Friday, July 26, 2002

Asteroids on the way! Will the Government issue proper safety equipment?

You have to love student logic.

This about the mandatory detention of Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson.

National Union of Students Western Australia President Kate Mills called it a "peaceful protest" until "the situation turned nasty". Mills is upset about heavy handed tactics, because
The police didn't ask people to move, they didn't try and calm the situation down at all, they just preferred to use pepper spray

Surround the Minister's car, bang on it, rock it from side to side, prevent him leaving, and wonder why the security boys zap you with the pepper spray.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

I wasn’t planning on posting today, but thanks to this tip off from Gareth Parker, I feels, I say, I feels the need.

We have some reportage from the Sydney Morning Herald about immigration; it’s size, composition and direction. The original figures are here, and the Herald story is here.

According the checkable, transparent figures from the Department of Immigration, last year’s immigration intake achieved the following:
· Skilled immigration up 150% on ten years ago
· Family reunion at the highest level in five years
· 12,349 Humanitarian (refugee) places filled. There will naturally be some protests that this includes Temporary Protection Visas, but since almost all of these are given refugee status, you either count them now or in three years)
· The off-shore refugee program, where Australia is one of two or three countries that actually goes looking for refugees, has taken direction from the UNHCR and shifted focus to
Africa, the Middle East and South-West Asia

And Here we learn
· that the non-humanitarian for next year will be a ten-year high;
· That this will be maintained for four years
On the Humanitarian intake, we see that
· Refugee places are at 12,000 per year, at pr above previous years;
· The intake will be supplemented with places rolled over from previous years. In other words, no net decrease in places over the slightly longer term

So in this racist, pariah nation, we are taking more people, both skilled and unskilled. We are taking them from the places the UN wants us to take them from. They are not white folks.

In response to this system, what does the compassion industry have to say?
The Opposition immigration spokeswoman, Julia Gillard, said the 17,000 migrants brought to Australia under the program since 1996-1997 was "far too low, with the Government not doing enough".

Apart from running the program hotter and harder then your lot did for the last three years before you were booted out.
The Australian Greens leader, Senator Bob Brown, said: "The policy is discrimination against the poor.

if you are an executive of a company of 50 or more workers, or if you deposit $250,000 in an Australian bank account for a year, you will be granted access to Australia.
"If you come on a leaky boat you will not."

Bob thinks that people smugglers set aside a portion of places to people with no money. News flash Senator; anyone on a leaky boat headed this way is there because they paid the equivalent of ten or twenty years salary in Afghanistan to get there.

I just wish the 100 metres doublethink was a professional sport. My boy Bob would take on all comers.

The man sees no contradiction in:
1. Advocating higher immigration and lower population;
2. Advocating older, poorer, less skilled immigration, along with higher welfare for all;
3. Increasing immigration from the very cultures that think stoning gays is the height of bleeding-heart do-goodism.

Then there is finally:
Refugee advocate Jacqueline Everitt said the policy was typical of Mr Ruddock's approach to new arrivals.
"The issue for Ruddock is coming to Australia in an orderly way and doing it by his rules

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. To this person, rules are obstructions to her goal, not a way of achieving it. Rule of law, consistency and equality before the law, these are mere bagatelles to be used only so long as the verdict is favourable. If not, they are to be discarded in the pursuit of what she, and she alone, has decided is the higher good.

These people are dangerous. Once someone has accepted the premise means are the ends, then we are dealing with some scary morality. This is the logic of liberating money from banks, spiking trees, kidnapping industrialists. It’s the religion that will look you in the eye, say that you have too much money, and feel perfectly justified in taking some “for the cause”.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002


As a public service, we present without comment the latest PR moves from barking mad Jesus-freak Sun Myung Moon

I gotta tell you, it sounds like a Simpsons script


My mistake. I thought Robert Corr would attempt slippery word games around the two simple questions I asked him yesterday. Instead, the bugger used the old Keating technique, ignore the question and rant on your own terms.

Still and all, the questions deserve an answer, so I’ll repeat them here.
1. How many refugees are you prepared to accept in the time period of your choice
2. What will you have the government do when that figure is exceeded?

A reply will take about three minutes of your time, Robert. Make the effort.

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for pointing out this Guardian story about the way the litmus test for membership in the Left changes over time.
These litmus tests come up about once in every generation, and sometimes more than once. Spain in 1937. The Vietnam war. Chile. South Africa. And now Israel.

Well worth the read.


Kevin Rudd, who says he can represent Australia as Foreign Minister, breaks new ground in interview technique. He manages to work in "Rambo Rhetoric" no less than five times in a single five minute interview.

Can someone point to any example of diplomacy succeeding with Saddam Hussein?

A smart political party would grab this girl.

A flying dropkick on the tendency of celebrities to parade as experts in their latest hobbyhorse starts with
Hollywood's A-list has morphed into a political epidemic that cannot be contained.

moves through
John Travolta might have played a politician, but he's also played the local idiot.

