Let us not forget

28 Apr

Asylum in Australia

 

As we are dragged kicking and screaming into interminable weeks of sickening electioneering that will, yet again, have asylum seekers and refugees as one of its core bones of contention, let us not forget these facts.

Australia is a signatory to the UNHCR Refugee Convention.

This is an invitation to asylum seekers to request sanctuary in this country. They are not breaking any law by responding to an invitation we extend.

The manner of their arrival is irrelevant. There is nothing in the Convention stating that those seeking asylum in this country or any other, must not be waterborne.

The UNHCR requires that signatories to the Convention ensure domestic legislation is compatible with the undertakings of the Convention.

Successive governments have justified the indefinite and off-shore detention of asylum seekers and refugees by claiming that refusing them sanctuary in Australia breaks a “people smuggling business model” in which those seeking to exploit asylum seekers take their money, in return for the false promise of resettlement in Australia.

Allegedly with the objective of discouraging asylum seekers from embarking on perilous journeys and so preventing them drowning at sea, successive Australian governments have accepted the physical, mental and emotional assault of asylum seekers and refugees, the rape of asylum seekers and refugees, including the raping, assault and complex deprivation of their children; the destruction of the mental health of children, the murder of asylum seekers and refugees, their indefinite detention, their self-harm, their severe mental deterioration, and their refoulement.

In short, successive Australian governments have justified torture by claiming it will prevent death.

The subjects of this ongoing legitimised human experimentation performed by successive Australian governments are people who have legally sought sanctuary in this country. Many of them have been assessed as refugees.

As the PNG Supreme Court has now decided, off-shore detention of refugees on Manus Island is illegal. This means that successive Australian governments have committed illegal acts against innocent people. We’ve always known this. It’s taken the PNG Supreme Court to articulate our criminality.

And let us not forget that on top of the billions already spent on detaining legal seekers of asylum, we face a possible $1billion in claims for false imprisonment now the Manus deal has so spectacularly collapsed.

It’s difficult to feel anything other than the most profound contempt for the politicians who are responsible for this situation. As we endure the endless weeks of their ghastly clamourings for our vote, let us not forget that they have brought us to this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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68 Responses to “Let us not forget”

  1. doug quixote April 28, 2016 at 5:22 pm #

    The entire affair is a disgrace. Abbott & Morrison swept it all under the carpet for two years, as a mostly uncaring public let them do it. Turnbull’s administration is now reaping the results.

    It is now up to us and those parts of the media with any conscience to rub the government’s nose in it.

    They must bring all the inmates of Manus Island to Australia straight away.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Arthur Baker April 28, 2016 at 5:54 pm #

    I have to say there’s a distinct schadenfreude element dominating my thoughts right now. After churning out the “illegal” taunt for so many years, how does it feel now, you Liberal dickheads, to be illegal yourselves?

    But then you come back to reality. Which is that about 800 people, currently detained on Manus, will inevitably be HURT even further by this government’s next move. Where will they go? Christmas Island? More trauma. Nauru? More trauma. Refouled back to their countries of origin, in defiance of international law? More trauma. Some other shithole like Cambodia, where we paid $55 million to resettle five people, and four of them have since buggered off? More trauma.

    And will the Labor Party, if by some miracle it wins the election, be any better? No it won’t. Their policies are a unity ticket with the Liberal dickheads. They stand accused just as the Liberals are.

    I dream of the day when the perpetrators of this nightmare, both Liberal and Labor, will stand in the dock of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, charged with crimes against humanity. My only wish is to live long enough to see that.

    Like

    • townsvilleblog April 28, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

      and lets not forget this item which the LNP have not acted on in 5 months, to alter legislation to cancel the loop holes:
      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-17/almost-600-companies-did-not-pay-tax-in-2013-14/7036324

      Like

    • doug quixote April 28, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

      “Will Labor be any better” is an interesting question.

      But one guarantee I will give you now is that a re-elected Liberal government will give you more of the same.

      The only hope you have for change is a change of government.

      Like

      • Marilyn April 28, 2016 at 7:24 pm #

        Richard Marles said yesterday it’s the greatest public policy success in history and it will be kept and Needledick Shorten says he is as evil as Truffles and will continue to be.

        Lest we forget the ALP started all this with the prisons, the refouling of Vietnamese to China without process and all the other atrocities along the way.

        Like

        • doug quixote April 28, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

          Yes; he would say that, wouldn’t he.

          The polling shows that the voters have swallowed the propaganda. It would be political suicide to say otherwise.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Marilyn April 29, 2016 at 1:05 am #

            Who fucking cares about the fucking politics, it’s about human beings being illegal trafficked and jailed, fair dinkum partisan morons drive me insane.,

            Liked by 1 person

            • Jennifer Wilson April 29, 2016 at 7:27 am #

              I agree with Marilyn: both major parties have blood on their hands.

