Immigration Minister Morrison instructs his staff to lie

20 Oct

In this article in The Age today, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison orders his staff to publicly refer to asylum seekers as “illegal” arrivals , “detainees,” and “illegal maritime arrivals.”

As seeking asylum in Australia is not an illegal, criminal act, no matter how potential refugees arrive, Morrison is in effect instructing his staff to lie to the public.

Describing asylum seekers in the above terms criminalises innocent people, and this false criminalisation is then used to justify the Coalition’s treatment of them.

There can be little more offensive in a workplace than a boss ordering his staff to lie to the public. That a government minister should take this action is serious cause for alarm.

That this same minister is also a very public Christian should give even more pause for thought.

73 Responses to “Immigration Minister Morrison instructs his staff to lie”

  1. zerograv1 October 20, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    If this is true, then Morrison is breaking the law since he is aiding and abetting in causing staff to breach employment conditions under the Legislation that covers employment terms for Commonwealth public servants (in which they undertake to be honest at all times). It’s probably prosecuted under civil guidelines but might not be, If not, the federal police need to get involved and pull him up quickly on it.


  2. Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) October 20, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    I first saw reference to this issue here:

    There seems to be quite some elapsed time between that tweet, posted at 1:17PM on Friday 18 October 2013, and Bianca Hall’s news item dated 20 October 2013 to which you have linked. Whilst the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (@ASRC) had to work within the Twitter 140- character limit, I am surprised there was no reference to, or preference for, the more emotive term ‘illegal(s)’, had that term been used in @ASRC’s source of information.

    Given that ‘The Age’ claims its source to have been a departmental email to service providers, and also refers to the ASRC, I am just wondering whether the term ‘illegal’, or ‘illegal maritime arrival’, actually featured in the claimed current ministerial directive in this respect. I’m sensing beat-up, or the putting of words in other person’s mouths.


    • Jennifer Wilson October 20, 2013 at 10:15 am #

      That is an interesting point, Forrest. I saw that tweet also. Perhaps the ASRC hadn’t seen the email?


      • 8 Degrees of Latitude October 20, 2013 at 10:58 am #

        Clearly “unauthorized” arrivals are not illegal. Morrison (and the others in his government who are politically hairy-chested on “refugees”) know that. In opposition you can say many things – as the Labor Party is rediscovering – but that in government you’re more constrained by rules, as well as by actuality. I too sense a beat-up. That said, the sooner Australia progresses to a humane and sensible position on population movement, the better.


      • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) October 20, 2013 at 11:57 am #

        ASRC may well not have seen the claimed email, but ASRC did make specific claims to ‘detainees’ being desired terminology, which does tend to imply that it had received some information from a, to it, normally trustworthy source. In the news item the term ‘transferee’ is also associated with Kon Karapanagiotidis of ASRC and its reference to ‘detainee’.

        Given the sense as to it being beat-up, it could be worth considering whether this news item may have been intended as a distraction from what has NOT so far been being reported much in the MSM, an apparent ministerial cut-back to disaster (bushfire) relief entitlements that was ALSO promulgated on Friday 18 October 2013, vide:

        So far as I have been able to see, only social media has picked up on this incredibly badly timed (with respect to Abbott government popularity) determination, being made in seeming haste at the peak of the bushfire emergency. Perhaps the re-introduction of a terminology war over ‘illegals’ has been seen as a way of deflecting social media attention from a matter much more to the forefront of immediate public concern.


  3. doug quixote October 20, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    Language is important in determining attitudes to people and things.

    It is clear that people claiming asylum are not illegal simply because they have entered Australian territory without authorisation. Almost no-one could ever claim asylum without breaching a law if that were the case – a Catch 22 if ever we saw one.

    Calling them ‘detainees’ is more acceptable, however. ‘Clients’ was quite absurd, too far in the other direction. I don’t see any reasonable objection to that change.

    Referring to them as Illegal is unacceptable; the Migration Act defines the status of ‘unlawful non-citizen’ as effectively a non-citizen who does not hold a visa.

    Such a person has not been called illegal since the Act was changed in 1994. The Government should use the language of the Act or it is itself arguably in breach, for not administering the Act as is its duty.


    • hudsongodfrey October 20, 2013 at 11:30 am #

      I think we need to say what the correct term actually is though. It is Asylum Seekers is it not?


      • Jennifer Wilson October 20, 2013 at 12:16 pm #



        • hudsongodfrey October 20, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

          I think I just stole your blog with a treatise of sorts. Hope you don’t mind.

