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Immigration and misinformation

Immigration and misinformation
by Kate Selth

Boat people incite indignation and fear in the Australian psyche. However, considering approximately 90% of asylum seekers arrive in Australia by conventional means such as overstayed visas, the issue of boat arrivals unreasonably occupies the border protection debate.

The Federal Opposition have seized upon the recent ‘influx’ of boat arrivals as an opportunity to generate antipathy towards the Labor Government, and subsequently their border protection procedures. This is being done by putting an over simplistic spin on things. Opposition claim recent arrivals are a direct result of Rudd relaxing our Immigration Policy, namely the disposal of Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs). Opposition frontbencher Peter Dutton goes as far as suggesting people smugglers have "heard a message from the Government that Australia has once again become a soft touch". Such a stance aimed at boat arrivals portrays asylum seekers as opportunists and in turn provokes hysteria within our community rather than empathy towards the very individuals to whom we have an international obligation to protect.

Such a problematic stance is compounded by the active exclusion of persuasive figures that demonstrate Australia’s greatest border security threat actually comes from individuals who may be in stronger positions than those desperate enough to undertake the perilous gamble of an illegal boat journey. A report taken by the Australian Immigration Department on June 30 2005, estimated that there were 47,800 individuals currently in the country who had overstayed their visas. Surely this is the issue needing to be addressed. By ignoring this data, the Opposition are clearly trying to play on the fear that comes with being an isolated island nation. If we were to believe their media frenzy we’d expect our shores are about to be stormed like the beaches of D Day. The reality is that Australia is not under nearly as much pressure as other industrialised nations. This is demonstrated by a United Nations High Commission report into asylum seekers that revealed Australia had only 5000 asylum claims lodged in 2008, whereas America had 85,900.

The Australian Human Rights Commission are vocal in their concern over the imbalance in the immigration debate. According to Commissioner Grame Innes, “such gross misrepresentation obscures the real issue at hand - these people are fleeing countries that are in humanitarian crisis in search of a country that will offer them asylum”. Whilst this is happening there will be no effective policy changes.

As global forces ebb and flow so will the number of people who find they can no longer reside in the country they call home. The reality is often these refugees are desperate and at the mercy of the filth that trade and benefit off their demise. Surely such incidences and cries for help deserve our full, unbiased consideration. Australia needs to stop fear mongering and reach a cohesive, long lasting solution to a permanent problem. Boat people are not the poster children for what is wrong with immigration policy. They are just the tip of the iceberg.


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Immigrants are not those arriving by boat

Kate Selth: “A report taken by the Australian Immigration Department on June 30 2005, estimated that there were 47,800 individuals currently in the country who had overstayed their visas. Surely this is the issue needing to be addressed.”

The reason some come by boat would be because they can't get a visa to fly here, not even as a tourist. The money they spend on getting here by boat, would easily pay for them and their families to come here as tourists, if they had the right papers and nothing to hide. Yet in almost all cases, only single men come here by boat. It's not illegal for us to throw them all out for lying on their visa applications, or to send boat people back for arriving without a visa or proper application to enter the country.

The thread title, “Immigration and misinformation “ doesn't seem to relate to the content. The people talked about are not immigrants, but those who either lied to obtain a visa to get here, or those who couldn't get a visa so bought their way here by boat, coming through many countries without any visa.

Immigrants are people who go through the proper processes from within their own country or another and contribute to the country they move to. They have no need to come without papers or to destroy them en route, they don't need to cheat their way in.

In a world with so much turmoil, we need to have control over our borders. Our country has finite living resources required for future generations, not used up because of economic or emotional issues being pushed by the inept politically correct. Open borders would allow for open entry and the bringing into this country disease, exotic infestations, and those who would disrupt our society. But the future doesn't really matter to those advocating open borders and freedom for any to come here, just being right no matter the future cost is all that interests their ego's.

Alga, what an orderly mind

146 countries have signed and ratified the refugee convention which is legally binding on states to allow undocumented entry and assessments of claims without punishment.

Full stop.

We should become people smugglers

Kate, you are correct to point out that 90% of asylum seekers arrive by conventional means. If we were serious in our concerns for these people we would allow asylum seekers to front up to our embassies around the world and we could determine their refugee status and give genuine refugees a flight to Australia. We should in fact become the people smugglers.

If we were to do this the need for people to cross oceans in unsafe and often overcrowded vessels would be eliminated.

Torture at Woomera

Torture at Woomera. Pursue a remedy via the courts. Build up a file on each of the employees and seek discovery of their personnel records. We need to stamp it out wherever it is found.

Whinging about anything in order to distract us from more important matters. The Australian is another Rupert rag. Faux news, as it is known in blogland, fired employees who objected to passing lies off as news. Their sacking was found to be justified by an American court. Fox is an entertainment channel. Rupert was once called the "dirty digger". What a shame that he has the right to call his rag "The Australian". Boycott it!

Here is what Australia does not discuss


I have no idea why the Australian in particular are trying to whip up a frenzy when it was that very paper that did the most amazing work uncovering the lies of children overboard, the lies of the "people smuggling rings" who turned out to be nothing more than Indonesian fishermen wanting to feed their families and who did as much as anyone to humanise the Afghans, Iraqis and Iranians who came to us for help and got locked up in Woomera instead.

I have previously posted here many of the stories of unaccompanied children and how we treated them in Woomera. Anyone remember the story of my lovely friend Qadir? 16 years old, watched most of his family killed and was "smuggled" out of Afghanistan by his surviving uncle. A guard in Woomera drove him insane with the most vicious act of cruelty - he broke his only possession in half and threw it at his feet laughing his head off. It was a little flute that he hid from the Taliban who hated the music.

Qadir is a citizen but will not recover ever.

Another friend from Iran just received a permanent disability pension within a few weeks because his treating doctors wrote that the only thing that caused his mental health problem was caused by being locked up and tortured in Woomera.

Shayan Badraie was the first of very many compensation payments made for torture. Read Jacquie Everitt's book The Bitter Shore to see the extent of the cruelty inflicted on a 6 year old child by ACM and DIMA.

Or Parviz Yousefi and his 10 year old son driven mad in Woomera and Baxter over many years and recently awarded $800,000 damages.

Let me tell you about the wife in this story. I met her in the family court one day when the Bakhtiyaris' case was being heard. She had been dragged out of bed at 4 am, brought to Adelaide in handcuffs with three guards and was then told her case had been postponed.

No-one knew she was still in the building until I found her at 3 pm under guard and the guards refused to let me speak to her at first. I bullied them slightly so they gave in. Mary had been locked up with her guards from 9 am - 3 pm with only lunch and a bottle of water and yet they said it would be "unethical to take her for a walk in the sun".

Is this what Dutton wants to go back to?

Because the reality is our internal policy makes not a jot of difference as the law still stands that anyone is entitled to seek asylum from persecution in other countries and in our case is enshrined in the Migration act.

If we had machine guns on the coast they would still arrive, that is the fact of the matter.

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