A possie in Aussie

January 26, 2010

Mobiles suddenly banned on Christmas Island? How you can help

My friend Michelle who is supporting detainees on Christmas Island sent this email today: (To see how you can help, see end of post).

In recent weeks, detainees been told they are no longer allowed to have mobile phones. As one detainee explained to me, “an immigration officer told me this is the new rule of immigration”. Phones that have been sent to the centre by well-wishers are now being kept in the properties department upon arrival. Detainees are then notified that the phone has arrived but they cannot have it.

Mobile phones inside the detention centre have not been an issue until now. As long as the mobile phones have no camera and are security cleared by Serco when they are sent in, it is not a problem. Several detainees currently have phones that were sent in before the “new
rule”. They have not been confiscated but once those phones leave the centre no more will be allowed in.

Not only is this ban on mobiles unfair to Christmas Island detainees, who have been sent phones from friends, advocates and relatives on the mainland, it symbolises how asylum seekers who arrive by boat in an excised territory and then detained in an island maximum security centre are treated as second class asylum seekers with lesser rights than those
that arrive by air.

Mainland detainees are allowed mobile phones. Why should it be any different on Christmas Island?

I have written to the Department asking the reasoning behind this “new rule” but am yet to receive a response.  Please write to the Department, express your disappointment in this new rule and ask why should the mobile phone policy on Christmas Island be any different to mainland detention centres.
All emails should be sent to Mr Bob Correll who is one of DIACs Deputy Secretaries and deals with Christmas Island detention at:
All emails should be cc’d to DIAC’s Secretary Mr Andrew Metcalfe at this address:
Other ways to help:

There are plenty of asylum seekers who need penfriends. Please contact Lisa Hartley at letters@asylumseekerschristmasisland.com if you would like to be involved.

We are still desperate for reading material and DVDs in Dari, Farsi, Arabic, Indonesian, Tamil, Vietnamese and Burmese.

Feel free to send pens to ACSI or asylum seekers on the island as well seeing Serco is
now making detainees purchase them from the canteen rather than supplying them.

There is a great article in today’s Australian you should all check out by Linda Briskman, Susie Latham and Chris Goddard:


November 4, 2009

Let’s stop talking about asylum seekers and do something – want to come to Indonesia with me?

James Hathaway is something of a hero of mine (yes, I know, I’m a nerd).

He is the sort of academic expert you refer to almost as you would holy writ – “if he says it it must be so”- for issues of refugee and international law.

He has been dean of Melbourne University Law School for just over a year, and now he has quit.

Hathaway says that his mother Bernice had recently asked him when he was going to “quit being a bureaucrat and starting doing good things for the world again”.

He quit so he could devote himself to promoting a “globalised” system whereby countries would take on obligations to accept refugees regardless of where they have fled to, to share the burden more equitably

The Sri Lankan refugees who were refusing to leave their boats had “crystallised” his thinking.

“This is a unique opportunity to really engage with decision-makers and judges on an issue that I felt, after 25 years, I had something to offer,” he said. Law school head quits to seek global help for refugees

I had something of the same impulse after reading the report Behind Australia’s Doors. I was so upset by the report of the conditions in which refugees are held in Indonesia that I am intending to go and see for myself, and see what I can do. I am now looking for an NGO that I would attach to, or at least someone to go with.

Any ideas?

September 18, 2009

Record numbers of asylum seekers in Norway, Finland, Britain and Malta: and Rudd nowhere in sight!

The Federal Opposition is blaming the changes in government policy for the increase in numbers of asylum seekers arriving in Australia this year. Asylum seekers: malicious arithmetic and game show rhetoric

2009 could indeed be a new record year for asylum seekers- in Norway, Finland, Britain and Malta!

(And probably for more nations- I ran out of energy to keep checking national newspaper reports at that point!)

9,900 asylum seekers arrived in Norway until July this year, an increase by 45 percent compared with the same period last year, reported the Norway Post.

Last year, around 14,400 asylum seekers arrived in Norway, nearly double the number from the year before.

