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Thread: Please, don't judge us all by our government!

  1. #31
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    Arrow

    I guess it's all the more reason why young people who reached the legal adult age should get involved in politics. When I was young, I did not, and we got Bush (senior). Of course, the recent time that I got involved, we still got Bush (junior). LOL.

    Kidding aside, your government should have handled the refugee crisis better. At least you guys should have learned from the US with regards to the thousands of Cuban refugees. (Or was it Haitian?) Some of the time, we handled it right (which your government should take note), and some of the times we handled it wrong (which your government should also take note).

    One thing for sure, your government better do something about their reputation. Because right now, despite the Olympic, their image does not look good in the global community.

    But I would not hold it against the Autralian citizens. I am just sad and disappointed that the majority supports the current government and its policies.

    ------------------
    Anyhoo, just some random thoughts...

  2. #32
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    Angry

    I may have missed it in the above postings, but I don't recall Aldaron mentioning one critical piece of information (and apologies if the point was mentioned and I missed it):

    The boat-people are all illegal immigrants. Not one of those people (excluding the crew) on board the Tampa have in any way gone through proper channels to enter our country. They are essentially queue-jumpers, who are coming here first and then saying "I'd like you to put me up for life, please". I have nothing but sympathy for legitimate refugees who are fleeing their countries for far of persecution, etc... - but the majority of boat-people have paid their way onto these boats, and are "fleeing" their native countries because they don't like it. It's basically a scam - people-smuggling, if you will.

    I don't want to start a flame-war, a heated debate, or anything else that goes beyond the bounds of civility. As a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen of Australia, I would rather my taxes go towards supporting those genuinely in need of assistance, not those who choose to jump the queue and enter our country illegally.

    Australia, while it may be a large land-mass, does not have unlimited resources (or even vast amounts of resources), nor does it have the same in funds with which to purchase the necessary resources - so I, like many of my countrymen and women, want our government to get its priorities right, and give aid where it is due, not where there are a group of people jumping up and down demanding it.

    Similarly, we have several detention centers in the far north of our country which are used to house/detain other illegal immigrants. In spite of the fact that these people are given, in some cases, a weekly cash allowance, they are given beds and food and shelter, they are not simply shipped back to their country of origin (as many other countries do with their illegal immigrants) - these people have been arrogant enough to then turn around and complain that they are not comfortable enough, or that we haven't given them enough money, and have even started riots in the detention centers. They seem to forget the fact that we did themn a huge favour by not throwing them on the first plane back to their own countries.

    With all of the above taken into consideration, you can perhaps understand that many Australians are now somewhat sick of illegal immigrants showing up by the rusty-boat-load, we are sick of them whinging when they don't get five-star accommodation and immediate citizenship, and we are sick of the rest of the world (seemingly) wiping its hands of the whole business.

    The United Nations have criticised Australia for its stance in this issue, but let's take the issue one step further - rather than criticise Australia for forcing the illegal immigrant issue into the limelight in the manner in which it has, why not take a look at the countries from which these people are fleeing, and sort out issues in those places? Why blame Australia for refusing to be a dumping-ground for someone else's problems? We didn't create the problems these people are allegedly fleeing, why should we then sit on our hands while floods of people arrive on our back doorstep?

    Also, on the same topic, I read that the figures tell a somehat different story on the subject of refugee acceptance:

    On a per-head of population basis, Australia has taken 41 refugees per 1000 of it population in the 1990's, second only to Canada (taking 45). Norway, one of the biggest critics in the Tampa crisis, only took 33. On a numerical basis, that tanslates to over 101,000 refugees into Australia, with Norway taking just over 15,000. Canada took over 160,000 refugees. The USA took in over 1 million (at abour 29 refugees per 1000 of population).

    Are we inhumane? Most certainly not! Are we tired of being a dumping-ground for other countries problems and inefficiencies? You betcha!

    ------------------
    "...and more controversial than Oolon Colluphid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters Where God went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes, and Who is this God Person Anyway?"
    - The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams (dec.)

