The murderous refugee “policies” of Australian governments

18 Feb

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has just confirmed that one asylum seeker is dead, another has been flown to Australia for treatment after having been shot, and seventy-seven more are injured, twenty-two critically, after tensions at the Manus Island detention centre exploded yesterday.

This country, our country, my country, by virtue of being a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention, invites those fleeing persecution and danger to seek sanctuary and asylum here, NO MATTER WHAT THE METHOD OF THEIR ARRIVAL.

We are known to those in countries where daily life has become untenable as a signatory to that Convention, as a country where they may safely ask for refuge.

As long as we remain a signatory to the Convention, we are issuing an invitation to those who live in daily fear, danger and despair. Children. Women. Men.

But we are liars. We are extending a false invitation. We do not offer sanctuary. We do not offer a decent hearing in which claims for refugee status will be fairly and legally assessed. We do not offer the possibility of resettlement and the opportunity to contribute.

Instead, we have turned the misery of children, women and men into a political football. With psychopathic disregard for our fellow human beings, we have ignored their desperation, and done everything possible to keep them away from us.

So, Scott Morrison, Tony Abbott, Chris Bowen, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, and the rest of you. You wanted to stop asylum seekers dying at sea? Well, your methods have them dying and critically injured  in detention. Where’s your fucking conscience now, then?

81 Responses to “The murderous refugee “policies” of Australian governments”

  1. Robert Andrew West February 18, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    what about the saving of lives by stopping the boats or are you by way of political views forgetting this main point


    • Jennifer Wilson February 18, 2014 at 11:52 am #

      That is a load of horse shit. You really think any of those politicians care about the lives of asylum seekers? No they don’t. If they did, they’d treat them half way decently.


      • Robert Andrew West February 18, 2014 at 11:56 am #

        You do not even warrant a reply


        • Jennifer Wilson February 18, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

          Yet you couldn’t resist telling me that?


          • paul walter February 18, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

            He is a fool.

            He couldn’t even see the context-marker..
            “..we remain a signatory to the Convention, to those living in fear..a decent hearing”.

            Read the question and avoid barging in half cocked at a tangent to the issue raised.

            Epic fail, Westy.


    • hudsongodfrey February 18, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

      Process the poor bastards, and if they’re genuine then stick ’em in a plane and fly them in and your death at sea conundrum is solved.

      I think the problem it doesn’t solve for bigots is going to be that we might just have to tolerate people of difference from us, but there’s precedent for that working out fine in the past and we can do a little more than we have to avoid the utter and abject bastardry we’ve been employing in recent times.

      No excuse you’re going to make on that basis functions as a two wrongs make a right / means justifying ends argument for killing some poor motherfucker who just happened to pique your conscience by standing up to abuses of people’s human rights!

      We’re being made to face what we’ve become, or more accurately for those of us who object to it we’re outraged by what has been done in our name.


      • Marilyn February 19, 2014 at 2:39 am #

        What the fuck does if they are genuine mean? Only fucking racist lazy Australian’s use that because they are all genuine fucking human beings being murdered by our fucking worthless governmentm


        • hudsongodfrey February 19, 2014 at 9:14 am #

          Why don’t you go back one article and read the stuff about trolls. I’m not saying your intentions aren’t good but your manners are terrible and I’m sick of them. You know perfectly well what the situation is and yet you seem to want to take it out on somebody other than the current government who are guilty of this.


        • doctorrob54 February 21, 2014 at 12:15 am #

          Robert Andrew West,stick your head up your arse and go fuck yourself.This is the only reply you deserve.


    • gerard oosterman February 18, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

      Pushing the boats back doesn’t save lives. Those people will still be subject to all the risks, including deaths and disease that they run as refugees in Turkey, Shri Lanka, Indonesia or elsewhere.
      What would save lives, if Australia followed the rule of the Sea. To lend help to those at risk of drowning and offer the hapless souls a safe haven.
      Of course, that’s all gone away now.
      I am sure if the boats had ruddy looking Anglos on leaky boats singing “Great Britannia” or “Old Lang Syme” our navy would treat them to Yorkshire Pudding with lard dripping.


    • Marilyn February 18, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

      For fuck’s sake Robert, that was not why they did it, we are torturing and killing people just because they didn’t fucking let us drown them. 18,000 kids a day die of starvation and we cut aid, do we do that to make them die a bit fucking quicker.