Record numbers of asylum-seekers are entering Finland this year. Asylum applications to reach a record high this year

In just three months over the summer, 29,100 arrived in the UK claiming asylum – the equivalent of 116,400 a year and the highest figure in the nation’s history. Record number asylum seeker claims

Malta saw an 89 per cent increase in new asylum applications last year http://www.eriplanet.com/Diaspora/4688-Malta-receives-worlds-highest-number-asylum-applications.html

None of these nations have changed asylum seeker policies substantially in recent times.

September 16, 2009

Indonesia offers cash to asylum seekers

The Indonesian government is offering Afghan asylum seekers financial inducements trying to return home.

It is very likely that those ‘inducements’ are being in  turn financed by Australia Asylum seeker crowd control: Australia and Europe hire 3rd world bouncers

In a recent interview, Hariyadi Wirawan, Indonesian international relations expert, told Radio Australia that instead greater effort must be made to ensure the asylum-seekers do not return to danger or persecution in their homeland. Indonesian govt asylum-seeker payoffs questioned

“If you give them the money and then they will tell people back home and it will in fact encourage people to come over to Indonesia at least they will try to get their way into Australia, because they will say if you get caught in Indonesia you will get the money and return, if not then you’ll succeed in getting into the Australian shores. So actually it’s not tough enough for them to teach them that going through these islands of Indonesia is not really an option”.

Wirawan also said that standards of immigration detention in Indonesia are “far from adequate”, but explained that  Indonesia is not really prepared because they think that  they will only come for a very short period of time, on route to Australia.

August 26, 2009

Asylum seeker crowd control: Australia and Europe hire 3rd world bouncers

‘Solving immigration by outsourced bouncers’ is the great title Shada Islam gave her post on Online Opinion, about how the wealthier nations in Europe are ‘solving’ their asylum seeker ‘problems’.

This approach includes the interception of boats carrying would-be refugees and immigrants before they reach European territory, and sending them to Libya-  which has not signed the 1951 Geneva Convention on refugee rights.

Shada says that many African countries are anxious to receive European funds in return for such co-operation.

In the Asia-Pacific Australia is also setting up its own shonky ‘security company’, this time with Asian ‘bouncers’. (See Australia to Indonesia- keep those huddled masses out of here)

Australia will contribute $452.5 million aid to Indonesia in 2009-10, making Indonesia the largest recipient of Australian aid, ‘aid’ assessed by Indonesians as clearly financing the ‘fortress’. Persons in Indonesia determined to be in need of protection by UNHCR merely have freedom of movement and stay of deportation, but no lawful access to the labour market, and no civil, social, economic or cultural rights

Australia is in negotiations with Malaysia for the same sort of deal.

Human Rights Watch reports that in 2007 close to 60,000 people who arrived in Malaysia as migrants or refugees were arrested, imprisoned or deported. Illegal immigrants, including asylum seekers, face a mandatory sentence of up to five years imprisonment and up to six strokes of the cane. There have been allegations of whipping and torture in detention centres.

August 18, 2009

National newspaper agrees: Asylum seekers not illegal

Advocacy group A Just Australia has won a complaint against the Australian about language used in four articles and an editorial on boat arrivals, published in April 2009. Press Council

A Just Australia complained to the Australian Press Council about the use of the term “illegal” or “illegals” in the reference to unauthorised arrivals.

The Council found that the use of the modifier “illegal” in the articles and the term “illegals” in a headline were factually inaccurate, and noted that in general the terms are inflammatory.

The council notes its current guideline Australian Press Council guideline No262 is generally observed by the print media.

In commonwealth immigration legislation the term used is “unlawful noncitizens”.

It was the Council’s opinion that, while ministers and government officials continue to use the disputed terms, it is difficult for the press to report the immigration debate using consistent terms. Press council’s ruling on refugees

Earlier this year the West Australian committed itself to scrutinise and edit Letters to the Editor so no references to “illegals”, “illegal immigrants” or “illegal refugees” will make it to its print or online editions.

Perth rights advocate and Project SafeCom member Ross Copeland wrote to the editor requesting the action, and said

“It would not be acceptable to categorise any other group in our community who have broken no laws as “criminals” which is what “illegal immigrants” implies. Why should it be accepted in the case of asylum seekers who comply with the law?” West Australian Daily sets national tone on ‘Illegals Tag’

April 19, 2009

Boat blast: Asylum Seekers – The Sequel!

