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Graphic novel versus Taliban: an asylum seeker deterrent?

The immigration department has added new contemporary imagery to the growing list of iconic works that surround the vexed issue of asylum seekers. Most Australians can already vividly recall media of the…

The government is using a graphic novel depicting an asylum seeker’s failed journey to Australia as its latest method of deterrence against boat arrivals. DIBP

The immigration department has added new contemporary imagery to the growing list of iconic works that surround the vexed issue of asylum seekers. Most Australians can already vividly recall media of the “children overboard“ photographs and images from the Tampa in 2001. The latest to be unveiled is a graphic novel depicting a journey from Afghanistan that has a detention camp as its final destination.

In the novel, we see a young Hazara man receiving his parents' savings, travelling to Pakistan’s Jinnah International Airport and arriving at a port (most likely) in Indonesia. There, he gives his parents' savings to a people smuggler only to end up in a tent somewhere in the South Pacific. End of graphic novel.

Shortly after then-prime minister Kevin Rudd’s announcement last July of his Papua New Guinea “solution” for asylum seekers arriving by boat, the Department for Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) – now known as the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) – released an image of a young Iranian girl appearing to be in distress at learning she would never be resettled in Australia.

The department said the image was intended to be seen around the world as a warning to other asylum seekers of what may happen to them if they catch a “leaky boat” to Australia. As was written at the time on The Conversation:

The history of Australian asylum seeker policy is studded with iconic if often distressing imagery.

While the photograph of the Iranian woman was an opportunity capitalised upon, this graphic novel is at a level of sophistication rarely used by DIBP. It is not simply a continuation of government propaganda. This is a well-researched, intelligently considered, emotionally crafted work with powerful graphics and it has a specific audience in mind.

The ‘Iranian woman’ photograph caused much controversy last year. DIAC

The graphic novel presumably targets the Hazaras, an ethnic minority who make up around 9% of the Afghani population. When the snow melts in Afghanistan and the new fighting season starts in the spring (March/April), the Taliban will assert their position throughout the country. It will be the first season with a reduced foreign troop presence in Afghanistan.

Last week, it was revealed that Afghan president Hamid Karzai was backing away from a deal with the United States and instead was preparing to negotiate with the Taliban. With the rise of the Taliban, the Hazaras are going to be under great threat. They will be looking for safety wherever they can.

This iteration of the Australian government campaign to “stop the boats” began under the previous government. The graphic novel has been on the Customs website since last year, according to a department spokesman. However, having this imagery come to light only recently highlights the low-key nature of the campaign as far as the Australian mainland is concerned.

The graphic novel’s concluding page. DIBP

To spread its campaign outside our Australian cocoon, a department spokesman told The Conversation that DIBP is:

… using a range of channels and languages, including television, radio and press advertising, social media, other internet-based communication tools such as blogs, as well as direct engagement through community liaison officers.

The photograph of the female asylum seeker, distressed after arriving at a detention centre, was presumably intended for Australian voters in the election campaign. It screamed “we are tough on asylum seekers”.

We can surmise, then, that this current campaign is not directed at Australians, safe inside our secure border. DIBP also points out that the campaign:

… will not be the mainstream advertising undertaken by the previous government, which saw full-page advertisements being taken out in major daily newspapers prior to and during the election campaign at taxpayers’ expense.

We still can, and ought to, ask the critical question. Is this method of graphic campaigning, targeting incoming arrivals in a sophisticated and visually arresting way, equal to an asylum seeker’s fear, panic and desperate need of humanitarian refuge?

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138 Comments sorted by

  1. john byatt

    retired and cranky at RAN Veteran

    I was a bit surprised that a drawing of a female refugee having her new born child taken from her was not included,

    Not in my name Mr Abbott

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    1. Phillip George

      Associate Professor, School of Media Arts at UNSW Australia

      In reply to john byatt

      Well spotted, I did not read that image as a baby being handed over to security personnel (page 10 of the PDF) as the female refugee was using only one hand.

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    2. john byatt

      retired and cranky at RAN Veteran

      In reply to Phillip George

      well spotted, can just imagine my grandaughter handing someone her recent new born with one hand.

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    3. Mike Brisco

      Scientist at Flinders University of South Australia

      In reply to john byatt

      A little surprised, the depiction of depression, was so mild.