          It’s good to have you back though. You really didn’t miss that much. Labor are still busy self flagellating over Rudd and Sainting Gillard, for ironic impact perhaps? Oh and the Tea Party crashed and burned in the US….. So pretty much the usual 🙂


          • Jennifer Wilson October 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

            I’m still in the Snowy Mountains. Have one more week.

            Course I don’t mind. I love your posts, almost always.


            • helvityni October 20, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

              …and Jennifer, when you come back home from the Snowy Mountains, you have to put your yellow parka in the storage, and wear something cooler like white linen…

              (like in that that nice picture of you, your son and his kids.)
              Good to see you back.


            • hudsongodfrey October 20, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

              Enjoy the mountains while you can. I can’t help thinking its fortunate you chose the Snowy’s and not the Blue Mountains because that’s just awful what they’re going through over there. A friend’s house came within a couple of K’s of being affected only a few weeks back, and now this.

              Feel free to chime in when the almost part takes affect 🙂


      • doug quixote October 20, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

        Correct term : unlawful non-citizens.

        Migration Act sections 13 and 14 and definitions.

        Call them Angels, or Demons if you like, but the Act is definitive.


        • hudsongodfrey October 20, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

          I find the term unlawful non-citizen too broad to be particularly useful though. It could mean a backpacker who overstayed their visa, or anyone who has breached the terms of their entry by engaging in gainful employment without a working visa. It is in fact everyone who ever lacked or breached the conditions of any visa they had or should’ve obtained before travelling to Australia.

          I would also have thought the term asylum seeker was still one that would be more internationally recognised as making the distinction between someone who claims to be a refugee and somebody who is accepted as fitting that category according to the criteria.

          I’m reaching for an internationally recognised term for what is perhaps the obvious reason. We cannot while behaving so badly towards people as to violate their human rights in a bid to frustrate due process in relation to their asylum claims be considered in the right about anything to do with the subject.

          I know that you’re quoting it probably as taken from an Australian legal definition you neither wrote nor mean, I hope, to apologise for. I just can’t for the life of me see why anyone would substitute politically charged doublespeak when the populace at large recognises that Asylum Seeker is both a neutral and accurate description. Unless of course they’re trying to sell us the very self same bill of goods I’ve critiqued at length below.

          Official use of either the term detainee or unlawful non-citizen when uttered by officers of the government my taxes pay for speaks in my name something which I regard to be a lie about my character. I hope I’ve still the right in a democracy to insist upon disavowing that lie.


          • doug quixote October 20, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

            A different issue, HG : what they should be called.

            Asylum seekers is very good and accurate.


            • hudsongodfrey October 20, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

              Very good, and I think correct, not to mention succinct. 🙂


        • Marilyn October 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

          But the high court found that the words unlawful non-citizens means precisely nothing, it is just a definition and they found in Al Kateb that the draftspeople should change it.

          “60 In any event, while it is literally correct to describe the applicant as an “unlawful” entrant and an “unlawful non-citizen” that is not a complete description of his position. The nomenclature adopted under the Act provides for the description of persons as “uinlawful non-citizens” because they arrived in Australia without a visa. This does not fully explain their status in Australian law as such persons are on-shore applicants for protection visas on the basis that they are refugees under the Refugees Convention.
          61 The Refugees Convention is a part of conventional international law that has been given legislative effect in Australia: see ss 36 and 65 of the Act. It has always been fundamental to the operation of the Refugees Convention that many applicants for refugee status will, of necessity, have left their countries of nationality unlawfully and therefore, of necessity, will have entered the country in which they seek asylum unlawfully. Jews seeking refuge from war-torn Europe, Tutsis seeking refuge from Rwanda, Kurds seeking refuge from Iraq, Hazaras seeking refuge from the Taliban in Afghanistan and many others, may also be called “unlawful non-citizens” in the countries in which they seek asylum.

          Such a description, however, conceals, rather than reveals, their lawful entitlement under conventional international law since the early 1950’s (which has been enacted into Australian law) to claim refugee status as persons who are “unlawfully” in the country in which the asylum application is made.
          62 The Refugees Convention implicitly requires that, generally, the signatory countries process applications for refugee status of on-shore applicants irrespective of the legality of their arrival, or continued presence, in that country: see Art 31. That right is not only conferred upon them under international law but is also recognised by the Act (see s 36) and the Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth) which do not require lawful arrival or presence as a criterion for a protection visa. If the position were otherwise many of the protection obligations undertaken by signatories to the Refugees Convention, including Australia, would be undermined and ultimately rendered nugatory.
          63 Notwithstanding that the applicant is an “unlawful non-citizen” under the Act who entered Australia unlawfully and has had his application for a protection visa refused, in making that application he was exercising a “right” conferred upon him under Australian law.”
          Now those four paragraphs make the law pretty clear and that was upheld by three more judges in the Full Court of the Federal court in April 2003 after Akram had been deported.

