Article in today’s SMH.

WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY COUNTRY???!??!?!?!!?!?!? I shouldn’t have to fight stuff like this! I should be happily married with a nice bundle of kids and focusing my attentions on helping the disadvantaged disabled pensioner down the road because I am so time-free and prosperous. Or something.

No wonder more funding is needed for mental health in Australia. This stuff makes me feel so depressed and helpless and hopeless.

No time to go to Villawood to protest at the Easter rally this weekend. Solidarity to those who are making the effort. Peace to those detainees who are being moved on and away and then back again – maybe! Ooh it’s a nice surprise – like puppets in a puppet show.

This policy is evil and will destroy Australia’s ‘fair go’ tradition. There’s not much more to say on the matter.

Evil. Destructive.


Tough luck for the boat people who reach land
By Tom Allard and Craig Skehan
April 14, 2006

BOAT people who reach landfall in Australia will now be processed offshore and, in many cases, sent to other countries for settlement if they are judged to be genuine refugees.

The change to the migration laws, announced yesterday, in effect excises the mainland from the migration zone.

It follows Indonesia’s angry reaction to Australia granting asylum to 42 Papuan independence activists last month.

The move was condemned by opposition parties and refugee advocates, who accused the Government of appeasing Jakarta and reneging on its international obligations to those fleeing persecution.

Previously, only boat people who arrived on islands off mainland Australia’s coast – or were caught in Australian or international waters – were moved to offshore processing camps such as in Nauru.

Under the new regime, all boat people will be sent to Christmas Island or Nauru and, if their claims are successful, sent to a “third country”.

Australia may accept some of the refugees, but not all.

There are still great uncertainties about how the policy will be implemented. The Federal Government has been in talks with United Nations agencies, but there been no agreement on the UN independently assessing asylum claims.

The Government also has not finalised arrangements with Nauru, the remote Pacific nation where it intends to send many of the boat people.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, said yesterday the policy brought consistency to the migration laws.

He denied he was kowtowing to Jakarta. “It’s not done as a concession to Indonesia,” Mr Howard said. “Having said that, the bilateral relationship with Indonesia and Australia � is very important.”

However, the Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone, said the changes would limit the ability for Australia to be used “to stage protests on the domestic issues of another country”.

The arrival of the 42 Papuans in Australia has generated huge amounts of publicity for their independence cause.

The new policy applies only to those asylum seekers who arrive by boat. Those who come by air, or who overstay on tourist and other visas, will be detained in Australia.

The opposition parties and human rights groups are harshly critical of the new policy.

“What John Howard is doing is changing our law at the behest of another country. It should never be done,” said the Labor leader, Kim Beazley.

Graham Thom of Amnesty International said the changed laws were a “fundamental breach” of Australia’s international obligations to those fleeing persecution.

The Democrats leader, Andrew Bartlett, said the move would encourage more persecution in Papua, a resource-rich province with a long history of violence against the indigenous population.

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