Where to now for refugees & the last 2 men on Nauru – Tuesday (pt ii)

During a break in the Committee hearing today, I managed to meet up with a group that works hard on finding viable solutions for refugees in all parts of the world. I was pleased to see that they had read the recently tabled Senate Committee report and its recommendations into changes that should be made to the way the Migration Act is administered. They also had some ideas about which ones were most important to pursue.

There is still ample evidence of widespread injustice and unnecessary suffering of refugees and asylum seekers at great economic and social cost. There is also growing public recognition of this. The big question is to determine what issues should be focused on next to bring about more immediate relief for those suffering acutely now, or to get more structural, long-term reform which is the only way we can get a fair and workable set of laws back in this areas.

The last 2 refugees still marooned on Nauru are a case in point. Only two people, when there are so many others who need help and so many new issues that need attention. However, those two are amongst the most isolated and marooned pair in the world. Rejected due to an ASIO security clearance, which neither they or anyone else has been told the substance or basis of. Normally if they were detained in Australia, at least they could get that assessment reviewed by an independent body, but Australia still refuses to provide that.

There are efforts being made to find another country who will take them, although it’s a bit hard to see much chance of success in ringing up a country and saying “Hi, we have two refugees that we can’t take because they’re security risks. Do you want them? No sorry, can’t tell you what the security risk is either.” As they have been assessed to be in serious danger in Iraq, sending them back there isn’t an option either.

But surely leaving them to rot on Nauru, with almost no support people now being provided to them, cannot be an option either?! You can read more details about them on this website which is dedicated to their plight. I have met these guys during my visits to Nauru. I can only imagine what they must be going through and how they will cope. This article in last weekend’s Age newspaper by Michael Gordon, the journalist who has given most time to the plight of the refugees transported to Nauru, tells a pretty clear picture of what they are facing.

Still plenty of work to do.

Like & share:

81 Comments

  1. Andrew I think the cancellation of the TPV’s is our next venture. We got the kids out of the jails through sheer weight of force by hundred’s of thousands of us lobbying constantly. I bet if those stupid lib and nat pollies were asked now why it was a good plan to lock up those children they wouldn’t have a clue.

    I have met many of the men who still don’t have their families here after as much as 8 or 9 years and it is literally killing the poor buggers. That is next. Why on earth Ruddock did that policy when it punished the women and children so badly and led to at least 360 drownings beats me.

    Also the BVE’s are repulsive and breach almost every minimum standard of human rights.

    Some of the forced deportation need to be looked at in depth – especially as Linda Kirk got those phoney travel documents and I can put together a choronolgy of how our old buddy Jim Williams did it.

    I wonder where he is now? Hopefully the new ambassador to Baghdad or Kabul.

  2. m i think you will find when they offered to take the kids out they refused. So they offered to let the mums and kids out and they still refused. What they wanted was the whole family out before they were able to do checks especially on the men.
    We can not just let people arrive and walk straight in. There are legal ways of getting here

  3. Regardless of your views on refugees and whether Australia shoud put asylum seekers in detention or not, it is utterly ridiculous to keep two people stuck on an island for years at considerable cost to the Australian taxpayer.

    This talk of giving them the freedom of the island, paying them an allowance and providing them with bicycles – the whole thing is turning into a ludicrous farce.

    These two men should be brought to Australia to one of the detention centres here asap, where their claims can be properly assessed and ASIO can explain exactly what the problem is with them.

  4. Wendy I don’t know quite how many times you have to be told but refugees who come as asylum seekers to Australia have only one criteria – they have to be here. There is no mention of how they are supposed to get here and there are only two ways – by boat or by plane unless they can say beam me up Scotty and just be here.

    For heavens sake, you have great compassion and tenderness for tortured animals and none for tortured children.

    Here was the choice offered. The women and children could be in a smaller prison in Woomera while the men stayed behind the razor wire. The women and children would have 24/7 guards and still be in jail so why would they want to be in a strange country without their husbands? Would you?

    It’s funny how these two men seem to pose no threat to 11,000 Nauruans but do to 20 million Australian’s with full scale security apparatus isn’t it? I think it is because they openly criticised the government to SBS when Bronwyn Adcock went out there so they are deemed unsuitable.

    As for the Bakhtiyari kids Wendy, they were tortured in Woomera and Baxter for 4 years because DIMA made a mistake in the ID of another person not related to them and decided that they were from Afghanistan but married to someone from Pakistan, all of the people involved were from Afghanistan and the person they thought was from Pakistan is here as an Afghan refugee and the Bakhtiyari’s got sent illegally to Pakistan.
    The other families I was talking about were husbands who did what refugees have done since the beginning of time – they came the dangerous way hoping to get their families out the safe way and were told when they got here that they could not do it.

    They were told that they would never see their families again in many cases, that they could not leave Australia and come back. It’s barbaric.

  5. “Here was the choice offered. The women and children could be in a smaller prison in Woomera while the men stayed behind the razor wire. The women and children would have 24/7 guards and still be in jail so why would they want to be in a strange country without their husbands? Would you?”

