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 of how wasteful and inappropriate the facility is.

I have always been baffled by the absolute determination of the previous government to waste such a massive amount of taxpayers’ money on a facility which not only was unnecessary, but was built to a high security design which no longer even matched the former government’s own policies in regard to detention facilities. But they went ahead and built it anyway – despite significant risk to some endangered bird species as well. Such is the irrationality which government’s can get away with behind misleading mantras like ‘border security’.

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84 Comments

  1. the only reason i have made comment about christmas island is that some people of goodwill were stretching the truth a little .
    i have sat fished and chatted the best i could with some reffugees on the jetty in flyingfish cove they didnot seam unhappy to me .they had no restraints on them the guards were not ill treating them and didnot try to stop me chatting with them.
    just how many ppl do you know of that have proof of being locked in a cage at a australian detention centre.

  2. REDCRAB
    Are you supporting Mr. Howard’s draconian policies, or refugees?. Detention centres cost Australian taxpayers more that 5-star hotel accommodation for every single one of them.
    I have a surprise for you: I left my country as a refugee and ended up in Vienna (Austria). We had no money, no job and were very determined not to go back to our homeland, ever again. We never did.
    In comparison to Australia, Austria is a very small and resource poor country. Rich in history, though. And nearly 200 years tradition of sheltering refugees.
    Refugee famillies, after initial registration in Treiskirchen, were housed in very comfortable guesthouses all across Austria in tourist resorts, with full accommodation, healthcare, and right to work. All refugees had right to apply to stay in Austria, but if they opted for another country they could stay in a guesthouse as long as it was necessary. Not all refugees were angelic and yes, they were some problems with people from i.e. Romania but Austria had a non-refoulemnet policy. In comparison to Austria, Australian government behaved like illiterate savages; refugee haters and human hunters..
    Either you are totally unaware, or you pretend to be, that all refugees are covered by the Convention.
    You seem not to understand that Australia is accepting only 2000 a year on humanitarian grounds (people from overseas refugee camps). Don’t pretend you don’t know that most of the SIEV-X passengers had close families in Australia and they were NOT allowed to be sponsored, which was against any law but Lynch. Small children were forcibly separated from their parents. I have a nasty feeling that you fully support the previous government. May I ask, why? Just to ‘stretch the truth a little’? A prison, fenced with electrical wire, is a cage.!
    And I hate fishing.

  3. i dont realy agree with the govts aproch to asylum seekers.
    but i am interested in the truth .it just happens that i had been gowing to christmas island around the time all the probs were happening .
    some of the statements that were being made buy both sides were a bit over the top.and i dont have anything to do with it i was just there fishing and catching up with ppl i know who live there.

    .I have a surprise for you: I left my country as a refugee and ended up in Vienna (Austria). We had no money, no job and were very determined not to go back to our homeland, ever again. We never did.
    In comparison to Australia, Austria is a very small and resource poor country. Rich in history, though. And nearly 200 years tradition of sheltering refugees.
    Refugee famillies, after initial registration in Treiskirchen, were housed in very comfortable guesthouses all across Austria in tourist resorts, with full accommodation, healthcare, and right to work. All refugees had right to apply to stay in Austria, but if they opted for another country they could stay in a guesthouse as long as it was necessary. Not all refugees were angelic and yes, they were some problems with people from i.e. Romania but Austria had a non-refoulemnet policy.
    In comparison to Austria, Australian government behaved like illiterate savages; refugee haters and human hunters..

    may i ask why you picked australia and if the treatment that you recieved from the govt was so bad why stay.
    and which country did you escape from.

  4. red crab – I am not saying your experience was not as you report it. Would this have been in 2008?

    I don’t need to know of anyone who has “proof” of being locked in a cage in a detention centre – the inquiries into Woomera and the Cornelai Rau case made it clear that it is a standard method of controlling detainees, and if you think it does not happen now, have a look at the report of the Amnesty International visit – there are photos of the cages and statements that those are their methods of operation.

    I know people who say they were locked in these isolation cells for being non-compliant with the rules of the centres at Baxter and Woomera. To visit friends in another part of Baxter involved a strip search when moving between compounds. Have you ever been strip-searched? Daily? Had to decide whether to undergo that in order to maintain some contact with the only people who spoke your language or shared your religion? Given birth with an armed guard standing nearby? Shut off from even sympathetic nurses in hospital?

    Given how long they were locked up, and where, I honestly believe that several of them were damaged by their experiences in Australia. That makes me ashamed.