              Like

            • doug quixote April 29, 2016 at 8:02 am #

              It is one issue. You are a one issue person. Political parties which seek to govern must get themselves across all the issues: the economy, education, health, trade, employment, defence, the arts and culture, science, welfare and social services – as well as asylum seeker issues.

              This is a tough issue and one all parties – and nations – have struggled with for decades. The major parties must find a policy which is acceptable to the majority of citizens.

              Bloody handed or not. Sometimes blood is inevitable.

              Liked by 1 person

              • paul walter April 29, 2016 at 8:28 am #

                Blood is inevitable even desirable in the construct of psychodramas.

                I agree with you as to Marilyn in the following respect.. Marilyn, stop trying to fob the Coalition’s responsibilities off onto the ALP.. you know full well this thriving issue is largely to do with stuff from the Howard era abuse of detention law, that the country has been saddled with ever since and you know the resons why.

                Give us a break and stop trying to swing it all back onto Labor, eh?

                Liked by 1 person

                • Jennifer Wilson April 29, 2016 at 11:13 am #

                  Um, except it was the Keating government that dreamed up hell holes in the desert as suitable depositories for those seeking asylum, PW. There’s blood everywhere you look in this disgrace.

                  Like

              • Jennifer Wilson April 29, 2016 at 11:10 am #

                There is too much damn blood. Politicians are vampires: they need blood to survive.

                Like

              • Marilyn April 29, 2016 at 7:41 pm #

                Well next time I hope it is your fucking blood, how dare you be so racist and cavalier about the lives of innocent humans slaughtered by us.

                Like

  3. Marilyn April 28, 2016 at 7:41 pm #

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/australia-ignored-its-own-medical-experts-pleas-to-bring-nauru-rape-victim-here-20160428-goh30z.html And here at last we get one of the torturers named in the court.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. paul walter April 28, 2016 at 8:42 pm #

    That is as good as anything you will write, Jennifer Wilson.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. paul walter April 28, 2016 at 9:49 pm #

    Here is a straightforward article from New Matilda that relates this posting to the most basic underpinnings of civilisation, by way of a contrast between a functional rather than compromised legal system.

    Whether all academic lawyers would agree, am not sure. The writer is a lawyer working with Maurice Blackburn.

    https://newmatilda.com/2016/04/28/explainer-what-png-high-court-decision-can-teach-us-about-law-and-justice/

    Liked by 1 person

  6. doug quixote April 28, 2016 at 10:44 pm #

    Straightforward but wrong. The reason is that the persons detained in PNG were not at any time trying to enter PNG for asylum or for anything else.

    It is as if Mexicans entering USA were rounded up by the USA and sent to Australia for detention.

    In those circumstances our Courts, construing the Immigration Act implementing the Refugee Convention would similarly require the USA to remove its detainees.

    Liked by 1 person

    • paul walter April 28, 2016 at 11:13 pm #

      That’s from one lawyer to another?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Arthur Baker April 29, 2016 at 7:54 am #

    Good article in this morning’s SMH by Waleed Aly, who as always nails it, blaming both major parties for the gross failings of Australia’s refugee policies:

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/the-monstrous-failure-of-our-bipartisan-asylum-seeker-policy-20160427-gogrhn.html

    I particularly liked this paragraph:

    “They’re there because “stop the boats” – in truth a bipartisan slogan – only ever masked a question we could never answer: what happens to these people? What happens to the ones who don’t die at sea, or the ones we convince to return home? Do they die elsewhere? We don’t really know because the minute they aren’t on boats headed for us, they cease to exist. And as far as we’re concerned, their misery doesn’t exist either.”

    I’ve been making this point for years now – that what I call SLASH (the Saving Lives At Sea Humbug) is arguably the biggest stinking heap of batshit disingenuousness in current Australian politics. As if all those people who don’t arrive by boat these days are happily living fulfilling lives in a safe, secure place where they can live and work legally and get their kids educated and have a future.

    And time after time, day after day, our lazy journalists let them get away with the SLASH, utterly failing to challenge the bullshit that tumbles out of the mouths of Dutton, Marles, Turnbull and others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • helvityni April 29, 2016 at 8:43 am #

      Arthur Baker, Indeed Waleed Aly nails it when he blames both major parties for the failings of Australia’s refugee policies….

      Why are the parties behaving in this fashion. Simple, the majority of Australian people DON’T want asylum seekers here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arthur Baker April 29, 2016 at 9:18 am #

        Helvityni, if you are correct that “the majority of Australian people DON’T want asylum seekers here” (and I don’t necessarily agree with you, but let’s assume for the moment that you are right, for the purposes of this discussion), then why hasn’t any Australian government simply stood up and said that out loud and taken the honest course of action, which would be to withdraw from the UN Refugee Convention?

