Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?

“Change the institutions and, over time, you change the culture” – so said John Howard this week. However, he was not talking about the Immigration Department, but about his plans for workplace relations. And how does he plan to change that culture? By dramatically overhauling the law. I’m strongly opposed to what the Prime Minister…

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Thoughts on the London Bombing – #2

Today’s Age newspaper carries comments from 5 different Australian Muslim and Arabic groups and representatives. All condemn the bombings and some also rightly call for a rethink on the tactics and approach to the so-called ‘war on terror’. I for one don’t want my country to be permanently in the middle of a war we…

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Some Thoughts on the London Bombings

Tragedies such as this are awful not just for those directly killed and injured and their friends and families, but because they engender such fear in everybody. Fear and uncertainty creates dangers of their own and it is important that these natural reactions are not exploited or responded to irrationally. I’ve received a few emails…

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Riddle Me This

I’m seeking the help of readers to interpret the possible meaning of a somewhat mysterious, poetic comment made in the Senate by the Immigration Minister, Senator Vanstone. It was near the end of a long debate on the Migration Detention Bill on the final night of Senate sittings on 23rd June. I had just been…

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Two days to go

The Senate started on a long list of valedictory speeches last night at 6pm with Brian Harradine’s final speech after 30 years. This week also marks the departure of the Senate’s Deputy Clerk, Anne Lynch, who first came to the Senate at the start of the Whitlam era. Unlike the Clerk, Harry Evans, who is…

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Does the Prime Minister really understand?

I was listening to the Prime Minister talk on the radio about the mandatory detention debate when suddenly I had the most horrible feeling – “this guy doesn’t understand what he’s talking about!” I’m not sure why this thought troubled me so much – I’m well and truly used to the half-truths, misleading statements, bureaucratic…

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Some Updates on Migration Detention

1 One more refugee free: – I wrote a few months ago about Ardeshir Gholipour. In amongst all the concerns about the unnecessary suffering caused by our migration regime, it is important to acknowledge the good news when it happens, and I heard final confirmation today that Ardeshir has formally received a Temporary Protection Visa!…

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Multiculturalism

I attended the funeral of Al Grassby in Canberra today. I only dimly recall him from his time as a Government Minister, being just 9 years old when he lost his seat in the 1974 election. However, in recent years I shared a platform with him at a number of forums and conferences on issues…

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A Good Consequence of Baxter Visit

There’s been positives from the Committee visit to Baxter I wrote about earlier this week. Thursday’s Age carried a piece by Michael Gordon which quoted the Committee’s Chair, Liberal MP Don Randall, saying “the consensus of committee members who inspected the Baxter detention centre on Tuesday was that they wanted to visit Nauru.” (Michael Gordon…

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Migration Committee visit to Baxter

The Migration Committee inspected the Baxter detention centre near Port Augusta today, along with the Residential Housing Project which is in the town. We flew out of Adelaide around 7.45 am in a small charter plane to Port Augusta, arriving about an hour later. This Committee has been in existence for a long time, but…

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What The??!! The case of Cornelia Rau

The case of Cornelia Rau – a mentally ill Australian woman, listed as a missing person, but kept in an isolation unit in immigration detention for months – has rightly generated a lot of comment. Some commentary on other sites include at Troppo Armadillo and Dogfight at Bankstown. People such as myself who have long…

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