Category Archives: Refugees and asylum seekers

Shakespeare on refugees, strangers and inhumanity.

In a series of speeches written by Shakespeare, Thomas More makes the argument for the humane treatment of those forced to seek asylum after being expelled from their homeland. This is a repost from August 23, 2016.  

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JOHN MENADUE. Series: We can say ‘no’ to the Americans. How the Fraser Government said ‘no’ on Chile and El Salvador.

In 1982, when I was Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, the Fraser Government ignored the pressure from the US that we should not help people in South America suffering at the hands of US-supported military governments.

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FRANK BRENNAN SJ. Will the refugee deal with the US come off?

IF United States President-elect Donald Trump decides not to honour an agreement to accept refugees from Nauru and Manus Island then they should be settled permanently in Australia, Jesuit theologian and lawyer Fr Frank Brennan says.

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Aung San Suu Kyi’s government appears unable – or unwilling – to halt what some describe as ‘ethnic cleansing’.

The Rohingya in Myanmar are facing increasing attacks and harassment. Australia and the region must be prepared to respond. 

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Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration – the desperate situation of Rohingya in Myanmar.

Situation in Rakhine State in Myanmar of grave concern – the region must be on high alert. Mass displacement inevitable if violence continues to escalate.

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ANDREW MARKUS. Australians more alarmed about state of politics than impact of migration and minorities.

There is no shortage of expert commentary on current shifts in public opinion, understood as a revolt against political elites. Within Europe and the United States interpretations are supported by the British vote to leave the European Union, the increasing … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Peter Dutton has got it wrong in blaming Malcolm Fraser on refugees.

  This is a slightly edited text of an interview with Elizabeth Jackson on The Saturday AM program on ABC radio on 19 November 2016-11-19 ELIZABETH JACKSON: The former head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and former … Continue reading

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FRANK BRENNAN SJ. A Welcome Deal and an Acceptable Legislative Compromise

  The Turnbull government has struck a deal with the USA which provides hope at last for the 1600 proven refugees on Manus Island and Nauru. There’s still a lot of work to be done before these refugees, including children, … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. A refugee swap with the US to end the horror of refugees in Manus and Nauru may be on the cards!

  I hope that this is so but it may not be straightforward. There is history in such a swap that journalists and others should be aware of. In its last year the Howard Government negotiated with the USA what … Continue reading

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IAN MARSH. Trump’s Victory and Australian Politics

  A new anti-globalisation surge. Trump’s ascension no doubt creates new agenda challenges for Australia. But his campaign generated so many diverse and inconsistent statements that the policy landscape remains obscure. What is crystal clear is the gulf between elite … Continue reading

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ROBERT MANNE. It’s Time

  The Turnbull government has recently introduced new asylum seeker legislation into parliament. It has two parts. The first part aims to prevent any asylum seeker who tried to reach Australia after July 19 2013, including those who have been … Continue reading

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FRANK BRENNAN SJ. Dog-whistling again on asylum seekers.

  Labor has decided not to support the Turnbull government’s latest asylum bill which was announced in a most hamfisted way on the Sunday morning before last, and which contains very unacceptable overreach measures. So now it will be a … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Paranoia about boat people and manufactured demagogic outrage.

  There must surely be more to the government’s latest assault on the boat people than simply crude wedge politics and gratuitous cruelty; but if there is, the Prime Minister is not saying – at least not yet. This, of … Continue reading

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PHIL GLENDENNING. We Need To End Australia’s Refugee Shame. Now

  ‘Human beings are never a means to an end. They are an end in themselves’. Emmanuel Kant’s words in the seventeenth century echo down the centuries in stark contrast to Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru … Continue reading

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FRANK BRENNAN SJ. Turnbull’s Policy Challenge Wrapped in Turnbull Cant

  On Sunday morning, Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton held a joint press conference to announce new legislation in relation to the asylum seekers who have been held on Nauru and Manus Island now for over three years. In this … Continue reading

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JOHN NIEUWENHUYSEN. How Australian Political Leaders Can Abandon and Mistreat Asylum Seekers

  Living as a White youth in apartheid South Africa in the 1950’s, I often wondered how it was possible for a small minority to dominate and oppress the large majority of the population who were denied the vote because … Continue reading

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ROBERT MANNE. How we came to be so cruel to asylum seekers.

