gillard is a rancid fucking racist, if there is anyone left with a doubt about this they must be the dumbest people on earth.


      • zerograv1 May 2, 2013 at 11:58 am #

        @Samjandwich : Like all populations, some will have done well, some will be working, integrated with the community and happily raising their families, some will be suffering, some will have been proved undesirables after all (whatever that means) and some may have even voluntarily repatriated. The complete lack of data on post detention is a big gap in what is needed to decide which way to design a better policy. It doesnt take much of an IQ to know that detention of small children is a bad idea, yet only last night the new Wickham point detention centre in Darwin, previously only housing single men, has now been deployed for complete families. Its modern, clean, cold and surrounded by razor wire. It was also built near a mosquito swamp so will hardly qualify as luxurious on that measure alone but it is all both sides of politics have got as an answer. Gillard has been co-opted by the money men of the right, senior public servants and the naivety in believing that most Australia’s believe Newspoll and that it accurately reflects the wishes of the people on this issue….that’s if she actually gives two hoots about the wishes of the people (I suspect not – Shes right and no one else is! *sigh*). Abbott of course is even worse….monkeyman is still bleating stop the boats


        • Hypocritophobe May 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

          Can you explain in layman’s terms how an opposition leader parroting a slogan is worse for the recipients of the current governments offshore processing policy?
          (Not the bit about what he would or could do IF he was leader, just the bit in your last sentence)
          Because if the regurgitation of hollow words is ‘actually’ worse than physical incarceration behind razor wire,I might have missed something.
          And to paraphrase the other seed eaters here. which is the worst of the two, a meaningless slogan or imprisonment?


          • zerograv1 May 2, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

            You have DEFINATELY missed something, perhaps you’ve been asleep during the coalitions time in office and their reaction to the boat people? Deaths at sea for starters… I wont even bother to go on, you can google it all yourself. the coalitions approach is probably also illegal in the International Courts and its precisely why previous lefties are attacking Gillard for starting to mirror their approach.


            • Hypocritophobe May 2, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

              Then your last sentence needs rewording,because there is is only one government actually responsible for the CURRENT circumstance, which is my point.Abbott’s bluster is not the direct threat to incarcerated asylum seekers.

              The coalition can only be worse, if they do worse.Rhetoric is not razor wire.


            • Marilyn May 2, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

              Death at fucking sea happen everywhere and are not an excuse to be crueller and more brutal to those who don’t drown.

              133 million kids under 5 have died of starvation, wars and preventable diseases since 2001 and all we have done about that is cut foreign aid to pay for more illegal refugee prisons.

              They wouldn’t have fucking drowned if Australia had bothered to send out a search party.


            • Marilyn May 2, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

              Forced deportation to other countries to rot is also illegal under the law but Gillard is doing it anyway after over riding the high court, the constitution and all other avenues available under the law for asylum seekers.

              How is that better than hollow slogans.


        • Marilyn May 2, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

          Sorry, but Gillard is pure racist and she hates any refugee who manages to get to Australia. That is not a vague claim made by me, that is what she has said over and over again.

          She is not driven by Abbott, she is doing what she has always believed we need to do.


  2. paul walter May 2, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    It was an unpleasant way to spend an hour, wasn’t it?
    A corrective, like castor oil, you could say.
    With samjandwich, I’d agree it’s both lots, but similar to what Israel does to the Palestinians, or Yanks Mexicans: “Bad for the soul” as an eminent Israeli social science once described it.
    The problem comes down to a philosophical problem that has “open borders” against an issue of identity expressed through border controls (“we’ll decide who comes here”), a seemingly mutually exclusive, unresolvable dichotomy, set against the needs of a world order that requires war and fear to maintain itself for its hierarchy, against the needs of the global majority.


  3. paul walter May 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Thinking further,I think it all relates to the new globalisation problem of “securitisation” veering to both overt state terrorism,mainly offshore, and social control within.
    Borders are not used to protect locals but to isolate them from an imagined outside and it from them.
    It involves dumb-down media and education and the replacement of rational concepts of civil society and multiculturalism with induced psychologically conditioned cognitive borders involving firstly others defined as aliens rather than fellow traveller humans.
    The second worrying factor, separate from humanitarian concerns, is the cognitive construction of internal borders that obviate government accountability to local citizens on the grounds of “security”.
    Border control is a good road testing mechanism in trialling the public’s willingness to accept lack of government accountability, that sets a precedent for this with other spheres of government/ public interaction, eventually, perhaps through enhanced FOI and commercial in confidence as to transactions between governments and big business( the contracts for running a detention centre on Nauru alone were said to be worth $400 million) on an imposed global neoliberal basis.
    I was reading an article by Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and William M Arkin, introduced by Naomi Wolf at Top Secret America last night off FB , entitled “A Hidden World Growing Beyond Control”, that indicates about 100 $billion a year steeply rising costs and employing of nearly a million people in surveillance of quarantined populations in the US alone.
    It may be that third worlders, including asylum seekers, are got at overtly and coicidentally and not obviously, a Stepfording of privileged and isolated local western populations eventually also.


