12 February 2016

Barr joins with premiers in pledge on asylum seekers

| Noel Pratt
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Barr pledge

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has joined premiers of Victoria, NSW, Queensland and South Australia in pledging support for refugee children and their families threatened with return to Nauru after last week’s High Court decision.

Mr Barr wrote on Facebook yesterday:

My friend [Victorian Premier] Daniel Andrews, has written to the Prime Minister about the future of the children and families who were brought to Australia from Nauru.
I am pleased to endorse Premier Andrews’ letter. I commend his compassionate leadership and that of other state and territory first ministers.
The Australian Capital Territory is a Refugee Welcome Zone.
The city of Canberra stands ready to provide a safe, secure and welcoming environment for these children and their families.
There are children among this group who were born in Australia and these are, indeed, exceptional circumstances.
We can, and should, show compassion.
After all, for those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share.

On Sunday morning Barr tweeted “Yes and yes” in response to questions from the Canberra Refugee Action Committee as to whether he had seen Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ pledge to look after the families, and whether he would do likewise.

Premier Andrews’ letter to the Prime Minister offered to assist and care for the children and their families. Victoria would, he said, “…accept full responsibility for all of these children and their families including the provision of housing, health, education and welfare services. I want these children and their families to call Victoria home.”

I wrote a letter to the Prime Minister today. #LetThemStay

Posted by Daniel Andrews on Friday, 5 February 2016

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird followed suit saying NSW was “prepared to help” should the Prime Minister ask, with the Queensland and South Australian premiers subsequently adding their commitments.

On Sunday, a spokesperson for Mr. Barr indicated that the Chief Minister did not have a longer statement to make immediately: “The Chief Minister has indicated on his social media that he supports the stance taken by Mr. Andrews, but this is ultimately a Federal issue. Last year, the ACT was declared a refugee welcome zone by our Minister for Multicultural Affairs Yvette Berry.”

On Sunday more than 250 asylum seekers in Australia including 37 Australian born babies, were facing an uncertain fate following the High Court’s majority decision on Wednesday that there was nothing illegal in Australia’s off-shore detention regime. Disturbingly, the court ruling was only made possible as the result of retrospective legislation passed by both the Government and Opposition while the case was in train. It is a decision that gives the government carte blanche to return these asylum seekers – brought to Australia from Nauru for medical reasons – to the tiny Pacific Island at any time.

But there is no compulsion on the government to send them back.

As Daniel Webb the Human Rights Law Centre lawyer leading the case stressed, it just takes one stroke of the pen for Prime Minister Turnbull to allow these asylum seekers to remain in Australia.

This doesn’t seem to be a pen stroke that the Prime Minister or the Minister for Immigration were thinking of immediately after the judgement was brought down however. Indeed with no thought of the potential damage to already traumatised people they opted to set another agenda reverting to Abbott-era phrases, of preventing people smugglers from prevailing over “our sovereignty” stopping deaths at sea and protecting our borders. The Opposition for its part resorted to urging the government to find suitable third countries for re-settlement.

Defying this approach there has been an upsurge of public protest against returning these asylum seekers to Nauru. Last week thousands of Australians hit the streets, including in Canberra, demanding “Let Them Stay”. Churches have come out citing the old practice of sanctuary and the Greens and human rights groups have urged the government to allow the asylum seekers to remain in Australia.

And now we have Premiers and Chief Ministers of both political persuasions declaring they stand ready to support the asylum seekers.

Could it be that this represents the beginning of a shift to some kind of honest political acknowledgement of how Australia’s refugee policy is damaging other humans? Could it give the Opposition the face-saving lever it apparently needs to shift out of craven lock step with the government; and maybe even provide voters with a humane alternative policy that abides by our international obligations?

In the meantime the public protest continues with further rallies around the country organised for Monday including one at St John’s Church in Reid at 6pm tonight.

And at 6.30pm on Tuesday, February 16, the Canberra Refugee Action Committee is holding a forum looking at how the media deals with the refugee issue. It will feature First Dog on the Moon, Ben Doherty from the Guardian, Paul Bongiorno from the Saturday Paper and Michelle Dunne Breen from Canberra University discussing Spin and Secrecy; Refugees and the Media.

Some five weeks later at Palm Sunday rallies around the country the public will continue to demand justice for all refugees.