          So far so good on the “unlawful” = “illegal” story.

          So let’s wander off to the High Court appeal which became Behrooz, Al Kateb and Al Khafaji and have a look at the meaning of “unlawful”.

          GUMMOW J: What is the baggage of the word “unlawful”?
          MR BENNETT: Your Honour, none. It is a word used in a definition provisi, it is simply a defined phrase. It is not a phrase which necessarily involves the commission of a criminal offence.

          “GUMMOW J: What is the force of the word “unlawful”?
          MR BENNETT: It is merely a word which is used in a definition section, your Honour.
          GLEESON CJ: Does it mean without lawful permission?
          MR BENNETT: Yes, that is perhaps the best way of paraphrasing – – –
          GUMMOW J: But in the Austinian sense that is meaningless, is it not?
          MR BENNETT: Yes, your Honour. The draftsperson of the Act is not necessarily taken to be familiar with the – – –
          GUMMOW J: Well, perhaps they ought to be.”
          Wow, so the word unlawful is legally meaningless.

          Who would have thought. But wait it get’s better.

          Here is the actual judgement. Paragraph 86 is there for all the world to see.
          “From 1901 to 1994, federal law contained offence provisions respecting unlawful entry and presence in Australia, which was punishable by imprisonment as well as by liability to deportation. The legislation gave rise to various questions of construction which reached this Court[90]. The first of these provisions was made by the Immigration Restriction Act 1901 (Cth) (“the 1901 Act”)[91]. Section 7 thereof stated:
          “Every prohibited immigrant entering or found within the Commonwealth in contravention or evasion of this Act shall be guilty of an offence against this Act, and shall be liable upon summary conviction to imprisonment for not more than six months, and in addition to or substitution for such imprisonment shall be liable pursuant to any order of the Minister to be deported from the Commonwealth.
          Provided that the imprisonment shall cease for the purpose of deportation, or if the offender finds two approved sureties each in the sum of Fifty pounds for his leaving the Commonwealth within one month.”
          As enacted in 1958, s 27 of the Act continued this pattern. That provision eventually became s 77 of the Act, but this was repealed by s 17 of the Migration Reform Act 1992 (Cth) (“the 1992 Act”). It has not been replaced[92].”
          Want a bit of icing on the cake, all of which I sent to the editors of the Australian, the Press Council and Media Watch.

          “30 It is important to emphasise that the client did not escape from custody. It would have been an offence for him to have done so: see 197A of the Act. He was released from detention pursuant to a court order. Neither was he committing or proposing to commit an offence simply because he was taking steps to avoid being detained. As Gummow J indicated in Al-Kateb at [86] ff, the current Migration Act, unlike its precursors, does not make it an offence for an unlawful non-citizen to enter or to be within Australia in contravention of, or in evasion of, the Act.
          31 Further, as Hayne J observed in Al-Kateb at [207]-[208] the description of a person’s immigration status as “unlawful” serves as no more than a reference to a non-citizen not having a “valid permission to enter and remain in Australia”. The use of the term “unlawful” does not as such refer to a breach of a law.”


          • doug quixote October 22, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

            Yes Marilyn, I feel the force of Bill Gummow’s legal arguments.

            Thank you for those extracts.


          • Jennifer Wilson October 23, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

            Marilyn, many thanks for this post. It is full of just the kind of information we need. I’ll post it on Twitter.


    • Marilyn October 22, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

      Asylum seekers is not a term used in the refugee convention, the only mention of asylum is that the convention does not apply to those who already have it in one country, Article 1D of the convention.

      They are refugees who are seeking asylum from persecution in other countries.

      The correct term is refugees unless proved otherwise. That is how the convention was written.

      Have you noticed that Syrians are not called asylum seekers, they are called refugees.

      But what we should call them here is POW’s, we have incarcerated victim civilians of war so we must call them POW’s and grant them rights under Geneva Conventions.


      • hudsongodfrey October 22, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

        Thanks Marilyn that’s interesting information. I’d never argue with you about these matters but for others who may be interested I’ve pasted some relevant links below. What I think we are seeing also creeping into this debate is a widening gulf between the way that the UN might regard conventions and a dangerous level of disregard right up to the highest levels within Australia for honouring our humanitarian obligations. In that regard I think it has to be said that idealists are lamentably though perhaps not unexpectedly losing ground.