    • zerograv1 May 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

      Nail on the head, there is big money in security now days (Post 9/11 especially), and those with a trigger happy attitude to life now have another option other than a military career.


      • Hypocritophobe May 2, 2013 at 1:01 pm #



      • paul walter May 2, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

        What many people are missing is that it is a fait accompli for local suppression as well.
        It’s a bit like occupied France in WW2.
        A weak collaborationist government (Gillard Labor) is harrassed by noisy overt fascists (Abbott, Murdoch) into complying with policies demanded by outside string-pullers, that normalise and internationally harmonise violence, secrecy and an end to accountability and the rule of law.


        • Hypocritophobe May 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

          I agree that at the time of Rudds demise there was an element of media harassment and even a big lump of Abbott’s dare/bully agenda.The problem is that the faux ALP have made this into their DNA.
          And so they will die by the same sword,which is not bad news for believers in a real Labor movement.
          I said it recently.Labor will drag down the workers and middle classes down, not uplift anyone.Screwing the economy is the shortest route to high unemployment and low tax receipts.That is the funding base for all government spending.We are about an inch away from a very dark place, socially and economically, and Gillard leads the way.( I won’t follow her off the precipice as easy as many here will)


          • atomou May 2, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

            About “dragging down” hypo, I have this dreadful fear that this shitty party will drag down with them every other well meaning party. I hope no nasty, opportunistic, pragmatist cowards are lurking around in the darker chambers of the Greens, waiting to go for the polls and for electoral victory rather than to stay at their post, protecting the fort of Left values from the likes of the duopoly that run this place now.
            When sailing becomes too hard the sailors go for jumping ship.


            • Hypocritophobe May 2, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

              Well Ato,
              As long as we have a ‘lesser of two evils’ the largest part of this flock will keep grazing happily.They are happy to be able to only discern two choices so they can isolate one to justify their sloth, and protect the other.They just love playing bad cop worse cop.Problem is they are the same cop,different uniform.And you’re right of course,people do jump ship,look at the pseudo Tassie forest non agreement.Only one Green stood his ground.
              Let’s hope the main game has zero flinching.I doubt the Greens are as gutless as faux Labor, and they don’t have underworld union thugs behind the scenes polishing their ‘barrels’, or bribing the locals.I don’t think Milne has any respect left for Gillard, so even if a miracle delivered another hung parliament,the result would be worlds apart from the last Gillard multi party/player back stab.


  4. doug quixote May 2, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    I agree, it is not acceptable. It should be made plain to all our politicians that the virtual bipartisan policy on detention should be rejected and a more humane approach enacted.

    Whilst it is the policy of both major parties the legislation will not be changed.

    Start writing.


    • Hypocritophobe May 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

      Given your endless high praise, let’s see how you articulate your particular version condemning Gillard et al.I may even share it, if it sounds the opposite to the ‘we decide speech’, you gave us.

      Hint, try not to blame the other mob.


      • samjandwich May 2, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

        I’m just trying to figure out how you can be a hypocritophobe and also be surprised when people change their minds, without self-atrophying,,,


        • paul walter May 2, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

          Hypo, less aggressive, eh? The others are correct in pointing out the thing is systemic: We would have seen no better had a Tory government been in, from what happened during Howard’s era.


          • Hypocritophobe May 2, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

            You’ve had explained to you a million times.

            Let’s make it 1,000,001
            Not Labor.
            And to go from NEVER wanting to support offshore processing to falling in love with it and excising the mainland is not a mind change,it is a species evolution.
            I’m not aggressive, I’m just something you, and the Gillardites, are not.


            • helvityni May 2, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

              Indeed, you are a consistent bully, hypo. Are you going to be happy only when you have driven everyone else away from here with your persistent rudeness….?


              • Hypocritophobe May 2, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

                Over at the Drum (today) I saw a post of yours where you bleated something like, “Oh woe is me why does it always have to be about politics”.
                The same site where most of your comments demand only one side be elected and the other side to be immune from the same rules you apply to Gillards circus.
                Every second post you bag Australia.
                You are like Gillard.Cry bully (or mysoginist) when you get slapped across the face with your own hypocrisy.


              • Marilyn May 2, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

                why is the truth about your frigging racist heroine bullying Helvi, you are a fucking bully yourself with your starry eyed ranting about the vile woman every where in the world and calling anyone a bully if we say you are wrong.

                A woman forced to Manus and force fed anti-malaria drugs has now lost her child in prison.

                Some fucking nice woman your Gillard monster is.


                • atomou May 2, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

                  “Are you going to be happy only when you have driven everyone else away from here with your persistent rudeness….?”