Gets serious
Regardless of good intent, it is relevant to a democracy that none of these celebrities parading as opinion leaders was ever subject to a vote.

And ends well
Ronald Reagan has a lot to answer for. The difference is, at least, that he was elected.

Though she's probably too smart to sign up

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Robert Corr is a rare breed these days; an actual free-range non-GM socialist. To call himself one proud he is. This must explain the poverty of thought that goes into his post
about current immigration woes. The problem of people trying to get in to socialist countries doesn’t come up much.
scaremongers like Paul Wright, who suggests that "the future for us" is "the UK experience", like to rattle off foreign figures in with strings of zeros trailing behind them.

Curse you for your use of actual numbers. With zeroes yet! Is there no limit to your cruelty?
The truth is that if large numbers of illegal immigrants getting loose in the community was the real issue, we'd be sending the ADF to patrol backpackers and the fruit-picking trail.

That would be all those people breaking the law who get arsed out of the country without appeal inside a week of being caught. Sounds like a fairly draconian system you’re proposing there.
In any case, mandatory detention is not stopping the boat people. Since it was introduced in 1992, the number of arrivals steadily increased -- until the fanatical (and unsustainable) bring-out-the-Navy, bribe-Pacific-islands, be-careful-not-to-humanise-them approach began last year.

It’s not working. Until it does. Yes.
In my opinion, and I'm open to suggestions

Provided there is a great deal of Fuuurious Agreement.
we don't fill the quota of 12 000 that Ruddock likes to talk about

My job is just to turn ON the tap. Demarcation, mate.
Upon arrival, asylum seekers are given housing, benefits (including English lessons) and a work permit. This assistance means they are unlikely to go underground.

Until we tell the one in six that their claim has been rejected for the final time. At which point they will meekly present themselves for deportation.
it's better to let a bunch of illegals out into the community than to risk subjecting one genuine refugee to further persecution.

And there are no circumstances under which they can be proven to be illegal. Note to self: flee country if Corr ever becomes Attorney-General.

Corr is engaging in a simple trick, for which there is probably a fancy latin debating term. I call it not telling all the truth. By presenting himself as compassionate, he disguises his inability to deal with unpleasant reality. Some, possibly many people seek to exploit the system to take the place of a genuine refugee. By defending their right to do so, Corr is assisting this.

Like many on the left, He is unwilling to face the fact that any policy has a sharp end. Will he promise to be silent when phony refugees are dragged screaming from their houses to be dumped on a plane and shipped home?

There is a choice to be made firstly between limited, and unlimited immigration. All policy flows from this first stop. Once limited immigration is chosen, the rest is about how to define, manage and enforce those limits. Corr likes to leave the first to the UN (except when they are not as generous as Australia), make unreachable demands for the second (helps if you want to stay in the protest business) and leave the third up to somebody else.

Here’s two question that can be answered any time on his site:
1. How many refugees are you prepared to accept in the time period of your choice?
2. What will you have the government do when that figure is exceeded?

I’m betting that Corr will refuse to set a firm number on the first, and take the “just one more” approach on the second. He’s lucky he lives in a country where others are prepared to make the decisions he won’t.

Monday, July 22, 2002

More on the Bakhtiari family.

Can the Refugee Liberation Army truly expect to be taken seriously when they blame the Federal Government for the suffering experienced by this family, because the government was not taken in by their scam? After all, in a perfect, reliable system the family would have been exposed and tossed out years ago. Every moment this family has spent in Australia, in detention or out, has occurred because they wouldn't admit to being caught out. They could have gone back to Pakistan at any time.
Further on the false refugees, Paul Sheehan is still being difficult at the Sydney Morning Herald. He is swimming against the tide in questioning the orthodoxy floating around that reverses the chain of evidence, by insisting that detention is proof of refugee status, not the other way around.

Sheehan is also showing the future for us, when he points to the UK experience
The British Government has admitted it has "lost" more than 280,000 asylum seekers who have been ordered out of Britain during the past 12 years.
According to the Home Office, the total of those going underground after being rejected as refugees increased by 150,000 over the past three years, a rate of 1000 a week.

Contrast this with the policy prescriptions from Robert Manne
If every failed asylum seeker applicant was released into the community tomorrow, as an act of mercy, not one serious policy objective would be compromised. On the other hand 700 innocent human beings, including Alamdar and Montazar and their mother and their three beautiful young sisters, would have at least an outside chance of being restored to life.

This kind of appeal has two things working for it, in Manne's point of view. Firstly, there is no chance of it ever happening, so he is in no danger of having nothing to bitch about. Secondly, there is absolutely no chance that people released for a detention centres are ever going to live in his neck of the woods.

Sunday, July 21, 2002

The very lovely Jason Soon is able to keep his temper in check far better than I can, and gives One Cheer for Mandatory Detention.

I have to say I think Jason has missed one fundamental point in his “defence of queue jumpers”. He says
Try observing bureaucratic protocol when your family is being slaughtered some time, not that there was any 'queue' to begin with so that one could comply with a protocol

and he’s partly right. But partly wrong.