      Merely someone sitting with head in hands. Able to think clearly about current circumstances vs home.

      No sewing cotton shown. No self-harming kids. No "strange fruit swinging from southern trees " (or from basketball hoops, for that matter).

      Depicting those, would deter even more people !

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    4. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to john byatt

      If the do gooders like AI, HRW.ICG, HRLC, etc etc... can use such images to mislead the majority, why not the government? These graphic novels are aimed at a few crooks overseas who exploit us to come here to get the 5 million dollar prize cheaply.
      However I would say we should let Afghans and Iraqis to stay till we fix their problems back home.

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    5. Pamela H.

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Mike Brisco

      I'm sure that Tony Abbott's ancestors, like mine, and many other Australian settlers, were also 'boat people'. The only difference being that ours were actually welcomed and given 'crown' land on which to farm.

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    6. David Wolf

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Pamela H.

      This is not only true but it is not lawful to deny refugees safe harbour, Having said that we are short of water. Perth has doubled in size in the last twenty years and we are on water restrictions for most of the year already and so I am against the massive influx by legitimate means of immigration.

      Australia is a multicultural country and I like that but problems arise when those who come from countries and regions where only one culture is tolerated bring that culture with its restrictions against all others with them. For those who cannot abide by other cultures really need to think about running to nations that share their culture because what is happening in Britain and most of Europe at the moment is not tolerable, .

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    7. Michael Hay

      retired

      In reply to Dalit Prawasi

      We? Why not let them be allowed to think for themselves instead of bullying them to see things 'our way'. A bit less dictatorial attitude must surely be better than what we are dishing out at the present.

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    8. Lee Hatfield

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Dalit Prawasi

      it's a bit patronising to think they can't run their own country . who are the "we" who are supposed to fix it?, and if that's the way they want to live, why not let them! it might be sensible to allow females to get out of some of those countries as they are treated as slaves, with lots of cruel and unfair rules. we should limit our refugee claimants to them.

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    9. Lee Hatfield

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Pamela H.

      i wouldn't have called it welcomed! they did give the convicts land when they finished their sentences, as they all needed food. the next big wave of migration was the gold rushes, and they bought their own land after they made their fortunes.maybe there was some cheering when all the starving irish orphan girls were brought here....which ones do0 you mean?

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    10. Lee Hatfield

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Wolf

      it's supposed to be unlawful to deny them refugee status only in the nearest peaceful country.it is probably them who are being unlawful by not obeying that rule!

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    11. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Dalit Prawasi

      I think 'our' attempts to fix 'their' problems have met a dead end. Old Karzai has just released dozens of dangerous terrorists from jail, probably to return to the killing, yet still the US is trying to get him to sign agreements allowing US soldiers to remain in the country. Were I a US soldier there I'd be taking early retirement.
      We're slow learners.

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  2. John Crest

    logged in via email @live.com.au

    Seems eminently sensible to me.

    Conveys the emotional reality of what awaits them should they choose to come by boat.

    Should be a good counterpoint to any lies they're being told by people smugglers.

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    1. john byatt

      retired and cranky at RAN Veteran

      In reply to John Crest

      "The graphic novel presumably targets the Hazaras, an ethnic minority who make up around 9% of the Afghani population. When the snow melts in Afghanistan and the new fighting season starts in the spring (March/April), the Taliban will assert their position throughout the country. It will be the first season with a reduced foreign troop presence in Afghanistan.

      Last week, it was revealed that Afghan president Hamid Karzai was backing away from a deal with the United States and instead was preparing to negotiate with the Taliban. With the rise of the Taliban, the Hazaras are going to be under great threat. They will be looking for safety wherever they can.'

      so your solution is?

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    2. John Crest

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to john byatt

      I have no idea.

      What's that got to do with this article?

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    3. john byatt

      retired and cranky at RAN Veteran

      In reply to John Crest

      did you read the quote? that is what the article is about, they will have to flee, people in fear for their lives, does the graphic appear more frightening than torture like having their hands burnt or having their babies taken by the Taliban ?

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    4. John Crest

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to john byatt

      The graphic novel will give them the best chance of determining what is the lesser of two evils.