                  Shit that made me laugh H! You’re certainly consistent. You and your tag team partner accused me of doing that on another blog, when they were emailing me and telling me they couldn’t stand your and your tag team partner’s constant wallowing in these two phrases: “Why is Australia such a shit country?” And, “you’re bullying everybody!”

                  You’re certainly consistent, H. Myopic but consistent!


                  • Hypocritophobe May 2, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

                    You should get a Nobel Peace Prize for putting up with it on more than one blog.


                    • atomou May 2, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

                      They’re an amazing act, those two, Hypo! Began with amazement, continued with anger and ended up as a hilarious comedy.


            • Marilyn May 2, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

              Trouble is the ALP started the rot with the refugee prisons in the first place in response to some Cambodians daring to arrive because the dirty peace deal brokered by Gareth Gareth to bring the Khmer Rouge into the mainstream ended up a total failure.


          • Marilyn May 2, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

            Gillard is worse than Howard, how can you still claim otherwise.,


            • doug quixote May 2, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

              Because she is not.


              • Marilyn May 2, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

                She fucking well is you dirtbag because she knew very well the disaster these so-called policies are but does them anway.



    • atomou May 2, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

      “I agree it is not acceptable!”
      This is why even the most egregious wrongs in this country will never change until the wrongdoers decide to change them. This is why we’ll never have a revolution. Because we utter trite, couch-in-front-of-telly blabber.
      I agree it’s not acceptable but…

      What shit!


      • doug quixote May 2, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

        No it is not acceptable.

        PS Do you want a revolution? Or are you just revolting? 🙂


  5. helvityni May 2, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    The good doctor on the Four Corners program said that seeing how badly the refugees were treated he felt embarrassed to be an Australian.

    I feel embarrassed for just living here.

    .And lets not kid ourselves thinking it’s just our politicians who behave badly, the majority of Australians are anti asylum seekers…


    • Hypocritophobe May 2, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

      Until you condemn the people who made this law, then you fully support this policy.

      This policy does not belong to anyone but Gillard.Your Gillard.
      The good doctors words were totally refuted by the Man Gillard appointed as the Minister.So you either believe the Dr or the Minister.

      And you could always move,Helvi if the embarrassment bothers you.Why work to change things, when you can run.


    • paul walter May 2, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

      It is part of a playing-off of westerners against third worlders by the point zero zero 1 percent oligarchy that subtly and virtually controls most nation state governments, out of sight out out of mind,while the public’s mind is kept on such more pressing matters as Gai Waterhouse’s hats, who appeared on the TV talent shows and who won this week’s footy ( have a bet with Tom?).


  6. atomou May 2, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    Thank you for another good piece, by the way, Jennifer!


    • helvityni May 2, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

      Yes, this excellent article is about ASYLUM SEEKERS, not about ME, it’s also about Australian people who do not want them here; they are coloured, they’ll rape our women, take our jobs, only come here for the dole money, they are economic migrants, possible terrorists, they might even want our Mac Mansions, they destroy their identity papers….and more.

      Note: I would accept more or less all of them, and on the mainland and into the community, they are after all desperate people…and if there is one bad apple in thousand, we can deal with it .. Also ,if you think I’m being TOO generous, then we can always stop the migration, educate our own youth, let the educated, skilled people stay in their own countries , where they got the skills, the education…and take in more refugees…

      Now what would YOU do…?


      • Marilyn May 2, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

        Well the law is clear we have no choice so what the hell is your point Helvi?


  7. doug quixote May 2, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    It appears I am attacked for agreeing with your excellent article, Jennifer.

    Not by those opposed, but by those also agreeing.


    • Hypocritophobe May 2, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

      Oh look>

      “doug quixote June 30, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

      We’ll have to agree to differ on this one HG. I think that we are entitled to our birthright. My parents and grandparents and their parents helped to build this country, and to defend it in time of war. They paid their taxes and so do I and I say that we Australians shall decide who comes to Australia and the conditions under which they come and not otherwise : Not while there is blood in my veins and breath in my body.

      If that sounds like Howard, it is coincidental as he sought to tap into a rich vein of patriotism and nationalism.

      Ask the citizens of any wealthy country whether the citizens of the poor country next door should be able to walk in and access their hospital and health system, get their public housing and use their libraries and take their jobs.

      And then get back to me.”

      People who say things like this will always worship and promote the likes of Howard and Gillard.Sorry DQ, I find your claim to now have a different view a stretch too far.


      • atomou May 2, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

        People who say things like this don’t know the difference between patriotism and ethnic chauvinism. For some reason they think that a god has allocated them a piece of real estate, to own and fuck up all on their own.
        Racism and superiority at its worst.
        It was surfacing bit by bit throughout this discussion but I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
        In the end, one can get totally drained, talking to these banjo players so I’ve stopped wasting my time and energy.

        The tassie non-agreement is precisely what makes me think that the Labor disease is highly contagious and that, to keep it at bay, you need to be very strong. The analogy is the drug spread in sport: Mafia clones approach people and give them a choice they can’t refuse, or, more cynically, people get to enjoy their little thrones so much, they’ll do anything to keep them, including toss out the contents of their heart!