        That document, with our signature on it since 1954, has effectively been this country’s standing invitation to anyone who claims to be a refugee, for more than 60 years now, to come and have their claim investigated. Any and all Prime Ministers since Menzies could have withdrawn, at any time in the last six decades. But no-one has. Do you ever ask yourself why? It’s not as if it’s a difficult process – simply a unilateral declaration, a formal notification to the UN, wait 12 months, and you’re out.

        But they won’t do it. It’s not that I’m recommending they do, but I’m just commenting that even those who are most strident in their rejection of people who arrive in response to our standing invitation NEVER even suggest what you’d think would be the obvious course of action. You don’t want asylum seekers? And the majority of your population don’t want them either? You’d think the first step would be to withdraw the standing invitation.

        Theories, anyone? I have a few, but I’d just like to see what others think.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson April 29, 2016 at 11:16 am #

          Several years ago I wrote a piece for Online Opinion in which I said this very thing: why are we still signatories to the Convention when our intention is to ignore our obligations?
          We’re trapped in two worlds: the one in which we are good global citizens while at the same time breaking all our commitments. We’re dysfunctional, as is the rest of the world. We don’t walk the talk and we should be in the Hague for it, but we won’t be.

          Like

        • Sam Jandwich April 29, 2016 at 11:19 am #

          Probably because “it’s better to seek forgiveness than ask permission” – another example of a bipartisan slogan.

          What I think’s interesting is how similar the SLASH argument (great acronym!) is to the positions ex-pound-ed upon by our friend MTR, ie, “young people might be harmed by sex education, so let’s just tell them they shouldn’t have sex”. Of course it’s tragic that people die at sea, but it would seem to me the chance of having a decent life is something that’s worth risking your life for. Isn’t that what the ANZACs did after all? What could be more Australian?

          Ultimately I just can’t see that there could possibly be anything wrong with just opening up all borders. Not just because it’s humane but also, surely if we support free trade then that would intrinsically entail supporting free migration?

          And I sincerely hope this era of restricting migration will only be a blip in human history, for which future generations will look down contemptuously upon us all…

          Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson April 29, 2016 at 11:14 am #

        Yes, Helvi, they only get away with this monstrous cruelty because the majority want it.

        Like

        • helvityni April 29, 2016 at 11:54 am #

          Jennifer,…and that’s why Richard Marles is as hard on asylum seekers as Dutton, they are scared of losing votes if they soften their stance on asylum seekers.

          They are losing voters anyhow, many Labor siders are turning Green.

          Turnbull was hard as nails as he announced that NO ONE, not ONE of the men on Manus is coming to Australia, not even the ones assessed to be genuine.

          “Let’s not get misty eyed.”

          Nobody is talking about those 12,000 Syrians, who were supposed to come here…so far only 26 have arrived. Canada has taken more and promptly.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jennifer Wilson April 29, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

            Yes, what has happened to the 12,000 Syrians I wonder…

            Like

          • Marilyn April 29, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

            And yet Andrew Wilkie got a vastly improved majority after publishing a 2 page piece in the Mercury 2 days before the last election, Peter Andren always increased his vote, Melissa Parke and Judi Moylan both increased votes by standing up for human rights and the Greens got more seats for the same reason.

            It’s a racist lie to say we can do it because the majority like it, what if the majority wanted to kill all people with blue eyes, would you say that’s OK because the majority say so.

            In democracies we don’t get to rule by tyranny of a minority, we have to reflect common law.

            Like

    • Jennifer Wilson April 29, 2016 at 11:08 am #

      Well said, Arthur. The question we could never answer, and most of us never wanted to ask in the first place.

      Like

  8. paul walter April 29, 2016 at 8:22 am #

    Re dq, tailing off, “our courts..would similarly require the US to remove its detainees”.

    This morning carries a remarkable story that Dutton has told the PNG government that they are stuck with the Manus Island refugees, regardless of whether they want this or not.

    Given that we asked them to hold these people in the first place, isn’t this something gobsmacking of arrogance and what will be the effect on our relations with PNG and others in the region?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson April 29, 2016 at 11:12 am #

      Apparently the MOU stated that we were equally responsible for the fate of Manus Island refugees, according to Dutton. PNG deny this. We are now entering a shameful battle with PNG about responsibility. This can only get worse and worse.