    How wonderfully consistant. If the government puts them all in the one place you don’t like it. If the split them up you don’t like it. :roll:

  6. Hi Guys I know this is your area so please be a bit patient. Listen we are fighting the same people. You dont have to convince me about how cruel Downers lot are because they are also reasonsible for live exports. Thats why I am always trying to post stuff about it. I get really upset because her lady ship who thinks she runs the animal welfare in this country has not got any idea. Nobody in the public have been told about him . All I was trying to say was that I saw on the Tv news one night ages ago that they offered to let these women and Children out to live in the suburbs with other families but they said no not without their husbands. Now that did happen. They said that the women and children could be placed with familys in the comunity until they checked out the familys background. You must remember that because everyone was talking about it on talk back radio etc. I can imagine how awful those places are i guess. Look I dont really know enough about it and that is the honest truth. As for the two people on an island well i guess there must be a reason. Maybe the Gov think they are sus or trouble and dont wont them passing on messages to certain people. Again i have no idea. Lets face it who would know. They do have a job to keep the country safe. You said they gave them push bikes?. Well i guess thats more than we would get if we went to their country. The way to stay alive even in goals in many other countries is to bribe the guards so you can take food and medical supplies to the person being held. We feed and provide Drs. The fact is its a sad world and a lot sader because Downers in charge of certain things. We really should try to work together to expose all that he is responsible for. I just have trouble with some people expecting these people to be allowed just to come here and walk into main stream. I guess I need to ask you the question, all of you > What would you suggest be done with these people. I mean really do you have an alternative? I would really like to hear it. If you have lets get some rallys going. Anybody who is onto the baby face Downer is a friend of mine. God I am so angry he never gets a mention with the cruelty of live exports. Well at least the Queen mentioned him in her letter to us. She said live Exports were the reasonsibilty of Alexanda Downer and Mark Vaile. Funny i dont see the minster for Ag name there and that would be because he has no power to stop it! Tell that to little bo peep !I am happy to help you anyway I can M and G with Downers cruelty except I have to be fair even to him!
    So how do we fix it M?

  7. yes Marilyn – we all know hwo terrible things were / are youve told us a million times. Easy to criticise.

    Tell us your solution.

  8. Ken the solution is in the law. Article 31 of the refugees convention states simply that refugees who arrive in a territory without papers should not be punished. Locking them up in the desert is punishment.

    Wendy that idea was floated by the NGO’s to the government in 2002 after the January hunger strike when 100’s of people could have died. Believe me on that as I have read the inside transcript of that time. Small children were on hunger strike too you know, men were drinking shampoo and insecticide, so were children. They were slashing up, hanging themselves and I have the photos of the boy, Roqia’s brother, who went off the fence and nearly had his arm cut off.

    The government said no. The law is to deliberately separate families which goes against the refugee convention as well. I was talking to a representative of the refugee peak body last night and what Australia has done to the refugee convention by enshrining it in law and then diluting it to suit ourselves is illegal.

    WE have decided on a rather deranged basis that when the UNHCR says “the detention of asylum seekers is inherently undesirable” that doesn’t apply to us.

    We have a lousy couple of thousand asylum seekers each year – only those who came by boat are locked up yet they are only 1 in 4 of the total. It makes no sense when we don’t have a real clue who those who fly in are either and we know now that war criminals are lliving in the community unmolested by DIMA while children are locked up.

    Are criminals who killed people in Shatila and Sabra, who committed murders with the Maoists and so on less of a threat to us than the children? I don’t think so.

    Ken the only solution is the correct solution, the method Australia used for decades, unguarded hostels. Did you know about the hostels? They were not flash but they didn’t have razor wire, electric fences, guards with batons, tear gas and water cannons to use on people who have committed no crime.

    Now look at your own family. For some reason you have to leave a place of persecution and torture so you stash the wife and kids in a safe haven and run. You get to New Zealand where you apply for refugee status only to be told that due to a law that changed the day you got there you cannot ever bring your family to New Zealand but to come home is too dangerous.

    What do you do? People you need some imagination, to walk in other people’s shoes for a day or two. Read some of the excellent books around about the treatment of refugees. How many of you know that some of the East Timorese last century were locked up like criminals in the air base, refused TB scans and proper medical care and then sent home with a ground sheet and a bag of rice to survive in the hell the Kopassus had created?

    What about the Kosovars who we invited and flew here? Some were locked up, beaten and tormented for months on end before Ruddock finally said a few could stay. Others were sent back to the warzone with nowhere to live, little money and still traumatised.

    We don’t have to be the cruelest bastards on earth to people who have already suffered more than any of us can understand do we? Wendy, imagine they are lambs and calves instead of human children if that helps. Do you want the small animals to be separated from the mums while they are not weaned? Didn’t think so.

    Ken the answer is a bridging visa like we used to do, the right to work or have financial support which we guaranteed to the world we would do over 50 years ago, did do for over 40 years and then decided not to for reasons no-one knows.

  9. Well in amongst all that waffle and emotinalal claptrap, at least we know now where you stand. Why its taken the whole tiume I’ve been looking at this blog to find out is hard to fathom.

    I’m not sure conventions are actually the law, as we at least define it as a statute of Australia, but nonetheless basically your view is no checks , no balances, free entry and free welfare.

    The rationale for the argument seems to be, thast what we used to do so its ok, and thers only a few thouusand so who cares, and what we are doing now is cruel.I don’t necessarily disagree, however i do feel the open slatehr is just not supportabegl by the majoprity of the population now.

    I think definitely a more humane and less punishing regime is desirable – no problems with that, however I also think the community expecst a fair bit more than what you are suggesting is your solution.

  10. Ken find the place where I said no checks and balances? I think you are being a wee bit more precious. The applications have to be processed for sure but people who fly here have to do the same process and are not locked up. We don’t know who they are and they have automatic work rights as long as they apply within 45 days.