        Frightening shit, so I’m making the best of what’s there and try to keep the oceans of crap from fouling it.


        • doug quixote May 2, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

          It is a different issue.

          I want to see those who are genuine refugees admitted and those who are detained for whatever reason treated humanely.

          That has very little to do with open borders. It is our nation, our society our birthright; we the Australian people decide who comes here and the circumstances under which they come.

          It is a truism. Howard spouting it means only that he sought to tap into what was already totally mainstream.

          Very different issues.


          • Hypocritophobe May 3, 2013 at 12:12 am #

            Pathetic racist dribbling.You are a dinosaur pretending to be a chicken.


          • Marilyn May 4, 2013 at 2:12 am #

            You don’t even have the right to say who buys the bloody house next door you imbecile.


    • Jennifer Wilson May 3, 2013 at 6:53 am #

      I know DQ I have issued warnings.


  8. atomou May 2, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    There’s a lovely lesson to be learnt about enticing crap from the ancient Greek history.
    The last big battle by the Athenians against the Spartans, and the battle that lost them the 30-year war, came about because the Sicilians came to them (415BC) asking for their help to fight their own enemies. To entice the stupid Athenians, the painted wooden crockery and kitchen implements with gold paint -not gold plated, but painted by a gold-coloured paint- and told the Athenians that… the streets of Syracuse were paved with gold!
    The morons believed them and ended up sending over there the last batch of their youth, now called the Sicilian Expedition.
    Most of them were slaughtered and the remnants were made to work in the salt mines.

    People with sleazy intentions will always offer you false gold. Incentives that turn out to be thirty copper pennies.

    This lot of parliamentarians are a most luminous example of eager receivers of such offerings. The crime is that they have built such fortresses around that temple of copper pennies that even if they are caught, they are untouchable. Why isn’t Howard and Reith and a whole lot of other creeps on the docks of some court in the Hague? How much more abject must their crimes be before they are dragged there in chains?
    Why isn’t every one of these bastards in the ALP in public stocks receiving rotten eggs thrown at their faces?

    The genuine lefty must fight like king Canute these days to keep the pricks out.


    • Hypocritophobe May 2, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

      The majority of morons supporting Gillard cannot fathom that these days the union boys ( the ones controlling faux Labor) at the top and big business are busy fellating each other behind the board room door.Deals are done in the same way as in Indonesia,the Philipines,and anywhere else where $$$ and heavies plump up someones ego or bank account.
      Tasmanias non peace deal is a classic example.It’s business as usual for international loggers.No-one is policing the pillaging of the last pristine Australian Mountain Ash and high conservation rain forests.They never have and never will.The pup has been painted and sold again under a different name.The CFMEU have controlled the process and the upper house from day one.
      The tentacles of the new ALP are long,sticky,rancid and and prickly and covered in blood,guts and shit.And faux Labor roll in the same corporate mud with the mongrels the Labor faithful used to consider consider the enemy.
      ICAC will hopefully shine a light.Hopefully a post election Royal Commission will finish the job.


  9. Hypocritophobe May 2, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

    I guess when the faux-Labor cheerers watch Shaun Micalleff, they see a personal attack on their belief system, where I see satire.
    So far his every show has been 110% accurate and hilarious.


  10. redjos May 2, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

    To start at the beginning,Paul Keating opened the first concentrations camps in 1992, and everything has been going downhill ever since.

    This country is xenophobic, homophobic, racist and populated by bigots with extreme nationalistic fervour. Reminds me of South Africa and the 50 years I lived there.

    Our racism continues unabated in apartheid for our indigenous population and the rest of us are all boat people in one way or another.

    The ongoing fight against human rights abuses in Australia does NOT have people out on the streets as they ought to be – where are they – the student protesters of yesteryear? Oh, I forgot! Gillard has robbed universities to fund schools and preschools and everyone else loses out. Students of today don’t have time to get involved with protest movements- they are too busy trying to make enough money to pay for their courses.

    And then of course “all options are on the table” in order to raise revenue – except to tax religions to pay for everything and make this country comfortable and pay for education, health and everything else in between.

    Oh what a tangled web we weave………….!!


    Mannie De Saxe


    • Hypocritophobe May 3, 2013 at 12:10 am #

      Fuck yeah,Mannie.Well said.


    • hudsongodfrey May 3, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

      I agree Mannie, and I’ve said as much before, but gee you want to get that petition running on Getup or Change,org or basically anywhere with a reach of membership that can get you a few more signatures.


  11. hudsongodfrey May 3, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    I agree with the article in its entirety and particularly with the frustration it expresses with the politicised use of refugees as pawns in a shadow play of tough talk and posturing about border control to try and impress a few of our less sophisticated citizens in marginal electorates.

