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Restoring integrity to Australia’s immigration system

Marilyn Shepherd writes: 

The cost has been about $3 billion over the past 10 years.

14 people have died in detention without ever being charged with any crime.

On SIEVX alone 146 children, 142 women and 65 men died while at least 7 died after we turned them back to Indonesia, I believe over a dozen others have been killed after their forced return to their countries.

At least 247 Australian's were illegally detained including 10 children whom the department claimed "were visiting" their parents, some for as long as 9 months.

Over 300 permanent residents were deported while several citizens were illegally deported and have had to be brought back and compensated.

At long last the ALP have decided to rectify the horror they began in response to a mere 194 Cambodians who arrived in 1992 while Gareth Evans was dealing with the Cambodians for peace.

We all need to applaud Kevin Rudd and Chris Evans and his team for this great step forward.


New Directions in Detention: Restoring Integrity to Australia’s Immigration System
Senator Chris Evans, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

(Speech delivered on Tuesday 29 July 2008 at the Centre for International and Public Law, Australian National University)

At my first meeting with Department officials as Minister for Immigration, I asked who was detained at the immigration detention centre on Nauru and at what stage were their claims for asylum.

I was told there were eight Burmese and 81 Sri Lankans there. Virtually all of this group had already been assessed as refugees but had been left languishing on Nauru.

When I asked why the eight Burmese had not been settled in Australia in accordance with international law there was an embarrassed silence.

Eventually the answer emerged. The Howard Government had ordered they stay put. They had been left rotting on Nauru because the Howard Government wanted to maintain the myth that third country settlement was possible.

Sadly, Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers had sunk this low.

The treatment of asylum seekers has been controversial in Australian political debate for many years. The length and conditions of their detention has been a particular focus of criticism.

The Rudd Labor Government was elected on a platform that included a commitment to reform and a more humane treatment of those seeking our protection.

We quickly ended the Pacific Solution – closing the offshore processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island. We abolished temporary protection visas – the symbol of the former Government’s continued punishment of those found to be owed our protection.

We acted quickly to resolve the legacy cases. Cornelia Rau has finally been compensated for her treatment and Robert Jocovic – the man found destitute in Belgrade after being deported on character grounds – has been given a permanent visa to get on with his life in Australia.

The challenge for Labor, having tackled the worst excesses of the Howard immigration legacy, is to introduce a new set of values to immigration detention – values that seek to emphasise a risk-based approach to detention and prompt resolution of cases rather than punishment. The best deterrent is to ensure that people who have no right to remain in Australia are removed expeditiously.

The Labor Party went to the last election with a commitment to maintain a system of mandatory detention and the excision of certain places from the Migration zone, and both commitments will be honoured.

Control and management of our borders is integral to the nation’s security. The extensive patrolling of our borders by Defence, Customs and other law enforcement agencies has been maintained at existing levels.

The Labor Government has reinvigorated efforts to work closely with countries to our north to combat people smuggling and prevent attempts at dangerous sea journeys by people seeking to enter Australia unlawfully.

We look to extend assistance to those countries to develop their capacity and enhance projects in home and transit countries to assist people displaced by conflict who may be vulnerable targets of people smugglers and traffickers.

An architecture of excision of offshore islands and non-statutory processing of persons who arrive unauthorised at an excised place will remain.

Those unauthorised arrivals will be processed on Christmas Island.

Labor believes that the excision and offshore processing at Christmas Island will signal that the Australian Government maintains a very strong anti-people smuggling stance. It also reinforces in the minds of our neighbours that strong commitment and the value we place on their cooperation.

Although no decision has been taken on the boundaries of the current excision zone, the Rudd Government believes that a strong border security regime is in the national interest and supports the integrity of our immigration system as well as our humanitarian and refugee programs.

Labor rejects the notion that dehumanising and punishing unauthorised arrivals with long-term detention is an effective or civilised response. Desperate people are not deterred by the threat of harsh detention – they are often fleeing much worse circumstances. The Howard Government’s punitive policies did much damage to those individuals detained and brought great shame on Australia.

Strong border security and humane and risk-based detention policies are not incompatible. They are both hallmarks of a mature, confident and independent nation.

There has been strong criticism of the processing of protection claims by those persons whose unauthorised arrival was at an excised offshore place.

These criticisms include that there is a lack of transparency, that there is insufficient provision for independent advice and assistance for people in making their claims, that there is no independent review of departmental decisions and there is a lack of independent oversight of the process.

In instituting a new processing regime for those who arrived in an excised place and claim protection, we seek to remedy those deficiencies.

Henceforward, asylum seekers will receive publicly funded advice and assistance, access to independent review of unfavourable decisions and external scrutiny by the Immigration Ombudsman.

These measures will build on strengthened procedural guidance for departmental decision makers.

In totality, these robust processes will deliver outcomes in which we can be confident and will reassure the world that we are meeting our international commitments.

The integrity of these processes will reinforce our capacity to expedite the return to their home country of people found not to be in need of protection.

The previous Government was forced into major changes to its detention practices in 2005 following the Palmer and Comrie reports and heightened political and public pressure.

The changes certainly improved key aspects of the immigration detention system, reducing overall numbers detained by encouraging the Department to issue Bridging Visas to avoid placing people in detention. However, the changes were largely superficial and never fundamentally reformed the system; many of the concerns expressed over the past decade remain.

The basic premise that people who were in the country unlawfully – whether they be unauthorised arrivals or people who have breached their visa conditions – were subject to mandatory immigration detention remained central to the government’s policy.

Even though the number of unauthorised boat arrivals had slowed dramatically, long-term detention became the reality for large numbers of detainees; mostly people who had breached their visa conditions and utilised our thorough appeal processes to try to win the right to stay in Australia.

Today I want to announce that Cabinet has endorsed a policy containing seven values that will guide and drive new detention policy and practice into the future. These values will result in a risk-based approach to the management of immigration clients.

The Government’s seven key immigration values are:

1. Mandatory detention is an essential component of strong border control.

2. To support the integrity of Australia’s immigration program three groups will be subject to mandatory detention:

  • all unauthorised arrivals, for management of health, identity and security risks to the community;
  • unlawful non-citizens who present unacceptable risks to the community; and
  • unlawful non-citizens who have repeatedly refused to comply with their visa conditions;

3. Children, including juvenile foreign fishers and, where possible, their families, will not be detained in an immigration detention centre (IDC);

4. Detention that is indefinite or otherwise arbitrary is not acceptable and the length and conditions of detention, including the appropriateness of both the accommodation and the services provided, would be subject to regular review;

5. Detention in Immigration Detention Centres is only to be used as a last resort and for the shortest practicable time;

6. People in detention will be treated fairly and reasonably within the law; and

7. Conditions of detention will ensure the inherent dignity of the human person.

Labor’s reforms will fundamentally change the premise underlying detention policy.