    And? Do you know who they are or where they come from? Do you understand the process even one little bit?

    Waht if Chad locked up 200,000 Sudanese in a place like Woomera, wasted over $300 per day per person to “process” a claim. The entire process is an initial interview where the refugees are told to give a brief outline. Then if they are “screened in” they are legally in Australia but we keep them locked up – why? If they are screened in as prima facie refugees with a well-founded fear of persecution what is the point of locking them up to continue the process? Where would they go?

    In case you haven’t read the transcripts of the senate estimates even Vanstone knew in 2000 that the people on the boats weren’t hiding from anyone, they went looking for the authorities so they could be safe.

    And Ken, there has never been open slather – that is the stupidest argument in the world as it is so hard to get here.

    Unless you find 27 asylum seekers a day compared to 11,000 tourists an overwhelming proposition when it is considered that some 70,000 of those tourists just don’t bother to go home.

  11. Well its hard to find anything becasue its so intertwined within “stream of consciousness” random output.

    I acknowledge you didn’t say “no checks and balances” but you also didn’t say any “checks and balances” so my assumption was based on your omission.

    While whatever Chad may or may not do is of marginal interest – I just think you are marching out of step with the vast majority of the population. Thast all

  12. I’ll be doing this a bit at a time….

    Ken the solution is in the law. Article 31 of the refugees convention states simply that refugees who arrive in a territory without papers should not be punished. Locking them up in the desert is punishment.”

    Ok Marilyn…. how many detention centres are in the Desert? 1? Woomera? Is it still open? They are detained because the Australia’s Migration Act 1958 requires that all non-Australian citizens who are unlawfully in Australia be detained and that unless they are granted permission to remain in Australia, they must be removed as soon as reasonably practicable.

    Now they are housed and fed etc, etc…. that’s not exactly punishment. Nor is the process a form of punishment.

    They were slashing up, hanging themselves and I have the photos of the boy, Roqia’s brother, who went off the fence and nearly had his arm cut off.”

    So are these really the type of people you want populating Australia????? As for the boy, where were his parents?

    Do you advocate to these people to behave badly???? Or is it just a natural trait?

    The law is to deliberately separate families which goes against the refugee convention as well. I was talking to a representative of the refugee peak body last night and what Australia has done to the refugee convention by enshrining it in law and then diluting it to suit ourselves is illegal.”

    Yet one miniute you argue for seperation and the next you’re against it. Are you confused, or does the problem lie with everyone else?

    BTW Australia as a soveriegn Nation can do basically what it likes, it can even throw out any adherence to the convention. After all not all Nations are even signatories to it in the first place.

    BTW things have changed since the 1950s. maybe conventions etc need to be re-thought Marilyn. After all Muslims weren’t roaming the world in the 50’s waging religious war against the WEST back then.

  13. mORE MARILYN….

    “WE have decided on a rather deranged basis that when the UNHCR says “the detention of asylum seekers is inherently undesirable” that doesn’t apply to us.”

    WE… have a government Marilyn… it’s not called the UNHCR. BTW just because something is undesirable doesn’t mean it is unnecessary or impractical.

    “We have a lousy couple of thousand asylum seekers each year”

    Now we do.

    “only those who came by boat are locked up yet they are only 1 in 4 of the total”

    Crap overstayers are also locked up until they go home.

    “It makes no sense when we don’t have a real clue who those who fly in are either and we know now that war criminals are lliving in the community unmolested by DIMA while children are locked up.”

    Yet they arrive with visas and passports. (and all that implies) More than those who use criminals to gain access here. Oh BTW do you wan’t the children with their parents or not. MAKE YOUR MIND UP.

  14. “Ken the only solution is the correct solution, the method Australia used for decades, unguarded hostels. Did you know about the hostels? They were not flash but they didn’t have razor wire, electric fences, guards with batons, tear gas and water cannons to use on people who have committed no crime.”

    When and why was the last time you saw water cannons used on detainees Marilyn? I’d have thought most of the violence and incitement came from your mob outside the centres. Certainly people like yourself have ill advised people detained and caused them to have too high an expectation.

    As for the rest of your one-eyed and unsubstantiated claims and exaggerations. You do your credibility no good. I have one word for you. :roll:

    As for what we did 50+ years ago marilyn… we were under the WHITE AUSTRALIA policy and didn’t have the settlement problems we have to overcome these days. We also didn’t have the scurge of terrorism to worry about either. You got a terroist detector on you perhaps? hmmm?

  15. Geoff the refugees you claim should be allowed by the lawful channels are assessed by the UNHCR or another government. Why are they better at it than us? There is only one criteria – being outside their own country and with a well-founded fear of persecution and unwilling or unable to go home.

    Got a problem with that? Geoff I have read nearly 10,000 pages of what happened in Woomera and as a matter of fact we are paying nearly $3 million a year to keep the rotten place open for any comers. It is ready to roll tomorrow.

    Who cares if it has not been used for a while, tear gas should never, ever have been used on any human being let alone young kids who were doing nothing wrong. Nor water cannons that shredded off their skin.

    Do you seriously think I am making this up? I have read the sanitised reports of the ACM and even they make me sick.

    Look at Shayan Badraie’s case for example – $400,000 – do you think DIMA said that the detention causes problems because they don’t think it does? Get real.