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    5. Mike Brisco

      Scientist at Flinders University of South Australia

      In reply to John Crest

      The comic is pretty suss.

      It might convey the emotional reality about Manus - but it does not convey accurately the reasons people flee. (usually direct threat to personal safety e.g parent shot dead in front of you; child killed asleep in its bed... do you want to hear more of this, or are those enough? )

      Nor does it convey accurately, information about legitimate methods to get to Australia and safety. E.g get a plane ticket; skilled migration (and motor mechanics are still a desired occupation); register with the UNHCR. Why is this omitted?

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    6. John Crest

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Mike Brisco

      It's probably fair to assume the intended audience for the graphic novel well understand their reasons for leaving: putting that in the novel would not seem be necessary.

      Your second question would perhaps be better directed to the person who commissioned the work.

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    7. Mike Brisco

      Scientist at Flinders University of South Australia

      In reply to John Crest

      ..right now in the valleys of Afghanistan . .....where peasants have farmed the same way for centuries ..... in villages where there isn't even a telephone .. . ..where it's two days travel by mule to the nearest doctor.... ....... hundreds of thousands of young men with laptops are reading the graphic novel on broadband ??????

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    8. John Crest

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Mike Brisco

      No idea. But for the ones who do, they'll be able to add this new knowledge to the abovementioned fellaheen skills to see if they really want to fly to Indonesia.

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    9. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to john byatt

      I imagine Hazaras have been getting by one way or another for centuries john and once the Taliban take over, it'll be more than just the Hazaras lives returning to what they had been before.
      The thing is Australia cannot take every person who would be talked into taking a boat out of Indonesia and then there is still the drownings.
      There is an organisation called the UNHCR and if people can raise money for a people smuggler trip from Indonesia, they could surely get to a refugee camp.

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    10. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to john byatt

      John, not that we can rely on the storyline necessarily being accurate, but if it is near the truth, a young fella takes money from his parents who might well be staying in Afghanistan.
      Mind you, there are plenty of other countries I would rather live in but taking a people smugglers boat is not the answer.

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    11. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Mike Brisco

      If you put in too much information, is it possible Mike that the point of the communication would be obscured.

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    12. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to john byatt

      That is the problem. This issue of alarmingly escalating numbers of refugees around the globe – much of it by the way caused by stupid and pointless wars engaged in by Australia – is a global problem that needs a global solution.

      I'm sure if the world's wealthiest countries sat down and tried to work out a plan they could.

      But just telling people whose lives are in danger to bugger off is not a solution. It is selfish and has more to do with winning votes than saving lives.

      That said, I doubt that the leader's f the world's wealthiest countries, who can't come up with a series of co-operative solutions for climate change amelioration are going to be able to make any difference to the refugee problem.

      It's a tragedy, but one of our own making.

      That said, sending Hazara people back to almost certain death is not something
      I want to see done by the government of my country.

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    13. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to John Newton

      John, I challenge you to back up your assertion that the increased flow of refugees worldwide is because "much of it by the way caused by stupid and pointless wars engaged in by Australia "
      How about some data (ie numbers) to back up your claim. In NO WAY is this a tragedy of our own making.

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    14. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to John Phillip

      Well, just two words: Afghanistan and Iraq. Then the fallout from those in Pakistan.

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    15. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to John Phillip

      Nope. I'll delve.Why do you ask? Where do you think the numbers come from? Indeed, do you have any data?

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    16. Lee Hatfield

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Phillip

      most of europes come from africa... we didn't start wars there or anywhere ,we have a bad habit of following usa and britain into wars.but you couldn't say we were big players in these...spose it seemed a good idea to suck up to them...

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    17. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to John Newton

      It's absurd that we (the allies) have lost thousands of our own young men in Afghanistan while their own young men are taking advantage of people smugglers promises of the good life in Australia. Something wrong there?

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    18. Chris Watson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Newton

      Does anyone really think that all would be peace and prosperity in the Middle East if Iraq and Afghanistan had not been invaded. Those countries have obscene birth rates.
      What do people do when all the agricultural land is in use and there are more people than there are ways to earn a living?
      I find it hard to believe that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had any effect on the number of refugees leaving those countries. What our participation did was alert the Iraqis and Afghans to our existence. People in the northern hemisphere are often ill educated about the world outside their own countries and that of their immediate neighbours. Had we not been involved, and had not been importing refugees from Lebanon, we would probably have escaped their notice.