Noel Pratt is a freelance journalist and member of the steering committee of the Canberra Refugee Action Committee.

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chewy14 said :

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/a-world-of-long-term-welfare-for-refugees/story-e6freuzr-1226050094427

Basically it outlines that only 31% were employed after 5 years and a significant percentage (80-90%) relied on centrelink payments for income.

However, that’s also a bit disingenuous as there are many reasons why someone might not be employed such as full time study or the fact that they were retired or disabled.

The bottom line is, resettling refugees is charity.
Charity combines duty and discretion – we are social animals and it is in our nature to share. At the same time, we discriminate between those who are more deserving and those who are less. When the resource to be shared doesn’t extend to everybody’s needs, the less deserving will miss out.

The crux of the division between the two (broad) camps on this issue is that one camp is either unable, or unwilling, to implement rational discrimination to identify the most deserving refugees and instead advocates frittering money away on those with the least needs.

Take an example:
We have agreed to resettle 12,000 Syrian refugees. What impact will this have on the 2 million-strong Syrian exodus? Virtually none. But the cost? Merely chartering planes to bring them here will cost $30million right off the get-go, even before Australia’s generous welfare system kicks in to start supporting an additional 12,000 people.
The first 4 years’ costs will add up to $700million.
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/12000-syrian-refugee-intake-expected-to-cost-700-million-over-four-years-20150909-gjijng.html

We could build and staff several hospitals in Syria for that amount of money, thus providing decent healthcare for all of the 2million refugees, with money left over to build two more hospitals in East Africa where refugees have been mouldering in camps for years.

A perfect example of what happens when you give in to emotional knee-jerk reactions to crises.

Charlotte Harper said :

A couple of others have provided links now

I have consulted a friend who was in car with me at the time – we briefly discussed the media report. She has a better memory than I. She said that it was about 90% of the Sudanese illegal arrivals who were granted asylum, were still on Newstart, 7 years after arriving. There was some discussion going on at that time about some trouble in that community.

Charlotte Harper said :

I’d be interested to read that report as I’m sure would others. I did a quick hunt around but couldn’t find it. Please publish a link if you can, rommeldog56

Someone on Mark Parton’s talkback (then) show on 2CC – a while ago. They were quoting from some research. There was some comments phoned in on the talkback – as u would expect I suppose. I wasn’t listening too hard because I was driving – but the % figure quoted stuck in my mind…….

Charlotte Harper12:09 pm 12 Feb 16

A couple of others have provided links now

Charlotte Harper said :

I’d be interested to read that report as I’m sure would others. I did a quick hunt around but couldn’t find it. Please publish a link if you can, rommeldog56

He’s probably referencing the 2011 report “Settlement outcomes for new arrivals” from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

You can still find it on the dss website, or here’s a news story about it:

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/a-world-of-long-term-welfare-for-refugees/story-e6freuzr-1226050094427

Basically it outlines that only 31% were employed after 5 years and a significant percentage (80-90%) relied on centrelink payments for income.

However, that’s also a bit disingenuous as there are many reasons why someone might not be employed such as full time study or the fact that they were retired or disabled.

neanderthalsis9:52 am 12 Feb 16

Charlotte Harper said :

I’d be interested to read that report as I’m sure would others. I did a quick hunt around but couldn’t find it. Please publish a link if you can, rommeldog56

Then latest longitudinal survey of humanitarian arrivals shows about 65 per cent of humanitarian arrivals surveyed were receiving Newstart.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies , Settlement experiences of recently arrived humanitarian migrants, released only last month:

https://aifs.gov.au/publications/settlement-experiences-recently-arrived-humanitarian-migrants

Mysteryman said :

I’m not so sure about that. Why didn’t they claim asylum at the first safe country they entered, instead of travelling through multiple safe countries to then board a boat to Australia – destroying their documents along the way? Surely if the situation in the home country was so awful, any safe country would be an improvement? Yes? So why the desperate need to travel so much further at such a high cost?

Could it be that many of these people are actually looking to resettle for economic or personal reasons? Seems like it.

Yes – they also know about Australia’s welfare system and that if they don’t get a job here to support themselves, then Australian taxpayers will support them. A report I heard a while back was that about 90% of all illegal arrivals given residency, were still on welfare after 7 years or so.

My sympathies lie much more with those in their countries who do not have the economic capacity to flee.