Currently persons who are unlawful may be detained even though the departmental assessment is that they pose no risk to the community. That detention may be prolonged. Currently, detention is too often the first option, not the last.

Under Labor’s reforms, persons will be detained only if the need is established. The presumption will be that persons will remain in the community while their immigration status is resolved. If a person is complying with immigration processes and is not a risk to the community then detention in a detention centre cannot be justified. The Department will have to justify a decision to detain – not presume detention.

Labor believes that the retention of mandatory detention on arrival of unauthorised arrivals for the purpose of health, identity and security checks is a sound and responsible public policy. Once checks have been successfully completed, continued detention while immigration status is resolved is unwarranted.

The key determinant of the need to detain a person in an immigration detention centre will be risk to the community – a modern risk management approach.

The detention of those who pose unacceptable risks to the community is self evidently sound public policy. Those with criminal or terrorist links or those whose identity is unknown may be so categorized.

Detention of those who repeatedly refuse to comply with visa conditions can also be justified, particularly immediately prior to their planned involuntary removal.

Detention in these three circumstances is necessary in ensuring the integrity of our immigration system.

The other detention values will ensure that detention policy reflects the values of Australia’s democracy.

They honour our international treaty obligations. They give greater voice to our commitment to the rule of law. They acknowledge the centrality of the humane treatment of the individual.

The detention of children behind razor wire and the obvious damage done to them caused outrage in the Australian community. The Howard Government could not defend that practice but never abandoned the option of again detaining children.

Labor’s detention values explicitly ban the detention of children in immigration detention centres. Children in the company of family members will be accommodated in Immigration Residential Housing (IRH) or community settings.

The expansion of community housing options and the resolution of definitional issues around what constitutes detention under the Migration Act will be pursued as priorities.

The set of values adopted are designed to drive the development of a very different detention model.

The values commit us to detention as a last resort; to detention for the shortest practicable period; to the rejection of indefinite or otherwise arbitrary detention. In other words, the current model of immigration detention is fundamentally overturned.


The Immigration Department has commenced work on an implementation plan to give effect to these values that will be developed in consultation with community interest groups and agencies such as the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) and the Ombudsman.

Under Labor’s reforms, in determining the ongoing detention of a person the onus of proof will be reversed. A departmental decision maker will have to justify why a person should be detained against these values that presume that that person should be in the community.

In our view the critical and harsh aspect of the Howard Government’s mandatory detention policy was not the initial detention phase but the continued and indefinite detention that occurred while lengthy immigration processes and appeals were completed.

Recently, I personally reviewed – in conjunction with the Commonwealth Ombudsman – all of the long-term detention caseload, those who have been in detention for more than two years. In doing the review I sought to apply the values endorsed by Cabinet to the consideration of these protracted and difficult cases.

Of the 72 cases reviewed, 31 were placed on a pathway to visas, 24 will be removed from the country and 17 people were subject to ongoing legal proceedings at the time of the review.

The lessons from this process were instructive.

Firstly, in my judgment, at least 31 of the 72 should not have been in detention.

Secondly, in two years and sometimes much longer, we had failed to successfully remove from the country 24 people who should be removed. The integrity of the system demands prompt removal of people who have no legal right to remain.

Thirdly, extensive and slow legal processes were resulting in people remaining in long-term detention.

Fourthly and most importantly, it was clear that if you asked the question ‘is there a need for this person to be in detention?’ you got a very different outcome to that provided by the current system.

In future the Department will have to justify why a person should be detained. Once in detention a detainee’s case will be reviewed by a senior departmental official every three months to certify that the further detention of the individual is justified.


I will also be seeking to engage the Ombudsman in the review of cases much earlier than his current review after two years of detention. Subject to consultation, a review by his office after a period such as six months would seem more preferable.

In the meantime I have asked the Department to review all current detainees and apply the same principles used during my review of the 72 people held in long-term immigration detention.

Our new model will not solve all of the complex and protracted issues that delay resolution of immigration status. There will still be people in detention, but we should see fewer people in detention for less time. The section 501 character cancellation caseload represents a particularly difficult ongoing cohort. However our new processes should ensure much better outcomes overall.

The cost of long-term detention and the case against the current system are compelling.

The impacts on both the physical and mental health of the detainees are severe. Recent research undertaken by the Centre for Health Service Development at Wollongong University dramatically highlights the deleterious health impacts of long-term detention.

The cost to the taxpayer of detention is massive and the debt recovery virtually non-existent. In 2006/07 it cost some $220million to operate Australia’s immigration detention system.

Enormous damage has been done to our international reputation. On 14 occasions over the last decade, the United Nations Human Rights Committee made adverse findings against Australia in immigration detention cases, finding that the detention in those cases violated the prohibition on arbitrary detention in article 9(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Immigration department staff have been left bruised by the policies they have been asked to implement and the public has lost confidence in the fairness and integrity of our immigration system.

A great deal more work needs to occur to develop a modern and robust system for management of people in immigration detention.

Immigration detention not only needs to be for the shortest duration possible but also in the least restrictive form appropriate to an individual's circumstances. The current detention options, beyond immigration detention centres, are limited and inadequate and the infrastructure is ageing and inappropriate.

The Government is interested in broadening alternative detention strategies, most particularly community-based options. The work of the federal parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Migration will be critical in examining alternative pathways and taking forward a reform agenda.

The detention infrastructure available to Government is seriously inadequate. The closure of the infamous Baxter and Woomera centres, while welcome, has meant the major capacity to house detainees beyond Villawood is the new centre on Christmas Island. Its ability to accommodate 400 people with a surge capacity of 800 makes the Christmas Island facility essential to responding to any major increase in unauthorised arrivals. Designed in 2001, it represents a maximum security environment.

Labor has moved quickly to convert the old Phosphate Hill facilities on Christmas Island to provide for children and families in a community environment and fencing around these facilities has been pulled down.

Small groups of unauthorised arrivals will be accommodated in the Phosphate Hill facilities with the new centre to be brought on line when numbers demand.