    • doctorrob54 February 18, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

      Boats aren’t getting here because using Royal Navy to drag these poor desperates all over the Pacific.This has nothing to do with “Political Views”this is about a fair go and doing the right thing.FA to do with politics.If it wasn’t for the fear factor the coalition with Murdochs media have brainwashed you into.And ppl like you.You would not have a reason to support them.
      You point out one good thing Abbott and clan have contributed to.


  2. Elisabeth February 18, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    I’m with you here, Jennifer. I’m appalled by our governments’ behaviour over the past several years. It is barbaric. No other word. And our shame as a country of so-called democratized people must run deep. Mine does.


  3. samjandwich February 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    I’ve been following the Royal Commission into child sex abuse pretty closely – and one thing I’ve been interested to note is how many parallels exist between the way we used to treat kids who were thought of as undesirable, and the way we now treat adults of similar status.

    One point that was made repeatedly in the recent hearing into the Salvation Army is that the kids would often “abscond” from their homes or “misbehave” while they were stuck there. What people didn’t seem to understand back then is that these kids weren’t doing this because they were “naughty kids”, but because they were being raped and beaten by their captors.

    I don’t think it’s too long a bow to draw to come to the conclusion that the riots in detention “facilities” are a result of those incarcerated there being subject to some pretty serious maltreatment

    It seems we haven’t actually moved on from those days (which it must be said were not all that long ago) but rather that we have transferred the application of our national propensity for sadism and denial of humanity to a different demographic.

    There’s talk of the Abbott government cutting short the current RC, for reasons I don’t think I need mention. But it won’t surprise me in the least if we see a similar investigation into our asylum seeker-related practices in 30 years’ time. Will this kind of association of concepts mean anything to the people responsible now though?


    • Jennifer Wilson February 18, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

      You are spot on, it isn’t a long bow at all. It is *our national propensity for sadism and denial of humanity.*


      • gerard oosterman February 18, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

        There is no doubt about it. Australia is jailing people without a trial. There is no other word for it. Refugees, including over 1100 children are locked up for indefinite periods. No trial, no justice.
        To think my dad migrated to this country thinking he was leaving injustice behind!
        My poor country!


      • paul walter February 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

        This is the big weather change; the introduction and development of politicisation for the gain of vested political interests. Bear-baiting sadism as entertainment for the masses (also), as time has passed…no matter, it provides a good diversion from obscured political agendas far worse for the well being of the country than any group of refugees could bring.


      • doctorrob54 February 18, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

        Totally agree.


  4. uknowispeaksense February 18, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

    The biggest mistake people make is thinking that the number of people getting on leaky boats to come here has anything to do with our “border protection” policies. The sharp increases we have seen in the last 13 years have more to do with the illegal wars we engaged in in the middle east, the escalation of civil wars in places like Sri Lanka and spiralling corruption in intermediate countries like Malasia and Indonesia. Locking men women and children in concentration camps and treating them worse than the people they are escaping from is not the answer. All that does is damage our reputation and our collective psyche. How anyone can suggest that the means justifies the ends as the first commentator here has done just demonstrates that we are an inhumane backwater filled with hateful, xenophobic psycopaths and hillbillies who hide behind faux concern. I’m pretty sure there are a fair number of illegally imprisoned people on Manus and Nauru who probably wish they had died at sea rather than be subject to the inhumane torture our elected representatives are dishing out to them. It is our collective shame and it makes me ashamed to be Australian. While I don’t have any answers to how to prevent people from wanting to leave their countries or how to fix the problems in their countries, I know that what we are currently doing to our fellow human beings is not it.


  5. gerard oosterman February 18, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

    With the latest poll veering back to the Government it is not a cheery start of the day. The biggest achievement that this governments seems to keep banging on about is that of ‘having stopped the boats!’ What a distinction for a country to have achieved!

    The misery of the millions of displaced people now roaming the world hasn’t been made any better. Australia has helped making it worse. They have pushed the boats back and are heralding this as a major success. The triumphant smiling upturned faces of Prime minister Tony Abbott and immigration minister Scott Morrison says it all.

    “We have stopped the boats.” “We have pushed the boats back.” ” We have not had a single boat arriving in Australian waters for fifty days.” Oh, how this must make us the envy of the world.