Charlotte Harper9:12 am 12 Feb 16

I’d be interested to read that report as I’m sure would others. I did a quick hunt around but couldn’t find it. Please publish a link if you can, rommeldog56

SidneyReilly said :

Mysteryman said :

Charlotte Harper said :

I think it’s an indication of how grim their situations were in their home countries that they’re prepared to put up with life in the detention centres rather than go back.

I’m not so sure about that. Why didn’t they claim asylum at the first safe country they entered, instead of travelling through multiple safe countries to then board a boat to Australia – destroying their documents along the way? Surely if the situation in the home country was so awful, any safe country would be an improvement? Yes? So why the desperate need to travel so much further at such a high cost?

Could it be that many of these people are actually looking to resettle for economic or personal reasons? Seems like it.

Yes it does doesn’t it? I wonder if our “free for all” welfare system is perhaps an inducement too?

I think it was a past Indonesian president (Yodohono?) who said “Australia should take the sugar off the table”. Advice that was ignored until now.

Charlotte Harper said :

Many of those involved in campaigning for refugee rights do exactly that, for example Julian Burnside: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/how-you-can-offer-a-home-to-a-refugee-20150929-gjxhnc.html
Then there’s this article about the difference British actor Emma Thompson made in the life of a former Rwandan child soldier: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/weekend-australian-magazine/emma-thompson-and-tindyebwa-agaba-the-actress-and-the-former-child-soldier-who-calls-her-mum/news-story/681a3a077674e795c61234426765d621

These people are multi millionaires. they bought a token refugee to look good. Pretty much the same reason people buy a Prius.

SidneyReilly8:03 pm 11 Feb 16

Mysteryman said :

Charlotte Harper said :

I think it’s an indication of how grim their situations were in their home countries that they’re prepared to put up with life in the detention centres rather than go back.

I’m not so sure about that. Why didn’t they claim asylum at the first safe country they entered, instead of travelling through multiple safe countries to then board a boat to Australia – destroying their documents along the way? Surely if the situation in the home country was so awful, any safe country would be an improvement? Yes? So why the desperate need to travel so much further at such a high cost?

Could it be that many of these people are actually looking to resettle for economic or personal reasons? Seems like it.

Yes it does dosent it? I wonder if our “free for all” welfare system is perhaps an inducement too?

Nilrem said :

HenryBG said :

Meanwhile, I’m not hearing much noise about the atrocities being carried out to our north and for which we *do* have moral responsibility:
http://freewestpapua.org/documents/the-neglected-genocide-human-rights-abuses-against-papuans-in-the-central-highlands-1977-1978/

Here we have an actual genocide in progress (even worse than the genocide in East Timor which claimed 30% of the population) and nobody is saying “boo”.

Same as it was in East Timor, the indonesian military is using rape as a weapon of war, constituting a crime against humanity.

I have a theory that lefties are capable of assimilating Bad Things only up to a certain level – beyond that, Bad Things are *so* Bad that lefties succumb to a psychological state of Denial.

Ha ha, because “righties” are never in denial about anything, particularly climate change. 🙂

Both left and right agree that climate exists.
It is what makes it change (natural or man-made) that is in contention.
At this stage natural is the only rational answer.

HenryBG said :

Nilrem said :

Charlotte Harper said :

The quotation marks were to indicate/note the views of others about The Guardian. I have views on some issues that would be considered leftie and others rightie. I try to keep an open mind and constantly question my thinking through reading, discussion and debate. I’ll read The Guardian but also The Australian. Not so keen on Quadrant or if that helps you categorise me.

Making generalisations about group of people doesn’t lend itself to a productive exchange on the substantive issues. And people are complex, we’re not a bunch of robots off a production line with the same package of views, or two opposed packages of views.

Methinks you’ve gone off half-cocked.

I think you need to read the thread of this conversation before jumping to (wrong) conclusions about what Charlotte was conveying.

See post #13. That was the context in which Charlotte made her comment. Apologies for not quoting #13, but I thought the context was readily apparent.

HenryBG said :

Meanwhile, I’m not hearing much noise about the atrocities being carried out to our north and for which we *do* have moral responsibility:
http://freewestpapua.org/documents/the-neglected-genocide-human-rights-abuses-against-papuans-in-the-central-highlands-1977-1978/

Here we have an actual genocide in progress (even worse than the genocide in East Timor which claimed 30% of the population) and nobody is saying “boo”.