      Like

      • Arthur Baker April 29, 2016 at 11:28 am #

        And you can guarantee the only people who will get hurt (*really* hurt, I mean) are the several hundred poor saps currently detained in the Manus gulag. Most of the terminally disingenuous politicians will keep their jobs. Most Australian journalists will continue to fail to ask the awkward questions. And most of the Australian population won’t even notice. Or care.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Marilyn April 29, 2016 at 7:45 pm #

        That’s bullshit because the fucking Supreme court of PNG just said it was illegal. Why don’t our moron media ever ask a fucking question.

        Like

        • paul walter April 29, 2016 at 9:45 pm #

          I’ve a friend in the know who puts the glaring absence of this and stories like it in msm down to “Homeland Security” and censorship.

          Liked by 1 person

    • doug quixote April 29, 2016 at 11:14 am #

      Arguably, the PNG government is bound by its contractual agreements. But you can bet your bottom dollar that the bureaucrats and pollies are negotiating their arses off as we speak.

      Schadenfreude, but its a pity there are so many people who are the collateral damage in this mess.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marilyn April 29, 2016 at 7:46 pm #

        The contract is not legal, there is no way to legally trade humans, why don’t you clowns get that. It’s been outlawed here for 150 yers and we have even had to apologise to the victims of black birding.

        Liked by 1 person

        • paul walter April 29, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

          “Power comes out of the barrel of a gun”- Mao Tse Tung.

          Like

  9. FA April 29, 2016 at 11:09 am #

    I strongly disagree with this. Nobody in detention on Manus Island should ever be settled in Australia. I was turned around on this by having friends and family in the Immigration Department.

    Indeed, the refugee rights movement is the biggest reason this problem has gotten worse over the last two decades. When the department found people were not genuine refugees and should be deported, the endless appeals for them, in most cases on very flimsy grounds, were becoming too costly for the government. That was one of the major political reasons for offshore processing in the first place. The advantage is that it is no longer legally Australia’s problem, and thus the appeals and legal hassle are no longer Australia’s to bare. Similarly, the difficulty in returning people to detention after being brought to Australia for medical attention has meant that the government has quietly moved to massively upgrade the medical facilities at offshore facilities so that no one need be brought to Australia in the future for medical attention.

    When it comes down to it, I’m a nationalist, not a globalist. I believe the nation state is the best way to achieve the greatest happiness for the largest number of people. I believe a democratic republic can only work with generally agreed upon values and a shared culture. In order to do that, you must control borders. Yes, we should help people where and when we can, but ultimately our resources are limited and Australians *must* come first. To put it another way, we can have open immigration or welfare. We cannot have both. Further, as someone who was not a fan of Rudd’s ‘Big Australia’, I’d also like to see a massive decrease in other kinds of immigration. (In particular, the skilled migration program. I see it as unethical to bring in doctors and engineers from underdeveloped countries to meet skill shortages here, when their skills are far more needed in their countries of origin.)

    When it comes to these particular people in detention, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. There has been a notable shift in what counts as a “well-founded fear of persecution” over the years. Today, it is far less likely to mean real fear of violence, and rather fear of having one’s feelings hurt. There is also increasing evidence of abuse of the system. More common in some demographics than others, but things like people being granted asylum in Australia, and then almost immediately leaving Australia and returning to the country they were supposed to be fleeing (there are economic reasons it is advantageous to do this). The hardest people to get rid of are the ones we know to be criminal. Their countries of origin don’t want them back, and no other country wants them either, and releasing them into the community isn’t an option. What do you do with them? There’s also big pressure from Sydney and Melbourne to stop the ghettoisation of parts of their cities. The department tries its best to place people in parts of the country where people are needed, but they invariably quickly move to Sydney or Melbourne to live among people more like them. When it comes down to it, the question isn’t about these 850, but the next group. A hardline on refusing to settle uninvited people in Australia absolutely reduces the number who come uninvited, and frees up resources to help others who don’t have the opportunity even for that.

    There are many things wrong with the government’s policy on immigration. The militarisation of part of the Department, the cuts to assimilation programs. One of the biggest the people I know worry about is that a huge amount of corporate knowledge is being lost in the aftermath of the merger with Customs and that Mike Pezzullo likes to be surrounded with Yes Men. The mistakes of the past are going to be made again because the people who remember why processes were changed aren’t there anymore, and the newbies have an efficiency dividend to meet every year.

    But, I absolutely will not buy the claimed moral superiority of those who think everyone who comes to Australia, by whatever means, has to be settled here. The best analogy is a lifeboat. Yes, we can overload the boat a little, but too many and it will sink and we all die. I think Australia, for all it’s faults, is great, and worth preserving and fighting for. We absolutely need a line somewhere. The only real argument is about where that line should be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson April 29, 2016 at 11:34 am #

      I don’t think everyone who arrives here by whatever means is entitled to resettlement. I believe in the process of assessment, and returning those who aren’t refugees.
      It isn’t possible to ignore the scapegoating of people who arrive by boat while we largely accept those who arrive by plane. What is the reason and justification for this?
      I’m a cosmopolitan, I don’t favour the nation state and sovereignty. Both are the consequence of an arbitrary carve up by colonialists, and the consequences of these arbitrary actions, particularly in the Middle East, are what are causing many of our current problems.

