Ranjini turned up for a routine catch-up with her caseworker only to be told she was deemed a security risk and that she and her young sons would be detained indefinitely. Days later she found out she was pregnant.
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Paul Keating this month reflected on his determination as Prime Minister 'to establish a new and durable' relationship with Indonesia' and lamented the Australian media and his predecessors' preoccupation with human rights abuses in East Timor.
'While I do think Papuan independence is inconceivable, greater autonomy is not, and it ought not be.
President Yudhoyono said early this year that he was willing to have dialogue with Papuans to solve the longest unresolved conflict in our region. Australia should put its weight behind any dialogue initiative.
Now is the time for such a stand because Yudhoyono will leave office in two years. His successor might not be open to the same path.'
Fr Frank Brennan SJ is professor of law, director of strategic research projects (social justice and ethics), Australian Catholic University, adjunct professor at the College of Law and the National Centre for Indigenous Studies, Australian National University. This article is taken from Fr Brennan's speech last night at the launch of Joel Hodge's Resisting Violence and Victimisation.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard launches the Government's Asian Century white paper and pledges to increase the focus on students learning a priority language from the region.
'The policy document sets out 25 objectives for Australia to take advantage of the Asian boom by 2025 which are divided into five key areas: the economy, education and skills, commerce, regional security and culture.
The Prime Minister described it as a road map for national success as Asia's unstoppable rise continues.'
'On 13 August 2012, the [Australian] Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers released its report containing a suite of measures and recommendations to the Government on how best to deal with asylum seeker issues in the short, medium and long term. One of the short-term measures recommended was a proposal to re-establish offshore processing facilities in Nauru and Papua New Guinea in order to provide a ‘circuit breaker to the current surge in irregular migration to Australia’. The practice of transferring asylum seekers intercepted at sea to third countries in the Pacific for processing was first introduced by the Howard Government in 2001—this policy became known as the ‘Pacific Solution’.
This background note provides a brief overview of the ‘Pacific Solution’ and also outlines some of the concerns expressed by many on the practice of accommodating asylum seekers in offshore processing facilities in the Pacific.'
Australian maritime safety and border protection authorities could have saved the lives of most of the people on the boat that made two distress calls by telephone to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority early last Wednesday.
'By bumping this emergency to [Indonesian search and rescue] BASARNAS, and then returning to border protection business as usual for a full wasted day, the Australian border security system left 100 people to die – as it had done previously on 15 December 2011 (with the foundered Barokah), and again on 19-21 June 2012.
Go Back To Where You Came From attracted big audiences to SBS last week.
'Showing the distances travelled, the diversity of global routes taken and resilience in the face of constant threat, returns a powerful agency to undocumented migrants. This is in place of their usual portrayal as immobile victims: trapped behind razor wire, disciplined or resistant, at the mercy of the state. This starts to move the debate away from patronising politics of victimhood towards an acknowledgement of the mobile power of people to control their own lives and destinations. It also raises the question of why so few asylum seekers and refugees have voices in the debate over migration and border control.'
'When she was 9, Zainab's parents made the heartbreaking decision to leave their home in northern Afghanistan.
They set out on a journey across the globe, putting the fate of their family in the hands of strangers
'Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea' tells Zainab's story, and the story of many others who have trodden the same path.
Jessie Taylor and Ali Reza Sadiqi travelled across Indonesia and met with 250 asylum seekers in jails, detention centres and hostels.
Through candid interviews, hidden camera footage and in the words of asylum seekers themselves, the story of the 'refugee' is told. What pushes people to leave home? What do they leave behind? What do they fear? Why did they choose this path? And what does it take to turn someone into a 'boat person'?
Sending asylum seekers to Nauru and Manus Island is an expensive undertaking that will achieve nothing but a transient political advantage for the Government.
'The rest of the world was not impressed by Australia's attempts to palm off boat people who had arrived here seeking protection. Given our size and wealth, the number of refugees we get is manageable. People assessed as refugees on Nauru or Manus will have to be resettled somewhere: they can't be sent back to the country they are fleeing.
Perhaps we will end up doing what we did last time: bringing them to Australia.
I would welcome that outcome, but in the meantime we will have spent fantastic sums of money to achieve absolutely nothing except a transient political advantage for the Government.
If this exercise runs for three years, it will cost Australia billions of dollars.'
Government and military officials have found the old immigration detention centre on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island to be very run-down.
'Eight boats carrying a total of 454 people have arrived since the Government announced its new offshore processing policy on Monday.
Five of those boats came in a 24-hour period as the Government rushed its legislation through the Senate.
The Federal Government says it wants the centres up and running in weeks, not months.'
No matter how the try to define the issue away, the government's diversion of resources from foreign aid will make the very poorest pay.