  3. #33

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  4. #34
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    But what can you do? Force Indonesia to take back their people and then wash our hands off this whole political affair? Granted, I don't know much about Indonesia and if there is any reported human rights violations against them.

    Exactly how does one forces a country to take back their people? And how can we be sure the refugee (if they have political reason to flee or not) will not be punished?

    Personally, I would send guys like Paul to monitor the refugee if they're returned to Indonesia.

    You are right, they're illegal immigrants but they should have been treated better even if you're not going to process any one of them to enter into your country. You could have cordoned off an area on Christmas Island and allow the International Red Cross to treat them.

    ------------------
    Anyhoo, just some random thoughts...

  5. #35
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    Paul,

    I didn't mention that they were "illegal immigrants" for one simple reason:

    Under Australian law, they are not "illegal immigrants". The Howard government has been pushing that bit of disinformation quite successfully over the last couple of years in an attempt to demonise those who arrive seeking refugee status.

    Under Australian law, there is absolutely nothing illegal about arriving on Australian shores, without a shred of documentation, and asking for asylum.

    If you have your claim rejected (which is a process involving investigation and arbitration - not simply an off-hand dismissal) and refuse to leave, then you can be rightly labelled an "illegal". Until that happens, however, under our own law, your are not doing anything illegal.

    This is why Howard et al tried to push thru the retrospective legislation earlier this week; Howard knew he was on very shaky legal ground in sending troops to intercept the Tampa, because the people aboard had requested asylum. Therefore, under both Australian and International law, we were obliged to provide succor and process their applications.

    The whole thing is nothing more than a cynical electioneering move on Howard's part - of that I have no doubt.

    I don't think Australia should simply throw open the gates and let everyone just walk in. I do however, think that if anyone is desperate enough to sell everything they own for a spot on a leaking fishing boat, risk their lives on it, hitting out for a "great unknown", we should at least give them a chance to prove their validity.

    In most cases we do. I am not happy with mandatory detention for asylum seekers, nor am I happy with the appalling conditions at the camps - but that's a different issue. (Note: they generally don't "whinge" because they're not getting "five-star accommodation". It's more likely that they're "whinging" because they're being placed in non-air-conditioned sheds in the middle of the desert, with virtually no contact with the outside world, and it's forbidden for their own communities to enter the camps in order to maintain a sense of contact. If I was isolated, with no contact, with no legal representation, often for years at a time, I'd be whinging too!).

    Australia may take, on a per capita basis, a lot of refugees. I still maintain this is not enough. We take approximately 4,000 per year. Compare this to over fifty thousand "normal" immigrations every year.

    I'm sorry, but a person living in England, with a job and a roof over their head does not equate, in terms of needs, with a starving Afghani fleeing the Taliban. In short, the "normal" immigrant is not facing a life-or-death choice when looking at coming to Australia - the refugee generally is.

    Secondly, regarding the "queue jumpers" comment which is so pushed by this government as well. It is more disinformation and demonisation.

    There is no queue. Countries like Afghanistan and Iraq do not have people lined up at the Australian embassy seeking to flee. The people who are fleeing such regimes, because of persecution, have to do it secretly. (Consider the fact we don't have an embassy in Kabul).

    I'd suggest checking out the following site for an "alternative" look at the Howard/Ruddock propaganda:

    http://www.refugeeaction.org/refugee_myths.php

    Apart from anything else, in this particular situation, nothing can absolve the government with what I consider the crime of using armed troops against unarmed civilians. It is a 100% fascistic action, simply designed to terrify the civilians into compliance with the government's wishes.

    ------------------
    "Every atom in our bodies was forged in the furnace of ancient stars - it is our destiny to return home..."

    [This message has been edited by Aldaron (edited 09-01-2001).]

  6. #36
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    I was about to make the above point myself, but Aldaron beat me to it. I have to say though, as a citizen of a country with a really big immigration problem, I still want to retch when I hear some of the rhetoric put out by our politicians. Over the recent Eurostar issue, our shadow cabinet basically said that immigrants shouldn't come to Britain from France, but should apply for asylum in France or the first "safe country" they arrive in.

