How can we have a government that has a simultaneous eye for the curse of sexism and of institutional sexual abuse, but then resorts to cruelty as its response to equally desperate and determined asylum seekers?
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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.
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.'
'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'?
The expert panel on asylum seekers has made 22 recommendations, including the establishment of a capacity for processing asylum seekers in both Nauru and Papua New Guinea, in a report expected to define…...
'The expert panel on asylum seekers has made 22 recommendations, including the establishment of a capacity for processing asylum seekers in both Nauru and Papua New Guinea, in a report expected to define the government’s future policy on asylum seekers.
The report, which the panel described as “hard-headed but not hard-hearted” and “realistic, but not idealistic”, also recommends the government continue to build on the current arrangement with Malaysia.'
Some responses to the report:
'The late Fred Daly, the Labor MP, once said governments ought not to have inquiries unless they know what the outcome will be.'
'......their tag line ‘hard headed not hard hearted’ is a reasonable summary' of what they’ve achieved.
'The government has managed to snooker itself once again.'
'Even though Houston said over and over it’s not a political document he did say also it was a realistic document.'
'A very serious examination of the psychological dynamics that are associated with the asylum seekers process in order to ensure safety is really important.
In the dynamic of safety seeking once you sink your capital into the people smuggler loop you’re stuck there, there’s no capacity outside that to escape it.'
Is there anything more cynical, more opportunistic, more morally reflexive than tabloid journalism? No, probably not. Demonisation has been the name of the game in the tabloid treatment of the asylum seeker issue.
'..........In an individual, that sort of intellectual inconsistency would border on the clinical. In a newspaper, it's just the trademark cynicism of the trade. That we lap it up is the biggest crying shame of all.'
'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.'
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.'
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.'
We discuss the feasibility and risks of enforcing a buffer zone and a no-fly zone in Syria.
'"According to OCHA (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), there are more than two million internally displaced people in Syria. In the face of such a humanitarian disaster, the UN should initiate the establishment of IDP camps within Syria without delay. Needless to say, these camps should have full protection. Let us also be clear, there is only one side which is responsible for this tragedy, it is the regime in Syria."
Turkey has been pressing for the establishment of safe havens inside Syria to stem the mounting exodus of refugees, and reacted with frustration when its calls fell on deaf ears at the UN Security Council on Thursday.
However, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has called the proposal for a buffer zone unrealistic.
"I believe that talk about a buffer zone is not practical, even for those countries which are playing a hostile role (against Syria)," al-Assad said in a recorded interview broadcast on Syria's Addounia television.'
'The June parliamentary debate, following record boat arrivals and loss of life at sea, led to surveys conducted for the major dailies. Reporting a Nielsen poll on 2 July, The Age headlined “Most blame government for boat people deadlock”. Almost a week later, Newspoll for the Australian produced a different result: “All sides damned”.
The failure to consider inconsistent findings, or to explain the trend of opinion, is typical of media discussion of polling on issues other than the standing of political parties and their leaders, which are tracked almost weekly from one election to the next.'
No political party has a foolproof solution to the issue of asylum seekers, because such a solution doesn’t exist.
'Asylum seeker policy an example of what the strategists and bureaucrats call a "wicked problem".
Wicked problems, it says, are complex and difficult to define. They often have multiple causes but no single solution or quick fix. They are unstable, shifting and morphing in ways that frustrate a coherent response, and are social by nature, involving many different individuals and agencies, across organisational boundaries, national borders and social divides.
.........It’s that complex interaction between the politics of fear and loathing and the desperation of persecuted people that has made the issue of asylum seekers so insoluble in the long term for the Rudd and Gillard government. It’s a politics of fear that the Opposition was only too willing to embrace after losing office, reasoning that it could only rebound to the Coalition’s advantage'