      I don’t share your faith in the Immigration Dept and its decisions: it’s become increasingly clear that the culture within that department is toxic, its decisions arbitrary, and many of its employees, as evidenced by the recent stories on the death of Hamid Khazael, acting in callous and ignorant ways. The secrecy in which the department has become enveloped is good enough reason for anyone to question its practices and such secrecy should not exist in a democracy such as the Australia you think worth fighting for. It’s institutions such as the Immigration Dept that are destroying this country and everything good about us, not asylum seekers.

      The enemies of this country are not without but within, IMO. I’m powerfully ashamed of the way this country deals with refugees and asylum seekers, and the lies, obfuscations, manipulations and dysfunctions employed by politicians, increasingly on every topic, not just asylum seekers.

      Like

      • FA April 29, 2016 at 2:27 pm #

        Is it scapegoating? Most of the people left on Manus are people who came during the Rudd/Gillard years. I understand around half have been found to be genuine refugees, but as the Immigration Department isn’t responsible for assessing them anymore (offshore processing also means that’s been outsourced), we really have no way of knowing how reliable those assessments are. There have, apparently, been cases of fraud, where outsourced companies were producing fake assessments for money that were later (by accident) caught by Immigration staff.

        I think the pull and push factors that affect migration are both important to address.

        I’m certainly no fan of starting wars, which causes the push factors. Although, Douglas Murray makes a good case for the neo-con position of using military force to spread liberty. I think we’d be in a better place if the United States had been prepared to treat Iraq and Afghanistan as conquered vassal states (or not entered at all).

        Australia does spend a lot on addressing pull factors. For example, advertising in source countries that Australia will not settle people who come here illegally. Other countries are starting to do this too, like Austria. The recent European experience has shown that many migrants have wildly exaggerated expectations of what life is like in the West. Indeed, I’ve heard many stories of settled people calling the Immigration Department demanding to know where they could get things like free orthodontal care for their children. This is where Merkel failed, and where Rudd failed. You cannot appear to be a soft touch; you’ll get taken advantage of.

        Having said that, I do accept that no country wants any of the people remaining on Manus (or Nauru). Really that is the main reason most have remained in detention for so long. We have a good idea of who they are, and we can’t get anyone to take them, precisely because we know who they are. So, as I said, it’s not about these 850, but the next lot that will come if we give the appearance of being easy to push around.

        Like

    • Arthur Baker April 29, 2016 at 11:44 am #

      “But, I absolutely will not buy the claimed moral superiority of those who think everyone who comes to Australia, by whatever means, has to be settled here.”

      But, FA, that’s not what most Australian advocates for refugees are in fact claiming. What I claim is no more than “if you make a promise, you should keep it”. My mother taught me that, before I was seven years old.

      Our promise is our signature on the UN Refugee Convention, whereby we promised to consider claims to refugee status if people turned up, by whatever mode of transport. (Notice, no mention of where such people are to be resettled if they can prove their claims, that’s a different consideration. “Give them protection” is what the document says.)

      Plainly that’s not being done now. Politicians who no longer like the promise we made should do the honest thing and formally say it no longer applies.

      Let me tell you what I “absolutely will not buy”: politicians who knowingly break the promise we made, yet still turn around and swear on a stack of bibles that we are fulfilling all our international treaty obligations. That’s batshit, and they know it, but they still churn it out, daily it seems, to an unquestioning fourth estate and an uncaring populace.

      Liked by 1 person

      • FA April 29, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

        I would have no problem with Australia withdrawing from the refugee convention. I have a low opinion of the United Nations generally, especially while Saudi Arabia is head of the human rights council.

        Again, that problem is got around by having off shore processing in the first place. The letter, if not the spirit, of the convention. While I’m not a lawyer, Article 31 of the convention would, it seems to me, give some leeway to the government here in any case. No idea how international law has interpreted this.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson April 29, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

          I will have to re-read Article 31, FA, and get back to you.
          We will never withdraw from the Refugee Convention. We’d lose too much face.
          But I do think it needs to be re written, as DQ suggests.

          Like

        • doug quixote April 29, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

          “Directly” is the important word.

          31. The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of Article 1, enter or are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present
          themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence.