  5. Redcrab
    We got our P/R visas in Vienna and came to Australia as permanent residents.

    But I did visit some Howard’s detention centres in the capacity of legal rep. and support group. I have been working for many refugees.

    May I ask in what capacity did you visit Christmas Island and ‘talked to the happy detainees’ (fishing)?
    You should be aware that a refugee has every right to choose the country for settlement.
    We came to Australia under the Fraser (Liberal) government and the detention centres were unheard of. They were introduced by the Hawke (Labor) government but were never as cruel as those under Ruddock and co. By the time Hawke won the election, we had already been Australian citizens.
    Why we came here?
    Australia needed highly educated people, and the government was actually heavily advertising the advantages of settling here. We had every right to be American citizens by descent, so we had a free choice. And, unlike you, we did take pains and efforts to learn English. Never in my mind, and my heart, I believed that Howard’s lunacy would last for ever. Like many Australians, I am happy to share humanitarian and democratic values and principles based on Westminster system of the Law. Have you ever heard about ‘habeas corpus’??
    Are you suggesting that if I do not support Howard I should not live here? Howard is a little man. And Australia is a great country.
    The last year election showed that there were many Australian citizens of the opinion similar to mine. And I was very proud.

  6. Zen:

    As much as I don’t like John Howard’s politics, I don’t think you should be making sizeist comments about him.

    I also think it’s cruel for you to criticise Red Crab’s standard of English, or jump to unwarranted conclusions about whether or not he thinks you should live here.

    If you think refugees have it bad, try being a disability pensioner in Australia.

    For 3 months I have been trying to get an 18+ card as a photo ID. First Queensland Transport rejected my birth certificate, even though I was born right here in Brisbane and have never left the country.

    I had to wait 7 weeks and pay over $30 for another birth certificate. I paid for it to be delivered by Registered Post, but it got dumped in my letterbox where it could have been destroyed by rain or stolen.

    Then when I took it in, this time QT said I would have to bring in my Marriage Certificate to prove change of name.

    On my third trip into the city, they rejected my Marriage Certificate as well! I was married in a church only 2 blocks away. It will cost me another $30 to get a new one, and then if QT is satisfied, I have to pay about $24 for the 18+ card itself.

    Since I am travelling to Canberra in 3 weeks’ time (for which I planned to use the 18+ card), I’ve decided to defer application for the Marriage Certificate until I get back. Otherwise they may send it out by Registered Post when I’m not here, and then it will be returned to them!

    I have spoken with other people who have disabilities, and they have described similar experiences. One sight-impaired woman said she tried to board a plane using the 18+ card as ID, only to have it rejected, despite the fact it’s Category A identification on a par with a Driver’s Licence. She said she threw the damned thing in the bin!

    Another disabled woman said she was refused admission to a pub after they asked to see her 18+ card. This lady is 52 years old and certainly could never pass for any younger!

    .

  7. Zen

    You should be aware that a refugee has every right to choose the country for settlement.
    being not as you assume a highly educated person.i was of the opinion that any refugee had the right to choose any country they wished to ask for asylum .then its up to the govt to either accept or reject there application.
    thank you lorikeet for you support mabe its because im not a academic that i have the ability to see through the b.s. as they say
    i never suported howard from the time he was elected but i think that any govt has the right to determin who is acepted into the community that they are there to protect.
    if that means that if someone arrivess in the country without any form of i.d. then i would think that it be unwise to let those ppl into the community
    as far as talking to the refugees on the jetty go,s i was just there fishing they arrived there and we got chatting they seemed happy to me

    habeas corpus’?? is not that some kind of drink.
    And, unlike you, we did take pains and efforts to learn English.
    you do like to make those nasty statements dont you.

    but why wont you tell me from which country you escaped from and why
    and for you info i have asked what it was realy like for refugees in austria.
    one dose not need to be an accademic blinded buy there own importance only entelegent enough to see the truth sometimes.

  8. More than 20,000 refugees enter Austria each year, fleeing from North Africa, Georgia, Chechnya, Iraq, Bosnia, Afghanistan, China and Sri Lanka.
    The future is bleak for most: unwelcome in a foreign country; having lost everything; without knowledge of the language; not permitted to work; living in stark conditions; and with little hope of their asylum claims being accepted.
    Only a small number of applications for asylum are approved.

    Unsuccessful applicants may be detained for many months in over-crowded holding centres or prisons before being returned to their home countries. Particularly for those who have suffered serious trauma in their country, sharing rooms and facilities with so many other people is a burden. Many feel desperate and fearful about their future when they are returned home.
    There were up to 15,000 detainees in 2006. Many of these are children, including some who arrived without any family at all.