  4. hudsongodfrey October 20, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    I think what will be said to this point by defenders of the language Morrison is using is that as a matter of policy we have to call them something and that in their lexicon they chose to adopt a neutral term based on their conviction that entering Australian controlled territory without a visa takes primacy over claiming asylum. They’ll probably use the defence that it isn’t a political edict but rather a working definition etc etc yada yada yada…. I don’t believe a word of their crap but I’m savvy enough that I already know what the weasel words will be.

    It’s really the creation of the crime of illegal entry as applies to asylum seekers without exception that is problematic here. It’s a catch 22 construct designed to legally justify detention measures that have existed for some time as part of a politically duplicitous approach to dealing with the way our humanitarian programs are perceived in the main by the Australian public.

    We have a newly elected conservative government whose platform on this issue consisted entirely of a three word slogan that man of us despised, and now the language is being subtly changed once again for the benefit of the folks in the cheap seats whose votes helped carry the ballot.

    And it hurts to be on the other side because the appeal to the manufactured consent for dog whistling populism has been as vile as it continues to be transparent. There is no real need to fear the “floodgates” when we’re really only being asked to do our part in a process that will break the cycle of hopelessness for refugees in Indonesia that leads to needless deaths at sea. But of course process is complex and sometimes requires hard decisions, whereas fear is simple and if we’re to believe what we’re told should never be reduced to words like bigotry or xenophobia.

    My feeling is that the more we accept that galling language then the more we close that door upon the genuine refugees who number among those who come to seek asylum here. And it is that antipathy towards refugees who are genuine that I so strongly reject in a far broader sense of what I regard as important about what the people who make up a nation that believes in a “fair go” morally accepts or rejects being said in our name.

    When I see the antipathy of others towards refugees then one of the things I realise as a result is that I don’t share their vision of what Australia should be. I get that nobody, especially people on the right wants to be taken advantage of unfairly. I just don’t accept their take on fairness if it involves taking permission to treat the accident of your birth as the main determinant of privilege in the world today.

    At the extremes I think more people are apt to admit to these days there appears to be resurgent support for an anachronistic view of Australia as a white Anglocentric enclave within the Asian region.

    I don’t have good examples for Australian cases but I think we can react equally as well to the stories of immigrants elsewhere. Steve Jobs’ father was a Syrian born immigrant to the United States Abdulfattah “John” Jandali. AuctionWeb was founded in San Jose, California, on September 3, 1995, by French-born Iranian-American computer programmer Pierre Omidyar and later became Ebay. Sergey Mikhaylovich Brin (Russian: Серге́й Миха́йлович Брин; born August 21, 1973) is an American computer scientist and Internet entrepreneur who, with Larry Page, co-founded Google…..
    Are we starting to see a theme here…..

    My fervent hope is that fair minded Australians would agree that immigration Rocks! We should be open to some more mature recognition that genuine refugees have every bit as much to offer this country as any other migrant, and more because they bring another layer of much needed diversity to a society desperate for new thinking about its own identity.

    Morrison’s chosen language tells us that genuine refugees are as much our enemies as those who are less so. I would question all of that, but most of all I have to rebuke the lie that genuine refugees are caught up in here. It is inescapably dishonest to spin this as anything less than code for bigotry when the requisite distinctions between refugees and others are so patently and deliberately obfuscated.

    And for crying out loud here! We’re a worse off place as a nation for giving into this crap!


    • Anonymous October 22, 2013 at 9:54 am #

      Just my humble opinion, but out in the suburbs (admittedly a straw poll) even those sympathetic to asylum seekers seem to mainly be objecting to footing the rather grossly inflated bill and drag on tax payers dollars that comes from hosting them. In discussion, it nearly always boils down to this single objection regardless of the view on asylum seekers. Address this and perhaps the issue will disperse finally.


      • hudsongodfrey October 22, 2013 at 11:10 am #

        Is that you Zero? The post bears your Avatar, excuse me if I’m wrong….

        Okay so I meet some of the same people and as often as not they’ll go so far as to frankly admit that they don’t care if they’re thought of as being racist. What we’re to make of the opinions of others on that level I’m not quite sure.

        What I do understand is the argument that people express reservations about freeloaders coming into their community.

        During the 1950’s when we brought a proportionally larger number of European refugees into this country part of the deal involved working for a time on public works projects. So I guess we can all ponder how that dynamic has changed since even though we are building in the NBN a fairly large new piece of infrastructure.

        After a long experience of refugees coming from Europe and South East Asia and elsewhere one might have thought we’d recognise by now how the resettlement process works as people put down roots over the course of a generation or so that can’t simply take shape the minute that they arrive. I think that a lot of the negative perceptions of refugees as freeloaders along with the poisonous emails that proclaim falsehoods about how much welfare they’re entitled to are symptoms of permission being taken to hate somebody else whom we’ve deemed an inferior class of individual because of something they are, something they’re not or something that we are which causes us to fear them.