    • paul walter February 18, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

      Incredible, isn’t it Gerard?

      Despite the naked criminality of this government on so many levels, the People remain in a sort of anally infantile idiot stupor.


      • Di Pearton February 18, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

        Just like on climate change, Abbott and Co. (and possibly ALP if Greens didnt make PM Gillard take action on climate change?) are telling the Australian people that they dont have to eat their vegies. Australians like to hear that there is no need to be grown-up citizens of the world. Apparently.


  6. hudsongodfrey February 18, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    They’re not really defending the borders from little brown people in boats that’s for sure. They’re only interested in stopping Aussie bigots from having to confront their own consciences now.

    That and the political hole that they dug for themselves with three word slogans.


  7. paul walter February 18, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    Am actually a bit fuzzed at the way JW has presented this..another blogger I visit, Dr Gary Sauer-Thompson, has claimed the “riot” occurred not because of “tension exploding” inside the camp, but because of a concerted attack by locals from outside.

    I know it is only a subtle difference in wording, but if the attack came from without, it would contradict the impression offered by MSM of the riot being down to troublesome refugees, as is usually the presented case.


    • Jennifer Wilson February 18, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

      It seems to be a combination of both. There were a couple of days of increasing distress in the camp, then an assault from outside I gather.

      Just watched Morrison’s presser, which was entirely unhelpful


      • Jennifer Wilson February 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

        Why is my avi that strange creature and not me?


        • hudsongodfrey February 18, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

          Might be something to do with the fact it’s no longer using your Gravitar profile.


        • paul walter February 18, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

          Not what you see in the mirror?


      • paul walter February 18, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

        As ever.


      • paul walter February 19, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

        Watching it tonight it appears the guards; New Guineans, were offended at remarks made toward them by some asylum seekers, although the Minister claims to be in the dark as to what happened.
        When you have stopped laughing, you can wonder if he should be sacked for incompetence and failure of Duty of Care , rather than lying.

        Equally risible was the whitewash over naval incursions into Indonesian waters. To claim these as “accidental”, against the realisation of the complex array of electronics on these ships, beggars belief.


        • allenmcmahon February 19, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

          Morrison is a lying sack of shit and his press conference was an exercise in media control. Within the labyrinth of weasel words the message was clear – asylum seekers rioted and therefore were responsible for what happened to them. This is as far as you can get from the truth and most people will buy it.

          These tactics are used time and time again and while they continue to work Abbott and his slimy minions will continue to use them. The truth will come out over the next few days but by then it is yesterdays news and of little interest to most Australians who, like the good Germans in the 1930s, don’t want to know what is happening in our offshore concentration camps.

          Last year there was a report of the rape of prisoner on Manus Island and the subsequent report found that the allegations were unfounded as the person involved refused to report the matter to the PNG police. What wasn’t mentioned was that the police told the victim that if he reported the offense under PNG law he was likely to be imprisoned for 14 years under PNG law for engaging in homosexual activity.

          Half of all females in PNG have suffered from domestic violence. Want to murder a woman in PNG, no problem, all you have to do is say she was a witch and you have no case to answer.

          This is the type of country we are sending vulnerable people and despite what our government and the PNG government says there is no hope of resettlement.


  8. Marilyn February 18, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

    And where is Doug to defend the fucking Gillard bitch today because Morrison is acting on her fucking policy.


    • helvityni February 18, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

      The Liberals are in Government now, Marilyn. They have dismantled most of Labor’s achievements…why doesn’t Morrison process asylum seekers in Australia…ask him.


      • paul walter February 18, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

        Don’t argue with it, then it would have to remember the REAL initiators of gung ho asylum seeker policy, Ruddock, Reith and HoWARd


      • Marilyn February 19, 2014 at 2:41 am #

        He is operating off Gillards’fucking laws Helvi and I am sick to fucking death of you trying to let the fucking bitch off the fucking hook.


        • doug quixote February 19, 2014 at 7:40 am #

          The laws have not changed since Howard. There was no way to get amendments through the parliament.

          Ask your refugee lawyer mates if you don’t believe me.


        • paul walter February 19, 2014 at 9:07 am #

          You keep on ignoring the Howard government policies tha t put Labor in the bind that it found itself in.