    Right. Unless you are a very exceptional refugee and have actually managed to stow away on a plane, how else do you intend getting to Britain if not via Europe? We are an island, in case anyone hadn't noticed. Not only that, but in many cases these refugees speak English as their second language, and if they don't then they know there are sizable communities of their own people here already. Why seek asylum in France if you don't speak the language and there is hardly anyone there of your own culture?

    I agree, we get too many immigrants (many actually illegal in the proper, get-in-and-disappear, sense), but a lot of the problem is that we dump them all in areas where unemployment among our own citizens is rampant and expect that there won't be resentment. The other problem (funny, I never thought of it as a bad thing) is that Britian is probably the most multiracial society in Europe, so naturally people want to come here.

    Sheliak Bob wrote "Welcome to the cold, harsh world of six billion humans". Message to the governments mentioned here - please don't forget that that means all of us - not just those with roofs over their heads.

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    "Spatial anomalies, energy beings, telepathic echoes. You know, sometimes I really miss the Dominion War. At least then all we had to worry about was where the next polaron beam was coming from...": Capt.Hunter, USS Tempest

  7. #37
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    "Soldiers fight wars.
    Cops keep the peace and enforce the law."

    Engaging rant mode...

    Not anymore. SOldiers go abroad to shitholes all around the world and hand out MRE's while being shot at. Most countries have ROE that preclude having a round in the chamber of your weapon.

    As for cops keeping the peace & enforcing laws? As two years in the APD, I left due to the institutional mentality that any not a cop was a bad guy. Top that off with the horrendous amount of bullies turned cops, bullied, pissed off people turned cops and you've got a pretty volitile mix.

    More exposure to SWAT types has convinced me the rest are special-forces wannabes, just looking for an excuse to shoot civilians.

    Just for the record: I started out as very liberal (in the American sense, not the traditional sense), but exposure to police, the intelligence community, and government hierarchy has convinced me that government is a necessary evil...and EVIL is the key word.

    Rant over.



  8. #38
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    Qerlin,
    I agree with you re: soldiers going to places to "keep the peace" - be it Albania, East Timor, whatever.

    I'm talking about the use of soldiers in one's own country. I'm not talking about Australian soldiers being used to keep the peace in "some shit-hole", as you put it...I'm talking about the Australian government using armed troops against unarmed civilians in Australian territory.

    There is no excuse for a nation to use armed troops against unarmed civilians. Ever. Period. Full-stop.

    Doing so practically defines Fascism.

    Sending the SAS onto the Tampa was purely to frighten both the refugees and the ship's captain into "doing as they were told".

    When a government uses armed troops to frighten people into doing what the government wants...that's Fascism, in my book.

    And there's no excuse for it.

    ------------------
    "Every atom in our bodies was forged in the furnace of ancient stars - it is our destiny to return home..."

  9. #39
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    "When a government uses armed troops to frighten people into doing what the government wants...that's Fascism, in my book.

    And there's no excuse for it."

    No there's not...well, other than politicians' need to control their people. But then again, when the people elect autocrats mascarading as 'liberals', 'populists', et.al...

    I'm always shocked by how many people, the world over, buy into the propaganda they're fed.

  10. #40
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    Lightbulb

    Okay, here's the other rather important piece of the puzzle (which I believe was also missed in the above discussion):

    The so-called refugees were picked up by the Tampa in an Indonesian search-and-rescue area. That is, they were still in Indonesian waters when rescued. The captain of the Tampa was on his way to fulfil his duty by taking them to Indonesia, as maritime law requires, when a large number of the "asylum-seekers" threatened him and his crew with violence if they were not taken to Australian territory.

    Count it: 438 "refugees"; 30-odd crew. Not much of a choice, was there?

    So the Tampa, under threat, sailed out of Indonesian waters into Australian waters - and the whole saga began. 440-or-so people, aiming to enter our country illegally, forcing, under threat of violence, the crew of the ship that resuced them to take them to the country they want to go to.