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    19. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Chris Watson

      There's a tendency amongst some to place total blame for the chaos in those countries on Western political and military intervention. But that's nonsense, although I grant that we had no justification starting or prolonging some of the troubles there.
      Many of these people are victims of internecine ethno-religious conflicts dating back to the 8th century. Often they've been willing participants in civil unrest, lost their fight and now present at the doors of peaceful countries posing as victims. But they maintain their initial resentments, nursing desires to return to the fight, and don't make satisfactory migrants in the countries granting them shelter.

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  3. Greg Young

    Program Director

    Perhaps the UNHCR can produce a graphic novel with no more than three words per sentence to show the Australian government what their legal obligations are towards asylum seekers.

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    1. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to Greg Young

      There are 50 million refugees world wide. Let them in and bring in those who cannot afford the fare.

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    2. Lee Hatfield

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg Young

      none, as far as i know... they left a perfectly good country, indonesia, to come here against the rules of refugees to take refuge in their nearest peaceful country

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    3. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Lee Hatfield

      This point has been refuted so often, it is tiresome to have to keep debating it.

      There are no "rules" such as you describe. Thie is The Conversation, so I am going to request you to please quote the exact rules they are breaking, with the source.

      As to Indonesia, how often does it need to be pointed out that they are not a signatory to the UNHCR? They do not accept refugees, and are under no legal obligation to do so. Australia is, because we chose to accept that responsibility and passed it into law.

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    4. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Greg Young

      Easiest solution for the Indons would be to refuse entry to these people at Jakarta airport after they've passed through other countries where they could and should exercise their refugee 'rights' according to the UNHCR Conventions.
      But, no, they allow these people in because to refuse fellow Muslims entry would be 'haram'. So, because of their religious sensibilities we in Australia are expected to end up receiving the boat people.
      Hopefully that nonsense has now been reversed.

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    5. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Jon Cassar

      Which are the UNHCR countries that they pass through on the way to ?Indonesia? Can yo uadvise please?

      We "end up receiving the boat people" because we accepted a legal obligation to do so. If you and people like you don't like that, change the law, don't demonise people and bang them up in prison without charge.

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    6. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Greg Young

      Well, Indonesia is the last country, for starters, that's obvious. They prefer to cooperate with people smuggling syndicates by not adhering to UNHCR conventions.
      The bulk of arrivals are from Iranian, Pakistani, Iraqi, Palestinian, Lebanese contingencies. They come via other Middle Eastern and S.E.Asian countries which are signatories but which are not particularly troubled because they know that the dedicated goal of these people is Australia.
      Anyone familiar with visiting those countries knows the attractions Australia holds for the unsophisticated. People ask about our 'free' medical, education, social security and welfare entitlements with awe. The lure of liberal sexual behaviour is also a very large drawcard, especially amongst young men. In short, we've oversold ourselves in the community of nations, and our smugness at our own good fortunes in the lucky country are coming back to bite us on the proverbial.

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    7. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Jon Cassar

      You have evaded my question. What UNHCR signatory countries do the people you are referring to pass through on their way to Indonesia, where you advocate they should be stopped and turned back at the airport.

      And, for the umpteenth time, why shouldn't Australia adhere to its treaty obligations that we willingly signed up for?

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    8. Lee Hatfield

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg Young

      she was trying to make the point that. we wont be able to support them if we open the borders , they will come here and overrun the place, and we wont even have the money to support our own poor...it will be a disaster. for whatewver reason, some people want that!

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    9. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Dalit Prawasi

      Hmm, so just open the doors wide and create another India or Africa within Australia....all that empty land out there........doesn't sound too intelligent to me.

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    10. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Lee Hatfield

      Pure alarmist conjecture totally unsupported by fact.

      I remember exactly the same sentiments being expressed about Vietnamese refugees in the 1970s. Now these people and/or their children are winning Australian of the year awards.

      Australia's history of continuously absorbing large migration intakes and thriving shows your fears have no basis in reality.