          And the Crimes of the Bush administration that set of off heavy flows of people movement.


  9. doug quixote February 18, 2014 at 11:15 pm #

    The policy would seem to be a failure, at least in part because the host country is one of the most violent societies on Earth. It appears (reports are still sketchy) that the locals invaded the detainees’ enclosure.

    The asylum seekers should be brought to the Australian mainland and processed properly in accordance with our Immigration Act and the Refugee Convention.



    • hudsongodfrey February 19, 2014 at 1:54 am #

      Is this a shift in your views Doug? I thought you were offering qualified support for the PNG solution under Labor. Is it just that the other mob are clearly running it differently, or should we never have entertained it given the problems you mention associated with such a relatively violent and unstable society.

      I agree with your conclusions by the way. I don’t see any other way out. But it takes me back to when Gillard commissioned the Houston report and even provided for 6,000 extra places yet never acted upon any other than the most negative aspects that continued to punish the victims at the behest of the raging bigot brigade back here on the mainland.

      I argued at the time that the 6,000 places would make a difference, and I still think they might have a would today. But boy was it an act of the purest optimism to hope they’d actually try.

      We need that functioning queue in Indonesia to put some carrot with the stick only approach that’s failed to stop people taking risks thus far. While I suspect the Indonesians may have failed to cooperate with that for their own reasons I find it almost ironic that we’re at odds with them on an entirely different score. The disgust I have for Abbott and Morrison’s behaviour takes all the pleasure out of seeing them fail!


      • Marilyn February 19, 2014 at 2:42 am #

        6,000 places, 35,000 people flee every frigging day of the week and you think 6,000 places that take 3 years to decide will make one bit of fucking difference to anything.


        • hudsongodfrey February 19, 2014 at 9:19 am #

          No I think it is what was decided by the Houston report and subsequently cut by the Abbott government. The fact of the matter is that it is better than nothing, which is what we have now, and what I think your attitude is condemning us to. You can’t just expect the political landscape to undergo a step change from shooting people to welcoming an infinite number. Recovering our humanitarian intent has to start somewhere, be shown not to bring the walls of bigotry and intolerance crushing in upon us, and then build from there. Being a petulant child chucking a tantrum and abusing others every time you can’t have your own way doesn’t foster a persuasive case for any of that.


      • doug quixote February 19, 2014 at 7:37 am #

        It is a shift in my publicly expressed views.

        I wanted not to criticise the beleaguered Labor government, as it twisted and turned to try appeasing the redneck voters.

        My view has been for at least a year that we should process the asylum seekers in Australia.

        The last Labor government should have been braver in following compassionate and enlightened policy.


        • Di Pearton February 19, 2014 at 8:13 am #

          Or followed Greens policy:


        • hudsongodfrey February 19, 2014 at 9:32 am #

          I thought that might be the case. As Hitchens said when the facts change it would be perverse not to change your opinions in that light.

          When I wrote what I did last night I mean the ones in PNG should now be brought here for their safety.

          In the case of others in Indonesia today I think processing them over there would probably make as much if not better sense.

          Either way I have sympathy for the view that they should not come by boat if that is at all avoidable, and would like to think that it should be because we’d take greater numbers and provide them with safer alternative means of transport.

          That is quite different from the views of many whose main purpose in wanting to “stop the boats” is clearly not refuse entry to any and all refugees.

          Sad to say I agree about Labor. I thought of them them, and think of them still as the lesser of two evils. Granted a lot of people don’t like lesser of two evils arguments, and I can see why. If we choose to reward any evil then we could be headed on a slippery slope. In this case however we were faced with the prospect of the greater evil and even I’m surprised by how far they’ve gone. New Zealand looks better all the time!


          • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumppXVI) February 19, 2014 at 11:06 am #

            “In the case of others in Indonesia today I think processing them over there would probably make as much if not better sense.”

            This is one thing I don’t get. Excepting the relative handful of persons that have been involved in the recent boat towbacks, Indonesia has not been a destination country for refugees. Those present in Indonesia before attempting entry to Australia by boat do not declare themselves to Indonesian authorities as refugees. Were they to do so they would be interned by the Indonesians.

            I can understand the Indonesians not wanting to have to shoulder even the towback burden, but with most AS arriving by air, would not Indonesia insulate itself more effectively by requiring visa-approved entry for those who presently do not declare themselves as AS or refugees?