(It’s Sunday, and I really need a Funday this week!)

This week we have had our own horror movie:

‘Asylum seekers- the sequel’

Will they drown their children? Will they set fire to themselves and the entire continent of Australia? Watch your media and find out the answers! Bonus scenes: the living dead brought back to life to remind us of the horrors of his migration ministry!

And thanks to Brian McFadden at Big Fat Whale for this Conservative Horror Comic

To view a good ol’ Aussie cartoon take on the Asylum Seeker ‘horror’, go to Crikey

If you need more light relief from this week’s horrors, have a look at these Kick a migrant – it’s fun! and Fun for ‘illegal’ immigrants

April 18, 2009

Even I can add this up – Don’t be afraid of boat people, Australia!

Numbers: A friend to all boat people

Part 1:Numbers

Number of asylum seekers who arrived last year: 4750

Number who arrived by boat: 179

Asylum seekers found at sea off Australia so far this year: 221

Percentage of asylum seekers who arrive by air: more than 95%

Thanks to Crikey Asylum seekers, the facts in figures

Part 2: Why are the numbers increasing in Australia?

Thanks to Crikey’s Pollytics blogger Why Andrew Bolt should be Sodomised with a Calculator – Part 142 for this graphic representation of the correlation of numbers of asylum applications in Australia and the rest of the industrialised nations – whether or not they have Pacific Solutions or Temporary Protection Visas!


(I am jealous of the figure!!!)

April 17, 2009

Don’t let the boat people get savaged once again

Please go to the Australian polling web page today to vote on ‘Is the Rudd Labor Govt too soft on border control?’ The poll is currently running at 71% agreeing with the statement, 29 % against. I am praying that the situation will not be a repeat of the awful circumstances of 2001:

Public opinion as measured by polls was overwhelmingly in favour of a tough stance on on-shore asylum seekers. Results of a nation-wide Roy Morgan International Poll conducted September 12-16 2001 showed 68 per cent adamantly opposing refugees arriving by boat and saying ‘put them back to sea’ (Roy Morgan International 2001). Only 20% said ‘accept the refugees’, and most (65 per cent) said the Government was doing a good job of handling the refugee problem.

Pollsters noted that in 1979 the majority of Australians (53 per cent) were in favour of accepting the Vietnamese boat people and attributed this turnaround to the Tampa incident.

In an A.C. Nielsen poll published in the Sydney Morning Herald on September 4 2001, 77 per cent supported the government’s refusal to allow the Tampa to land in Australia, and seventy one per cent supported the policy of keeping asylum seekers in indefinite detention (Burke 2001, 323).

A poll (Newspoll Market Research/ The Australian 2002) conducted for The Australian newspaper found that 56 per cent of respondents agreed that ‘All asylum-seekers should be held in detention centres’.

Ruddock, Stone sabotage their own boats

THEY are not throwing their children overboard this time. No, they are blowing up a boat with themselves and their children on it!

When they were in government the Howard mob accused asylum seekers on boats to Australia of throwing their children overboard. This was proved to be a lie.

Now the minus-Howard-mob tells us that the asylum seekers on the boat that blew up near Ashmore reef yesterday did it themselves. Even though no investigation has been made.

And the Australian is wheeling out Ruddock to comment on the situation!

Not only do the plus-or-minus-Howard mob defame asylum seekers, they also can’t think straight.

Ruddock says that “It is quite clear people were given advice travelling here that if they were intercepted and the vessel was likely to be subject to return, they should disable the vessel to ensure they couldn’t be transported”. Sabotage craft, asylum seekers told: Philip Ruddock

And then he blames the Rudd government for making Australia “a soft touch by abandoning offshore detention”, and therefore to blame for the burns and loss of life.


Ruddock says that boats would be sabotaged to prevent their return -then blames the Rudd government for not returning them – which he says has caused this boatload to blow up their vessel.

Sharman Stone chimes in ”You can’t announce a soft policy and then expect people not to lose their lives through people smuggling efforts”. No time for blame game: Greens (At least she is the current immigration spokesperson!)

Come on, Coalition, at least give the vilification some semblance of logic.

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