Urgent works are commencing at Villawood out of current budget resources prior to a major redevelopment. The HREOC criticisms of existing facilities at Villawood are totally justified. Priority is being given to the Stage 1 section and the management support unit. These facilities make management of the detainees extremely difficult and contribute to their alienation.

The management of detention centres has been at the centre of the concern about treatment of detainees. Labor determined in opposition to return management of detention services to the public sector.

On coming to office in December last year, the tender process for the management of detention centres was well advanced. The Immigration Department has invested $13 million in the tender process to date and tenderers have also expended considerable costs in preparing their bids.

The post Roche Report (2005) regime has greatly improved oversight of facility management. The new service delivery model for which tenders are sought has a strong focus on human rights, effective programs and activities for people in detention, high delivery service standards and best practice governance arrangements. The Department has also engaged in extensive consultations in developing the new model.

The absence of alternative public service providers would require the extension of the current contract arrangements for a minimum of two years. The cancellation of the tender process would expose the Commonwealth to potential compensation claims from the tenderers.

After weighing up all the issues and costs, and giving detailed and serious consideration to the options available, the Government has determined to finalise the current tender process. The Department has extended the existing contracts while the current tender process is completed.

The broader policy issues of public versus private sector management of detention services will be addressed following an evaluation at the end of the term of the contracts concluded as part of the tender process.

Our focus moving forward will be on the implementation of the new detention values and new models for detention. The work of the Joint Standing Committee will help lead that conversation.

In the broader community, interest in these matters has waned as the number of unauthorised boat arrivals has significantly reduced. It is worth noting that of the current detention population of 357 – the lowest numbers since March 1997 – only six are unauthorised boat arrivals. The vast majority of our detention population are people who overstayed or breached their visa conditions.

We will continue to expect that people who come to our country enter and leave in accordance with their visa conditions; we will continue to pursue the prompt return of those found not to be owed protection. As a result we will continue to have a detention population featuring non citizens who are a risk to the community or who are refusing to comply with immigration processes.

And with massive displacement of persons in the Middle East and Asia, caused by conflict and natural disasters along with well established people smuggling operations, the potential for large numbers of unauthorised arrivals remains real.

Australia’s national interest demands we continue our efforts to prevent people smuggling to our shores. The key determinate of our success in combating people smuggling remains the cooperation and capacity of our northern neighbouring countries.

The Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon Bob Debus and I will lead a senior Australian Government delegation to four South East Asian countries next week to build on the work already serving us well.

The policy initiatives I have detailed today are the beginning of a new approach, introducing new and more compassionate values to our detention policies.

Labor believes that this framework will both meet our border security needs and deliver appropriate treatment for those who arrive unauthorised or breach their visa conditions. Those who need protection will get it, those who do not will be expected to promptly leave Australia.

The Rudd Labor Government will reform our immigration detention policies and the treatment of asylum seekers in a way that reflects the compassion and tolerance of the Australian community.

In the future the immigration system will be characterised by strong border security, firm deterrence of unauthorised arrivals, effective and robust immigration processes and respect for the rule of law and the humanity of those seeking migration outcomes.

Thank you.


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What does Halal meat have to do with this thread?

Give over Jenny, this is about fixing the migration system and stopping the torture of innocent human beings.

I do not care how many butchers there are.

Start a thread if you want but stop hijacking this.

I dont' know Marilyn

Marilyn: "What has halal meat have to do with this thread?"

Don't ask me Marilyn. Ask Mr Avent - he raised it.

And as you will see I have refused to engage with him on that issue on your thread.

Richard, as you know I have agreed to start another thread but Marilyn simply seems incapable of any sort of civility. She could try:

Jenny, Bill, Jacob and Peter: My thread has headed off track as threads have a habit of doing.  Would one of you mind starting another thread so that people interested in the fate of animals transported to the ME as opposed to the fate of returning deportees to that region could be discussed there, rather than here. Thanks.

See not hard, Marilyn.

Richard: Has everybody made their point?  Good-o.

OK let's migrate the sheep

This started out as a speech by Senator Evans showing that the new government would no longer lock up innocent human beings for no reason and has degenerated into utter bullshit and animal rights.

It is not about animal rights, it is about no longer torturing innocent human beings.

Perhaps someone beside me could remember the speech and tell me where it talks about live trade in animals, or the Gaza strip or any of the other nonsense being spouted then get back to me about being polite.

Excellent article Marilyn but...

G'day Marilyn, to me your articles are dedicated to the better treatment of human beings, by human beings?

Having followed this debate for only a few days I must say I think Richard is right.

 The original thread was, I believe, condemnation of the Howard government's policy on detention (concentration camps) and the move by the Rudd government to try to correct those abuses of human rights?

Those are facts, are they not?

Then why do some of us degenerate what appears to be an important improvement in our treatment of fellow humans to an argument between our own personalities?

Come on Marilyn, Jenny, Kathy and others - let's consider the issue for it's fairness, security or otherwise.

Why can't you be right AND polite?

Can't get  any more utter bullshit than this:

"How strange that Jenny and Kathy care more about animals being killed than human beings being tortured.


Richard:  I think, now that we've all had a cup of tea and a good night's sleep, today might be a calmer day.  To paraphrase Marilyn's most recent, how did we get from the start of the thread to here anyway?  I've almost forgotten what we were talking about!

Non-judicial deportations


I am about to read the book he is referring to. As it is today the department can pick up anyone off the streets as they did with Vivian Alvarez, make some phoney documents and dump them anywhere they want without ever having any sort of legal order. This is unheard of in the rest of the world.

I am a farmer's grand daughter

And if anyone here thinks that farmers are "humane" when they are killing animals for them to eat they are off with the fairies.

Myself, I wouldn't hurt an animal unless it really, really threatened me so my moral conscience is clear, so I can abuse anyone who dares to want to torture children and call it border protection or dare to call them "illegals".

Richard:  Let's make it clear between us all, Marilyn, that we understand that Jenny and Kathy are not making any such assumptions? They're not, you know; everyone's just getting bogged down in terminology.


Marilyn Shepherd, so your moral conscience is clear so you can abuse anyone you like. Fatah kills Hamas and Hamas kills Fatah but not a word from you except to blame Israel for the Palestinians inhuman acts. Iraqis kill Iraqis and not a word from you. Then there are the bombings in Pakistan killing innocent people, but not a word from you.

Carriage before horse?