            Am I seriously misinformed, or is an important aspect of the whole transit movement going unreported?


            • hudsongodfrey February 19, 2014 at 11:26 am #

              I’m struggling to follow you there, so we may need to get into the weeds a bit.

              I was talking about the idea of Asylum Seekers (AS) currently in Indonesia from the natural and I think quite sound assumption that since it is not signatory to UN refugee conventions they have no status there. It is therefore in no sense a possible destination country even if we tow the same boats with the same people in them back there repeatedly.

              As for AS arriving in Indonesia I don’t know that any let alone most of them arrive into Indonesia by air. Or at least not by air via the international airports where my guess is they’d almost certainly be taken and interred as you say happens wherever they declare themselves to be refugees. Or are we saying that they bribe the Indonesian authorities to obtain tourist visas perhaps? None of that part of the equation is very clear to me, and nor am I convinced on the face of the matter how it might be pertinent.

              One thing seems certain, and that’s that we’re under-informed as much as mis-informed given Abbott and Morrison’s delightful “operational security” ruse!


              • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumppXVI) February 20, 2014 at 11:10 am #


                The item is paywalled, and as a consequence I have not read it. I’m just putting the tweet here in case someone has a subscription. The item does claim a UN source for figures it presumably quotes.

                It seems as if it might be of relevance as to the extent that Indonesia in its own right is seen as a destination country by AS, as distinct from a stepping-stone to country of choice, Australia.


                • paul walter February 20, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

                  Also, frequency of boat transits slows down during the monsoon season, for obvious reasons,

                  One of these day the Australian, having disdained the truth for so long it no longer recognises it, will inadvertently tell it without
                  realising it.


                • hudsongodfrey February 20, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

                  I think most would accept the contention you made in your last paragraph. As to whether the Australian’s interpretation is reliable, I regard them as a biassed source on this subject. If the UN data is available we’ll see what it says hopefully when other more impartial sources dig into it. It could as Allen mentions just be the monsoon season.


                  • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumppXVI) February 20, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

                    Key words were ‘arriving in Indonesia’. Implies there exists some means of identification of arrivals as AS on entry into Indonesia, if item is using language correctly.


                    • hudsongodfrey February 20, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

                      Fair point granted of course that such means are not described…. Draw your own conclusions I guess


                    • paul walter February 20, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

                      Yep, a tangled agglomeration of mealy- mouthed, Machiavellian bunkum.

                      Makes Sir Humphrey and Urquhart combined look like boy scouts when it comes to the Black Arts of conscious language manipulation, these times.


            • allenmcmahon February 19, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

              ‘Those present in Indonesia before attempting entry to Australia by boat do not declare themselves to Indonesian authorities as refugees. Were they to do so they would be interned by the Indonesians.’

              There are 10,000 asylum seekers in UNHCR camps in Indonesia and the camps are at full capacity. It is estimated there are another 15,000 unregistered asylum seekers in Indonesia and Indonesia does not want them there after they run out of money to bribe the local authorities. They either get imprisoned where families are separated or attempt to get to Australia.

              The UNHCR only processed 600 refugee applications in 2012 so it would take 15 years to process only those in the camps.

              While some asylum seekers arrive in Indonesia by plane most come by boat from Malaysia where again the camps are full. A significant number of the people I have met that came this way have been told to leave or they will be imprisoned and separated from their families.

              In the past by Malaysia and Indonesia, both poor countries, did not mind asylum seekers traveling through their countries as they were able to pay their way. Now that the money is running out they don’t want them and these people have little in the way of options,most cannot return home to face persecution and they either attempt to come to Australia of face imprisonment in conditions worse than our offshore concentration camps.

              The numbers or boats have reduced substantially but part of that is due to the monsoon where the weather conditions make the journey far more dangerous that at other times of the year. That any are making the attempt shows just how desperate they are. By late March when conditions improve I expect the number of boats to increase.

              Morrison and Abbott are trying to make conditions as harsh as possible but for most of the asylum seekers the worst Australia can do is far better than the alternatives that they would face. This is evidenced by a voluntary rate is only around 1.5% despite the abysmal conditions of our offshore concentration camps.

              The UNHCR warned that they had concerns for the safety of asylum seekers sent to Manus Island and Nauru and we are seeing the evidence of this now.