Same as it was in East Timor, the indonesian military is using rape as a weapon of war, constituting a crime against humanity.

I have a theory that lefties are capable of assimilating Bad Things only up to a certain level – beyond that, Bad Things are *so* Bad that lefties succumb to a psychological state of Denial.

Ha ha, because “righties” are never in denial about anything, particularly climate change. 🙂

Nilrem said :

Charlotte Harper said :

The quotation marks were to indicate/note the views of others about The Guardian. I have views on some issues that would be considered leftie and others rightie. I try to keep an open mind and constantly question my thinking through reading, discussion and debate. I’ll read The Guardian but also The Australian. Not so keen on Quadrant or if that helps you categorise me.

Making generalisations about group of people doesn’t lend itself to a productive exchange on the substantive issues. And people are complex, we’re not a bunch of robots off a production line with the same package of views, or two opposed packages of views.

Methinks you’ve gone off half-cocked.

I think you need to read the thread of this conversation before jumping to (wrong) conclusions about what Charlotte was conveying.

Nilrem said :

Charlotte Harper said :

The quotation marks were to indicate/note the views of others about The Guardian. I have views on some issues that would be considered leftie and others rightie. I try to keep an open mind and constantly question my thinking through reading, discussion and debate. I’ll read The Guardian but also The Australian. Not so keen on Quadrant or if that helps you categorise me.

Making generalisations about group of people doesn’t lend itself to a productive exchange on the substantive issues. And people are complex, we’re not a bunch of robots off a production line with the same package of views, or two opposed packages of views.

I am glad you agree that the subject issue of this thread is not a substantive one.

Charlotte Harper said :

The quotation marks were to indicate/note the views of others about The Guardian. I have views on some issues that would be considered leftie and others rightie. I try to keep an open mind and constantly question my thinking through reading, discussion and debate. I’ll read The Guardian but also The Australian. Not so keen on Quadrant or if that helps you categorise me.

Making generalisations about group of people doesn’t lend itself to a productive exchange on the substantive issues. And people are complex, we’re not a bunch of robots off a production line with the same package of views, or two opposed packages of views.

Charlotte Harper said :

The quotation marks were to indicate/note the views of others about The Guardian. I have views on some issues that would be considered leftie and others rightie. I try to keep an open mind and constantly question my thinking through reading, discussion and debate. I’ll read The Guardian but also The Australian. Not so keen on Quadrant or if that helps you categorise me.

Even an intellectuality challenged person like me knew you were having a joke by using the tautology “leftie Guardian” as a source.

Charlotte Harper said :

I think it’s an indication of how grim their situations were in their home countries that they’re prepared to put up with life in the detention centres rather than go back.

I’m not so sure about that. Why didn’t they claim asylum at the first safe country they entered, instead of travelling through multiple safe countries to then board a boat to Australia – destroying their documents along the way? Surely if the situation in the home country was so awful, any safe country would be an improvement? Yes? So why the desperate need to travel so much further at such a high cost?

Could it be that many of these people are actually looking to resettle for economic or personal reasons? Seems like it.

Charlotte Harper said :

The “leftie” Guardian has run articles on human rights abuses in West Papua: http://www.theguardian.com/world/west-papua

I assume you’re still a ‘rightie’ then?

Charlotte Harper8:27 am 11 Feb 16

The quotation marks were to indicate/note the views of others about The Guardian. I have views on some issues that would be considered leftie and others rightie. I try to keep an open mind and constantly question my thinking through reading, discussion and debate. I’ll read The Guardian but also The Australian. Not so keen on Quadrant or if that helps you categorise me.

SidneyReilly6:30 pm 10 Feb 16

I have no problem with this as long as Australian taxpayers get the same compassion and free medical attention,including flights for the family for those among us living in remote areas when medical assistance is not available locally. Yes the RFDS does a fantastic job but its not free.

farnarkler said :

Easy answer, those who are so vociferous about letting these people in can, with a decent allowance from the federal government, house and feed them in their own homes. I wonder if Hansen Young and her supporters would be prepared to billet them.

These people are sent to Nauru and Manus for good reason. It allows for their situations to be assessed. Many of them who choose to destroy their documentation on their way here make that process take a lot longer, and have nobody but themselves to blame if they spend years in “detention”. Many are also not legitimate refugees. Keeping them in a processing facility is appropriate and discourages the behaviour that lead to the “Children Overboard” event.