    Geoff I think you are an ignorant troll who got lost on the way to Andrew Bolt’s blog where I feel sure you would be very comfortable if not a trifle excessive and ridiculous even for Andrew Bolt.

  16. I find it difficult to reconcile someone professing such compassion and caringness on one hand and being so rude and uncouth on the other.

  17. You make wild assertions Marilyn, yet provide no proof. yet again.

    Woomera is CLOSED marilyn.
    Dr Lockwood has never reported people having their skin shredded off them by water cannons. He did report many things though and diseases like;typhoid, malaria and TB. I hardly think those people should just be allowed into the wider community.
    He did mention guards injured during riots and the stress they were going through though. He did mention that many officers were beaten to a pulp during the riots by bands of thugs marilyn.

    He also said that a small group of about 15 male detainees routinely instigated violence and riots. He says none of them were genuine refugees and he wonders why the Government didn’t move them out. He said most of those guys were criminals.

    “31st December 2002 – it looked like a war zone, however, the instigators, the thugs, they saved their belongings, the belongings of the other detainees went up in flames.”

    Apparently you are in denial of the difficulties the officials had with controlling the people in detention and of the unnsavoury nature of some of the detainees. Yes marilyn YOU only see things from one-side, that;s why you have NO credibility.

  18. Woomera is closed the same way that Manus Island is closed and Nauru is now closed (the 2 men left there are now having to live outside the camp).

    These places are all also in a state of ‘operation readiness’, meaning they can be reopened at short notice. Keeping them in this state, rather than closing them – in the sense of closing them down (as was done with Curtin) – is costing millions of dollars a year.

    Ken – I agree that when one is trying to convince people who don’t share your point of view on this matter, getting too worked up or using overblown rhetoric usually doesn’t help. However, it can be a hard thing to be directly faced with the enormous suffering that some of these people have been put through and not get worked up about it. I’d also say that, in my experience, sometimes the truth finally surfaces on some matters only because of the ‘obsessive’ people who keep gnawing away. I guess different approaches suit different circumstances or people.

  19. Ah Andrew if I hadn’t kept gnawing away with many others we wouldn’t know just how often Australian’s are locked up, just how people are illegally deported and the papers they use (which I gave to the UNHCR lady on Wednesday), how students are treated when they pay thousands and not one thing I say is overblown hyperbole – if anything it is grossly understated considering the inside information I have.

    As for Dr Lockwood – he is not fit to be a doctor to a skunk let alone human beings as he went along with the grotesque excesses of the ACM guards – he had people handcuffed to the beds before he would treat them, kept silent when innocent people were sent to prison cells and so on.

    One day all the information will be made public, it just needs some will by the media.

    In the meantime the trolls like Geoff who want to believe all the self-serving hypocrites like Lockwood can go right ahead. I know different.

    Why don’t you read the HREOC transcripts Geoff from the former staff at Woomera? From Mark and Alan Clifton, from former nurses and psychologists.

    Do you think the 4,000 people forced to live in that hell hole just got out and got over it? Some of them spent the whole existence of the place in it and then got sent to Baxter for another year or two only to discover it was worse.

    Just imagine – and not a single one of them ever was charged with a crime.

    Now Geoff you have also made the deranged point that if people pay CRIMINALS to leave the hell they are stuck in they are criminals. What about the CRIMINALS who fly to Australia on false passports?

    Or the criminals who send people out of Australia with no passports and dump them illegally in the wrong places knowing they will be arrested and incarcerated, or tortured, or even killed as some have been.

    Is it OK for DIMA to behave like CRIMINALS? Do you think so?

  20. I give up – such people are dangerous, fanatics of any description are imbalanced. I’m suer geoff will be able to pick the last post apart paragraph by paragraph.

    But I would love to know a litle bit more of the understated information on the issues raied in par 1. Students? Locked up Australians? Do tell.

  21. Marilyn. Yes I remember the old camps. We used to go there to visit the people. They were not as good as what they have now. They were awful tin shed with a low rounded roof like a chook shed. They were great people. It was so hot but they never complained. I just dont see that we can afford to give them the same freedom as we did 40 years ago. i am not tryting to be hard. Anyway I thought that was a good offer to let the mums and kids go and live with other similar background people or family and the men to stay until they were able to check the familys out properly.
    As for the sheep and lambs on the ship none of them should be there in the first place. In the second place it is not the sheep or the animals of this world that blow up buildings and kill people. Its us who kill them so its no comparison. Animals are truely inncents but not all people are. If we send out a welcome flag to everybody we will be flooded. Now what is the reason that theyu are in far better accomadtion than 40 years ago but they complain. I am not being unkind I just want to know your thoughts as to why. The people 40 years ago never complanied.Search me i have seen the way they were but then again as you say they were free to go to the shop etc. Still m how can we just let them opo off the the mall. Diseases are brought in from other countries by them. There are a whole host of things. I really do not have answers. I know Gaurds have been bashed as well.
    Probably there are some really awful things going on in those places. I guees one thing we could do is to have red cross etc go there everryday and keep a video tape running as well. Then no doubt they would say it was a invashion of privacy and if not them some good doer would. I just do not have an answer but you did not give me yours either. You know far more about this. Whats the answer please Marilyn?How do we get it right. How do we protect the sercurity and make sure these guys with the contracts to look after these places do the right thing.

  22. Wendy Woomera, Port Hedland and Curtin and even Baxter are just tin sheds. Do you think people are living in luxurious surroundings for some mad reason?