Marilyn, I recall years ago — wish I could remember exactly — someone, somewhere remarked "animal rights will be vouchsafed once human rights are guaranteed" (words to that effect).

Sounds impossibly utopian, but compelling nonetheless.

By the way, appreciated your use of the 'D' word. Catchy, eh? We know who to thank for that one...

Other way around Jacob

Jacob, it has been in fact the other way around. The RSPCA in the UK was the precursor of the RSPCC - the latter for the protection of children. Disgust over the treatment of animals led to better treatment for children.

But the reverse cannot be said to be true. Do not believe that if human rights are guaranteed that animal rights will follow, because they do not and never have. The fact that concern for animals when expressed here is blithely dismissed by those who claim to be moved by suffering speaks volumes, but it is an attitude you will encounter a great deal in the community at all levels.

Rudd preaching human rights to the Chinese, but turning his back on the suffering this country inflicts on millions of animals in those live export ships, is a reflection of that attitude.

In my 30 years in the animal welfare movement I have met many people who claim compassion for human suffering but are totally unmoved by that of animals. They will give to Amnesty International, but not to the RSPCA. I call it selective compassion. And nothing disgusts me more because to claim to be concerned about suffering while being selective about it is one of the worst forms of hypocrisy one can meet. I must say I have yet to meet anyone in the animal welfare movement that is not equally concerned about human suffering. You will find that people who give to the RSPCA will also not hesitate to give to Amnesty International.

No. You are more likely to find people who care about animals are the most compassionate people of all. They are the ones who are likely to change the world for the better.

Those self righteous people who sneer at those who care about animal suffering solely for the purpose of cheap point scoring reveal more about themselves than anyone else.

I can cite some special examples of people in the animal rights movement who have done more to alleviate the suffering of people than anyone here could ever lay claim to. Christine Townend, founder of Animal Liberation for a start - sacrificing everything to move to India for 17 years to work amongst animals and the poor. Chris Larter in Jordan doing the same for as many years in Jordan. Two very dear friends.

They are the people who can understand that there is no difference between cruelty to people and cruelty to animals. Fully compassonate people, not selective in their compassion. They are the people I admire in this world. They are the people who will advance the cause of human rights and animal rights. You will never get improve the former while you dismiss the latter.

Do you care more about animals than people?

How strange that Jenny and Kathy care more about animals being killed than human beings being tortured.


Yeah Bill

But in fact there is not any such thing in Australia as an "illegal" immigrant. Even overstaying a visa doesn't breach any law.

Jesus weeping, be polite while children are tortured

Give me a break. Jenny, when we deport people who we claim are "not refugees" even though they have come from places like Iran where people have been stoned to death for being homosexual what we do is drug, bind and gag them.

We send them on false documents, made by DIMA and DFAT, and dump them anywhere we can.

Don't believe me? Read David Corlett's book Following them Home and get back to me.

Then understand this Kathy and Jenny, I will never be polite to people who are seeming to support the torture of innocent human beings.

Got that?

Enlightenment at last Kath

Well Kathy, enlightenment at last. There's the reason for the rudeness and abuse. You and I support the torture of innocent human beings.

Amused that Bill Avent has now been corrected. Seems he had trouble understanding Marilyn's explanations. Now I wonder why. Maybe he is just a goose, just can't get it. Oh no, I think dumb is the word he uses for others who similarly argue the same point with Marilyn, making exactly the point we were making too. So I guess his dumb cap fits all, including himself.

I won't bother getting back to you Marilyn, nor reading the book. That last comment destroys any credibility you might have had in my mind over the whole issue. I will instead spend my valuable time trying to stop the trade in live animals to those dreadful countries.

In case you did not know the brutality in those ME countries to their own people is equally matched by the brutality to their animals. I may not be able to stop the stonings in Iran with my money but I have with it been able to assist my organization get one of the most brutal abattoirs in Jordan closed - and for a year at least stop the live sheep trade to Egypt - you know, that country which tortures so many people that you linked to. It has a similar reputation in its treatment of animals. But I doubt you are interested notwithstanding the connection between brutality to animals and brutality to human beings. You will never get change in one without the other, or vice versa my dear.

So you to your cause Marilyn and me to mine. If you disagree with my priority I will not however be rude to you, and accuse you of supporting the torture of innocent lambs.

Kathy, you at least will be interested to know that another 35 000 sheep died on the high seas in 2006 adding to the 350 000 dead animals on ships in the previous five years. I await the 2007 figures and expect similar. But I won't go into that here - will start another thread.

But I will say that in watching Amazing Grace last night that slave ships and live sheep ships had much in common and the arguments in the British Parliament against abolition of slavery exactly matched those of the Howard, and now the Rudd Government over abolition of the live export trade.

Rudd is no better than Howard, not one bit. And I note Christmas Island will still be in business for any unauthorised arrivals on our shores.


Richard: It sounds like time I put those Christmas Island happy-snaps up.

From now on, all, I'm going to adhere to the Webdiary abuse guidelines more strongly. The abusive stuff isn't doing any of us any good whatsoever.

Dear disengaged

No, Jenny Hume, I wasn't making the same point as you. I can't imagine that ever happening. Your central theme here seems to have been how nasty Middle Eastern men are, and so they deserve what's coming to them. It's not hard to see why someone would interpret that and other stuff you've said as support for the torture of innocent human beings.

And while you're on your high horse about mistreatment of animals, does anyone else outside of Australia skin their sheep's butts alive, to save themselves the trouble of looking after them properly?

Take the plank out of thine own eye, ye so eager to cast the first stone.

Ever heard of the fella who said those things? He preferred the company of publicans over that of hypocrites, from what I've heard.

Richard, good for the goose, etc…

if you are doing the editing here, how come the one who claims to favour civility is allowed to call me Avent, but I'm not allowed to call her Hume without having it amended?

Just curious.

Richard:  Sorry Bill, I'd missed it, but have corrected during copy check.

Hang the editor!

Hang the editor!

Ian M (ed): Which one exactly?

Richard:  I've been well and truly hung many times before Paul, so there's no time like the present ;)

Verities and balderdash

So, you are "well-hung", are you Richard?

I notice that still no one has written in, specifically with legal training, to critique positions offered from Ian MacDougall and Marilyn, relative to opposing trends in legal thinking, to offer further explication/explanation/clarification concerning the matters discussed when this thread was still on-topic..

In fact, I notice also, my own most recent post concerning this has been "disappeared".

