Refugees in Rocky

Refugees in Rocky In amongst the antagonism and angst that can surround debates about refugees, whether here or overseas, it is good to see a good news story about the positives for a family that has settled here in Queensland, and their keenness to start contributing to the community and economy in their new home….

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Wednesday night politics in Brisbane

Wednesday night politics in Brisbane Two forums are being held in Brisbane tomorrow night which may be of interest to some. One is a forum to debate Integrity & Accountability in Queensland. It is being held at the Irish Club, 175 Elizabeth St  from  6pm.  Speakers include former state Attorney-General, Linda Lavarch, journalist Tony Koch,…

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A couple more pieces about asylum seekers & Malaysia

A couple more pieces about asylum seekers & Malaysia The Taiwan News http://www.etaiwannews.com/etn/news_content.php?id=1009086〈=eng_news reports that “Malaysian authorities have arrested five immigration officers suspected of selling ‘illegal’ immigrants from Myanmar to human traffickers” – reportedly the “first time Malaysia has found evidence that government officials were involved in forced labour exploitation” Meanwhile, http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,25797512-7583,00.html Mike Steketee from…

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Malaysia and refugees

The political responses to asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat is starting to focus more and more on other countries in our region.  Until recently this has mostly involved Indonesia, but Malaysia is now being mentioned more frequently.  I recently wrote a piece for Crikey and also had a letter published in The Australian…

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Pondering leadership

The Sydney Leadership Program is a leadership development program run by the Benevolent Society for the last ten years.  A Queensland based version is being run for the first time later this year.  Last week I got the chance to speak for an hour with a group of people undertaking a two day session they…

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Temporary Protection Visas for Refugees

It is disturbing to see that the Liberal Party is giving consideration to supporting the reintroduction of on Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs) for refugees.  The TPV was one of the most punishing, least effective and most counter-productive measures of the former government’s aimed at reducing the number of asylum seekers arriving by boat. It had…

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Boat People tragedy & another war of words

The tragic explosion on a boatload filled with refugees from Afghanistan has generated another war of words over asylum seeker policies in Australia.  Ive written a piece on this over at Crikey, which you can read by clicking here.  We’ve had enough debate on this site about asylum seeker issues lately, so I’ll leave comments…

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Christmas Island detention centre inspected

After many years and hundreds of millions of dollars, the new immigration jail detention centre on Christmas Island has finally been completed – and of course stands empty.  A range of community based human rights organisations were recently able to inspect the detention centre.  This report on the Amnesty International website gives a good idea…

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most think refugee level is too high?

Michelle Grattan reports on a poll which asserts that the “majority of Australians think the country is taking too many refugees” and also found Australians still retain a hardline attitude towards asylum seekers, with less than a quarter of respondents (24%) saying past policy on asylum seekers had been too tough, while 62% said it…

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Mandatory detention (sort of) scrapped

It is wonderful to see the news that the federal government plans to finally scrap mandatory indefinite immigration detention and adopt the common sense (and much cheaper) approach that people should not be locked up for extended periods just because they are without a valid visa, unless there are compelling reasons to do so.  Immigration…

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A film worth seeing

A documentary film about a survivor of the SIEV-X tragedy is being screened around Australia for a couple weeks as part of Refugee Week, starting June 19th. The film is called Hope. I’m sure it was done and the title chosen before Barack Obama burst on the scene, but in any case, hope is a…

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A sporting chance for refugees

After some of the public attacks on refugees from Africa which occurred in the lead up to last years election for allegedly ‘not integrating’, with the worst inferences being targeted at young males, it was good to see a story in today’s Australian newspaper highlighting the positive expectations for African refugees in the future of…

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End to TPV cruelty in sight

I have a done a separate post/speech on some of the broader issues in the Budget. One other small but very important measure which I wanted to make specific mention of was the formal confirmation that the iniquitous temporary protection visa (TPV) will finally be scrapped, nearly nine years after it was introduced by the…

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Stateless people

This piece in the International Herald Tribune provides a glimpse into the insecure shadowland which is inhabited by millions of people in many parts of the globe who due to accidents of circumstance and history find themselves effectively stateless. Hidden in the back corners of the world is a scattered population of millions of nobodies, citizens…

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