    Just thought I would share some up to date information!

  9. RED CRAB
    Senator Bartlett has been a strong supporter of humanitarian treatment of asylum seekers. He has access to all statistics. I would be the last person to try to put inadequate figures calling them ‘up to date info’. Anybody can check them.
    Australia used to accept about 20 000 refugees every year in the early 80’s. (Mainly skilled and professionals). There were huge intakes of refugees from the Soviet Block. And I was in that group. Australia also accepted a lot of refugees from Indo-China after the Fall of Saigon. Many of them were boat people but Australia and the USA felt obliged to look after the people who’d helped them fighting communists – all in vain.

    According to Australian Immigration Detention FAQ DIMIA FactSheet; (May 2003)

    From 1989 to 2003 – 13.475 asylum seekers arrived by boat.
    Total Unauthorised Boat arrivals — 13.475
    Removed — 3524
    Still in detention — 705
    Granted TPV — 7957
    Granted PPV — 348
    Granted BE — 43
    So in 14 years the total number would roughly fill 15%of MCG.
    The annual intake of all migrants in the same period was beetween 70 000 – 110 000

    Since 1995 the annual intake of refugees has been 12 000, (eight to ten thousand humanitarian -offshore, and about 2000 onshore), which is less than 10% of total number of migrant visas (130 000).
    According to ABC Radio National 19/06/2007 in the Program “Breakfast with Kevin Andrews”: ‘Every year, 13 000 refugees arrive in Australia…’

    November 30,2008:
    (‘How 2 Migrate’): 300 refugees to be resettled to Australia from UNCR in camp in the Sudan, mainly Coptic Christians; this year Australia increased, by 50%, visas for refugees: 6000 refugees and 7000 humanitarian. Total: 13 000.

    RED CRAB
    I am happy your English has improved

  10. Lorikeet and others: According to their own law, many countries do not recognize naturalisation in another country as relinquishing citizenship in the homeland or former country. Iran, as I understand it, is one. Some people may be unaware of the rules of their country of origin whose governments do not recognize them as Australians or “dual nationals”. Some require you to go to the embassy of that country, (if there is one) and renounce citizenship there. Some people don’t do that because of unfortunate experiences in the very country they are not keen to officially slap in the face, as they might see it. There are countries that require you to go to them and say that you wish to keep dual citizenship before you naturalise elsewhere, and some that will not allow dual citizenship at all.

    As usual, it is not as simple as people like to make out. I’m not a lawyer, that is my understanding of various legal sites.

    As for the hoary topic of Lorikeet not wanting people to be able to have some pension rights in other countries that they lived in and worked in, presumably paying taxes in, before coming to Australia, I suggest she turns back time, and goes to e.g. Germany or UK, enduring the weather and other conditions she does not have to put up with in Queensland, longer working hours etc, works there, and then comes back, renouncing any rights she may have built up in that other place. To require of others to renounce what you cannot do yourself seems to smack of jealousy, and ill-founded jealousy, to me. Of course I wish disability pensioners in Australia had an easier time of it, but whingeing about the hard-won entitlements of others seems a futile way to go about it.

  11. Dolphins:

    Then can we take it that you don’t mind if a person coming here from another country lives on $50,000 per year, while our own hard working pensioners are reduced to eating dog food?

  12. Why should it be a bad thing if a migrant or refugee is managing to earn $50 000 a year? The difficulties faced by some pensioners has nothing to do with whether or not someone earning $50 000 a year happens to be overseas born.

  13. Lorikeet: if someone from overseas has that much money coming in, then I doubt they are getting an Australian pension as well. You don’t seem to understand WHY they have that pension. If you think the pension system is wrong, then do something constructive to get it changed, don’t whinge at the people who have worked hard overseas to get the right to their overseas pension. How many people from Australia do you think who are getting an Aussie pension while living in sun-drenched Greece or Italy on my dollar? I don’t begrudge them that. As I said, I don’t think our pensioners have enough, especialy those who need medications or care, but that is hardly the fault of someone else who worked overseas and has a pension coming because of that.

  14. Dolphins:

    I was not apportioning fault to anyone, except perhaps the government. Think of fairness rather than fault.

    I’m actually quite active on a number of issues and could live without the false assumptions and putdowns.

    Andrew:

    My understanding is that the $50,000 Zen’s mother receives is, in his terms, a “hefty” overseas pension. Our aged pensioners get only a little more than 25% of that amount.