    Take all that as read as if the article itself were appended to the top of this post, and Jennifer’s words mirrored my own….. Some of you here are going to need than to get through what I want to add.

    I’m still glad and not a little perplexed that Australia has something of a humanitarian program that takes in 20,000 people per annum. As many as we’ve done for most of the period covering post World War II when it basically commenced, and a few more than we managed under Howard.

    I looked for information about the programs and I found that over the past dozen years or so the majority of our overall intake came from places like Sudan, Burma, Iraq and Afghanistan. Some would clearly have come in boats, some would not, and the majority could not in the slightest way be characterised as fitting with a racist bigot’s preferred profile based on either skin colour or religious background.

    So if it can on the facts be argued that in numbers smaller than we think we ought to be able to manage on compassionate grounds, but nonetheless for genuinely humanitarian reasons we’re bringing in these people without assenting to racism, then the truth we should be telling is that our grievances relate almost wholly to policies concerning themselves with an obsessive dislike of people arriving in boats.

    We want to see an end to the cruel practice of long term mandatory detention, locking up women and children and sending people to prison like facilities on offshore islands. We should also be arguing if we’re genuinely clear minded about this that in an ideal world no refugee should come to Australia by boat because they shouldn’t have to.

    A whole bunch of things that would only happen in an ideal world aren’t happening when the situation is that people arrive here in boats, but at some point if some are preventable by means consistent with our humanitarian aims then we ought to be acting on them, They have to include going to Indonesia with boats (or aircraft) of our own and bringing in those who UNHCR have identified as genuine as part of our voluntary refugee intake program.

    My hope would be that in so doing the supply of people to those who’re willing to try and ferry them here in unsuitable fishing vessels would taper right off and thus the need to maintain detention facilities reduce with it.

    I note that in the past that it’s all very well to correctly and insightfully identify the problem as Jennifer has done here, but that the minute any of us tries to discuss the difficult matter of trying to find practical solutions all we tend to get bogged down in ideology at the expense of never getting anywhere.

    We may not like having to prioritise or process people’s needs or resettle some elsewhere but when the status quo is that we have xenophobes controlling the agenda with their quite racist “stop the boats” rhetoric. The situation demands that if we want change we have somehow to justify it by showing that limited initiatives can work before we can hold out hopes for more progressive changes to follow. Australia has proven its success with refugee programs and multiculturalism in the past I see no reason now to presume that we won’t be able to maintain that record if only we’re willing to do the practical stuff first.


    • Hypocritophobe May 3, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

      The latest announcement of 100 billion$ for defence(fwd estimates) is faux Labors way of placing themselves in an election campaigning position to argue.
      “Border Security.”

      Now that (as all ‘thinking people’ know) is racist speak for nasty refugee invaders are potential terrorists, and we will tar them that way.

      Just remember where that movement started and where it now resides.

      Perhaps the PMs supporters here can draft a letter demanding she close down all offshore processing in exchange for electoral support.I vote you and DQ design the draft.


      • hudsongodfrey May 3, 2013 at 5:24 pm #


        End long term mandatory detention of genuine refugees, and you can have my vote.

        This has to apply to either major party if it is going to work. It is already Greens policy, but sadly I don’t think that they can deliver on it.


        • Hypocritophobe May 3, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

          Boy, such passion,HG.


          • hudsongodfrey May 3, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

            Okay so how am I meant to take that?

            If either of the majors were to campaign for an about face on this issue then I think it would involve a genuine moral stance and a great deal of leadership of the kind any of us could only admire and support.

            Sadly I see no signs of it ever happening but if the offer is genuine then I think it would show the kind of character sorely missing from Australian politics in recent decades.


            • Hypocritophobe May 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

              Take it like this.
              If someone were to plead to the PM (or Abbott) to substitute compassion for baseline bigotry, I’d reckon some tugging at the heartstrings would have to get a guernsey.
              Maybe that’s not your style.
              But a Readers Digest condensed version of ‘how about I swap you you your policy reversal for the PM-ship’, is unlikely to make a dent.Is it?
              But then again,I don’t blame you.You’re asking Gillard to have a heart.
              See the flaw in that?


              • hudsongodfrey May 3, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

                Yes I do see the flaw in that and it is that since she knows Abbott cannot bend on this issue she simply doesn’t have to. She knows she’s the lesser of two evils so she’s looking at the polling in the marginals and abusing the privilege of being in a position where a good proportion of Labor voters who disagree with her have few real alternatives they’d ever be really willing to embrace.

                I’m not saying I like what I conclude I’m simply telling you that we nevertheless are confronted with some fairly dire conclusions.


                • Hypocritophobe May 3, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

                  And if those who make a ‘claim’ to want be be seen to be doing the right thing, vote accordingly at the election, then getting the ‘real ALP’ on track can be a shorter journey than it now is.

                  Which is what I and Ato have been saying all along.