To all concerned, a heart-felt "thank you"...

Glad to hear that Richard

Richard, the abusive stuff is going to stop? Glad to hear that. I too am quite sick of it. One does tend to get contaminated by it.    

So yes please, put up some happy snaps. 

Richard: Not tonight, Jenny, but the first chance I can get at a scanner, and somebody has a few minutes to give me a hand to put them up.  As an ex-Portlander I've seen a lot of the live sheep trade, and the Christmas Island corrals have an all-too-familiar vibe to them.

Will wait patiently Richard

Richard, will wait patiently for your happy snaps. Meanwhile I see the abuse continues -  but to give you a break I will ignore Bill  Avent as is my policy  anyway, and also now, Ms Shepherd

Kathy, not much gets past you does it my dear? BTW: Did you see where the F word used so liberally by the rude and ignorant has been ruled unacceptable in the work place? About time. Nice to see some agree with me on that issue.   

Now that you have such nice shiny boots (must come from associating here with me my dear)  we must stick together.  Let those who prefer the mud wallow in it by themselves. 

Richard (added later): I've witnessed many moods on Webdiary but this is the first that i can truly describe as a Squabble.  Capital S. The usual adjective that is pre-associated is "petty."   Quite frankly it makes me sad to see so many people I respect reduce themselves to this kind of  behaviour, and right about now I'm starting to think that if such a superbly analytical and articulate group of people can't stop picking each other apart so juvenilely then I must be wasting my time trying to be helpful.  Attempted admonition ended. 

Whatever I try, everyone keeps squabbling on... can we kiss and make up and move on to be constructive?  Or not?

Just for you Richard - a rose without a thorn

Richard: Point taken. I will not kiss them, but for your sake I promise from now on to be a rose, one of those thornless ones. So Marilyn's latest? Pass.

BTW: I have no objection to anyone addressing me as Hume. I got used to that as a nurse long ago and besides, I am rather proud of that name. These days of course you can't tell the nurse from the surgeon or from the cleaner in many hospitals. Bring back the sister's veil and the nurses cap with the colour band that denoted the level of seniority and training - these days you have to go up to people and say tentatively - are you the nurse? Same in the shop aisles - do you work here? - in the forlorn hope they might and will offer to assist you.    

But never never ask those lads who unpack the boxes where the condiments are. The what? And you can forget the Parisienne Essence altogether - they look at you as if you are mad on that one. We don't stock perfumes one said helpfully.  At least he tried I guess.

Cheers, and here's a kiss for you, but don't tell the Scot.  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

You can keep the surplus ones in reserve.

What a relief

Jenny Hume: "I will not kiss them…"

Well, that's comforting to know. Now if you would only stop trying to justify your prejudice against the people of the Middle East with baseless nonsense, that would be even better.

Richard:  Don't talk to me about kissing... I'm on the run from her husband!  xxxxx right back, Jenny...oh, er, hi, Ian..

Who is it who exports live sheep? Australian farmers. So how can you blame atrocities associated with that on the people to whom they are exported? What you say about it makes the opposite of good sense.

And the less said about the barbaric practice called mulesing the better. Islamic nations would never subject their animals to such cruelty. It goes against their religion; and unlike the holier-than-thou hypocrites in so-called Christian nations, they take their religion seriously, and hold as part of that the requirement that their food animals must be treated with respect and dignity. Halal butchery is vastly superior to the practices which these days prevail in abattoirs here.

And if we wait for the RSPCA to do anything about it, we will be waiting an awfully long time. That organisation seems intent on preserving the status quo enjoyed by callous farmers, from behind a smokescreen of pretended concern about the welfare of animals. More hypocrisy.

An Islamic man some time ago wondered aloud to me why Australia didn't solve the problems associated with live sheep exports by establishing halal abattoirs here, and exporting the meat, certified halal. It made me wonder, too. Instead of deporting people back to the hell-holes they escaped from, we could be offering them jobs as halal butchers. Anyone can be taught to do it. Aside from being a good Muslim and evoking Allah at the moment of the animal's death, the only difference between it and our traditional practice of solo butchery is that care need be taken not to sever the animal's spinal cord while it is still alive.

Your invoking Christine Townsend in support of the RSPCA ethos is just icing on your non-sequiturial cake. In her own words:

I remember a particular occasion when I drove all the way from Sydney to Deniliquin to speak at a farmers meeting. It occurred to me at that meeting that the rural people came to hear my speech, not because they were at all interested in what I had to say, not because they were interested in changing their practices, but because I had achieved a certain notoriety, and they wanted to have a bit of fun baiting me and arguing. At that moment I realised that these people were not yet ready for change, not having the sensitivity to understand that it was their obligation to care for and treat their animals humanely. To them the sheep and cattle were "stock" and always would be. I felt deep impersonal sadness and I began to believe that talking to these people was, at that time, counterproductive.

It may be so

Bill, not severing the spinal cord -- if the information that I was given is correct -- lessens the chance of all the blood bleeding from the carcass. The meat from a fully bled carcass keeps better and I am led to believe lessens the chance of any disease transfer.

When I was young farmers killed their own meat. I got very good at slicing through the spinal cord. I didn’t know it was a factor in Halal butchery.

It is an ugly business, and it was over killing housemeat that my father and I split. A rift that was never really mended. I was fifteen.

A skilled solo butcher back then — abattoirs had long since moved on to chain — killed and dressed a sheep — ‘mutton’ — in less than a minute. I have seen it done once, the carcass hung, the guts on the skin beneath it and the heart still pumping.

Will I kill to eat? Yes. Would I kill as a job, to feed others? Never. By the way, this for me applies equally to fish.

I agree with you entirely. Why do we not set up properly here and kill to the required specification? On the face of it, it appears that it would meet with wide approval on this site, which of course may not be typical.

Killing things to eat

Peter, as I understand it, the Islamic injunction against severing an animal's spinal cord is meant to maximise bleeding out. Islamics share the Jews' aversion to consuming blood. Blood is not halal. Means pretty much the same as kosher. I'm not sure, but I think kosher butchers follow the same practice.

I did a fair bit of it when I was young too, though probably not as early as fifteen. It was just a job to be done, and I got pretty good at it. Four minutes was the benchmark; and I was proud when I achieved it. And the result was a whole lot prettier than what comes out of abattoirs these days; and I'm certain the animals I killed suffered a whole lot less trauma, too.