    When my wonderful friend, “Granny”, received an additional pension from Fiji, which wasn’t a very great deal, she said the other pensioners treated her badly.

    I think this begs the question: “Shouldn’t all pensioners living here receive the same government income?”

    If Zen’s mother became an Australian citizen, he said her pension would be withdrawn by Germany.

    Maybe we need to see what other Age Pensioners think. Where are the respondents, please?

  15. Lorikeet, if you bothered to find out about this issue you will find that a person applying for a pension in Australia is obliged to seek the pensions due to them in other countries. Even if anyone wanted to forego something they had earned to keep you and other jealous people happy, they legally cannot do so. Perhaps if you informed yourself first you would not run the risk of looking like someone who is jealous of others who have worked for what they have.

  16. LORIKEET – we are not Germans, can you get it????
    My mother is dead. So do not disturb her, please. She came to Australia as a POLISH refugee and I was born in a concentration camp in Germany. It does not make me German. People born in stables are not necesseray horses.
    What I was talking about was that GERMAN citizens (we ARE NOT GERMANS) who get their pension, (from Germany not from Australia) which is usually 2/3 of their accumulated salary for the past five years before their retirenment, can live anywhere in the world, unlike Australian pensioners who are not allowed to live outside Australia.!!!!
    So please do not confuse the issues. Australian pensioners are being ripped off by the government. There is no difference here between an unemployment benefit and a pension. I believe there is no pension system in Australia and there is no maternity leave, a basic entitlement in all civilised countries. Germans do get good pensions, providing they do not acquire another citizenship. Think about this, Lorikeet: if migrants get their pension from overseas and still pay taxes to the Australian government YOU should be getting at least a decent pension and the Centrelink saves millions on not handing out money to NON_-AUSTRALIANS.
    If I were you Lorikeet, I would blame Hawke government which introduced means test for the elderly. NO One protested then, and us migrants were very surprised that Australian -born were cutting off the branch they were sitting on.
    My family, and all my migrant friends I know of are not going to be a burden on Centrelink. We are prepared to be self- supported retirees. WHy?
    Australia saved a lot of money on education in bringing in already educated refugees/migrants to save money on skills and training. NOT MY FAULT that I came here with a uni diploma recognised all over the world. We never asked for unemployment benefits.

  17. RED CRAB
    I am happy your English has improved.
    dear zen .
    thank you but as you and i both know australians really dont speek english.
    and in general we dont think we are better than any other just because one has a uni paper .

    as a mater of fact it was prob people like me who built and payed for the uni that you got your degree from.
    i have as many friends who can hardly speek english at all as i do those that speek it well .
    for someone who has learnt it from a book to make comment of anothers ability is as arragant as it gets.
    something for you to think about
    i can build you a road and then a car to drive on it i can draw you plans and build you a house to drive to ,i can also build you a new computer just like the ones i build for myself.
    can you?
    anyway getting back to the issue i was told that the only things that were commented on about the detention centre on christmas island were the fence and the internet speed.
    no one elce has added to that yet so i must assume is correct.
    if this is the case then there is not realy much to complain about is there .
    trivia time
    did you know that howard had the support of the UNHCR in the way the govt handled the tamper issue,.
    all so as i sead its very expencive to come to australia that way
    if the average cost of a boat passage to christmas island was 5000 then the ppl who were picked up buy the tampa had payed over 2million for the trip.

  18. Red Crab

    I have heard more complaints about the Xmas Island centre than those you list – not least that it cost a fortune to build a remote high security style facility when it was not and is not necessary.

    As for the UNHCR, I have had a fair bit to do with quite a number of officers from that organisations before during and after the Tampa. Whilst they are constrained by the reality of diplomacy, I have never heard any of them say they supported the way the former government handled the Tampa incident.

    What they did agree – somewhat controversially – with the Australian government to do was assess the refugee claims of all those on the Tampa who had been removed to Nauru (a number were accepted straight away by New Zealand) as a way of trying to ensure some due process was followed.

  19. andrew
    i will be in brisbane over christmas .
    i will try to ring you and mabe have a chat if its ok with you.
    so, i can wish you a merry xmas.

  20. Thanks Red Crab – it would be nice to catch up.

    (and can I say for anyone who is just reading this because it mentions Christmas Island, it is an amazingly beautiful place (apart from the detention centre) and really worth visiting (tho very expensive to get to)

  21. andrew
    you are correct about the cost of the centre it would have been better for the ppl of christmas island to add 500mtrs to the airstrip and reopen the casino.
    iv been told that most asylum seekers were actualy housed in some of the houses (which i have actualy seen myself.) given money to use at the shops for food and basicly left to do there own thing .