        The race to the bottom has damaged the national character of this country in the way I think many of us knew that it would. I don’t know what more there is that can be said about this other than to argue that we hope to maintain our humanitarianism intact as we try to find a way out of the abyss. Some of us hoped that process would start with Labor leading the way, now the best chance seems to be that those in the middle who think Morrison’s calumny too extreme will react against it.

        When change does swing back our way what I think makes sense isn’t the opposite extreme. I think what Australians are up for is a well organised and sensibly limited humanitarian program. Extremely keen as I am to see the resistance to people who come here via Indonesia broken and our irrational fear of boat people irreversibly trashed, there is no sense in accepting anyone who is not a genuine refugee in place of someone from elsewhere whose need is more pressing.

        Most of all what I think people fail to understand is that deterrence can and will not work while people at the limits of their resources are unable to find a way out of Indonesia to anywhere. I think that people will either continue to try to come in boats or they’ll continue to suffer the deprivations of being homeless as long as they’re offered no prospect of resettlement. And the worst placed among them are the most genuine refugees. The people who even if circumstances in their homelands changed would have exhausted the resources to travel back there. If we consider ourselves reasonable people then it should not be said that there are no genuine refugees there who are tempted time and again to get into the boats and perish making the attempt to come to this country. Sort out something for those people and I think rejecting the false cases and economic migrants becomes a lot easier once they’re processed and recognised as such.

        Simply failing to process people doesn’t even properly make the case for their being the class of person they’re accused of being. How then can that be described as anything less than prejudiced?


        • zerograv1 October 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

          Yes it is me Zero, the sad reality is the large proportion of the Australian population that wouldn’t even care if you branded them racist for their viewpoint. Their me-ism in wanting to withhold tax dollars is their sole motivation. I recently took part in a Dassan concert in Darwin at the centre and had to confront the view from passersby (even though all we were doing was providing light entertainment for the detainees) that we were “wrong” to be doing what we were doing. As one of the other musicians put it, this is just a Welcome to Darwin display from people that believe all people have the right to be treated decently….there was no placard waving, speeches or demonstration, just a nice dusk concert that was loudly applauded from the other side of the walls.


          • hudsongodfrey October 22, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

            It saddens me to hear that zero, we’ve family up there and have visited a couple of times for a few weeks’ mid year fishing. I found Darwin to me one of the most multicultural places in Australia, if not right at the top of the scale. And it is when a second or third generation of migrants blithely forgets the reasons why their progenitors came to this place that one worries most for our grasp of History.

            Experience should teach us something and none of us more so than former refugees and people of convict stock whose relationship to class, privilege and deprivation in the societies they escaped informs the hope that a better way to do things might be practiced here.


            • zerograv1 October 23, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

              I think the majority of Darwinites are friendly, and given their preference for holidaying throughout Asia and further, its the noisy Murdoch owned NT News that beats the drum loudest. The CLP government don’t have the best record on integration but they are on the nose everywhere so I think Darwin is swinging back to its more balanced welcoming state – it is VERY multicultural here after all and to be honest I find it a pleasure working with the various arrivals from near and far at my workplace of 100+ people. Variety is interesting. Now that the outback seems to have abandoned the CLP as a lost cause (see recent Teachers Demonstration attended by remote communities in Parliament house last week – and yes I was the muso leading the protest songs there) its a matter of 2.5 years before the natural state is restored – even the NT News is screaming loudly at the redneck racism of the CLP, a surprising but refreshing change of heart. None of this helps turn the staunch and gullible redneck viewpoint around but its clear its become a minority viewpoint. Best guess is the that that stingy CLP will release all detainees into the community purely as a money saving measure especially when the next private polling is conducted.


              • zerograv1 October 28, 2013 at 10:27 am #

                UPDATE: The Darwin detainees have all been told they will be sent offshore, but not when.

                UPDATE 2: A large number were also reported in the press this morning as stating they would rather stay in detention in Darwin than be repatriated back to their home country.


                • hudsongodfrey October 28, 2013 at 11:46 am #

                  Saddened to hear it Zero, more proof that rhyme and reason have simply gone out the window, replaced by unilateral exercise of prejudice.


    • Jennifer Wilson October 23, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

      I’ve tweeted this comment also. What a brilliant discussion this is!


  5. Sam Jandwich October 21, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    Ah, it makes me so whimsical: Public servants often lie in bed asleep while they do dream things true!