Janet Devlin's insight:
shameful abuse of valuable resources anyway you look at it
Yesterday, in a dramatic backdown, the Australian government agreed to allow 56 Tamils asylum seekers who were due to be deported to Sri Lanka to make applications to be granted asylum as refugees.
Today, the Australian government is once again planning to deport another group of Tamils who have been subject to a “screening out” process which denies them the right to proceed with a a full refugee application.
On November 30, another group of “screened out” Sri Lankans were deported. On arrival, they were imprisoned outside the capital of Sri Lanka at Colombo in Negombo prison. While some have now been released, they are likely to be subject to continued surveillance and discrimination.
...On December 3, the Bishop of Mannar, Dr Rayappu Joseph wrote to the Australian government: “it is highly dangerous for the asylum seekers from the North and East of Sri Lanka to be sent back to Sri Lanka in the prevailing political situation in our regions.” According to Dr Joseph, threats, discrimination, restrictions, surveillance and questioning are routinely used leaving those who are deported living in fright and fear.
Gillard has returned Australia to its historic relationship with Washington, similar to that of an eastern European satellite with Moscow.
'The day before Barack Obama arrived in Canberra last year to declare China the new enemy of the “free world”, Gillard announced the end of Labor’s ban on uranium sales to India.'
Hazaras are the largest ethnic group coming to Australia by boat.
'Hazaras are the largest ethnic group coming to Australia by boat. They're escaping sectarian massacres that may get worse after the end of the Afghan War, writes former refugee Hadi Zaher'
Members of the community are the target of execution style killings and massacres by Taliban and Al-Qaida affiliated militants who have vowed to rid Pakistan of the presence of minorities such as Hazaras. The frequency of these attacks has gone from a few attacks a month to multiple attacks per week.
The Hazaras are disappointed with apathy of the international community, in particular the inaction of the United Nations. In both Afghanistan and Pakistan, they continue to be victimised by militants who enjoy support from powerful elements within the government. They cannot turn to Pakistani security agencies in hope of protection and have for too long appealed to the international community to come to their aid — all to no avail.'
Julie Bishop wants to lock Sri Lankan asylum seekers out of the Australian legal system.
'[But] with the odds tipping that they won’t be in Opposition for too much longer, the Coalition’s wilful disregard for international law and human rights with this rash proposal is disturbing.'
Michael Clyne is Professorial Fellow in the School of Languages at the University of Melbourne and Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at Monash University. His main fields of research and publication are bilingualism/language contact, sociolinguistics, inter-cultural communication and second lan- guage acquisition. Among his books are Australia’s Language Potential (UNSW Press, 2005), Dynam- ics of Language Contact (CUP, 2003), The German Language in a Changing Europe (CUP, 1995), and Inter-cultural Communication at Work (CUP, 1994).
'The ‘war against terror’ with its ill-defined enemy has unleashed a new kind of exclusionary discourse which allows people to imagine an enemy among the unknown and strange. This paper focuses on the discourse on asylum seekers employed by Australian politicians from main parties and sections of the media.'
The Government and refugee advocates have lashed out at the Opposition's plan to deport all Sri Lankan asylum seekers, saying it breaches human rights.
She said what???????
'Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop says many Sri Lankan asylum seekers are economic migrants, not refugees, and the civil war in the country is over.
..................Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says Australia has a duty to consider asylum claims under the United Nations Refugee Convention.
"Now what I think you hear is the sound of goalposts moving," he said.
"They're becoming more shrill and more ridiculous.
"This is an extraordinary call from the Opposition and what they're effectively doing here is calling for us to remove ourselves from the Refugee Convention.
Leaders from denominations including the Salvation Army and Anglican, Catholic and Uniting churches say they are concerned about the Government's new legislation to allow offshore processing.'
A newly released biography of Gough Whitlam suggests it was the Queen who gave Sir John Kerr the confidence to sack the prime minister.
'[Sydney University Professor of Constitutional Law] Anne Twomey says no monarch has refused royal assent to a British bill since 1708. But the Queen is able to exercise not just influence but power without apparently saying a direct word and certainly without leaving a trail.
[former Australian Governor General] Kerr's notes, as quoted by Jenny Hocking, show the monarch along with the highest members of the Australian judiciary were, in the then governor-general's view, offering solid support at a time when he was deciding whether to take action, in sacking the PM, which would see him in serious need of that assistance.'
Charges against me were only dropped after Bob Carr intervened. It is sad the same support hasn't been extended to Julian Assange.
'When Carr really wanted a result, he took action himself rather than leaving it to consular staff, who toil admirably but lack the clout to get a result, even in a relatively minor case like mine.
If he really wants a result in the Assange case, he will do the same. It is unlikely he has the courage. The forces at play in Julian Assange's case are far greater than those which were at play in mine.'