    Are these the sort of people you want in your country? Those who arrive on threat of violence? Would you want people like these in Britain? In the USA? In Canada? I'd dare say that you wouldn't. And neither do the majority of Australians.

    ------------------
    "...and more controversial than Oolon Colluphid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters Where God went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes, and Who is this God Person Anyway?"
    - The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams (dec.)

  11. #41
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    Thumbs down

    After daring not to get involved in this thread. I feel the need to now.

    As I way up both Aldaron's and Paul's views here. I find myself in the middle, slightly to the right.

    Sure humanitarian aid, go for it. But they are illegal immigrants and not the first and certainly not the last

    Military enforcement was quite contrary to what was needed. As Aldaron said, the Australian Federal Police would have been ideal here with observment by Customs officials.

    The Tampa's cpt may have had his 'hands tied'. But it was his decision to breach illegally Australian Territorial Waters.

    Which of course made the whole deal illegal and started it all off.

    Personally I'm sick to death of hearing all the crap on this topic. From what we should and shouldn't have done.

    Ideally Christmas Island should have been a waypoint for the refugees for humanitarian reasons. Untill appropriate transport was aquired to take them somewhere more appropriate.

    Honestly I've heard enough. But the same shit will keep happening until they stop wanting to come here. Or we actually get a decent Navy that can patrol and perform interdiction duties across our large coastline.

    ------------------
    SIR SIG

    More then meets the eye,
    His a MapMaker in disguise.

  12. #42
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    <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Paul:
    The captain of the Tampa was on his way to fulfil his duty by taking them to Indonesia, as maritime law requires, when a large number of the "asylum-seekers" threatened him and his crew with violence if they were not taken to Australian territory.
    [/B]</font>
    If this is true...if they kidnapped the crew with the threat of violence and forced the ship to go where it didn't want to go with the threat of violence, aka piracy, why on earth wouldn't the army be used to contain them? Does Christmas Island have enough of a police presence to handle the situation?

    Just as others on here would like to think that the majority of these refugees are bonafied asylum seekers risking death in their home country, I'm more predisposed to think that the majority of these refugees are seeking entry into Austrailia for the chance for a better quality of life. (A noble goal and one I cannot disupte) But forcing the hand of the Austrailian government is the wrong way to do it.

  13. #43
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    Angry

    *sigh*
    It's not what happened at all.

    As I very clearly pointed out in my original explanation - the asylum-seekers threatened their own lives.

    I heard the radio interview with the CEO of the Norwegian shipping company, Paul. He stated categorically that at no time were the Captain or his crew under threat. Considering he has been in almost constant communication with the captain, I'd say he has a fairly good idea whether this is true.

    He (the captain) was concerned with the threats from a half-a-dozen or so refugees that they would jump overboard if he took them back to Indonesia, which is why he agreed to bring them to Christmas Island.

    I'm tending to agree with Sir Sig on this; that people are no doubt getting sick of hearing about it.

    There is no way, however, I can let something like a claim that they threatened violence upon the Tampa captain stand unchallenged.

    Nobody...nobody who was involved has at any stage claimed this was the case. Not the Tampa captain, not the Norwegian shipping company CEO, not the Norwegian ambassador, not John Howard, not Philip Ruddock, not the SAS.

    <u>Nobody</u>.

    It's this sort of disiformation which is causing a lot of the anger and hatred down here, most of it directed at the asylum-seekers. When I hear the gossip and propaganda being peddled, I can understand why.

    That's why information is still the best weapon against hatred, IMO.

    ------------------
    "Every atom in our bodies was forged in the furnace of ancient stars - it is our destiny to return home..."

  14. #44
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    In reply to SIRSIG:

    I sort of agree with much of what you said... but by declaring his vessel in distress the CO can do almost anything he thinks will perserve life, including entering territorial waters after being ordered to stay out.

    ------------------
    "I'd rather die standing than live on my knees..."
    Shania Twain

  15. #45
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    This sort of stuff just makes me wish some galactic DOT crew demolishes our planet for a hyperspace bypass...

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