    Which given that it’s past 5pm I should be tottling off to do as we speak…


  6. gerard oosterman October 22, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    Scott Morrison concedes (reluctantly) that boat people have a right to seek asylum. According to the laws of the UN Charter they, the boat people, also are making an ‘illegal entry’. So, there is the choice of naming them either as ‘asylum seekers’ or ‘illegals’. Scott Morrison deliberately chose the de-humanising and belittling ‘illegals’ or /and detainees.

    It shows him to be a man not worthy of holding any position least of all that of a Government Minister.


    • hudsongodfrey October 22, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

      Yet it accurately reflects a sentiment contained within the sentence that I think most opponents of asylum seekers embody but refuse to pronounce, “We just don’t want them.”

      I think that’s what we’re basically up against. As for Morrison it may be that he is as fit or unfit as his ability to represent “we the Australian people” demonstrates. In which case I think he’s so unfit it’s almost criminal, but how to persuade anyone who supports the mongrel? That’s my question?


      • Sam Jandwich October 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

        “but how to persuade anyone who supports the mongrel? That’s my question?”

        Here we see the greatest dilemma facing humanity: how to change the minds of the people one doesn’t agree with (and in a sustainable way, rather than just making an appeal to swinging voter types).

        I guess one thing I’ve learnt is that sensible argumentation falls way short – but coercion is even worse. A delicate balance of the two is far more effective… but what *is* that exactly?


        • hudsongodfrey October 22, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

          The best I have at the moment is what I would have regarded a year or so to be an almost self evidently redundant point. We’ve now reached the point where it needs to be pointed out that not all asylum seekers are economic migrants, and that the very least we can do out of common decency is process people before we wilfully and prejudicially misjudge them.


        • doug quixote October 22, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

          How indeed can one be persuaded? Harking back to “Go Back to Where You Came From” it took the actual experience of living the part to change the views of even some of the participants.

          I think all of them were affected, but not all were persuaded, even under that pressure of evidence.


    • Marilyn October 22, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

      No, they are not making an illegal entry, the only time illegal entry is mentioned is in the context of not punishing anyone if they have to.


  7. Marilyn October 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    Mentions of word asylum in refugee convention and pre-amble

    1. considering that the grant of asylum may place unduly heavy burdens on
    certain countries, and that a satisfactory solution of a problem of which the
    United Nations has recognized the international scope and nature cannot
    therefore be achieved without international co-operation, REMEMBER THE OZ LIE THAT PEOPLE HAVE TO STAY IN FIRST COUNTRY, NOT TRUE.

    2. (International co-operation in the field of asylum and resettlement3.
    3. recommends that Governments continue to receive refugees in their territories
    and that they act in concert in a true spirit of international cooperation
    in order that these refugees may find asylum and the possibility
    of resettlement
    Asylum is not used to describe the people, it is used only to define the state of asylum or safety.


    • doug quixote October 22, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

      Yes, it is shorthand for those seeking asylum. Once they are accepted as genuine refugees we are obliged to grant them asylum. Resettlement is another issue.


      • Marilyn October 22, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

        Yes, but it’s not shorthand for anything, it is the fact of what states are supposed to do.


  8. doug quixote October 23, 2013 at 7:57 am #

    To call everyone who seeks asylum a refugee begs the question. For example, many an SS man escaped from Germany and from Europe in 1945-47 by posing as a refugee.

    The person seeking asylum should not be called a refugee until he or she has been interviewed and the background checked.


    • hudsongodfrey October 23, 2013 at 10:28 am #

      I’ve posted some links above that were basically just simple wikipedia searches of the relevant terms revealing that there is indeed a certain amount of context to it depending on whose authority you apply to. What I don’t accept is valid under any circumstances is the use of a lesser term than refugee to belay recognition while the verification process is effectively withheld. Which is exactly what we’ve been doing, and what this new language introduced by Morrison attempts to deepen.

      If we are to use the term asylum seeker, and I think it is the most appropriate one, then clearly what occurs when somebody is processed doesn’t change their status one iota. It merely verifies whether something they’re claiming is true. The material facts are unchanged.

      So if you’re a genuine refugee then the time when you became one would be proximate to the point when you were persecuted and took flight. At the point when you’re processed all that occurs is that somebody else recognises your pre-existing circumstances.

      But of course if a percentage of asylum claims are refused then those people can’t be called refugees on the same basis, they don’t fit the accepted definition, and it would be problematic to err on the side of assuming that they might when the rhetoric currently emanating from Canberra would have us accept the precise opposite assumption.

      The point to be made then is that any assumption is prejudiced in the truest sense of the word. Pre as in before and judged as in due process that we’re denying to people as a way of simply excluding them for political reasons that have everything to do with satiating bigotry and no place whatsoever in a humanitarian concern.