          The asylum seekers who turn up here have transited through other countries. They have not come directly from the territory where they were persecuted.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Arthur Baker April 29, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

            Almost certainly, the other countries through which they have transited en route to Australia were not signatories to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention. Australian and international law recognises that such countries are incapable or unwilling (often both) to deal with asylum claims under the Convention, and so their transit through such countries is irrelevant and therefore ignored.

            Please post a list of Convention signatories which lie geographically between, say, Afghanistan and Australia. Then you’ll see what I mean.

            Like

          • Marilyn April 29, 2016 at 10:56 pm #

            That lie we use to jusify it all was debunked years ago. Let me show you before you prove to be more moronic

            Senator EGGLESTON—One of the things I noted in the material we have before us is that
            article 31 of the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees prescribes
            the entitlements of:
            … refugees who—
            coming directly—
            note the word ‘directly’—
            from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of article 1 …
            Many of our unauthorised arrivals are Muslims who come through Malaysia or Indonesia. What
            is the legal situation then under this article 31 in terms of coming directly from an area of
            persecution—say, Afghanistan or Iraq?
            Mr Towle—It is a very important question. There is an assumption that asylum seekers should
            really apply for asylum at the first reasonable opportunity. It is not a legal principle at all, but
            there is an assumption that every country should offer protection but that you should not be able
            to forum-shop and travel around the world looking for the best place where you want to end up.
            The problem for Australia is that, between the places of conflict today and where Australia is
            situated down here in the South Pacific, there are very few countries that have signed the refugee
            convention. If you take Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and perhaps Burma to some extent as the
            countries that are really producing refugees these days, you would be hard to put to it to find any
            refugee convention state between those places and Australia. There is nothing in South-East Asia
            at all. UNHCR fills the gap a little in Indonesia, as you know, and in Malaysia, but those”

            Now as not one person has ever been denied asylum because they came through other nations will you shut the fuck up because you make my hair hurt.

            Liked by 1 person

            • doug quixote April 29, 2016 at 11:54 pm #

              I doubt that you have understood any of my posts.

              They do not say what you so feverishly imagine they do.

              Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson April 29, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

        And again, yes.

        Like

    • paul walter April 29, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

      I understand your points, FA, agree we should not have the entire responsibility dumped on us when others far more culpable and powerful duck their responsibilities (think Dick Cheney, et al?).

      But I agree with JW and Arthur Baker that your argument breaks down about the middle paras, I think the “open immigration OR welfare” seems a false binary to me. I am not sure alleviating the misery of a couple of thousand suffering people on Manus and at Nauru needs to be necessarily “open slather” when all could be accomodated with changes to 457 policy and clamps on tax dodging, say.

      Also, a big justification for off shore processing is defeated with the refusal of authorities TO process.

      The wider issue of numbers is not rightly conflated when applied to the special circumstances of those people left in limbo and punished for the tastes of Hansonist Aussies filled with 60 Minutes/ Murdoch/ Alan Jones fear and loathing about Islam and the Middle East, to alibi the wars we inflicted on these people for oil: it has also descended to an appeal to base instincts for political expediency during elections.

      Are you a bit too eager to beleive that asylum seekers are cranky phonies rather than people fleeing actual disasters, disasters imposed for lousy reasons we have been a party to?

      If you are correct, your point has some validity, yet DIMIA/DIMA have found that that the huge majority of these people are bona fide, over time. As I said above, as a blue collar person myself I understand someof your anxieties and applaud you for “having a go”, but think your fears have been raised unreasonably to a less balanced viewpoint, in short you have been circumscribed.

      Now, I will return to the dq posting that instead tries to find a way forward through consideration of modifications to the system that accomodate Australian uncertainty AND attends to the real needs of people like the young fellow we murdered so cruelly, shown on 4 Corners this week.

      Liked by 1 person

      • FA April 29, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

        As I said, I was turned around on this by having friends and family in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The number who aren’t genuine is far larger than the likes of Sarah Hanson-Young would have you believe, particularly more recently, and often, it is ASIO, not Immigration that is the stumbling block. ASIO is responsible for determining if a particular person is dangerous or not, and can take their time, but Immigration typically takes the blame for slow turnarounds.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Arthur Baker April 29, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

          FA, I’m not sure who exactly you mean by “the likes of” Sarah Hanson-Young, but perhaps, if by that you mean Australia’s refugee advocates, that group could possibly include me.

          I don’t know what percentage SHY “would have you believe” are or are not “genuine”, so I’ll stick with what I would have you believe. And I rely not on something I’ve pulled out of the air, nor on anecdotal and unquantified “evidence” from “friends and family”. I rely on solid published research data, found in Australia’s Parliamentary Library.

          It would be good if people who chuck around vague phrases such as “the number who aren’t genuine”, without attaching any specific number and therefore leaving the reader to guess, could read such sources and quote them. That’s what I’ll do.