              Our government is facilitating to torture and murder of these people and the majority of Australians care less for asylum seekers than they do for sharks or livestock.

              Australians in the main are quite happy to be led by lying sociopaths because they think it is in their our own self interest. What a pathetic and venial lot we are.


              • doug quixote February 19, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

                Thank you for that Allen. Desperate people do desperate things, and those stuck in Malaysia and Indonesia will be increasingly unwelcome, unhappy and oppressed; probably to the point where there will be violence and atrocities to make Manus Island look like a picnic.

                It seems there has to be a major disaster before the civilised world reacts with commensurate measures.


                • hudsongodfrey February 19, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

                  What did Gandhi say about Western Civilisation again?


              • hudsongodfrey February 19, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

                Thanks Allen, Some of this I know well enough from my own research to concur with, the figures are fuzzy and vary a bit from place to place, but you sound really well informed. It’s one of the better things about wondering aloud on the internet that someone occasionally shines a light into the gaps your questions create.

                The amount of time and the slowness (clunky word but you could hardly call it speed), of processing is a real worry. And if as I suspect our own processing is often designed specifically to deflect claims then we’re really going to be up against it as I suspect we have been with both the Indonesians and attitudes within our own immigration department for some time.

                The only thing I’d vary in your post is to add that for the percentage of Australians who are happy to be led by “lying sociopaths” it’s okay to state that their motives relate to a distaste for being confronted with the moral bankruptcy of their own entitled racist bigotry. We can’t start to change it unless we acknowledge the disease that the dog whistle has resurrected.


                • allenmcmahon February 19, 2014 at 11:22 pm #

                  Hudson, In 2012 Sweden, with a population of 9.5 million, processed 46,000 asylum claims and 90% were processed within 3 months. They are not detained and can stay with family or friends. They can also stay in open centers provided they attend language classes and appointments.

                  In 2012 we had 15,700 Asylum seekers and most were detained for a minimum of four months before being released into the community and on average a permanent protection visa took twelve months at least and many are still in limbo on bridging visas.

                  The UNHCR process is slow because of the sheer number of refugees and inadequate funding. Last year the UNHCR had a budget of $5 billion to support 35 million refugees. In comparison last year we spent a similar amount on 20 thousand asylum seekers.

                  Offshore detention in Manus Island, Nauru and Christmas Island costs $570,000 per person per year. Detention in remote centers in Australian costs $250,000 per year and $100,000 per year in suburban centers. In the community the cost is $38,000 per year.

                  Seeking asylum is not illegal and there is no such thing as and orderly queue.

                  Our government is fully aware of this and the information is on the Parliamentary website.



                  • hudsongodfrey February 20, 2014 at 12:10 am #

                    Allen, another good post full of information some of which I knew, and the Sweden stuff in particular which I did not. Their figures actually dovetail pretty closely with the figures I think there’s precedent for in Australia. It’s a simple set of per capita calculations that suggest we took around 20,000 per annum during the 1950’s and similar numbers again during the 1980’s but the population was much smaller at either of those times so numbers ranging upwards of 60,000 pa shouldn’t be nearly out of the question today.

                    So I’m with you on this most of the way, but there’s an issue and I’ll come to it presently.

                    I wanted first to take an aside and describe another story I read about the other week about an amazing initiative to get rid of homelessness in Utah by giving people homes with no strings attached. Now obviously they’re very religious there and I can see that part way might motivate this. I’m not religious, but I’ll give credit where it’s due, and they also justified this economically. On their figures it cost around $16,000 to manage homeless people in shelters with the additional medical attention and other support issues they have, yet only $11,000 to provide accommodation. They’re claiming they’ll have ended homelessness in their State by 2015.

                    The figures and the logic you’re putting forward resonate with that kind of thinking, but the problem I keep coming back to is the statement you made that “there is no such thing as an orderly queue”,

                    Now if you mean that there’s no queue because we don’t allow one to exist then sure, I’ve mistaken your meaning. As with the issue of processing the whole landscape changes if you’re motivated differently to the way we are now.

                    But in premising that phrase with something about seeking asylum not being illegal, which I know and agree is true, there is nevertheless a note of discord with the impression you give of Sweden where I feel sure that there’s an orderly process.

