‘False’ Hope vs No Hope

Last month when another refugee on Nauru set herself on fire, Australia’s Immigration Minister Peter Dutton attacked advocates for providing “false hope” to people seeking asylum.  The Minister’s comment reveals the strategy at the very core of the offshore detention camp policy – to destroy every tiny shred of hope in the heart, mind and…

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First, Do No Harm

I must have given hundreds of talks and speeches of various types over the last twenty years on the issue of refugees and people seeking asylum – and written plenty of pieces on the topic (not least on this blog).  Last weekend I was speaking to a group of inspiring young medical students at Griffith…

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Magna Carta & refugees

My favourite memory of the Magna Carta involved a group of refugees who had recently arrived in Australia after spending years being kept in the detention centre on Nauru. I’d visited them while they were incarcerated in Nauru, where they were uncertain of their future – not knowing how long they would be locked up…

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Changing Times

In the past I’d write an angry blog post on refugee rights. Now I just tweet that the ALP & Coalition both suck big time on refugee rights. (and then post the tweet on my blog) Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised if the comment thread contains statements that are little more than a…

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Detention Insanity

There is a well known definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  The current humanitarian disaster unfolding in Australia’s immigration detention centres is a classic – and disgraceful example. If there was one unequivocal, indisputable fact that arose from government policy and management of detention…

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Time to remove mandatory sentencing of ‘people smugglers’

The groups of people who have suffered most from Australia’s long-standing absurdly politicised, disproportionate and irrational debate around asylum seekers are the asylum seekers themselves. But another group who have been subjected to disproportionate and unjustified punishment who get very little attention are the hundreds of impoverished Indonesian fishermen who are subjected to mandatory jail…

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Refugee Day Rally & Refugee Week

This Sunday marks the start of Refugee Week, with plenty of events around the country to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution refugees have made and continue to make to our society, culture and economy. I’m speaking at a rally being held in Brisbane Square this Sunday from 1pm to mark World Refugee Day. I have…

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Good and bad ways to reduce boat arrivals

Peter Mares is a long time follower of refugee issues and critic of the problems inherent in the former government’s approach to asylum seekers in boats.  He wrote a piece in The Age which emphasised a point about the Howard’s government asylum policies which does not get highlighted enough. former treasurer Peter Costello wrote in…

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