Australian taxpayers are burdened enough by the welfare state that has been created and encouraged by the ALP and Watermelons/”Greens”. We really don’t need to be, and shouldn’t be expected to pay for a heap of pretend refugees just wanting an easier life. Legitimate refugees are another thing entirely, but the situations need to be properly assessed before just letting a torrent of people into the country.

Charlotte Harper said :

I think it’s an indication of how grim their situations were in their home countries that they’re prepared to put up with life in the detention centres rather than go back.

You are projecting your own values and perspective onto others.
How grim was somebody’s life to force them into being a meths-drinking homeless person on the streets of King’s Cross?
Answer: you can’t possibly know. Just because you wouldn’t do it, doesn’t mean others wouldn’t choose to for no particularly good reason.

Seeing as the number of children in detention centres has dropped from well over 2,000 (under Labor) down to about 100 now, it seems not so many people are “putting up with life in the detention centres” anyway.
Having visited many of our detention centres, it is quite obvious to me from the accommodation, the square meals, the security, and the close medical attention and educational opportunities that the situation there is a whole lot better than it is for the rest of the 50,000,000 refugees around the world that the UN is trying to deal with – genuine refugees whom we are helping resettle at a world-leading rate of 10,000-20,000 each year, a number that is negatively impacted by every people-smuggled fake-fugee that lobs up here.

In fact, here’s something interesting – I always expected detention centre security staff would be similar in demographic to the staff in our prisons (ie, lots of overweight old guys with scottish accents). You would be amazed at the number of 20-something women who work in detention centres. The older staff include many with their own refugee experiences, too. Most of them will tell you how much they appreciate the respect and politeness they experience when dealing with Afghan inmates. Oops, “clients”.

The long and the short of it is: Sarah Hanson-Young has about as much credibility on immigration issues as Turnbull has on the NBN. Maybe even less.

I’m glad The Guardian publishes a couple of articles every year about the actual genocide that is ongoing in our neck of the woods. If only they did it on a daily basis. If only the lefties were out marching against this local genocide, instead of in support of fake-fugees….

Charlotte Harper said :

I think it’s an indication of how grim their situations were in their home countries that they’re prepared to put up with life in the detention centres rather than go back.

Or just as likely that the conditions in the detention centres are nowhere near as restrictive or oppressive as advocates like to make out.

Charlotte Harper said :

I think it’s an indication of how grim their situations were in their home countries that they’re prepared to put up with life in the detention centres rather than go back.

Because the people we are talking about destroy their identity papers it is impossible to verify their claims.
Note that these people had papers when they entered Indonesia or other transit countries where they should have made their asylum claims (according to what the UN says).
Then we have their advocates showing us crude paintings supposedly from the “traumatised” children. I recently found out that I had a “traumatised” childhood but strangely, I can’t remember any of it probably because I didn’t recall anything before I was 4 years old.
Sure, they are in “detention” but they are safe and secure while they are in our care and that should be the limit of our responsibility to these people.

neanderthalsis3:06 pm 10 Feb 16

Maybe I am just too cynical, but my first thought was that the NSW/Vic Premiers and the ACT Chief Minister only made the offer because they knew that Federal Labor would remain firmly in step with the Coalition and deport them. It’s an easy win for the first ministers, they get to look compassionate whilst actually knowing that it all means nothing.

Meanwhile, I’m not hearing much noise about the atrocities being carried out to our north and for which we *do* have moral responsibility:
http://freewestpapua.org/documents/the-neglected-genocide-human-rights-abuses-against-papuans-in-the-central-highlands-1977-1978/

Here we have an actual genocide in progress (even worse than the genocide in East Timor which claimed 30% of the population) and nobody is saying “boo”.

Same as it was in East Timor, the indonesian military is using rape as a weapon of war, constituting a crime against humanity.

I have a theory that lefties are capable of assimilating Bad Things only up to a certain level – beyond that, Bad Things are *so* Bad that lefties succumb to a psychological state of Denial.

