Wednesday, March 23, 2005

PM eases stance on his embarrassment?

Fascist Prime Minister JOHN HoWARd tried to ease his embarrassment of the governments hardline mandatory detention policy, agreeing to release up to 100 asylum-seekers from behind razor wire after relentless campaigning by human rights activists.

In the latest victory for human rights activists, cabinet agreed yesterday to allow stateless detainees to live in the community, rather than detention centres, until they could be deported to their country of origin.

Fascist Immigration Minister Amanda Vanitystone is today expected to announce that the holders of the new visas will also be eligible for welfare entitlements, allowing them a better standard of living while in Australia.

The Government's latest shift on refugee policy came after human rights activists raised concerns about conditions in detention centres, with cabinet agreeing to relax strict controls on who can be released into the community. Announcing the shift, HoWARd insisted his fascist Government's hardline policy on border protection and commitment to offshore processing had not been compromised.

"What we have been looking at is a situation where a person has been judged not to be a refugee. In other words, all of the avenues of examination and adjudication have been exhausted, yet for practical purposes that person can't be sent back to the country from whence he came," he said.

"While that situation continues, it's not reasonable that he or she continues to be in detention and the desire is that that person be let out into the community on the understanding that when the impracticability about the person's return has been removed, then that person will be returned to the country from whence he came. Of course, at no stage has it been judged that that person is a refugee."

Senator Vanitystone will have the discretion to determine when to send stateless visa holders back to their country of origin. The new visa category will incorporate those who have exhausted their legal claims against the commonwealth.

The case of long-term stateless detainee Peter Qasim, who is in his seventh year in immigration detention, has been the focus of intense lobbying by Coalition backbenchers and advocates.

Mr Qasim, who claims to be from Kashmir, has dropped all appeals for protection and asked to be deported from Australia, but no country will accept his bid for residency.

The fascist HoWARd Government has and still does take a draconian approach to migration law, fighting hundreds of court battles to cement its right to detain a person living in Australia without a visa, following the arrival of the Tampa boatload of Afghan refugees in August 2001.

HoWARd exploited community angst over refugees at the so-called Tampa election of 2001 by campaigning on the memorable slogan: "We will decide who comes to this country, and the circumstances in which they come".

Human Rights activists have raised the issue of children in detention and stateless detainees with the Immigration Minister. And have been instrumental in changing policy on asylum-seeker issues such as temporary protection visas and regional workers.

Government MP Mr Barresi said last night that he had spoken to Senator Vanstone and Mr Howard of his concerns about the "mental decay" of indefinite detainees.

Mr Barresi said. "(The decision) doesn't undermine the border protection policy the Government has, but it does demonstrate a great deal of compassion."?

The policy change has come as activists from the NSW Refugee Action Coalition plan to rally in the hundreds outside Senator Vanstone's house in Adelaide and then move to Baxter on Good Friday?

By Elizabeth Colman, Steve Lewis and Just Us 23 March 05


2nd Renaissance -10- Voices Raised In Dissent [155]

"The next thing that came to mind was when you actually get on a river boat and cross that ocean and the river boat disintegrates, crikeys, what they must have been feeling must be pretty bad. I would not have the courage and determination to do that. You know. to cross the ocean in a river boat, I think, takes enormous courage and determination. And those are a couple of qualities that Australians really admire. And so I thought to myself, Anybody who's gone through that and survived and gets to Australia, there's a fair chance they're going to be a worthwhile citizen."

"Well, I'm on the road today. We're coming to Baxter Detention Centre to have a bit of a look. I mean the main reason for me having a look at Baxter is basically for my education, to try and find out a bit more about how refugees have to live, what they've got to put up with. Driving up into Baxter and looking around, the first thing I thought to myself, This looks awfully like a jail to me. So I'm going to be interested to see what its like on the inside."

"Well, having been inside, I guess the two words that sort of come to me are depressing and frustrating. You'd like to be able to do more about it and you sort of feel like you're handcuffed. You're born here and pretty proud of a lot of things that Australia does, but to hear them talk about, you know, some of the things that Australia has done to them was embarrassing. You wanted to say to them, "Look, not all Australians feel that way." And, you know, it's pretty bad. I feel horrible about having to apologise for my own country. That's a horrible position. I don't like being put in that position."

... Ian Chappell, former Test Captain and Australian Cricketing Great, recorded in an Australian Story documentary, shown of national TV, July, 2003.


The Baxter Detention Centre houses refugees and asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iraq and other world trouble spots.

The policies and practices of the Australian government in detaining refugees, and the conditions under which they are held, sometimes for years, have been strongly criticised by both the Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Dr Sev Ozdowski, and by Justice P.N. Bhagwati, Former Chief Justice of India, who undertook a review on behalf of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in mid 2002.

In response to the critical content of the latter report, produced on behalf of Mrs Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Australian government issued a terse statement, to the effect that, "Nothing in Justice Bhagwati's report is cause to change the view that Australia's system of immigration detention is effective and not inconsistent with our international obligations."

Obviously, Ian Chappell does not feel that to be the case, and he has spoken out in disgust and anger.

Predictably, one of the three Federal Ministers that issued the joint rebuttal above was the Australian Attorney-General. It was legislation framed by his department, to censor the Internet and legalise Big Brother style surveillance, that prompted Ian Clarke to write Freenet in the first place.

Once elected officials have control over the rule of law, they often come to rely on the fact that everything their regime does within the letter of their own legislation is legal. They overlook the necessity for the both the laws of the land, and their interpretation, to also be fair, humane, and moral. Australia's rule of law is increasingly failing to meet the latter standards.

In reality, the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees by the Australian government, involves crimes against humanity. The participation of Australian forces in unjustified invasions of countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, falls within any reasonable definition of a war crime. So do the attacks on civilian populations and the use, and support of the use, of WMDs such as DU and NDU weaponry.

* When it comes to criticising breaches of human rights and the perpetration of illegal acts of war, the average Australian is blunter than representatives of the UN. On the streets one finds a waggish humour incorporated in Australian's description of the (OWO) Old World Order cabal in Canberra. Some ordinary Australians now refer to the above Ministers, their Cabinet colleagues and their departmental officials, as "The SMELLY Gang".


For the benefit of non-Australian readers, the KELLY Gang is the nation's most famous group of historical outlaws, who, together with their leader, Ned Kelly (1855-80), fought a final battle with troopers, while wearing protective iron armour on their heads and torsos. Outlaws of that period were termed BUSHRANGERS.

If there is a bunch of outlaws in office in Canberra, supporting immoral US policies and the War on Terror, then, by inference, there are gangsters in the White House. At least, that's how many Australians are coming to see things. They might not yet be demonstrating outside the Parliament, but their wry humour reflects their resentment of evil actions carried out in their name.

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