This is an edited extract of a talk delivered to the Integrity 20 Conference at Griffith University on October 25, 2016 If you had been told 30 years ago that Australia would create the least asylum seeker friendly institutional arrangements … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Concealing crimes in Manus and Nauru.

  Those eminent jurists Malcolm Turnbull and George Brandis are normally very careful with the words they use; indeed, Brandis did his best to bore a senate committee rigid as he spent many minutes explaining exactly what he meant by … Continue reading

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FRANK BRENNAN SJ. Malcolm Turnbull’s defence of Nauru.

This is Frank Brennan’s most recent post of Facebook. When interviewed by Fran Kelly this morning, Malcolm Turnbull suggested it was a simple binary choice: strong border protection including the cruel, endless warehousing of proven refugees (including children) on places … Continue reading

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JAMES ROSE. From Tampa to now: how reporting on asylum seekers has been a triumph of spin over substance.

  Spin designed to dehumanise and demonise asylum seekers. This year marks the 15th anniversary of one of the most divisive national election campaigns in Australia’s recent history: the Tampa affair. Coming just weeks after the September 11 terror attacks, … Continue reading

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Catholic Bishops – It Is Time To Bring Them Here

Statement in support of offshore detainees By Archbishop Denis Hart, President, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference One of the greatest crises of our day is the plight of people forced from their own countries by war, persecution or poverty and forced … Continue reading

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ROBERT MANNE. Oh, No Jim, No Jim, No Jim, No

                                     As readers of John Menadue’s blog might be aware, I believe that Australia ought, on the one hand, to find homes in … Continue reading

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PETER YOUNG. Unlike Jim Molan, We must not look away from the harm we are causing.

  Monday’s Q&A gave a good insight into the philosophy and principles behind Australia’s Sovereign Borders Policy as described by one of its chief architects Jim Molan. Most telling was his argument that the means of maintaining tight border control … Continue reading

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FRANK BRENNAN SJ. Being clear eyed and misty eyed about human rights and asylum seekers.

  On 5 October 2016, Frank Brennan gave the Fourth Notre Dame Social Justice Lecture. He said “It is time to see if we can design a way of getting the asylum seekers off Nauru and Manus Island in such … Continue reading

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ROBERT MANNE. Rescuing 1700 marooned people.

   At present the chief priority of those concerned about the refugee situation in which Australia is directly implicated is to save the lives of the 1500 or so on Manus Island and Nauru and the 250 or so at … Continue reading

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HUGH MACKAY. A policy that diminishes us all

  Occasionally in a nation’s history, horror over past events triggers a kind of national shame. Germany went through it – is still going through it – in the wake of the Third Reich. South Africa has not yet healed … Continue reading

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TONY KEVIN. Shipwreck tragedy raises broad issues of duty of care in border protection

  Last week saw three days of hearings (reported in The Guardian by Ben Doherty),adjourned on Wednesday 28 September until Tuesday 4 October as plaintiffs await key documents from the 2012 WA Coroners’ Court inquest into the disaster which drowned … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Cruelty and evil have become banal

  Malcolm Turnbull told the UN that our treatment of refugees is world’s best practice. Only a guilty conscience could allow such self deception. In her book ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem’, published in 1963, Hannah Arendt refers to the ‘banality of … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KELLY SJ. Winners are grinners – asylum seekers in Bangkok.

  In the great race of life, it’s well to savor the few winners you back. Such was my experience last week. For some years, I’ve been helping a small group of asylum seekers survive against the odds in Bangkok. … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. World’s best practice – the Gulags on Manus and Nauru.

  At a sparsely attended audience well past prime time at the United Nations General Assembly, Malcolm Turnbull used his pulpit to proclaim that Australia’s border security was the world’s best. And it is – up to a point. Not … Continue reading

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