Charlotte Harper2:24 pm 10 Feb 16

The “leftie” Guardian has run articles on human rights abuses in West Papua: http://www.theguardian.com/world/west-papua

Charlotte Harper said :

Many of those involved in campaigning for refugee rights do exactly that, for example Julian Burnside: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/how-you-can-offer-a-home-to-a-refugee-20150929-gjxhnc.html
Then there’s this article about the difference British actor Emma Thompson made in the life of a former Rwandan child soldier: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/weekend-australian-magazine/emma-thompson-and-tindyebwa-agaba-the-actress-and-the-former-child-soldier-who-calls-her-mum/news-story/681a3a077674e795c61234426765d621

Great, so why don’t the lefties get out there, apply for visas, and sponsor as many refugees as they like to enter the country safely and legally?
Nothing’s stopping them.

Instea, the lefties encouraging them to enter Australia illegally, and dying in the process, at vast expense to me, the taxpayer, who wants nothing to do with fake-fugees who are not coming here as per either the spirit or the law of the 1951 Refugee Convention:

ARTICLE 31
The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their
illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory
where their life or freedom was threatened
in the sense of article 1, enter or
are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present
themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their
illegal entry or presence.

The remaining people in detention on Nauru and Manus are only still there because of their own choice, i.e. refusing to return to their countries voluntarily after having been assessed as not being refugees. Unlike most countries, Iran does not accept non-voluntary returns.
It is, of course, understandable that these people would prefer to keep trying to get into Australia and don’t want go back to their own land, and are probably really upset that they were so badly deceived and ripped off by people smugglers. However, we are being more than generous with resettlement deals.
The Human Rights Industry is not doing these people (or themselves) any favours whipping up unrealistic hopes.

Australia accepts more than our fair share of genuine refugees and has done so for years. We need to prioritise looking after our own first (completely concur with post #2).

Charlotte Harper2:34 pm 10 Feb 16

I think it’s an indication of how grim their situations were in their home countries that they’re prepared to put up with life in the detention centres rather than go back.

farnarkler said :

Easy answer, those who are so vociferous about letting these people in can, with a decent allowance from the federal government, house and feed them in their own homes. I wonder if Hansen Young and her supporters would be prepared to billet them.

Not if the Cologne model is any guide.

chewy14 said :

Voters have made their thoughts clear on this issue on many occasions.

The general populace supports deterrence as the best way of achieving our goals of an equitable humanitarian resettlement program that helps the most amount of refugees within our limited resources. A system that does not give preferential treatment to asylum seekers who have the means and money to escape and travel through multiple other countries to get here.

If you allow “exceptions” to the rules they will be utilised by people smugglers and their local advocates to bypass the system and place many more people at risk of dying at sea.

I have no idea why these local “advocates” are so supportive of an unworkable open border solution or an inequitable solution that gives preference to people with means rather than a system that helped people based solely on need or their danger of persecution.

When it comes to a choice of allocating resources to our children or someone else’s they will see the folly of their current stance.

Have people so quickly forgotten it was Gillard that created our current policy towards asylum seekers? We had a crisis with them flooding our shores before, and we once we put in harsh measures that flow stopped. Removing our current policy will simply result in a return to the past with a massive upheaval in arrivals…

These state politicians are gutless anyway. The only reason they’re publicly taking this stance is because they know that this decision is a federal level one. It’s never going to happen, and they know it. It’s just an opportunity to score some cheap political points.

Voters have made their thoughts clear on this issue on many occasions.

The general populace supports deterrence as the best way of achieving our goals of an equitable humanitarian resettlement program that helps the most amount of refugees within our limited resources. A system that does not give preferential treatment to asylum seekers who have the means and money to escape and travel through multiple other countries to get here.

If you allow “exceptions” to the rules they will be utilised by people smugglers and their local advocates to bypass the system and place many more people at risk of dying at sea.

I have no idea why these local “advocates” are so supportive of an unworkable open border solution or an inequitable solution that gives preference to people with means rather than a system that helped people based solely on need or their danger of persecution.