Every person who comes here illegally by boat is travelling from a safe destination, to a safer one. Australia does not give refugee status to people fleeing Indonesia. We, and the UN, consider it to be a safe destination We also consider Pakistan to be a safe destination, which is why the Feds will give the Bhaktiari family the boot any day. Following the people smuggling pipeline, we have Malaysia, which plays their part in the whole sorry mess by winking at Muslim “holiday” visas that allow illegals to transit the country on the understanding that they not stay. We don’t take refugees from Malaysia, because like the UN, we consider Malaysia to be a safe destination.

If someone is on a boat heading for Australia, we can assume they didn’t teleport on board. They passed through at least one, probably two and possibly three safe destinations, each time choosing to upgrade of their own free will. Each subsequent move was made to improve on safety, not establish it.

Comparing fleeing Afghans with fleeing Jews is emotive, and not especially accurate. In shameful episodes in the past, Jews were turned away, to their deaths. Today, no-one is turned away until we KNOW they are not genuine refugees. If a few get planted on Nauru for a few months, so what? Isn’t their aim supposed to be getting somewhere safe? Nauru is safe, and they don’t have to stay there forever. The point of shifting them to Pacific Islands is to prevent the subversion of immigration procedures, by legal means or illegal. Recent past events prove that for a certain type of zealot, there are no illegal immigrants, there are no borders, and any form of immigration control is a priori racism. For these types, what matters is securing the outcome they have decided is proper. Or if you like, first we declare you a refugee, then we examine your claim.


Or We Don’t Need No Stinking Child Welfare Provisions!

As part of a strategy of shifting targets, many activists and anti-government campaigners are focusing on the issue of children in detention. This is a smart media strategy, as it is obvious that part of the job description for being a staff journo these days is to respond to any picture of kiddies in distress by jettisoning that last flickering objectivity. Which brings us codswallop like this
The technical rights and wrongs of the case didn't seem so important.

Here “technical” is used as a put-down for all those pesky details like due process, rule of law, transparent decisions and reviewable procedures. Can’t wait to hear the Journo’s Union’s
response to Rupert Murdoch’s next “technical” interference in editorial policy.

But back to the issue: children in detention. Do I like it? No. Do I see much realistic alternative? Not to speak of.

The idea of the week is to release them into the community, either the children by themselves, or mothers and children. Apparently the immigration industry does not see the father-child bond as sufficiently credible to worry about.

Now here’s the thing
Generally, 84% of all asylum seekers are found to be legitimate refugees and are able to stay in Australia.

Put the other way, for every six asylum seekers released into the community, one will be found not to be a genuine refugee either by the UN or Australian standards, and will face deportation. It will be a commonplace that children will have to be placed back in detention with their parent(s), to await deportation.

How do we get them back out of the general community? What possible guarantee is there that the folk who care for the children will co-operate when the system finally grinds out a decision, when all appeals are used up?

One answer is some form of surety, either from the asylum seekers community, or from the foster home, or a mix. Are we going to start taking houses? Cars? What happens when the foster carer goes to school to find out the Refugee Liberation Army has plucked the child from the schoolyard? Do we take their house? How much should we spend on police and immigration officials to start kicking in doors looking for the children? Ask yourself this: After the fact, can the police tell the difference between a 12 year old who has “gone underground” and one who has been kidnapped? How long before some enterprising paedophile figures out this is an easy way to throw off pursuit? If this sounds alarmist, consider why millions are spent installing child protection before it’s needed.

Already we have seen an existing, fairly efficient network of people who are prepared to hide fugitives from detention. The fugitives can be moved interstate and held secretly away from relatives. There is nothing to indicate this network will not move into action the moment they think the appeals process is not going to deliver the desired outcome. When one of these kids goes missing, there will be no safeguard to their welfare other than the good intentions of unnamed, unaccountable, uncontactable do-gooders. They decide for themselves what laws should be obeyed, and what laws can be disregarded. It’s one thing to protest on the street, get yourself banged up. Then it’s only you. But it’s another thing altogether to make secret, unaccountable decisions about the welfare of children.

And this is what worries me most about self-appointed guardians of what is Good and Just and Fair.

It’s been tried before. The popular name for it is the Stolen Generation. When well-fed, safe white folks decide they know what’s best for the little dark children, and maybe just snatch them. Except when aboriginal children were removed, at least we knew where they went. You might not like it, but the public had a shot at seeing them and hearing about their welfare.

Fugitive children will have no access to education, whatsoever. They will not be able to visit a doctor who is not in on the deal, and is prepared to risk conviction and loss of license. Certainly, they can’t get into a public hospital. As they get older, they won’t get a legal job without a Tax Number, and they won’t get decent jobs because they’ll be utterly uneducated. They will not be able to play with other children, because one of them might give the game away. If an adult abuses them in any way, who will they talk to?

Full disclosure: part of the following is through ideas from, and discussions with, my good lady wife.

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