I remember as a child hearing parents debating whether it was good for a kid to witness the killing and dressing of the meat we ate. Some said no, kids should be shielded from that sort of thing; others said it was all part of life, and kids shouldn't be shielded from it.

It made no difference to me — I was going to do what I wanted. The guy who did the killing was an eccentric old geezer, a somewhat punch-drunk ex-boxer. He was good company for a kid, and we all loved him.

I misread your post

Bill, a slight misunderstanding! I misread that halal cut the spinal cord, farmers did not. So what I wrote was wrong. Seems that farmers generally and those who require halal killed meat were/are in agreement.

The guy I saw kill and dress a sheep in under a minute was the guy we bought our second farm from. He had become a ‘towny’, ran a very successful taxation service for farmers and I guess had picked up on a fairly deep scepticism of what he said. On this occasion he collected his knife from his vehicle and killed the housemeat.

At another time he demonstrated that he was more than a useful shearer.

For me, the distaste for killing simply kept on growing until thirty miles from town, on a farm road that had no through traffic, it reached a point where at 9:30 at night I stuffed clothes into a sugar bag and walked out. Dad was up on the top flats cultivating for a swede crop.

My belief system has been deeply thought through and there are very few times in my life that I have not lived up to it. I have never sought to impose it upon others.

To another thread

Peter, if the editors move your comment to a more appropriate thread I will discuss this issue with you and correct the misinformation posted here by Mr Avent regarding halal slaughter and issues relating to the live export trade. He clearly does not know what he is talking about. For a start, halal slaughter is carried out in registered works in Australia.

Editors, there are two threads in the archives I wrote in the past two years: The first was Live Animals exports in heavy seas and the follow up one was Live Exports - Defending the Indefensible. For the misinformed all the issues surrounding this trade are covered there or in the links.

However I am only interested in engaging those who are genuinely interested in discussion of the facts and not petit point scoring. I suggest that those interested in petit point go and buy a tapestry and work out their angst there.

Richard: Perhaps, Jenny, it be better if you could write us a brief new threadstarter? Perhaps using those pieces as references?


Well, whoopy doo! So there are halal butcheries in Australia now? Registered ones, no less!

So the 350 thousand or so Muslims living in Australia don't need to import all their meat from Indonesia or some Arabic country somewhere after all! Amazing. We learn something new here every day.

Now I think I'll go outside and feed the chooks. Maybe I'll learn something from them, too.

Lifting the tone of discussion

Richard, I understood you were endeavouring to lift the tone of discussion around WD above this sort of petty sneering content free stupid comment as posted here by MrAvent. What exactly is contributed by the publication of this sort of comment to any discussion I ask, let alone one as important as live exports - important due to the suffering of the vast number of animals involved?

Richard: I was identifying the problem, Jenny. Which I have.

Mr Avent clearly knows nothing about the trade in chilled halal slaughtered meat but why would anyone who does on this issue, such as myself, bother to spend the time explaining anything to him when this is his preferred level of conversation.

Perhaps under the circumstances he had better go and feed and talk to his chooks. He would then be able to converse at the level he seems to desire and yes, might even learn something.

I promised to do my bit to lift the tone around here and as you will see by my last two comments have done so. Others like Mr Avent however either do not want or they are by nature just plain rude and nasty. Probably all of that.

As I said when I have time I will put up a new thread to update the situation on the issue of live exports for those interested in intelligent discussion of that important issue.

Shall do Richard

Richard, shall do in the near future. Have been working on one but awaiting latest AMSA figures for 2007. In the meantime the main issues are covered in those previous threads for those genuinely interested in knowing the facts. But I will say here now that things are progressing. Our efforts resulted in a new abattoir being built in Egypt, not ideal but better than that dreadful Bassatin. There is also now a coalition of international animal welfare groups working on this issue. Our joint goal is abolition of the trade, however long that takes. Sending millions of animals on boats with hundreds of thousands of them dying on the way is totally unacceptable, let alone sending them to countries with no animal welfare laws whatsoever, and where the treatment of animals is appalling to put it mildly. Fact.

As to mulesing. Christine Townend is the person who can take the credit for first bringing this appalling practice to the notice of the world in her book Pulling the Wool. It is now to be phased out as a direct result of her founding work and that of the organizations she created, Animal Liberation and the federation of animal societies Animals Australia, with help from PETA through its obtaining international boycotts of our wool over the issue. Fact.

Animal Liberation was started incidentally because the RSPCA had no will to pursue big business animal users engaged in what I termed institutionalised cruelty two decades ago, a term now used internationally to refer to the cruelty inflicted on animals in experimental laboratories, in factory farms and so on. Its boards are not independent of those users, that is the problem. But I do not condemn out of hand that organization as Mr Avent does - it has done good work in other areas as we all know.

It took a writ of mandamus by our organization Animals Australia to force the western Australian government to prosecute a live export company whose ship's cargo of living animals we tracked all the way to the ME recording the fate of the animals on arrival - apart from the one thousand that died on the two week voyage that is. The case was proven but the interference in the legal process by the WA Labor government prevented the company being convicted. Can you believe that - open interference in the legal process - by a Labor government. No better than the other mob.

In the meantime...........a top up to keep you going xxxxxxxxx

There is no legal offence.

    1. From 1901 to 1994, federal law contained offence provisions respecting unlawful entry and presence in Australia, which was punishable by imprisonment as well as by liability to deportation. The legislation gave rise to various questions of construction which reached this Court[90]. The first of these provisions was made by the Immigration Restriction Act 1901 (Cth) ("the 1901 Act")[91]. Section 7 thereof stated:
      1. "Every prohibited immigrant entering or found within the Commonwealth in contravention or evasion of this Act shall be guilty of an offence against this Act, and shall be liable upon summary conviction to imprisonment for not more than six months, and in addition to or substitution for such imprisonment shall be liable pursuant to any order of the Minister to be deported from the Commonwealth.
      2. Provided that the imprisonment shall cease for the purpose of deportation, or if the offender finds two approved sureties each in the sum of Fifty pounds for his leaving the Commonwealth within one month."
    2. As enacted in 1958, s 27 of the Act continued this pattern. That provision eventually became s 77 of the Act, but this was repealed by s 17 of the Migration Reform Act 1992 (Cth) ("the 1992 Act"). It has not been replaced[92].

    Para 86 of the said Al Kateb.

  • Will you now frolick off.

    Together, Marilyn and I will reveal it to the world...