Charlotte Harper said :

Many of those involved in campaigning for refugee rights do exactly that, for example Julian Burnside: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/how-you-can-offer-a-home-to-a-refugee-20150929-gjxhnc.html
Then there’s this article about the difference British actor Emma Thompson made in the life of a former Rwandan child soldier: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/weekend-australian-magazine/emma-thompson-and-tindyebwa-agaba-the-actress-and-the-former-child-soldier-who-calls-her-mum/news-story/681a3a077674e795c61234426765d621

I’m reaching for a Kleenex now (sniff).

wildturkeycanoe7:32 am 09 Feb 16

“After all, for those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share.”
If so, send them out into the plains, don’t bring them here where employment opportunities are hard enough to come by, housing is almost unaffordable and our population density is such that we have congestion problems we apparently need to build a light rail network to cope with.
Before bringing in any more refugees, first get our unemployment rate down to practically zero and house the homeless we already have on our streets. There is no point in allowing more people to join a welfare system that is struggling to cope. If these refugees are indeed exceptionally qualified in a particular field of work and there are opportunities for them, I’m all for allowing them entry if they have the correct paperwork such as proof of identity and evidence of their refugee status. If they don’t have these, which is why they are still not allowed entry to Australia, then compassion purely on the grounds of “just think of the children” is unfounded.
If you put aside the images of children being locked up behind razor wire and look at the statistics, the background of these “refugees”, you’ll see the truth of the matter being that the majority of the asylum seekers are adult males, not women and children. I’m not buying the bleeding heart stories of a people whose mindset is that of oppression of women, sexual abuse of young children and violence in order to
get their way.
Take off your blinkers people, look up some statistics, read some not so mainstream media stories about what actually goes on in these detention centers and then ask yourself if you want that kind of person living next door. I certainly wouldn’t feel safe.
You can call me a bigot, or a racist, but my thoughts on the matter are made on the evidence I have seen and not on the ethnicity of the people being detained. See the bigger picture, not just the heart-wrenching propaganda photos.

Perhaps Andrew Barr can adopt some of these families into his own home and pay 100% of their upkeep?
We have our borders under control at the moment and if we cave in to the bleeding heart brigade we risk ending up like Europe.
Read the decision of the High Court again; it is the law.

Easy answer, those who are so vociferous about letting these people in can, with a decent allowance from the federal government, house and feed them in their own homes. I wonder if Hansen Young and her supporters would be prepared to billet them.

Charlotte Harper9:46 am 09 Feb 16

Many of those involved in campaigning for refugee rights do exactly that, for example Julian Burnside: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/how-you-can-offer-a-home-to-a-refugee-20150929-gjxhnc.html
Then there’s this article about the difference British actor Emma Thompson made in the life of a former Rwandan child soldier: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/weekend-australian-magazine/emma-thompson-and-tindyebwa-agaba-the-actress-and-the-former-child-soldier-who-calls-her-mum/news-story/681a3a077674e795c61234426765d621

Blen_Carmichael1:27 pm 08 Feb 16

“After all, for those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share.”

It looks like our federal government’s state and territory counterparts are girt by gushiness. Indeed (and not surprisingly) those calling for the government to show ‘compassion’ are seemingly oblivious of the immigration chaos and mass drownings that took place between 2008-13. But that’s a separate debate.

My question for our esteemed Chief Minister (or, as he refers to himself on Facebook, a “territory first Minister”), is the aspect of public housing availability. I note from a recent ABC article that there are currently 2,320 Canberrans on the waiting list, and the number of public housing dwellings is falling, not rising. The number of applicants on the waiting list has increased around 35 per cent from 2011. Now it’s terrific that our Minister for Multicultural Affairs has declared the ACT is a “refugee welcome zone” , but given the refugees assumedly take priority for housing (like the good Captain Ehad – remember him?) what is the government’s plan to address the backlog?

On a related note I note the waiting list for public housing in Victoria is over 30,000. The priority one applicants (e.g. domestic violence victims) can expect to wait around six months. The remainder can expect to wait between five and ten years. That’s a serious issue, Daniel Andrews.

I don’t argue that we should refuse to take asylum seekers until the housing crisis is solved – that would be inhumane – but I do think it’s incumbent upon the so-called first ministers to address what is a burgeoning social crisis. Perhaps our Prime Minister should write an open letter to Mr Daniel Andrews et al calling on them, with the stroke of a pen, to make more housing available to the vulnerable and needy.

After all, they’ve boundless plains to share.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-28/act-public-housing-demand-up-as-availability-of-dwellings-falls/7120204

Jill Thomsen12:49 pm 08 Feb 16

If only this attitude of compassion, tolerance and humanity was shared by more of our federal politicians. Good work to RAC for excellent snap actions on Northbourne Avenue, and outside the High Court! I look forward to tonight’s action, too. Keep up the pressure.

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