                    Where I think we’re at quite simply is that we have a populace, an electorate, here in this country that has been given permission by dog whistle politics to abandon humanitarian sentiments in favor of naked antipathy towards displaced people in need of some kind of help. It’s the Howard “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come” line that basically privileges Australians to deny the privilege of basic decency to others based on an accident of birth.

                    It may be a morally reprehensible position we’re ashamed to find our countrymen taking but to us falls the challenge of persuading them of as much and as such to do otherwise. That’s why I keep saying the case for refugees comes down to processing offshore by which I really only mean at the regional source, not in Aussie-bilt Stalags, to obviate the need of dangerous boat journeys. And it come down to numbers stating how many we’re persuading people to allow us to authorise taking in, and making quiet sure it isn’t infinity.

                    Maybe the people in Utah will change hearts and minds. I feel sure that Martin Luther King and Gandhi did so also. From where i sit we have neither we’ve Adenoid Abbot and Hermann Morrison. It’s an uphill battle from here and making a pragmatic effort to do our part may at least elevate us to the level of Sweden…. Marilyn’s bombarding us with figures like 60,000 per day that I simply don’t think we can hope to respond to in the sense in which I think you and I are addressing ourselves to this issue. If we even try to go there politically I think we’re sunk because those numbers infer the very “Yellow Peril” like scenarios that the bigots, racists and rednecks are alluding to…..

                    And Yes, the names Adenoid Abbott and Hermann Morrison probably do violate Godwin’s law, in jest


                    • allenmcmahon February 20, 2014 at 10:52 pm #

                      In 2012 A town in rural NSW needed to increase the number of school age children to keep their school open. They provided offered 4 families, including 2 refugee families with houses at a rental rate of $1 per week. Saved the school provided employment for 4 families and everybody was a winner.

                      In 2011-12 we issued 125,000 people from overseas with 457 work visas. We currently have 33,000 asylum seekers with no work rights who could be filling some of these jobs that Australians just don’t want. Go figure.


                    • hudsongodfrey February 20, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

                      Exactly, and Doug can hopefully back me up that Bob Ellis pointed this out up to two or three years ago. At the time he kept banging on, as is his way, about Japanese Sushi waiters or some such thing, but it was essentially the same point.

                      There’s a problem obviously with linking people’s refugee status with their skill set, but I think we have to also acknowledge that refugees who are resettled here become migrants and there’s a long and well established history of their capacity to become great citizens of this country and others.


                  • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumppXVI) February 20, 2014 at 7:33 am #


                    Do you have figures for Swedish migration intakes, as distinct from its asylum seeker intake?

                    Likewise, what has been the asylum seeker comparison with migration intake for Australia over recent years?


                    • Di Pearton February 20, 2014 at 7:59 am #

                      I am interested to learn how much support immigrants, and the areas they eventually settle in, are given in Sweden. That is where we need to be spending a great deal of money and time. These are often traumatised people, and they move into poor socioeconomic areas where schools and services are stretched.


                    • allenmcmahon February 20, 2014 at 10:36 pm #


                      Migrant intake is 36,000 and the total with asylum seekers in 2012 was 82,597.


                    • allenmcmahon February 20, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

                      Our intake was increased by Labor to 20,000 and reduced again by the LNP to 13,600 but we deduct asylum seekers from the total so we have taken virtually no refugees since 2012.


                    • allenmcmahon February 20, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

                      In Sweden the government pays for the rental accommodation of refugees and gives a single adult 71 krone (AUD $12.10) per day as a living allowance. Couples get 61k each and children between 37-50 k depending on age.Adults get emergency medical and dental care. After they have paid a maximum of 400k they covered for GP visits and medication. Children get full medical cover and all school expenses paid.


                  • doug quixote February 20, 2014 at 10:00 am #

                    The situation in Sweden is now such that there are rumblings against their level of admissions. “The Go Away We Are Full” sign has not yet been raised, but it might be.


                    • allenmcmahon February 20, 2014 at 11:07 pm #


                      The fascist right is definitely growing in Sweden but the bizarre thing about the 2013 riots was that numbers of refugees with permanent visas who were demonstrating against more new arrivals. Sweden upped its intake of asylum seekers to 50,000 in 2013 and then accepted another 8,000 from Syria.
                      Australia, generous as ever. agreed to take 500 from Syria.