          Try this one for a start: http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1415/AsylumFacts.

          Scroll down to the section entitled “Are boat arrivals ‘Genuine Refugees’?”. Peruse the table covering boat arrivals in Australia for the 5 financial years 2008-09 to 2012-13.

          Overall Protection Visa Grant rates for those 5 years were 100.0%, 98.8%, 95.3%, 91.3%, 88.0%. Admittedly a declining trend in evidence there, but even in the table listing individual source countries, apart from one notable outlier datum, not a whole lot of numbers below 85%.

          What do you want, FA? 100% throughout? You’re not going to get that.

          Some people who turn up in boats will have heard of the Refugee Convention, others may not have heard of it at all. Not all will be fully informed about its requirements. It seems to me you’re going to get a number of different categories of arrivals:

          1) People who can manage to justify their claims under the (actually quite restrictive) terms of the RC. That has generally been near, and often above, 90%.

          2) People who don’t fall into one of the 5 specific categories required by the RC, but still have a genuine fear of persecution on some other ground if returned to their country of origin. There used to be a provision in Australian law called Complementary Protection for such people, but I think the current government may have abolished it.

          3) People who did genuinely flee in fright, but realise they don’t have a real claim, and might just decide (somewhat apprehensively) to go home.

          4) Chancers. Economic migrants. A bit like the European ancestors of most Australians today. A bit like me, in fact. I came here from England in the early 1970s when my native land was in economic crisis. Australia had no obligation to grant me residence, but I bless the day I was granted just that. These days we just piss such people off. I got lucky. So, probably, did the ancestors of almost everyone you know in this country other than aborigines.

          You think 90% “genuine” isn’t good enough? Get real, or get your own alternative figures from another source. Be sure to read the section of the reference I’ve quoted, where it tells you about the relatively low figures for Protection Visa grants to people arriving (WITH a visa) at Australian airports, and ask yourself why no Australian politician ever talks about that.

          Like

          • FA April 29, 2016 at 2:54 pm #

            Yes, I’m aware of that. I think, from what I understand from “anecdotal and unquantified” evidence from long term staff (40+ years, including a stint in a relatively senior position at the Curtin detention centre), is that those numbers are misleading. Yes, it is true that most people who come to Australia end up being granted a visa. That’s largely because Australia is left with no options. The government knows they aren’t refugees in any sense of the word, but they have no means to get rid of them. Nobody wants them. People who come by air tend to be from countries that are more inclined to take back their nationals if they aren’t found to be genuine (e.g. US citizen claiming asylum from the United States). People who come by boat tend to be from countries who generally don’t want them either.

            And, as in line with other things I’ve said, I’m absolutely on board with more prevention for arrivals by air. (Incidentally, Australia did used to pay more attention to this. Australia had larger presences in trouble spot source countries, and would do checks of documentation, above and beyond what airlines require, before people could get on planes. Fair amount of profiling was done on this, so you might not have noticed it if you didn’t know what to look for.)

            Like

            • Arthur Baker April 29, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

              Oh well, if someone who was in a “relatively” senior position at that paragon of detention-centre management called Curtin says the “numbers are misleading”, I guess we all have to defer to your anecdotal and unquantified “evidence”. Silly me for thinking the published statistics in the Parliamentary Library, researched by somebody who has access to all the official data, might be a tad more reliable.

              “The government knows they aren’t refugees in any sense of the word”. Really? In ANY sense of the word?
              And “they have no means to get rid of them”. Really? NO means?

              That doesn’t tally with the current government’s record. You “fail” the assessment, under the Morrison and Dutton regime, you tend to be on a plane, to somewhere, anywhere, regardless of any possible concerns about breaches of the refoulement rule.

              And under those regimes, even the initial interview process has been subverted and shortened so that if the asylum seeker, whose English may not be all that fluent, or possibly non-existent, doesn’t spout the requisite trigger words to engage Australia’s protection responsibilities in the first few minutes, the process is aborted and marked down to a fail.

              Like

              • FA April 29, 2016 at 5:20 pm #

                Perhaps I could have written that better, but the number of visas granted is not equal to the number of genuine refugees. The department gives the benefit of the doubt in cases were it is doesn’t have sufficient evidence to prove someone is not a refugee. This is particularly affected by the amount of resources that the department has, as better assessments necessitates more work, which means more costs. My point here was that you should not conflate the rate of visas granted with the number of genuine refugees. The rate of visas granted is an imperfect measure of the actual value, and the bias is in one direction only.

                Further, the difficultly the department has in accurately determining refugee status is known to be one of the pull factors that makes people choose to come to Australia in the first place, because they realise they have a fair gamble of being able to pass through the system. Many are obviously coached to say the right things, and some will even openly admit to destroying their documentation on the say so of people smugglers to increase their changes. (That, in and of itself, is insufficient to reject a claim, so is safe to admit.)