      • Marilyn October 23, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

        Are you aware that Australia is the only country that whinges about “”genuine”” refugees? It is an Australian term, it means zero.


        • hudsongodfrey October 23, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

          I’m saying its gotten pretty bad that we’ve started to assume that no refugees coming, or even planning to come, by boat are genuine.


          • Marilyn October 24, 2013 at 2:32 am #

            No what’s really stupid is the assumption that coming by boat is an aberration and that no-one else ever came here on boats.


            • hudsongodfrey October 24, 2013 at 9:00 am #

              Country Shopping, since 1788!


              • helvityni October 26, 2013 at 11:31 am #

                Hudson, the convicts shipped to Australia were hardly Country Shopping, I’m sure they would have preferred to stay in England.. 🙂
                Even many of the ten pound Pommies went back home, the grass was greener over there and the birds were not shrieking so loud, they sang sweetly..


                • hudsongodfrey October 26, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

                  Perhaps you need to look at it from the resident’s perspective.


    • Marilyn October 23, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

      Wrong, they are allowed to consider themselves refugees seeking asylum when they are forced out of their own country, they aren’t asylum seekers or refugees just because they get here or anywhere. It is the fact of being outside their own countries and being too terrified to go home that is the point. Why do you continually prattle out the same lies and bullshit the government tell?


      • doug quixote October 24, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

        Call themselves whatever they want. Only if they satisfy the criteria under the Migration Act will they be accorded refugee status.

        Why do you continually prattle out the same creative definitions and bullshit the hopelessly romantic tell?


        • Marilyn October 25, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

          They are not my fucking creative crap, they are the fucking law according to the refugee convention, protocol and Australian law.

          Jesus you are sometimes just a fucking cretin.


          • doug quixote October 26, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

            As opposed to you, who are at all times a Tourettes Syndrome sufferer.

            And simply wrong.


            • Marilyn October 26, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

              I am not fucking wrong, jesus wept, what is wrong with you? Australian law is very clear, everyone has the right to seek asylum.

              The rest is made up crap.


  9. helvityni October 23, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    I was touched by how the Italians do it, at the funeral in Lampedusa the coffins had flowers on them, and what’s more, a Teddy Bear on a child’s coffin; we forget that the asylum seekers are people just like you and me.


  10. Marilyn October 26, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    The PNG Government has exempted all persons transferred to the Manus
    Island RPC from the requirement that they hold a valid ‘entry permit’ for PNG
    and from being deemed to have unlawful status under the Papua New Guinea
    Migration Act 1978.

    This is for all those whining that we have to lock up people if they don’t have visas they don’t need, we have ordered PNG to allow us to traffic humans there without visas.


    • hudsongodfrey October 27, 2013 at 12:40 am #

      Telling half the story doesn’t make you wrong, but it doesn’t make you right either. Australian law basically says you have the right to claim asylum it just denies you the ability most of the time because you can’t enter the place without a visa which immigration offence it being treated as taking precedence.

      If it helps to spell that out so that we all know what is wrong then I just did!

      Don’t thank me all at once. I think the situation sucks but I’m not convinced that an absolute guarantee of permanent resettlement is necessarily the best and only way to people get the protection that they need. I do believe we could do better than we have both in terms of the material commitment we make to humanitarianism overall, and in terms of delivering it in ways that rebuke bigotry. But I don’t think we win any prizes by simply failing to manage to run a balanced and orderly mix of programs that make sure people who we do extend help to aren’t just dumped unceremoniously on the street and wished the very best of luck. …To avoid that you need a budget for a number of places that I hope we’d be creative enough to expand as much as we can, but not infinitely.


      • Marilyn October 27, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

        There is no fucking offence in entering without a visa, didn’t you read the law I posted? Not one asylum seeker has ever been charged with entering without a visa because it is not illegal.

        And we don’t need a budget for a “number of places”, they aren’t bales of wool, they are humans.

        Imagine if Jordan decided they only had the budget for a “number of places”.

        Australia seems to think the international laws and rules don’t apply to us, that we can actually pick and choose when we can’t, why do so many people swallow the lies.

        The fact is that all the 6 million tourists who come each year can claim asylum and we have to let them.

        When the fucking law says everyone without penalties it means everyone, no cherry picking a few here and there like we do.


        • hudsongodfrey October 27, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

          I don’t like what these links are telling us any more than you probably do, and I’m sorry to have to point it out, but if you read me correctly then what I said was all about being critical of this exact situation.