  22. The asylum seekers have been initially kept in the ‘old’ low security facility, but some have been moved into various houses and units which the Australian government owns – at least some of these were built a few years back originally as accomodation for staff who worked at the ‘old’ detention facility. The housing is adequate – but after a while the issue for people becomes very much about freedom and a future, rather than amenity of accomodation.

    That casino is a strange thing. I’m not sure it would be viable to get in the necessary high rollers from S-E Asia, esp with the next economic downturn on the way, but it does seem odd to have it sitting there unused.

    In terms of prosperity on the island, instead of building the oversized high security centre, they could have split the money amongst all of the residents and they would have been set for life (as long as the casino stayed closed so they didn’t gamble it all away :-). It could have been compensation payments for closing down the phosphate mining early.

  23. “they could have split the money amongst all of the residents and they would have been set for life”

    Anderw – this must have been tongue in cheek right…..right….the cargo cult lives on…

  24. for those people who dont live in the west not to worry the centre on christmas island could be full before cristmas with the amount of boats comming to w.a. lately.
    yes lorikeet there has been a casino on christmas island for more than 10 yrs it was closed buy the govt because of aligations of money laundering buy the indonesians but it was a bit sus i think it had a lot to do with the casino in perth and the w.a.govt.
    i would have thought that if any asylum seeker and there family who was housed in the houses there which are very nice houses in a safe situation claming to be running from violence and posible torture and death would be happy just for there family to be safe .
    its interesting that the ppl who complained about the old centre most had not seen it for themselves thats why i got involved here because i had and it was not that hard to just walk out whenever they liked.
    and even with the wire fence it was better than the tents set up near the police station down at the settlement on top of the cliffs.

    for zen the fishing there is possibly the best in the world.:-).thats the only reason i went there.

  25. Red Crab:

    Yes, you’d think most people would be happy just to be safe, instead of being pursued (for example) by idiots wielding machetes. I made that point some other time, but it set someone on the warpath.

  26. REDCRAB
    On personal matters:
    You did not pay for my studies as I was working and studying full time. By the same token I could claim that I paid for your primary school. Australian government did not pay for my studies in Europe, either. There are no government universities in Australia as we all have to pay HECS.

    I was never interested in your skills or qualifications. Speaking English has nothing to do with education. Ask i.e. Argentinian professors.

    Australians do speak English as much as Americans, Canadians, Irish, Scots or English, South Africans, Kiwis, Indians, etc. The Australian variety of the English language may be different to i.e. Kansas English, however, the language is still the same, with the same morphology and syntax. Spelling is basically the same. Local pronunciation may differ.

    What surprises me really, is the fact that some people in Australia claiming they can build and construct nearly everything but their imagination does not go beyond…prisons or casinos; both much more expensive than any university.

  27. Lorikeet: you said Yes, you’d think most people would be happy just to be safe, instead of being pursued (for example) by idiots wielding machetes. but do you really think that people with the get-up-and-go to uproot their entire lives and flee instead of waiting to be massacred would then be happy to sit in a place being detained forever, or with no defined time limit to how long they were there, not knowing whether their case for asylum would be granted, still dragging on for years and years? They’d see their kids denied an education of any worth, they’d realise that they themselves were getting older, that their qualifications would be getting out of date, that their families back home would be trying to repay loans if they’d had to borrow the money to finance the escape of young men likely to be conscripted and/or killed … and still no end in sight, day after day. People were in this situation for five years and suffered great mental damage as a result.

    Whatever the rights or wrongs of increasing Australia’s population, about which I have an opinion, I reject a policy that tortures people to make a political point, internal or external. If refugees are to be summarily ejected, despite the covenants we have signed up to and their claims on our humanity, then do it right away. Don’t leave them to go mad on Nauru, Mannus Island, Christmas Island, Baxter, Woomera and all the rest. Not in my name.

  28. Zen:

    Australian universities are semi-autonomous bodies funded by both State and Federal governments. HECS couldn’t fully cover the cost of educating students, but I’m certainly not suggesting that it should.

    Students used to be able to get a discount off their HECS if they were rich enough to pay it up front. I think it was a clear case of the poor having to pay more. As far as I’m aware, the situation has only got worse for students from poorer families.