    Marilyn Shepherd says:  "Greg Moylan, the High Court deemed it not to be a crime to enter or stay in Australia without a visa."

    Thanks Marilyn. Could you refer us to the judgement, or perhaps a report of that judgement?

    Best wishes.

    Look, I don't mean to be picky, but  time is slipping away. About "the dozens" of refugees deported from Australia then killed in Afghanistan?

    I want to draw the world's attention to that appalling fact. But I need a reference.

    Any developments since 2006? Any confirmation?

    It is not illegal and not a crime

    Greg Moylan, the High Court deemed it not to be a crime to enter or stay in Australia without a visa.

    Here is a tip.  Not one person has been charged with this so called "illegal" act in our history.

    Illegal immigrants- Less rights than criminals

    Indeed Marilyn they did so. They upheld the Migration Act and said that a person who enters Australia illegally ie without a visa can be locked up in a detention centre without the benefit of a trial as they would have if it was a criminal offence.

     That's the beauty of the Migration Act. An unlawful non-citizen can be jailed indefinitely (for what is a detention centre but a jail by another name?) by an administrative act by someone in DIAC without any crime being committed at all and without any recourse to the courts for a trial.

    They've got less rights than criminals. The High Court wasn't too happy about that but what could they do. It is the law.

    Hung jury

    Greg, the problem is, not all members of that High Court (likely) voted for that decision.

    Isn't what we are seeing in the composition of the High Court, an ideological battle between "black letter/ legal realist " jurists, largely appointed over the Howard government's period of government, usually in direct conflict with Kirby and other remnants of the "activists" of the nineties?

    A bit like the ABC board and, like it, likely bound to decide ideologically, to some observers, even if they do try to control such a tendency in themselves.

    Illegal deportations?

    Greg, it seems odd to me that the Government deports people. Why I wonder if there is no such person as an illegal immigrant. Does not add up to me.

    Is the government in fact deporting people illegally? It would seem so if one accepts that everyone who comes here has a legal right to do so, whether they come in leaky boats or buy a plane ticket.

    No. As I understand it we have a controlled migration system and people who try to circumvent it are not here legally at all and are not guatanteed the right to stay.

    Now, if Malcolm, Fiona or any other lawyer corrects me on that, I will accept it, but not from anyone else around here. 

    paying ones dues... good faith

    Besides, much of the stuff about refugees, an issue now very old, has become irrelevant to current times. Governments of both persuasions, besotted by neoliberalism and "opportunities" of "growth" and "development", have ramped up immigration simply through, "immigration", eg visas etc, rather than by the suspected previous use of an alleged bogus "refugee" category (if that was what was intended). This despite the collapse of our country's ecology and the likelihood of a global economic slowdown.

    So, why not continue with bringing genuine refugees, surely a needy category if ever there was one, but if we want a sustainable economy related to ecological sustainability, reduce migrant numbers slightly when refugee numbers rise.

    Remember, it's a furphy to claim all the local labour has been used up in the"two speed" economy. Despite the lies to the contrary, large numbers of locals do still remain effectively unemployed. Restoring education and job training programs, to remedy the bad-faith "Dr. Death"-style quick fix policies of over a decade, would be a good start.

    And increasing and targeting aid to places like East Timor would do much good if we were really interested in helping the poor more effectively.

    And should I need to remind some of the damage done throughout the Middle East that "we" (the West) are responsible for ?

    Yes, there are accommodations to be made, but will they be the fair ones?

    You're such a stupid dill, Eliot

    Peter Hindrup: "The abuse is far more widespread than those few who Jenny named."

    It's interesting to see some of the contrasts, isn't it? I guess some part of it should be put down to personality.

    Like, if I call someone a "dill", or a "fool" or an "idiot", it's assumed (given my personality) that I'm being abusive. And fair enough.

    But if I in turn get called  a "dill", or a "fool" or an "idiot", well then gosh darn it, that's just some rascally ol' larrikin showing everyone what an irascible and loveable old eccentric she or he is?

    Innit? Especially if it saves the trouble of actually responding to, oh I dunno, a question of fact?


    Unless you want to believe that everyone in Australia is a liar except Ruddock then I am not playing your absurd game of pretty please.

    Phil Glendinning is a nice Jesuit boy who did not lie, his film will be shown on SBS next month.

    Watch it and weep.

    Absolutely right, and incredibly helpful. A saint, really.

    Marilyn Shepherd: "While this nation has spent the last 20 years now whining and bitching about a mere 16,000 in all who arrived on boats we have had 100 million tourists or 5 times our population turnover in that time without anyone noticing and without it costing taxpayers $3 billion to break our own law."

    I agree entirely, Marilyn. Thanks again.

    Hey, while I've got your attention, I was wondering if you had a chance to get me some information about  "the dozens" of refugees deported from Australia then killed or even the "nine" reported by the Edmund Rice Centre who "may" have been killed in 2006?

    That would utterly clinch it for me, I tell you.

    So, if you could point us toward the information on that?

    Have you got any sources on that? Anything recent? Anything since the claim made in 2006?

    I'd hate it if something like  that was just swept under the carpet or forgotten. And since you're sitting on the information, you know? Like, a link or something?


    Really, you're a saint.

    Avent to the rear

    Bill Avent, have not the foggiest what you are on about. For a moment  I thought you were responding to a misinterpreted clumsy attempt at humour of mine elsewhere, but no, you are actually joining the ranks of those who claim Saddam Hussein was not killed during the period of Eid, when he was killed during the period of  Eid.


    So historical fact is "delusional".

    In that case, leave me with my delusions and you go back to yours and we'll see who survives the longest.

    Sorry Paul

    I meant Geoff. And if I hadn't meant him, I would have meant another Paul. So get over yourself.

    Jenny, there is no such thing as "illegal"

    Jenny, about 5 million tourists come here each year.

    About 220,000 foreign students.

    About 70,000 temporary workers.

    190,000 migrants.

    And 6,000 refugees.

    Don't you think your delusional focus on a tiny percentage of those refugees who happen to come without a boat is deranged?

    You don't have the foggiest clue and don't seem to be able to read even the judgement of High Court judges, the parliament, senate members or anyone else including the RRT that state it is not illegal to arrive in Australia without a visa to apply for a visa.

    One has to be here to get the damn visa, they cannot stand on the coast line of Africa and scream out yoo hoo and they don't have to.

    Which part of that is just too hard for you to get?