    Wendy we just plain don’t have to lock up people who have committed no bloody crime – I have no idea why that is such a difficult concept for people to understand. It is not rocket science after all..

    If we want to lock up innocent people we should charge them with something, anything to justify it. But we don’t. Not even visa violations are a chargeable offence in Australia. The latest news from the UNHCR is that asylum claims have falled by 75% in Australia but the fear is that genuine people are being forced to stay where it is too dangerous and where they are being persecuted.

    Ken, I think you are a little crazed mate and should have a bex and a good like down.

    How do you like the story of a 20 month old girl being tipped out of her stroller and dumped on the ground while her 20 year old carer is dragged off by 4 guards for refusing to allow the baby to be searched for “weapons” – in Woomera for heavens sake. Where on earth would a young girl get weapons to use on huge great thugs and more to the point where would the baby get weapons.

    You just don’t seem to understand that brute force was used on small children, tear gas, water cannons and the like – what for?

    Do you consider the trauma and nightmares those people have? Try being locked up for 6 hours, 6 days, 6 weeks or 6 years without ever knowing why and see how you react.

    As I said, go and read the HREOC reports into the centres – the problems have been known about for years and are ongoing today because prison guards are sent to look after innocent people.

    They become brainless and mindless thugs.

    Wendy, I met this woman called Mary at the family court in August 2003. She was trying to have her young son who had been locked up for so long he had tried to kill himself 20 times and DIMA had been told and told and told to no avail. Mary’s husband had hung himself, slashed himself and Mary was depressed and suicidal herself.

    Her son, Michael, was only 13 and was locked up when he was 10. She spent that entire day locked up in a small room with two guards because her case had been adjourned for the day and when I asked the woman guard if I could go for a walk with Mary to let her get some fresh air I was told it was “unethical”. Ethical is seems to lock up a young boy and his parents and watch while they try over and over again to kill themselves but not ethical to let this lovely woman go for a walk.

    She had escaped murder by the mad Mullahs by the skin of her teeth for the terrible crime of being in America during an anti-Iranian protest. It made no difference that she didn’t even go to the protest – the Mullahs raided her home, stole her papers, beat her and locked her in prison. She was 27 years old

    After more than 4 years Mary was found to be a genuine refugee. Her husband and son are in the grip of psychosis due to the detention and are suing DIMA like Shayan Badraie did.

    I forgot – they spent almost 3 years in Woomera and when they were being forcibly “removed” to Baxter Mary refused to go so they dragged her onto the bus, handcuffed her and made her son watch all this.

    One time the father was brought to Adelaide for mental health care and was handcuffed the entire 6 hours of the drive with three guards. He was no danger to anyone.

    Go and read the transcipts – they should shock any rational human being into a sense of despair.

  23. Tin sheds can be found at;

    http://www.immi.gov.au/detention/facilities_baxter.htm

    http://www.immi.gov.au/detention/facilities_villawood.htm

    http://www.immi.gov.au/detention/facilities_maribyrnong_images.htm

    http://www.immi.gov.au/detention/facilities_perth.htm

    http://www.immi.gov.au/detention/facilities_christmas_island.htm

    http://www.immi.gov.au/detention/facilities_port_augusta.htm

    photos also available.

    Sheds, no longer available’

    http://www.immi.gov.au/detention/facilities_not_operational.htm

    “Wendy we just plain don’t have to lock up people who have committed no bloody crime – I have no idea why that is such a difficult concept for people to understand. It is not rocket science after all..”

    I can’t understand Marilyn, why you have no concept of diseases or that these people are complete unknowns and until we know who they are we have no idea about their criminality. Except of course some may have been involved with people smugglers etc.

    As for the behaviour of some ME people, if their everyday behaviour is anything to go by etc, no wonder they are badly behaved here. You don’t just become a mindless thug by being locked up Marilyn. Otherwise every prisoner that ever existed would be.

  24. Thankyou Geoff. I knew they were imporoved however I did not know how much. M I think what we are all asking you is what do you think we should do with these people who enter Australia without papers. I also can see that these guys you think are big bad guys who wanted to search a pram probably have good reasons. I do however tend to see that thse American and other companies should be replaced or at least have to be working along side main stream people. You dont seem to understand the word disease. thrre and four years is silly and a waiste of out tax money. We should not keep them any longer than six months. I agree with you on that one

  25. Everybody is wasting their time with Marilyn as you have to remember she doesn’t actually see alot of what we call “crime” in the same light and as serious as the rest of us. She is very one sided it seems.

    Could it be that she has lower standards and expectations of acceptable behaviour from one group as opposed to another and, could that be because of her environment and personal connections?

    If break and enter and stealing is regarded as minor crime and nothing in Marilyn’s books, then why is not letting someone get some fresh air seen as such a major thing and why is being forced to use some force to check a stroller with a baby in it for weapons when a ‘parent refuses a search’ such a huge criminal act?

    It seems that there is some confusion here.

  26. Can I suggest people go and look at the comment thread from this post – http://www.andrewbartlett.com/blog/?p=159#comments

    A range of the comments towards the end there talked have addressed an alternative approach. These are mostly by me rather than Marilyn, although she has some too if you look at the core of what she says. She doesn’t speak for me of course and I imagine she would be equally unimpressed if I tried to speak for her. I’m just trying to prevent another unnecessary flaming session from developing.