          You are right to say tourists could claim asylum, but the point is moot since they’re unlikely to, and even less likely to succeed in most cases. And although I think it makes a point in their favour that so called economic migrants with money to queue jump aren’t using a tourism loophole that is hardly the point we’re concerned with here.

          We’re concerned with who does come and how their ability to exercise the right to claim asylum that you quite rightly assert is valid is nevertheless frustrated by the strict application of visa requirements.

          Nor is anyone ever likely to be charged, because the remedy to what the act calls “unlawful non-citizens” is mainly deportation.

          So it’s a weaselling way of indirectly deflecting humanitarian responsibilities elsewhere. And it isn’t the only such measure what with excision of almost everything from the migration zone as well. We’re just basically saying as a nation, “don’t call us we’ll call you!”

          That was me saying know your enemy, because we can’t argue this insistently and demand rights for people if clearly few are willing to listen and others are intent on shutting us out with the kind of language Morrison would have them adopt. Nor will lachrymose appeals to the compassion of right wing bigots earn much political leverage. Their eyes and ears are also firmly shut to persuasion.

          Yet if we want some form of humanitarianism to persist and indeed increase in this country then persuade people we might if we both appeal to the right people and figure ways act without prodding the sore points of others. Enter the argument I’ve tried to make for resettlement of people who would otherwise come by boat.

          So you may say that we don’t need quotas, but Australians on the whole have become exceedingly sensitive to a perception that they’re being taken advantage of by people who claim rights that they don’t seem to deserve. The appearance of generosity being demanded without much evidence of appreciation may be something that we need to overcome if the feeling that our charitable nature is both justified and rewarded is to be restored. One of the best ways of restoring is obviously to work within the budgetary limits that others are intent upon imposing. I don’t see any way around that and much as I’d like to sympathise the bales of wool analogy just isn’t going to work when there are other similar such units of humanity either here or in Africa that could otherwise benefit from different uses of our resources.

          So if you don’t mind stop attacking the messenger it might be appreciated far better than profane explosions of ideological bullshit!


          • doug quixote October 27, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

            I often wonder if we are wasting our time with Marilyn, HG.
            I suppose our difficulty is that very few bloggers seem to want to engage on these issues, and beggars can’t be choosers. 🙂

            The Tourettes syndrome she exhibits wears a bit thin after a while.

            It seems to me that the only way forward is through education, not necessarily formal but by osmosis – the same way support has grown for same-sex marriage for example.

            Now this is not what the likes of Marilyn want to hear, but I for one can see no likelihood of the majority reversing its view any time soon.

            The activists need to get out more and stop arguing with their closest allies – us.


          • Marilyn October 28, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

            The fact check was wrong, but it also stated there is no offence committed. And most are not fucking deported.

            Why are you so frigging dumb?


            • hudsongodfrey October 28, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

              You’re making yourself wilfully ignorant of something we’d be in agreement about condemning if only you’d accept the facts.

              It seems to me that the reason you’re doing it is driven by an underlying faith in some kind of notion about doing the right thing that equates with having rights. Yet to do so in a way that might allow you to make demands of others to be compassionate where requests followed by appreciation would seem to them to be the more appropriate course of action is clearly hurting your cause. The more shrill and demanding your insistence upon having it all your way gets then the less likely to persuade others to commit to fighting with you it becomes.


  11. Marilyn October 28, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    Trust me Doug, I will not shut up to please you.


    • doug quixote October 29, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

      Perish the thought!

      I don’t want you to shut up, just to make more sense.

      And to be more polite in the process wouldn’t hurt either 🙂


  12. Marilyn October 29, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    The word unlawful means zero, why do Doug and Hudson continually whinge that it means something.


    • hudsongodfrey October 29, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

      In the context of the term “unlawful entrant” it has effectively meant sending asylum seekers into detention, TPV’s or Labor’s scarcely better version thereof, possible deportation or secreting them off to Nauru, Manus or PNG without further ado. But most importantly of late it has come to mean doing so without processing their claims.

      I happen to think that’s the wrong thing to do.


    • doug quixote October 29, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

      It means something because the Migration Act says so.


      • Marilyn November 2, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

        It means nothing at all, it’s just a fucking definition phrase declared meaningless by the high court.


        • doug quixote November 2, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

          You’ve had your fun, Marilyn. Gummow did not like it. Nevertheless the phrase “unlawful non-citizen” means that a person present in the immigration zone without a visa or other lawful excuse has to be taken into detention – mandatory detention.

          That certainly means something to thousands, does it fucking not?


  13. doug quixote October 29, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    Jennifer, I wish you would write more. You write so well on many subjects and I for one appreciate your efforts. (though we could be spared the feminist theory 🙂 )


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