                  Personally, as each day goes by, I see Abbott getting two terms.One ‘go gently’ term, and one ‘big bash’ second term.
                  As with Howard, after that, he ‘might’ luck himself into a third term.All this depends on how fast a Royal Commission buries union corruption, or how stupid this ALP is.The whole WA Inc thing should have sent alarm bells across the Labor and union world forever, but it seems to be the car crash scenario.”It’ll never happen to us”.
                  The way I see it now the Greens are the last and only life raft in all of this.For us and faux Labor.
                  The two most likely scenarios are a Lib HOR and any number of Senate scenarios OR a minor (very) chance of a minority coalition HOR with a senate as above.
                  Beyond that a coalition controlled everything.
                  *The least possible chance is faux-Labor doing any better than last time.
                  And for that I am truly grateful, when I see what they have become, where they have taken us,what damage they have enacted and how irreversible it all is.
                  Please don’t twist that into a love of Abbott again.

                  *If you want an accurate second opinion on likely electoral outcomes,, read what Ellis says and apply 180 degrees to it.
                  Or follow Antony Green.


                  • hudsongodfrey May 4, 2013 at 1:19 am #

                    There’s every chance some of your predictions may come to pass. I can comprehend polling, thanks very much, but your logic and reasoning are things I am afraid that I have come to somewhat distrust.

                    II don’t think you can claim a slice of high moral ground though a noble gesture that ends in the ultimate defeat.

                    What you have effectively come to stand for is and anyone but Gillard position.

                    I don’t think that you can have one of those that encompases an Anyone but Abbott outcome unless you just mean to change the leaders of the parties and hope on either side for a kinder set of policies as a result.

                    Maybe you should try that. Otherwise I guess the notion that Greens will probably hold the balance of power in the Senate seems obvious enough, and equally useful regardless of which major party holds sway in the house.

                    I know you don’t like it and I don’t mean it to be taken as some variety of unfair ad hominem attack, but in your case I find that love and hate being opposites on the emotional scale, whether you like it or not your hate of Gillard is driving you into the Arms of Abbott. I think it is a pity because you obviously bristle at the prospect, but whether its a battle for your last two preferences or not what you appear likely to do does involve crossing that rubicon.


    • zerograv1 May 3, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

      I think the sentiment for change is there widely in the community, at least among a significant number. I am pondering just how much the ALP has an eye on the polls and are misreading them? They are in trouble and grasping for electoral straws. The cost factor is something they could use to justify a reversal in policy to community based detention etc and use that as a big stick against the coalition in the campaign if they persist with the idea of offshore. $400 + million for Nauru alone saves a lot of budget deficit dollars.


      • hudsongodfrey May 3, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

        Yes well with budgets running to the billions rather than millions I think you’ll be waiting a while before the money actually becomes the primary issue.

        As for polls, on Gay Marriage and Asylum seekers I think they’re not so much being ignored as they are maybe a little too good. Labor know that while there is significant support for policy to change its in all of the wrong seats, so they just keep pandering to the marginal seats.


        • zerograv1 May 3, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

          Dont forget though, we also lose Manus Island, Christmas Island and onshore detention centres in such a policy change. It has to be a couple of billion dollars total


          • hudsongodfrey May 3, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

            I’m not 100% certain I’ve interpreted you correctly but if you’re just asking my opinion then the more money we can save on detaining people for long periods of time then hopefully the more we can divert back to doing some good at last.


        • Hypocritophobe May 3, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

          After the budget every seat will be marginal if not terminal.


          • zerograv1 May 3, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

            Yep until the electorate gets tired of the coalition, its boringly inevitable


          • hudsongodfrey May 3, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

            I don’t know what makes you think that. The only thing I’ve seen signalled thus far is the 0.5% NDIS levy and basically I think that hasn’t been too badly accepted.


            • Hypocritophobe May 3, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

              You don’t know what I mean by, ‘after the budget etc’ ?

              Try this.When we see how much cash has been wasted to run coalition policies under a faux ALP banner, the electorate will make 30% support look like the good old days.

              One of two things will occur when Swan fronts up.
              Either it will be exposed that they have totally cooked the books, (within a few hours by experts who can count) or we will have proof of a wall p*ssing event extraordinaire.I won’t/can’t argue with you about the merits of an NDIS because they are obvious.
              As for the timing and methodology, I won’t go there with any of Gillards fan club, because frankly the taste of duck makes me ill.And alas, carpet manufacturing is not a spectator sport of any interest to me, any more.
              Hopefully the media will list the pork barrels since Gillard announced the election, although I sense that the rusted on will still say the media are liars and conspiring against the govt.


              • hudsongodfrey May 3, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

                Well okay so now I know what you meant, not that I’m at all sure it is likely to come to pass as you predict.

                Pre-election budgets have been brought down before and like most other such calls to account the pattern is pretty fixed. The government adopt as responsible a posture as they can muster and claim that they’ve concocted the economic panacea to all our woes. Shortly followed by a few mealy mouthed words from an opposition determined to characterise the budget as apocalyptic.