                    • doug quixote February 21, 2014 at 12:01 am #

                      Yes, once a refugee is “in” the temptation is to pull up the drawbridge.

                      Of course, some of it is fear that their former oppressors might follow them in, as may well happen with regime change in their former countries.

                      As a current example, the fall of the Assad regime in Syria would see thousands of new refugees fleeing into neighbouring countries, probably Lebanon, and through Turkey into Iran, a friend and ally of the current regime.

                      Those who have fled into Turkey may be a little nervous about Alawites following them into Turkey.


                  • doug quixote February 20, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

                    I think your cost figures are a little misleading, in that it appears to include capital costs as if that were referable to the current detainees.

                    This article suggests that the cost is more like $120,000 per detainee :


                    Since its policy view is left wing it is unlikely to be trying to minimise the costs.

                    Later in the same article :

                    “A 2011 UNHCR expert report estimated the cost of mandatory detention to be $339 per asylum seeker per day. By contrast, the cost of community processing was estimated at between $7 and $39 per asylum seeker a day, depending on the level of government support provided. These figures are consistent with government information which places payments under the Asylum Seeker Assistance scheme at $438.41 per person per fortnight, or $31 a day.

                    $339 per asylum seeker per day is about $123,000 per year.

                    A lot, but not $570,000.


                    • allenmcmahon February 20, 2014 at 10:31 pm #


                      The figures you cite are the costs for asylum seekers in mainland suburban detention centers. Inverbrackie APOD in Adelaide has on average 350 people and the running costs are $46 million per year. My figure of $570,000 relates to offshore detention in Manus Island, Christmas Island and Nauru.

                      If we take Manus for example we pay the PNG government $420 million per annum just for having the asylum seekers there. To this you have to add around 800 staff, of which 650 are from Australia earning in excess of $80,000 per annum. The accommodation barge for staff is leased at a cost of $21 million per year. All food, drinking water and consumables are shipped in from Australia. Drinking water alone uses 80 shipping containers per month.

                      The same logistics apply to Christmas Island and Nauru. On Nauru we also pay a visa fee of $1,000 per month per detainee for the 850 asylum seekers there.

                      If we include the running costs just for the ships involved in Operation Sovereign borders add another $650,000 per day.

                      We currently have more than 4,000 people in remote detention and another 6,000 in a mix of remote and suburban mainland detention centers and in community detention houses.


                    • doug quixote February 21, 2014 at 12:06 am #

                      Of course, the hope Abbott and Morrison have is that the cost per asylum seeker will be $500 million each!

                      That is, the one or two who misguidedly wander in will share the billion dollars they are throwing at this storm in a teacup.

                      I hope the Australian people will call them to account sooner rather than later.


        • Jennifer Wilson February 19, 2014 at 10:00 am #

          🙂 xx


          • paul walter February 19, 2014 at 11:52 pm #



  10. gerard oosterman February 19, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    Especially considering the events on Manus Island the last couple of days. How does stealing or spending other peoples’ money compare with the genocidal tactics by Morrison and Abbott in slowly demolishing the only dignity and last vestige that thousands of people still might have; a hope of being able to be accepted as human beings by others. Oh, how Goebbels must be smiling. How a delicious victory for them of having convinced a nation, this is all done under the guise of saving them from drowning.


    • Jennifer Wilson February 19, 2014 at 10:00 am #

      *All done under the guise of saving them from drowning* Exactly, Gerard. Despicable.


      • brickbob February 23, 2014 at 10:44 am #

        The minister will forever be known as the Morrison The Murderer.””


        • doctorrob54 February 25, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

          And that’s what he is,it makes me almost vomit to think he and abbott regard themselves as Christians.Gerard has said it all for me also,Hitler was also a catholic you know.


  11. paul walter February 28, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    Best article yet on the Campbell Conroy event from Ben Eltham at New Matilda,
    “Operational Security Is A Charade.

    It important to understand how destabilising for Australia it has become, this politicisation of the military and people movements has become.. the dead reach out for us.


  12. April 24, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    Your focus should be providing value so don’t lead with your website link or call to action. Some of the dance numbers are included in the storyline of the movies to entertain the masses. If it was then the speed you are running at is likely working for your vision.


  13. Alan June 21, 2014 at 12:10 am #

    The writer of this article is a politically correct idiot.


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