Friday, May 24, 2002

No more until after the weekend. Off to Canberra to touch a fair dinkum Mars rock. This is a seriously big deal. Also to Questacon, but that's just for the kids to enjoy. Honest.


In Australia we have a discriminatory immigration system. We discriminate in favour of the people we invite in, and against we have not. Part of the system is the compulsory detention of all illegal entrants and visa overstayers until their status is determined, and then they are either given visas to stay as refugees, or deported as soon as possible.

This is a large country, with a bloody small population. It is also one of the most successful immigrant societies in the world. About 23% of the entire country was born somewhere else. We take more refugees per capita than any other country in the world, with the honourable exception of Canada. We are one of four countries in the world that actually goes out looking for refugees to take in.

The refugee policy is non-discriminatory. Since no refugees come from OECD countries, the refugee intake is comprised almost entirely of non-whites.

I think that any policy that can be supported should also be capable of being defended; that is the purpose behind this essay, and those to follow. I hope to answer the most common accusations against the policy, but I’d like to start with some basic assumptions:

1. Like every other State, Australia has the absolute right to control their own borders, and to decide who will enter, who will stay, and which non-citizens will leave;
2. Australia is a favoured destination for immigrants, and as such control over the speed and composition of immigrants is vital to our national interests;
3. Australia needs immigration in order to maintain economic prosperity for its citizens

Argument #1: They are refugees, and they’re locked up.

Actually, there is not a single refugee in detention in the country. One an asylum seeker is determined to be a refugee, they are released into the community. This usually happens within three months. Currently the average stay is being stretched by an large increase in unidentified boat arrivals, and by an increasing “tail” of people found not to be refugees, and unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin.

Argument #2: They have not been charged or convicted, why are they in jail.

There are thousands and thousands of Australian citizens in jail without being convicted of anything: it’s called remand. They are there until they are processed (trial), and their status resolved (verdict).

In the case of detainees, they are all in breach of the Immigration Act, which specifies that they all go into detention until their status is determined.

Argument #3: Asylum seekers should be let out into the community while being processed.

And what happens when their final appeals are turned down? Will they go willingly back into detention to await deportation? Or will they make themselves scarce? Instantly, an entire underground industry is created. Relatives become criminal harbourers, Immigration agents start kicking in doors. Unable to gain legal employment, illegal immigrants are vulnerable to exploitation in the workplace, in accommodation, even sexually.

Argument #4: Asylum seekers are not criminals.

Although everyone in detention has in fact broken the law, let’s assume this charge relates to “real” criminals, people who have committed felony crimes elsewhere, and are not eligible to stay here under any circumstances.

There are undoubtedly criminals mixed in with genuine refugees and economic migrants. They will include murderers, rapists, paedophiles and thieves. If just one half of 1% of the average 4000 boat arrivals per year is one of these types, and all arrivals are released into the community, then in 10 years we will have released 200 rapists, murderers and paedophiles into our community. None will have any motivation to give themselves up, and none will be able to support themselves legally. How long before they return to their original criminal trade?

And incidentally, since criminals almost invariable prey on the poor, how many refugee advocates are likely to end up as their victims?

Argument #5: Detention is inhumane.

Apparently not for the entire Australian convicted criminal population, who endure far harsher conditions for much longer, without a word of protest from refugee advocates.

Every person in detention is there voluntarily; either through coming here without authorisation, or refusal to accept their determination(s). Their opinion of their own deservedness is not relevant

(Fixing him with steely gaze) Damn your eyes man! I will publish and be damned!

Jack Robertson gives his usual measured response to my post on immigration.
His concern for my image is gratifying, as he seems to operating solely to prevent me making a “great big cyber-dickhead” of myself. So thanks Jack.

I had no idea that as a “wet-nosed newby” my opinion was somehow less worthy than Jack’s, or I would never have presumed to post contrary to the Laws of Jack ™. Of course, if time in the job is the yardstick, then this guy must be nearly twice the Prime Minister this guy

But let me offer a few notes for approval: While Australia is a signatory to all the UN conventions on Refugees, no UN Treaty, Convention or Resolution has the force of law in Australia. If they did, our membership in the WTO would spell the end of most of the rent-seeking industries currently oozing along under the guise of “protection”.

Not all Australian territory is available to make an asylum claim. Consulates, airports and some territories are good examples. This is not Empire-era Port Said, where we free any local who can touch the flagpole.