                Later if government changes hands the new proprietors almost without exception tend to find that their predecessor has left a bigger than expected mess. Some of this is probably an excuse for dropping a few of their own more lavish and less sustainable promises…… And so it goes!

                In this case you forget that if anyone more or less concurs with a government that runs opposition like policies then it’s probably going to be the opposition themselves. They’ll do much the same almost certainly and especially for reasons that elude all of us when it comes to defence spending.

                And, unlike Gillard, Abbott is actually promising to do something that most of us who retain a shred of compassion for asylum seekers reckon to be practically impossible. He has to “stop the boats” in an environment where push factors still exist and may given the Syrian situation be set to worsen. That spending you’re decrying is if anything bound to rise if Abbott takes power.

                I’m sure the media if by “media” you mean Murdock press will list anything that it can find wrong with Labor as is their wont. Some of it may even be genuinely deserved, but at this stage the circus has been in swing for that long that it’s getting hard to tell the conjurers from the clowns!

                There may be pork barreling, there often is around election time. I shouldn’t be surprised if the opposition also engage in promising some form of quid pro quo to be delivered if they win, but unless there’s anything in actual evidence it would be remiss to simply assume its rampant if it isn’t. AI guess that at times like these when an opposition smells blood a sitting member makes the best of any opportunity that presents to have his or her name emblazoned on as many monuments and public buildings as they’re able while they’ve still got the chance.


                • Hypocritophobe May 3, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

                  When I say media I mean ALL media.The Gillard apologists blame all media unless a song of praise is imminent.
                  We know Gillards policies and positions.We don’t know Abbotts (and that is a big problem), but it reeks of desperation to criticise something which does not exist, whilst the abhorrent appears to be fully acceptable to ALL Gillard followers.Because as I have said before, you cannot possibly condemn the policy, and claim the author is an innocent bystander.
                  Nor can it be EVER claimed that Gonski and NDIS gives a heart to a ‘willing and enthusiastic inflictor’ of racist policies with dire and inhumane outcomes.Especially from a ‘supposed’ Labor government who begged its way onto the international UN security council table.This government makes Abbott and Howard look like Tutu and Ghandi.

                  I fully accept that others here see the origin of Sol as being tucked under the prominent tail of a certain PMs jacket.I fully ‘unaccept’ their view.


                  • hudsongodfrey May 4, 2013 at 12:54 am #

                    All politicians are quick to identify their critic’s biases. I didn’t speak so much for Gillard or in her defence as for my own disdain for the circus that the News Ltd press has become.

                    I think we have a very fair idea about many of Abbott’s polices several have been well canvassed already. He’s got Scott Morrison as his shadow immigration minister so if you did want to make this into a one issue election I’m sure I’m not making too much of a leap to point out what a very poor start that is indeed!

                    Your characterisation of the relative merits of the two grows increasingly weirder by the minute. What with Gillard cast in the role of Typhoid Mary and Abbott the sainted little boy with his finger in the Dike, you should be a card carrying member of the LNP in no time.


      • Hypocritophobe May 3, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

        You’re making a pretty outlandish assumption that the AWUALP want to actually save cash.
        I have not seen that demonstrated in any faux Labor announcements since the election was officially announced as not being officially announced.


        • zerograv1 May 3, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

          I did say it was a reversal, I didnt say it was likely


          • Hypocritophobe May 3, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

            Yes, so to expand,
            “I think the sentiment for change is there widely in the community, at least among a significant number.”
            Then the ALP must want to die emphatically and their strategist and union controllers have done as good a job as any opposition could have dreamed of. I have read the mood for months.When the lie about reasons for Rudds sacking came out,I think any ALP announcement became impossible to sell.And given a huge swag were backflips,betrayals (read un-Labor) or unaffordable,it’s no surprise.

            “I am pondering just how much the ALP has an eye on the polls and are misreading them?”
            A lot.I’d say denial.And it’s too late,baby now it’s too late.

            “They are in trouble and grasping for electoral straws”.
            If trouble is the second last breath you take,then yes.

            “The cost factor is something they could use to justify a reversal in policy to community based detention etc and use that as a big stick against the coalition in the campaign if they persist with the idea of offshore. $400 + million for Nauru alone saves a lot of budget deficit dollars.”
            Too many hidden controllers, to many over exposed egos,not enough time to even perceive a moral back-flip, that humane.
            This has always been about stealing Abbotts thunder.They wanted the moral low ground and will fight tooth and nail to preserve it.Whatever it takes.
            TPVs are still in Gillards quiver,waiting for a run.


  12. Hypocritophobe May 3, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    Time for our compassionate PM to excise Sri Lanka from the planet.
    Maybe she and Tony can get together and sort this out?

    That way they have no beginning point,ergo no end destination.
    Perhaps another 0 .25% Medicare levy to build a new processing centre in PNG.They seem to have parallel ‘deterrent’ attitudes / views to faux Labor.
    And both are similarly condemned by Amnesty.