                I don’t expect you to believe me on my say so. That would be silly. All I’m saying is that my position changed from being more like yours to my current one the more insider information I got access to.

                As I said in another comment, it’s worse now, because the department doesn’t do the assessments themselves for offshore clients. That’s all been outsourced and that means the usual race to the bottom crap.

                Like

                • Arthur Baker April 30, 2016 at 4:23 am #

                  Fair enough. Can I tentatively suggest that if Morrison and Dutton didn’t spend several billions of dollars a year offshoring those who arrive by boat, and simply processed their claims in Australia, as we originally promised to do, the funds available to the immigration department would be much greater. Very much greater.

                  Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson April 29, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

          If there wasn’t so much secrecy surrounding DIBP it would be better for everyone.

          The problem is, we don’t treat people who’ve been assessed as refugees properly.

          Liked by 1 person

          • FA April 29, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

            Absolutely agree about secrecy. It is a very complicated issue, not helped by the emotional elements.

            It’s also sad that we used to be much better at integration, but the usual cost cutting killed that.

            Like

        • Marilyn April 29, 2016 at 7:53 pm #

          Bullshit, why do you believe the lying clowns in Dics, they have been lying and covering up for years. ASIO are not the problem, the department are and always have been.

          You know there is only a total of 18 hours work actually done on each case don’t you, they just lie and spread it out over many years to help support private companies and pretend that we are being over whelmed.

          And they are all genuine human beings with the genuine legal right to seek asylum.

          But here are the figures for Nauru, you judge who is lying, Hint, – it’s not Sarah.

          Of the 1131 Refugee Status Determination (RSD) hand downs in Nauru, 866 were positive and 265 were negative as at 31 March 2016.

          Now for years the figure for all nations who come by sea has been an average of 94%, those who fly here an average of 30% so who are the fucking liars.

          PS. sorry about swearing Jen, but I loathe lazy liars like this clown.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jennifer Wilson April 30, 2016 at 8:04 am #

            Oh, I just leave everyone to deal with the swearing as they see fit, Marilyn.

            Like

    • Marilyn April 29, 2016 at 7:48 pm #

      Well go and fuck yourself then because you and the scum in the department are wrong. You should be ashamed of believing such arrant nonsense because the law clearly states EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO SEEK ASYLUM.

      Whether or not they get it does not take away the right to seek it and it does not give us the right to trade and traffic in human flesh for racist moron votes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson April 30, 2016 at 8:06 am #

        And, I use the like button as an acknowledgement of the post, not necessarily in agreement with the manner in which the sentiments contained therein are expressed.

        Like

  10. doug quixote April 29, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    I looked online for intelligent views on what reform of the Refugee Convention might look like. The sources appear out of date, but the problems are still the same:

    “It is unlikely that many governments would sign up to the 1951 Refugee Convention today. It is also fairly obvious what a refugee regime designed for the 21st century would comprise.

    It would redefine the notion of refugee to encompass contemporary displacements.

    It would formalise commitment to and strengthen the world response (which has far exceeded the non-refoulement obligations of the Convention) that has developed over the last 20 years to refugee situations, namely emergency assistance in safe havens, temporary protection, repatriation, local integration and resettlement.

    It would focus on groups, not individuals, and on the provision of humanitarian assistance rather than on definition of the quality of persecution.

    It would hold countries responsible and accountable for displacements and impose sanctions as well as provide support for reconstruction and reintegration.

    It would guarantee rights for displaced persons and direct resources to where they are most needed.

    It would oblige states to contribute and particularly to assist countries of first asylum, while allowing for flexibility of approach to different situations and from different countries. (Canada and Australia might resettle refugees while Japan might contribute more in direct funds.)”

    [reformatted from]

    http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp0001/01RP05

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn April 29, 2016 at 10:58 pm #

      There is no such thing as countries of first asylum and there simply never has been, that is the racist lie the nazi west tell ourselves to get out of the conventions we wrote.

      Liked by 1 person

      • helvityni April 30, 2016 at 6:52 am #

        …and now Mal and Mutton will not let those poor bastards to go to NZ.

        What monsters do we have elected to lead us.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. paul walter April 29, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

    Underlying issues:

    A contributor name Kyran dug up an unpleasantly pertinent story this morning in response to a remark of mine of mine concerning an earlier post from someone else at a parallel thread there.

    http://www.businessinsider.com.au/detention-centre-operator-broadspectrum-says-yes-ferrovial-takeover-after-manus-island-ruling-2016-4

    Peel away the bandage and the smell can be raw?

    Like

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