There is not a single refugee detained in this country. As soon as a detainee is found to be a refugee, out into the community they go. There does seem to be some misunderstanding between “asylum seeker” and “refugee”. Refugee status is always decided by the host country, ultimately according to their own laws. The UN Protocol is the guide, not the law. Is this a “technicality”. Some will call it that. But then again if the Treaty was law, we would be able to turf out anyone who, say, decked a guard because technically:
Every refugee has duties to the country in which he finds himself, which require in particular that he conform to its laws and regulations as well as to measures taken for the maintenance of public order.

The entire convention applies only to refugees, not to asylum seekers. At no point does it claim the right to tell any State who is, or is not, a refugee. The Treaty does talk about “penalties”, but makes absolutely no attempt to define them. That job is left Strange that Jack did not include the rest of Article 31, which is a bit more difficult for him:

(2)The Contracting States shall not apply to the movements of such refugees restrictions other than those which are necessary and such restrictions shall only be applied until their status in the country is regularized or they obtain admission into another country. The Contracting States shall allow such refugees a reasonable period and all the necessary facilities to obtain admission into another country. (my bold)

The point, as Jack acknowledged, is not whether to detain, but for how long, and under what circumstances. “Compassion” is not a policy. Laws that are not codified are slippery. We claim the right and accept the responsibility of making our own laws. One man’s “compassion” is the next man’s “human rights violation” is the next man’s “thin end of the wedge”.

I would not expect the recent free and fair elections to indicate the willuthepeeble to Jack, since only 80%
exercised their sovereign franchise to vote for the current policy, and we have not yet instituted the Rule of Jack ™, or become a fully-integrated UN franchise.

So under here will be the first instalment in a hopefully short series, about the half-truths that get passed off as reportage, and the lobbyists that get passed off as noble advocates.

For those academics no longer able to make a moral distinction, try this though experiment:

SNEARIO ONE: The Palestinians lay down their arms tomorrow, foreswear violence and ask for the mercy of the Israelis. What happens?

SCENARIO TWO: The Israelis lay down their arms tomorrow, foreswear violence and ask for the mercy of the Palestinians. What happens?

Then you answer this honestly, you'll see why the Middle East question is not that complicated after all.

Thursday, May 23, 2002

The glory that is Instapundit is fretting over India v Pakistan, round IV.

Despite recent (deserved) bad press, historian Francis Fukuyama made one particularly sound point in The End Of History, and it’s this:

There has never, ever, ever been one instance where a liberal democracy went to war against another. Not one.

Want to end war, stop the flow of refugees? Go into every refugee source country, shut down every single one of their governments, put in police drawn exclusively from the OECD, and IMPOSE democracy. Tell whoever is doing the shooting that the rules have just changed, and that they are about to be at war with the A team.

Is there a thinking person who does NOT think the locals in North Korea, Cuba and Uruguay are not (very quietly) itching to stomp their local Party bosses into jelly, given half a chance and a ten minute start? I dunno, lets ask Nicolae Ceaucescu for his thoughts.

If one thing make’s me sick, it’s paternalism dressed up as “cultural sensitivity”. How many times are we going to listen to “asian values” and “it’s what they’re used to”, before we summon the courage to deliver to others the values we hold ourselves to?

Theophanous update. Unfortunately, His mum died last night, brought on in no small part by the conviction of her son.

Good to see his political sponsors are looking at taking the little bastard’s fat parliamentary pension off him. Amazingly, there seems to be no automatic mechanism for this, which points up priorities nicely.

This makes me happy. Andrew Theophanous is one of those slimy little shits the ALP seems to enjoy inflicting on inner-city electorates too stupid not to be a safe seat.

Despite telephone tapes of him soliciting money and sexual favours, he put his best efforts into playing the race card, claiming it was all an "anti-Greek" conspiracy. I'm betting his grounds for appeal will be height discrimination.

One thought: here is a man abusing a position of power over refugees and migrant, demanding sex for favourable treatment. Why aren't the forces of goodness and niceness protesting the outfit that put him there?

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Janet Albrechtson sinks the slipper into what passes for aboriginal self-determination in this country.

In a community where a woman faces death by domestic violence at a rate 45 times higher than the general community, we find

ATSIC will spend $60 million on native title and land rights and only $4.8 million on domestic violence

Why does an aboriginal man get legless drunk and beat his wife to death. Is it because he has no land rights? Or maybe his proud warrior heart yearns for his country.


But here’s the first, and most important reason: because he thinks it’s OK to do it.

And here’s the second reason: because nobody is telling him otherwise.

The racism of the progressive aboriginal industry beggars belief, and the victims can be found lurching into emergency rooms around the country.

Unless and until we step up the mark and say “this is intolerable, and we will prevent it”, and then have the guts to do what is necessary, is there any reason to think the situation will improve?