    Dolphins:

    No, I don’t think go-getters would be happy just sitting around. Christmas Island sounds as if it is set up for everyday life, not any kind of torture. If the people are secondary movers, I guess they will just have to take their chances.

    But I agree there should be a time limit for the government to decide whether to accept or deport them.

    Only a couple of nights ago on the TV news, someone from the Rudd government said they were working harder with the Indonesian government to stop “people smuggling”, which I guess must assist primary, secondary and possibly tertiary movers.

  29. zen lets not get personal but for a so called educated person you do contridict youself quit a bit
    as for building and paying for the unis in australia all the people of australia have payed and built them . not only that quite a few of us laid down there lives for your freedom including a couple of my own greate uncles in your part of the world .

    What surprises me really, is the fact that some people in Australia claiming they can build and construct nearly everything but their imagination does not go beyond…prisons or casinos; both much more expensive than any university.
    to make a statement like that
    you really dont know much about the history of the country that has taken you in do you
    .as for imagination well thats another debate which you would definatly loose .allthough i must admit your,s is quite good
    but unlike you i have found the time to find and read the studys that have been done buy the universitys on these issues looking for facts

    the facts are that the majority of assylum seekers who make the trip by boat are secondary movers also as far as iv seen the conditions in the new centre are far better than the old one( exept for the fence wich in my opinion is not needed) as for the compaints the only things which i have herd is the fence and the internet speed no one elce has actually added anything more to this point.including you zen.

    im off to brissy tommorow so i would like to wish everyone a merry xmas and wish you all well.

  30. REDCRAB
    You would be the last person to have ‘laid down your life for my freedom’. What a pathetic statement! . No one in Europe owes his/her freedom to any of Australians. Quite the opposite. Australia has primarily European settlement.
    There would have never been any refugees from Vietnam, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan etc, if their countries had not been bombarded by the Western bombs. Think about the reasons refugees are here.
    You and LORIKEET, regardless of your good will and intentions, have a very patronising attitude towards people you consider ‘foreign humans’, as opposed to ‘us Australians’ – ‘good hearted people giving favour to subhumans to let them live here’.
    Yes, Australia has a history of cruel treatment of ‘aliens’: Afghani cameleers, Kanaks, Chinese etc.
    And, would you remeber Australian governments decision to ‘populate’ or perish’?.
    I am very disappointed that there are still people in Australia who call refugees ‘second movers’ a synonim to ‘queue jumpers’. What a cruel, and misguided statement! Every single refugee trying to settle in Australia must be a ‘second mover’ by the very fact that we are surrounded by the sea. Most refugees have to move to a safe country first, to start even thinking about seeking asylum.
    And false imprisonment is illegal.

    LORIKEET
    There are no universities in Australia, in proper sense of the word, and the medieval concept of the ‘alma mater’. ‘Universitas’ means ‘common’ in Latin, and always meant free access to education for everybody . Americans decided to betray the idea so they call their unis ‘colleges’. Australia still call them ‘universities’ which is a misnomer. There is more money in Australia spent on undeclared wars than on education. States and Feds do not pay for the unis. Taxpayers do. Uni graduates pay taxes, so the next generation can get educated. Simple ???

  31. Zen:

    I think it is you who has the patronising, even condescending attitude.

    It seems to me that Red Crab has assimilated well into the Australian community, but all you want to do is criticise.

    When you attended Australian universities, Australian taxpayers subsidised your education, so please don’t pretend you are only doing US all a favour by being here.

    We don’t need a Latin lesson to know that Australian universities have not offered ” free” education for decades.

  32. Lorikeet
    I have been paying taxes myself, and most probably I paid more taxes than many Australians on pensions or unemployment benefits.
    What some people do not understand, is the fact that education is like health; the fundamental obligation of every government. It is not a favour.
    However, many Australians are comfortable with the fact that our education institutions heavily rely on overseas students’ money; the very factor that actually lowered the education standards. (Read the latest official reports and public statements)
    I have been an Australian citizen for 28 years, never had any government handouts, I have been a candidate to the State Parliament, and I was working for two Federal and one State MPs, and you are telling me that I ‘have not assimiliated well into the Australian community’, being a co-founder of at least three community support groups. I have been involved in many charity organisations. Some of my reports are included in government publications. Do you think I have right not to agree with certain aspects of Howard Government policy, and support Democrats, or is it strictly reserverd for the Australian born?
    Thanks for your recognition. Merry Christmas.

  33. Zen:

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to condescend to other Australian citizens. It doesn’t matter what a person has done for the community. Equality is the key.

    Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

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