  13. doug quixote May 7, 2013 at 8:05 am #

    This site contains facts and figures and the general thrust of policy :

    It may repay study; at least we will be able to argue in an informed way.


    • Marilyn May 11, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

      Ah yes, the reliable DIAC spivs. spin on things.


      • hudsongodfrey May 11, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

        Yes but I often wonder whether to blame the policy or the people charged with implementing it? I know that if challenged blaming the public service seems to be a bit of a cop out, but I still wonder about their attitudes simply because it takes a certain kind of person to run a detention system that operates as mean spiritedly as ours does.


        • zerograv1 May 11, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

          HG…,just wondering in which dimension did you mean “mean spiritedly”


          • hudsongodfrey May 11, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

            meanness of spirit as in we’re a pack of arseholes sometimes.

            Is there another dimension? Will quantum mechanics discover a solution to the refugee crisis? Before the heat death of our star? I don’t know.


            • zerograv1 May 12, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

              Certainly the act of detention behind barbed wire fences qualifies as “mean spirited”. In terms of cash though we arent. My friend who only 3 days ago returned from her contract on Nauru (and heading for Wickham Point then Manus Island) told me the accommodation tent problem is gone, all new rooms, and Nauru spends $3 million a year on their meat bill alone, Gym, TV, Internet Access, clean rooms changed daily etc. She described the food as so good inside that if the islanders knew they would be rioting to get in – an exaggeration perhaps but it quantifies to me that the treatment and facilities per se arent bad, its the idea of detention that is mean spirited to me. Hence my question to you. The locking up of genuine refugees even if they do get day trips etc isnt appropriate. They are working on a 4 month maximum detainee time to sort those eligible from those who might be considered undesirables, The question I ask is what happens to the Nauruan population once there only source ofl revenue disappears on a policy change, they are effectively already living in near poverty even with the money the Australian government brings in to the island and uses to and uses to employ local labour and fund local business where possible. A different problem perhaps but a humanitarian one.


              • hudsongodfrey May 12, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

                I know nothing of your friend or her role there other than what you’ve just told me but I’d be most interested to know what that role is and how it shapes her attitudes towards the refugees.

                Apart from that I kind of take your point about the Nauruans’ situation but I also realise that you’d know better than to argue that two wrongs made a right.


                • zerograv1 May 13, 2013 at 8:17 am #

                  Shes on the senior nursing and health team who develop programs for specific health related issues that arise. Its not an arm’s length committee type thing. They work at the “coalface” and implement most improvements almost immediately. She tries to stay apolitical on the issue of detention but she sees things she says “make her heart break”. She is also very aware of faking things like mental illness as a route out of the centre….apparently the chinese whispers are rife and one strategy after another is tried….most dont impact her except for faking mental illness and shes very experienced in spotting put ons. Personally I feel she has too big a heart for the job and its somewhat painful, but she has a lot of skill, training, education and experience and exactly the kind of person they need at centres so she persists with small victories.


                  • hudsongodfrey May 13, 2013 at 9:56 am #

                    I felt for the medical staff when I watched the Four Corners report. Give her my best, that’s a really tough gig.


              • paul walter May 12, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

                Well, why don’t they allow cameras into these place?
                The last most of us knew, as little as a few weeks ago from 4 Corners, was that these places were shitholes, deliberately kept that way.
                This was to demonstrate deference to deterrence in order that one political party, or the other was not seen to be gong soft, in response to a public phobia beaten of by mass media and press, opportunist politicians and commentators, as well as deranged racists.
                I likened it to the race to the bottom on crime and law and order, another largely faux issue that contributes to the social psychosis and keeps the idiot public in the mushroom club or some sort of modern Plato’s Cave, dislocated from reality, “kept in the dark and fed on bullshit”.
                How on earth will things change while the Tories beat these things up and Labor lacks the guts and wit to challenge the underlying paradigms that create the misconceptions and hang-ups?


                • zerograv1 May 13, 2013 at 7:43 am #

                  She was a bit outraged when she saw the 4 corners report, shes a very compassionate person and sometimes really upset with things that occur inside the Nauru facility, but says the 4 corners report was extremely biased and painted to favour a particular side to the story and felt that the hard working staff were unfairly maligned by the slant on the story. She also disclosed that one of the people interviewed was a whistle blower who’s story completely changed for the cameras. – opinion but not factual and different to what she actually “blew” initially….I’m not sure who was pushing what agenda in the 4 corners report but given I know her to be straight up and honest, I suspect it doesnt tell the whole truth now


          • helvityni May 12, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

            mean spirited means mean spirited whatever way you want to look at it, zero


            • zerograv1 May 13, 2013 at 7:44 am #

              Oh I agree on that Helvi, I was just trying to get HG to outline in more detailed terms what he meant by it.


  14. paul walter May 23, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    Is some sign of a sense of proportion returning?


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