    To repeat one point though: people need to remember that mandatory detention means what it says – a legal requirement that makes it mandatory for all unathorised arrivals to be detained, regardess of any other circumstances and for as long as it takes (unless the Minister decides otherwise) until a visa is issued. The issue (for me at least) isn’t ’should people never be detained’, but rather ‘under what circumstances is it justified and for how long’.

    Taking away people’s freedom when they have not commited any crime (let alone been charged or convicted of one) is a very serious thing for any government to do, and should only be for as short a time as possible and in as rare circumstances as possible. The UNCHR has developed guidelines to meet these criteria (detailed on the other comment threaed referred to above), and that’s what we should be implementing. Talking about disease or security is valid in the context of assessing whether temporary detention is justifed in a specific case, but it is a furphy if its used as an excuse to justify indefinite mandatory detention of all.

    In regards to conditions at the various detention centres, I’ve visited all of them more than once. The adequacy of the physical conditions vary a fair bit, but the key problem is that they are prisons. Whatever conditions were like in the past in reception centres and other camps, they were not prisons. Worse, these are prisons where people do not know how long they will be in for.

    The brutalising nature of most prisons is pretty well documented. Detention centres in many respects are worse, as they are outside judicial processes, have no automatic mechanisms for review and do not have the sort of legal framework or obligations and rights which apply with prisons.

  27. Andrew if mandatory detention is the Policy and Policies are enforceable, then like you said, there is a legal requirement that makes it mandatory for all unathorised arrivals to be detained, regardess of any other circumstances and for as long as it takes (unless the Minister decides otherwise) until a visa is issued.

    The question I would have to ask is why does the Immigration Policy have to be implimented so strictly yet other Policies can be ignored and there is no obligation that they be acted upon by the Authorities?

    The problems to me appears to be with appeal and complaint handling procedures and processes.

    Serious problems in the area of transparent, fair and proper handling of appeals and complaints are happening across the board in all Government Departments, not just in Immigration.

  28. Anon

    “Serious problems in the area of transparent, fair and proper handling of appeals and complaints are happening across the board in all Government Departments, not just in Immigration.”

    I agree. This is a key problem. I think a serious malaise has developed here – at state as well as federal level. I don’t suggest all was perfect on sole distant golden age, but I think the lack of responsibility and accountability is far worse, and the results are bigger stuff-ups when they happen, and a lot of buck passing and dodging.

    Even when appeals or complaints are successful, they seem to be ‘quarantined’ for the wider practices that often lie behind wrong decisions, so the underlying problem does not get addressed.

  29. Actually Anderw – all that Marilyn offered in that previosu post was that things should be done according to law. The only problem was that, as you have rightly pointed out abvoe they are (whether people like that law is another thing.)

    M’s problem is that she thinks law is not Australin statutes but rather UN agreemnts, treaties or whatever.

  30. I think M means well guys and clearly she has probably seen a few things we have not given her attention to this matter. I guess we are just all worried that these people will end up being allowed to just rock up any old time. The process needs to be held in an open public hearing. There is no argument there.Tell you what i find real scarey. I was speaking with a guy from Africa. This guy I have known for years. He was laughing and telling me how he hates needles so he and his mate paid about 200 dollars over there so they did not have to have a blood test. I think everybody should have one both ends. Sorry M.Now you will say i am being racist of course. But Thats scarey.

  31. Wendy, its not what M says that bothers me. I agree that the treatment of human beings is a very important issue, as is the treatment of animals. It’s how M says it that is the problem for me. I find her manner very rude and disrespectful.

    I dont think it can be said that this topic has not been given alot of attention lately, it seems that just about every post goes there and there are being changes made, yet M doesn’t seem to acknowledge or accept that things are improving.

    We have to identify and encourage change so as to make it worthwile for those that are changing, if you act like nothing has changed no matter what they do, then they may as well not bother.

  32. Let me addres this…

    “Taking away people’s freedom when they have not commited any crime (let alone been charged or convicted of one) is a very serious thing for any government to do, and should only be for as short a time as possible and in as rare circumstances as possible. The UNCHR has developed guidelines to meet these criteria (detailed on the other comment threaed referred to above), and that’s what we should be implementing.”

    What we should be implementing is proicesses we deem appropriate, not processes the UN sees fit to tell us we should. After all the protocol we are currently supposed to work under is 50 years old.

    People who come here using criminal or unofficial means, etc… should be detained. For reasons I have already stated quite clearly.

    “Talking about disease or security is valid in the context of assessing whether temporary detention is justifed in a specific case, but it is a furphy if its used as an excuse to justify indefinite mandatory detention of all.”

    No one I know, and I’m certain no one here, thinks endless or even too long a detention period is appropriate or wanted.

  33. It is not a matter of us doing whatever the UN deems we should. We (i.e.Australia) are part of the decision makng body that develops and signs of on these procedures. The Refugee Convention may be over 50 years old, but the upated Protocol was adopted in 1969 (although not be Australia until 1973 I think). The UNHCR guidelines (detailed at comment #64 on this thread – http://www.andrewbartlett.com/blog/?p=159#comment-3179 – ) are realitively recent – last few years I think.

    Detnetion in itself is not the issue (for most), it’s the length of time and the manditory and abitrary nature of, regarldless of the circumstances. Not only is this unjust in principle, having such extreme unaccoutable powers in the hands of government bueaucrats increases the chances of major misscarriages of justice such as the Cornelia Rua or Vivienne Solon cases.