Remember: more of the same, gets you more of the same.

Lindsay Tanner has his say about detention centres, conveniently forgetting that his party brought them in, went to the last election supporting the policy as it stands, and has bugger-all intention of changing it.

This leads me to the first of a series about what I call those “comfortable lies” about immigration fed to Australians by a media too irrelevant to be bothered offering a full picture.

Tanner offers one example of a single mother detained legally while her application for refugee status is processed. Given that 80% of ALL requests for asylum are processed within six months, Tanner carefully gives no detail of this woman’s case. We do know that she brought two children with her when she illegally entered Australia, and has had another whilst in detention.

In a country that accepts refugees at four times the rate of the UNHCR, this woman has had her application rejected, at least two or three times. Despite the best efforts of an army of advocates, she has not been able to prove her status as a refugee.

Tanner’s solution? Let her out “just for now”. We are shown piteous glimpses of life in detention, but no information about just why she is still there.

Tanner wants us to believe that if this woman was to be deported, she would meekly return to her hell hole accommodation and hop on the plane. The unspoken is that Tanner would not object either, since his desires, as far as he is honest enough to voice, will have been met.

The reality is, of course, very different. Let’s say the woman and her children live in the community for the two years or so that it takes her to exhaust every possible legal challenge to her determination. Now the Immigration staff shows up at her door to take her and her babes-in-arms away, to be tossed onto the scrap heap of humanity. The media scrum closes in, the children scream, the mother pitches a fit. Earnest politicians seize the moment to demonstrate their compassion for the people who were going to vote for them anyway.

See, this way Tanner shows his credentials, without danger of having them enacted. He can point to articles like this and say “I did my bit”, without resigning that safe seat in Parliament, without making a stand, without risking a thing.

Jack Robertson laughs out loud at suicide killers. Maybe he has the right idea. It’s an old political cliché, but it’s still true: few ideas can stand up to honest ridicule.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Jason Soon does a better job on Anne Summers than my efforts.

Summers glibly labels the party of Pim Fortuyn as "extremist right wing", based solely on his attitude towards Muslim immigrants. I assume this, since as a gay liberal sociologist in favour of drug law reform and gay marriage, Fortuyn would otherwise be Summers dream politician.

So because Fortuyn protested Islamic intolerance towards women and gays, and expected them to adopt the prevailing values of their adopted country, this, and this alone, is enought for Summers to cast him down to the damnation of "right wing".

This from the woman with a proud record of setting up women's refuges in Australia.

Here's a hint Anne: The enemy of your enemy isn't always your friend.

Monday, May 20, 2002

Thank heavens we have Anne Summers to warn us if the coming race war. Apparently, the Land of Oz is just a few steps away from the anti-semitism of France, and the mass slaughter of India. Despite ALL evidence to the contrary, Summers is warning our peaceful little neck of the woods, which has come through with room to spare, that we hover on the precipice.

Summers is a former adviser to the government that brought us this woman and this.

Telling though, that the only violence that rates a mention involves Muslims. She ignores or forgets the muslim governments around the world that actively encourage ant-semitism. Perhaps in Summers' universe, this doesn't count. But I think she could spend her time more productively if she concentrated on where the real problems are, and not hint at moral equivalence between Australia and genuinely racist nations.
News Flash! 16 per cent of Australian dole bludgers are too stupid to lie to the unemployment office!

Sunday, May 19, 2002

Thanks to his lordship, Tim Blair, I am forced to post to this thing a LOT earlier than I was planning, and I have about seven minutes to come up with the worthy statement. A bit like the dying sidekick who uses up all his time to say “There’s something I’ve got to tell you ….”


“Be careful what you wish for; you might get it”

Ever notice that so many lobbyists and do-gooders can always tell you what is unsafe, but never tell you what is safe? I reckon this is because if they ever put their standards (assuming they have any) down in writing, in terms (numbers) that all parties agree on, they run the risk of ACTUALLY GETTING WHAT THEY ASK FOR.

And what happens then? Well from their personal point of view, they’re out of a job, and right smartly. Remember, the life of a lobbyist is sweet. The food is paid by other people, there’s always someone who wants to kiss up to you, and there’s no heavy lifting. Why would anyone volunteer to give it up?

So next time you hear Greenpeace tell you the Lucas Heights reactor is unsafe, take careful note that they have NEVER EVER specified what they would accept as safe. This is not moving the goal posts; this is telling the other team to go to the wrong ground.

More later, or tomorrow. Please be patient as I try an figure out the links system.

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