Tags: asylum seekers

22 May 2007, Comments Off on It’s different when you’re born to rule

It’s different when you’re born to rule

Author: Helen

I remember – hell, this is so going to show my age – the Labor “It’s Time” ad campaign. I remember the Liberal response to it, too – a little cartoon man, the naive prospective Labor voter, being lectured by one of his betters on the disastrous events in store for him if he does. “And,” the voiceover intoned, “Once they get in, they’ll change the system, and then you’ll never get them out!”

Which is pretty much what the Liberals are trying to do with their new Orwellian Electoral Integrity Act.

In the same spirit of “it’s OK when we do it, but not when they do”, the government has also been criticising the Ruddster’s declared intention to intercept whaling ships in Australian waters (“Piracy!” thundered Malcolm Turnbull), while conveniently forgetting that they initiated the “Border Control bill” in 1999-2000 to allow themselves to patrol the northern waters, intercept and board ships deemed to be carrying asylum seekers or just illegal fishermen.

Of course, the Libs pick their battles. It would take guts to go head to head with the Japanese government and “scientific” whalers, instead of eighteen-year-olds and Indonesian fishermen or refugees.
Crossposted at Road to Surfdom

23 Dec 2005, Comments Off on Christmas post

Christmas post

Author: Helen

When a lying sack of shit like John Howard, via that other lying sack of shit the Herald-Sun, decides to tell us we should put Christ back into Christmas, my response is (1) rolling eyes and (2) evil laughter. Yeah, right, you remorseless, power-hungry, economic rationalist rodent.

On the other hand, there’s the old lady who came into my SO’s office the other day. He’s a graphic designer who works for a company which will do one-off printing jobs for you, as well as the more profitable stuff (they print a journal for a well known think tank, which will be nameless.) She brought an original drawing with her on an A4 sized sheet, which she wanted made into cards, which (she said) would remind people of what Christmas is really all about: a baby boy and all the other ramifications of his birth and death.

christ child.jpg

I don’t think this jpg file does justice to the original. The original is done in that old-style classical pen-and-ink style, with cross hatching and bits of writing in beautiful copperplate. She must have had some serious art training, back in the olden days.

She was a right tough old bugger, too– wanted them done for 5c a copy. SO explained he couldn’t possibly do it for less than 10c. The scrooge!

She mentioned in passing that anyone could use the image, as long as they didn’t sell it, which is very nice and Christmas-spirit-y.

Oh, I dunno. She could be a rusted-on Howard voter who is totally in favour of locking up these nasty asylum seekers FOREVER and whacking kids with her knobby walking stick if they don’t immediately stand up for her on the tram – actually, I agree with that last one– anyway, it’s a welcome bit of originality and feeling in the middle of all the Santas and other commercialism.

9 Feb 2005, Comments (0)


Author: Helen

Cornelia Rau is the Australian government’s worst nightmare. Blonde, pretty, in her older photos she could have stepped out of an episode of Neighbours.

She’s the girl next door. And the girl next door was sucked into the black hole of Australia’s detention centres, where the psychiatric deterioration of prisoners is kept – as far as possible – from the public.

HREOC and refugee advocates have been trying to bring the problem of mental health in Australian detention centres for years now. The stories coming out of Baxter and other centres have been horrible. So what’s new?

Post-Tampa, one of the most successful excercises by the Howard government and mainstream media was to portray asylum seekers in the camps as the Other. Slowly, they became a sub-category of human, not as deserving of basic human rights as you or me. Perhaps even non-human. Using the word “illegals” to describe them (none of them are on a criminal charge) has contributed to this, as John Quiggin and Jack Robertson discuss.

Psychotic behaviour caused or exacerbated by detention, such as anorexia or lip sewing, were gleefuly talked up by Liberal politicians, DIMIA officials and tabloid journalists, as proof of asylum seekers’ subhuman unfitness for life here. This was echoed in talkback and grubby MSN chat sites.

But Cornelia Rau didn’t fit that mould. She was the girl next door in Ramsay Street. And suddenly, it’s possible for the majority to see what happens when the girl next door is trapped in the surreal nightmare that is a privatised Australian detention facility.

Someone like Us.

8 Sep 2004, Comments (0)

Cats and dogs

Author: Helen

Cast Iron Balcony has temporarily been out of action. I was meaning to blog about Trish Worth, hanging on doggedly (ha) to her seat by a narrow margin and causing a catfight (ha, ha) with her thoughtless remark about asylum seekers

I would like to point out that poor Trish had the comparison completely arse about. I have been to the website which contains the Australian Government regulations and checked out how long you are likely to stay behind bars if you are a furry pet as opposed to, for instance, an Afghani child.

If your name is Snuffy or Spot and you have four legs instead of two, you will only have to stay a maximum of 60 days in detention– that’s for places considered more suss, like Nauru (!), Papua New Guinea and Samoa. However, for most countries, the most you will have to endure will be 30 days.

Let’s compare and contrast this with how long human children and their families who arrive by boat have to stay behind the razor wire.

* The longest a child has been in detention with a family is 5.5 years.
* In January 2003, the average length of detention for children was more than one year and three months.
* By April 2003, 50 children had been in detention for more than 2 years. All of those children were in detention with one or more parents.

In fact, the High Court recently found that there is no reason, as far as they can see, why the Federal government shouldn’t keep you there forever.

That’s a considerable bit longer than the time Binky or Sniffy have to remain incarcerated. I’m sure Trish was trying to make the point that we should try to treat boat arrivals at least as well as domestic pets. I reckon that was the point she was trying to make when she was so rudely howled (heh heh!) down.