    If, as you say, “No one I know, and I’m certain no one here, thinks endless or even too long a detention period is appropriate or wanted.” then I would like to think there’d be wider support for continuing to pressure the federal government to give the rules surrounding detention significant improvement, so that lengthy dentention is only warrented under clearly defined circumstances (which can be tested through independent appeal) and for as short a period as is necessary.

  34. What makes you think there isn’t support for improving the process Andrew?

    One improvement would be the time and money wasted in ambit claims and appeals and in the abilty to repatriate those found not genuine.

  35. Not so – mandatory can only be for a set period of time – a more humane system and mandatroy detention aer not mutually exclusive

  36. ****30 It is important to emphasise that the client did not escape from custody. It would have been an offence for him to have done so: see 197A of the Act. He was released from detention pursuant to a court order. Neither was he committing or proposing to commit an offence simply because he was taking steps to avoid being detained. As Gummow J indicated in Al-Kateb at [86] ff, the current Migration Act, unlike its precursors, does not make it an offence for an unlawful non-citizen to enter or to be within Australia in contravention of, or in evasion of, the Act.

    31 Further, as Hayne J observed in Al-Kateb at [207]-[208] the description of a person’s immigration status as “unlawful” serves as no more than a reference to a non-citizen not having a “valid permission to enter and remain in Australia”. The use of the term “unlawful” does not as such refer to a breach of a law.”””

    These are excerpts from a case last year where DIMA tried to state that client/lawyer privilege did not extend to refugees and it was rightly dismissed. Hayne and Gummow are of course two of the highest judges in the land and know the law pretty well. Of course Hayne still managed to vote down habeas corpus in the case of Al Kateb and allow for permanent detention without charge. And this is supposed to be a democracy.

    I believe that certain people on this forum are only here to inflame and incite the ludicrous notion that somehow being a refugee, or paying a place of danger or coming to Australia without a visa is reason enough to spend up to 7 years in detention without ever being charged with anything.

    Geoff you can post as many of the DIMA things as you want it doesn’t remove the fact that the sheds are wood lined ATCO huts with no insulation or protection. When they burn they burn to the ground and all that is left is the galvanised iron shell. Heavens, I lived in a tin house until I was 7 and wouldn’t recommend it as it gets to over 50 degrees inside pretty quickly.

    Don’t you understand yet Geoff that the department have lulled themselves into such a deranged sense of self-righteousness they can’t see the forest for the trees?

    Why would you believe the people who brought us the catastrophic tale of Vivian Alvarez, Cornelia Rau – Vanstone met her a couple of weeks ago and seemed to be stunned that she speaks pure Aussie –
    247 other cases of wrongful detention have now turned up, nearly 300 people like Jovicic have been deported to heaven’s knows where. People have been illegally deported without documents to the most dangerous places on earth yet we let a man who spent 10 years in prison for child abuse and rape stay because he won’t fill out travel papers to England.

    The department is corrupt and rotten to the core Geoff. I suspect I am so much hated here because you are forced to face the reality.

    Someday the disc of Woomera reports will be made public, the senate have a copy they seem to have ignored completely and I don’t understand quite why that is.

    Ken is right – mandatory can be for a short period of time and be humane.

    How about hostels with minimum supervision like we did for 50 years without the world as we know it coming to a shuddering halt? Out of 142 countries that have signed the refugee convention we are the only ones who insist on jail for the whole process, for even some of the process and at all.

    We are the only nation that automatically locks up only those who come on boats and there is no rational explanation for it. People who come on planes from the middle east, Asia, Russia, Chechnya, Peru, Brazil, China, Israel and other places are just as liable to be ill as anyone who comes on a boat and in fact most of the ones on boats only get sick while they are waiting in Indonesia.

    To keep one child locked up in the Port Augusta housing cost $240,000 per year while the child allowance in the community is about $6,000 per year, to keep one adult was over $110,000 while the dole is $10,000 or better still let people work and pay tax. They are not criminals.

    Now for the other substance of Gummow and Hayne, which was held by all 7 judges in the High Court, is that there is no offence in being in or entering Australia without a visa.

    Instead of spending so much locking up people who have committed no offence, I can add a DIMA admission from 2000 if you want, if people overstay a visa why not charge them with a misdemeanour and fine them instead of spending $300 per day locking them up with no ability to be released by any court ever. Then allow a new visa until things are sorted.

    If students fail their courses due to the strangeness of the system, over work or whatever reason, why lock them up? Why not give them decent counselling so they fit in and then pass?

    Refugees have an implicit and legal right to come to Australia without a passport or visa so why lock them up? Why spend $240,000 per year to lock up a child who cannot possibly be any threat to anyone in Australia when they could live in the community with their parents getting help for trauma and torture, going to school and having a normal life?

    Not one other nation does what we do to refugees who arrive and not one other country has legislated the possibility of whole of life detention for people born in detention if they are deemed to be stateless.

    By the way, in the same case our Solicitor General conceded that a visa was nothing more than a convenient piece of paper. It is not gold plated entry to Australia.

    If Australia is so fastidious about passports and visas why do we send innocent men, women and children to the wrong countries without any papers at all? That is a breach of our own law let alone the laws of other countries.

    Try Pakistan for example. People without passports in Pakistan are imprisoned in vile conditions, sometimes for years.

    Afghans are deported into danger and our government knows that which makes me so angry that they did it to innocent children 18 months after their uncle had been the first person they did it to, knowing he had been arrested and deported to Afghanistan where he was nearly killed by the Taliban.