    While this nation has spent the last 20 years now whining and bitching about a mere 16,000 in all who arrived on boats we have had 100 million tourists or 5 times our population turnover in that time without anyone noticing and without it costing taxpayers $3 billion to break our own law.

    Which part of that don't you get?

    It is a RIGHT IN LAW TO SEEK ASYLUM HERE.    A nice christian girl as you claim to be would understand that Jesus was a refugee and didn't have a bloody visa.


    Marilyn, you are right. When you prattle on about tourists, overseas students and migrant workers in a discussion about refugees you lose me completely.

    Who said it was not a right to seek asylum here or to apply for a visa once arriving here unathorised? Stop putting words into my mouth. You do rather have a habit of doing that and going off on tangents my dear. If it makes you happy I will use the word unauthorised arrival as opposed to illegal though the fact that boat people are detained when they arrive suggests their arrival is not deemed legal entry

    When you can be a little less abusive let me know and I might be interested in your viewpoint and more prepared to examine the information you purport to be the facts. Despite the tone of Eliot's post I was actually quite interested to see how you replied and to know just what information does exist as to the fate of all those who came here without visas and were sent home. Apart from Masri case.  The Bakhtiaris for instance and I think you said about 1200 others.

    But it seems you are not interested in engaging with him on that matter. Oh well, leave you to it then. 

    BTW: I am neither delusional nor deranged. Don't be so rude.

    its not about you!!

    Jenny, it is no use criticising Marilyn Shepherd as to "tone" when your own so detracts from your demeanour.

    Let's wait and see if Ian Macdougall, or even Richard Tonkin have anything further to add, hopefully of a conciliatory, constructive tone and subject matter, so we can finally move forward, without degenerating further into rancour involving all concerned.

    Richard: Even...? Other than reiterating my previous appeal for the good natures of everyone to prevail, not really. I am sharpening my blue pencil.

    I agree Paul

    Paul, I think you will find that all I have done is adopt the tone that is so typical of Marilyn.  I decided to simply serve her a bit of her own medicine. And yes, it is nasty medicine, I agree and takes a lot of effort on my part, but seemingly not hers.

    If she was less rude I might take her a bit more seriously than I do. Frankly one gets a bit sick of that sort of demeanour - rude, patronising and ridiculing people who do not see things the way she does. But you are right - it is rather beneath me to stoop to that sort of level. Better to ignore her so I will. As you said earlier, you can't change closed minds anyway.

    Thanks for the advice. 

    Civility costs nothing!

     Paul: "Jenny,  it is no use criticising Marilyn  Shepherd as to"tone", when your own  so detracts from your demeanour."

    Turn it up Paul!  'Tis a pity  that Marilyn did not adopt Jenny's "tone."

    Can you please show me where Jenny has demeaned Marilyn, and resorted to name calling to bolster her argument?

    Jenny has been extremely tolerant and accommodating as far as I can ascertain.

    Sorry, Paul, whilst Marilyn is a very intelligent  and caring woman, she still has much to learn about civility.

    "Civility costs nothing" .

    (And may gain you something!)

    Old Chinese proverb

    Good manners don't cost nuffink, duvet?

    And the height of bad manners in a place like this is deliberate obtuseness. The worst kind of discourtesy is to ask to have something explained, and when the explanation is forthcoming, studiously ignore it and continue post after post to propagate their own dumb misconceptions. A couple here are notorious for it. No wonder some grow impatient with that tactic and call them a goose.

    And then they resort to objecting to the mode of expression of those who are trying to get through to them, on the grounds that they live in some kind of Calvanist straightjacket and therefore others must modify their use of language to protect their delicate sensibilities.

    Of course there are such things as illegal immigrants, for chrissake. And of course they are deported. But there is nothing illegal about escaping from persecution and travelling to another country by whatever means possible in order to apply for asylum. The term "illegals" is Ruddockian rhetoric designed to present asylum seekers in a negative light, as criminals intent on breaking some law that doesn't exist.

    the phantom

    Richard, it is good to hear you (still) have lead in your pencil.

    Am dinkum though.

    How about Malcolm  B  Duncan, or Fiona Reynolds or some other WD'st with actual legal training offering an explanation?

    Let's again think what someone like Justice Kirby or, alternatively, Dyson  Heydon, might say. What's normative, what's blackletter about the above, where are the ambiguities if any in the refugee "text", that might wilfully or accidentally mislead people.

    Section 42 of the Migration Act

    Marilyn it is, in fact, illegal for any non-citizen to enter Australia without a visa. Section 42 of the Migration Act makes it so.


    Under Section 14 of the Act such persons are referred to as "unlawful non-citizens". While being an unlawful non-citizen is not a crime, under Section 198A  of the Act as unlawful non-citizens they may be removed from Australia. You are breaking an Australian law if you enter Australia without a visa. Breaking a law equals illegal act.

     However, notwithstanding that it is illegal for a non-citizen to enter Australia without a visa, if the non-citizen seeks refugee status the Act provides for their claim to be tested and if accepted for them to be given a protection visa.

    The vast majority of those claiming asylum do so after having flown to Australia on a valid visa, usually a tourist or business visa. Only a very few, as you know, take the extraordinary risks of long sea voyages to get here and the reason for that is that they are unable to obtain a visa and cannot get on to an aeroplane to enter the country without one.

    I hope this helps.

    Closed minds

    Marilyn, may I suggest, with the best intentions in the world, that in arguing on this matter with Jenny is beating a dead horse? At this point neither of you is contributing anything new, anything that those open to learning do not already know.

    I understand you frustration. I have friends to whom all ‘Arabs’ are ‘ragheads,’ live in mud huts and sleep with their camels. Yes, in their guts that is what they believe. They do not care what happens to any of them.

    There are some who post to this site who believe that Israelis are gods people and anybody who disagrees, or inconveniences Israelis doesn’t understand what ‘animals’ ‘Arabs’ are.

    My question is, why bother? Move on, you post interesting information and provide some interesting links.

    While I have little sympathy with Jenny’s cry that she is religious and so would put a restriction upon how you refer to her, to me resorting to slurs and insults weakens, if not destroys the arguments of those who use them, and lower the standards of Webdiary.

    There is one contributor whose post I do not read. He contributes nothing except abuse. Perhaps you could ignore Jenny likewise, upon certain topics?

    Best wishes, and perhaps if you live in Sydney as I assume, we may meet up some day. It seems likely that you turn up to Palestinian fund raisers and I am often there.

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