    We don’t get it both ways here yet we seem to think we should.

    Now I don’t apologise one iota for making people uncomfortable here – we should be uncomfortable.

    As for searching a baby for weapons in Woomera. What nonsense – she was behind a 25 foot palisade fence – do you think she wandered off to the machine room to make a knife?

  37. Marilyn. It was searching the pram to see if there was any weapons hidden in the pram – not searching the baby!

  38. Anon they threw the baby to the dirt ground and put the girl pushing the pram into an isolation cell.

    Bloody hell you are a hardarse ANon. If you have something rational to add please do so.

  39. AND YOU are such a polite and lovely lady Marilyn.

    So are you going to tell me that they picked the baby up out of the pram and deliberately threw the baby on the ground. Or that the mother wouldn’t agree to being searched and when they tried to do what they were going to do against the mothers wishes the baby fell out in the ensuring struggle……

    There are so many ways to tell the same story. Question is why didnt’ the mother just agree to have the pram searched – thats what I would have done if I had nothing to hide!

  40. Andrew…
    “Well clearly, if people support retaining mandatory detention, they don’t wish to make the sort of fundamental improvements which are necessary.”

    As ken has already told you… NOT SO.
    Mandatory detention for people who come here unofficially should remain, the problem as I see it is in the processing of arrivals.

    marilyn…
    “Don’t you understand yet Geoff that the department have lulled themselves into such a deranged sense of self-righteousness they can’t see the forest for the trees?”

    The only person I have come across that has a deranged sense of self-righteuosness marilyn is you. Ditto for the forest and the trees.

    As for throwing babies into the ground marilyn :roll: sounds like front-page news to me. Care to point out where I missed it?

    If it happened marilyn they should be sacked.

  41. It was not the mother – bloody hell you are talking about a baby. A baby, not a criminal, a baby.

    The girl pushing the pram was being yelled at by 4 guards in English, she only spoke DARI, and all she was doing was going to lunch. That is the ACM report. I will find it.

    Actually she was going back to her room with the baby, she was put into flexi-cuffs and then reacted badly to ACM guards. As I would she yelled and screamed. Terrified out of her mind.

    I give up here – you are deteremined to be savages.

  42. Marilyn. YOu still havent said whether they picked the toddler out of the pram and threw the toddler on to the ground. It really doesn’t matter if it was the mother or somebody else pushing the pram and YOU are not talking about the baby you are talking about the treatment and handling of the toddler by adults. There is a difference. I dont know whether the baby was okay because you havent commented on that.

    You said:

    How do you like the story of a 20 month old girl being tipped out of her stroller and dumped on the ground while her 20 year old carer is dragged off by 4 guards for refusing to allow the baby to be searched for “weapons” – in Woomera for heavens sake. Where on earth would a young girl get weapons to use on huge great thugs and more to the point where would the baby get weapons”

    Now you say that she couldn’t speak English and had no idea of what was happening and that the baby was thrown to the ground! Like I said before there are alot of ways to tell the same story and some even tell it different ways depending on how it suits.

    Like Geoff said, if they deliberatley picked the toddler out of the pram and threw the baby to the ground it should have been front page news and they should be sacked and they should still be identified and sacked. Whats so savage about thinking that?

  43. M You wont win the fight for these strangers you are so attached to be pissing everyone off. I do not care what you say they are a sneaky lot. If the Gaurds had reason to search her then they has reason. Perhaps they need more interpreters and your ennergy could be put into looking into that line. I dont CARE if I offend you. I have many friends from all over the world but times have changed M. They will look you straight in tne face and lie. Not All but many. I take it you are getting these stories from a rep of theirs. Some people DO have a political interest to stir up trouble so mindful your good intentions are not eending in your being used .Most Aisies really care but we have laws

  44. Its true that at this point Marilyn should be putting her energy into helping making sure that these people acknowledge and understand this Countries perspective and culture and in teaching them to communicate so that there is no misunderstanding and also fighting to have the Application and Appeals process made more open, transparant and accountable so that it is quick and fair.

    Trying to make things so that these people can just waltz in isn’t going to happen as these people as a group do not have a very good reputation and not just here in Australia, but all over the world. We have to protect ourselves and be careful.

    Problem is that these people believe that they have a ‘right’ to be here, no matter what! People like Marilyn support them in that belief. It creates an attitude problem and more often than not triggers resentment, hostility and aggression on all sides.

  45. Yes very Well Put Post 47. Thats is areal problem for sure. they think we are s. And that they have a right to be here because they are superior. Its racism actually. Years ago they were humble and kind and grateful. Now many have such an attitude that one might be awful tempted to lock them up for years.

  46. Alexander Downer said tonight that we had to let the West Papuans stay because it is our law under the refugee convention. It’s about time he remembered that teensy thing.

    Come on people. Article 36 of our migration is the refugee convention enshrined in law and under that law it is a right for anyone to turn up anyway they can get here and ask for protection.

    Why on earth do you want to be so cruel? As for the behaviour of those in the middle east – how do they compare to we nice gentle westerners who believe it is OK to lock up and torment children and support the torture of helpless animals through the live trade program?

    What about our gentle bombing to bits of Afghanistan and Iraq?

  47. Did it ever cross your mind that validating the bonafides of these people was easier than validating those of people smuggled into the country from half way across the world?

    The convention needs updating to catch up with the times we live in NOW Marilyn.

Comments are closed.