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    11. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Greg Young

      The Vietnamese are a poor comparison. They were either of Chinese ethnicity or Catholics who had a genuine fear of the Communists as they had a right to. The current crowd are mostly opportunists of very dubious backgrounds using well-tried excuses of political persecution, ethnic discrimination etc. In reality they're just opportunists trying their luck, the forerunners of many hundreds of thousands were we to just open up the gates.
      They may have legitimate anger about what's happening in their homelands, but it's up to them to change their circumstances there. That's why we've sacrificed so many young soldiers, to make lives more liveable for people in those countries, not to encourage them all to come here.

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    12. Lee Hatfield

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg Young

      i thought they weren't supposed to turn away other muslims? i read that somewhere. so you say it is perfectly acceptable to refuse refugees? or should we be boycotting indonesia...then again, are they genuine refugees or economic ones? who decides? there seem to be 2 lots of peop[le , those who love the boat people and believe anything they are told and those who are a bit sceptical;, and feel the better lifestyle might be attracting them, like flies to a light.....

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    13. Lee Hatfield

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jon Cassar

      yeah, it does seem silly... i should read what you wrote first, as you've usually already said it!

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    14. Lee Hatfield

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg Young

      i don't think being doubtful about motives is demonising people. waiting til you have checked up on people is sensible.why you think just flinging open the doors to anyone is a sensible way to behave is beyond me...

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    15. Lee Hatfield

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg Young

      why don't you tell us why you think there are none except australia. i wouldn't have a clue...i expect you would know by what you have said.i can't believe the whole asian continent doesn't have any...

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    16. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Lee Hatfield

      'Checking up' on them is a waste of time. What do you check up on? They destroy their passports and IDs, making up names and birthplaces to fit the criteria of 'fear of persecution' categories.

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    17. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Lee Hatfield

      'I thought they weren't supposed to turn away other muslims?'

      That was one of the early excuses the Indonesians gave. So be it then, if some strangers' religion is more important than maintaining good relations with one's permanent neighbour, Australia, then that's Marty's preference. Don't blame us for not quite seeing things in the same light.

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    18. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Lee Hatfield

      Lee, usually it's incumbent on people making claims to prove their argument when challenged, not the other way around.

      Here is the UNHCR list of signatory countries. How about you read that and then tell us which SAFE havens refugees from Iran, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan etc can claim asylum in on the way here?

      Your arguments re "I read that somewhere" and "I can't believe" are no substitute for facts. Indonesia is under no obligation whatsoever to accept refugees because they did not sign the UNHCR convention. We did, and we are legally obliged to act in accordance with its requirements. Sorry if that does not accord with your world view, but those are the facts.

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    19. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Greg Young

      The questioner should really be looking at the relationships, ethnic and religious, of these people, not their nationalities as such nor which countries are UNHCR committed.
      Sri Lankans - Tamils in fact - have well established ethnic brethren in southern India, whence they originated. That logically should be their first port of call if they genuinely feel unsafe.
      Afghans have Iran or Pakistan ethno-religious 'havens' if they seek greater security. Iranians cannot claim any kind of persecution or flight from war as their country is stable.
      Iraqi Sunnis are running from the new Shi'ite order which seems intent on revenge post Saddam. Logically there are several Sunni countries in their neighbourhood to seek shelter in.
      The whole argument about which countries are UNHCR-committed is a furphy.

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    20. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Jon Cassar

      So I give you facts, and you respond with, what exactly? The question is not what you reckon it ought to be to suit whatever point you are vainly trying to make at any time. Where you reckon people ought to go is utterly irrelevant. Your opinion, transparent in what it is based on, pales into comparison with the law, which is the only question here.

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    21. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Greg Young

      Just trying to advance the quality of the argument for you, Greg. Some lateral thinking if you like. The whole UNHCR-based theme has been thoroughly discredited, effectively anyway. Nobody cares about it anymore as it's being thoroughly misused by charlatans everywhere.
      I note that the Americans have no such problems turning away thousands of wannabe arrivals annually. Their Coastguard is far more active than the RAN has ever been.

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    22. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Jon Cassar

      "Nobody cares" really just means "i don't care". You're utterly transparent Jon. You don't speak for me, and you don't speak for anybody who respects the rule of law. You are just scuttling around trying to find a rationale to explain away the inexcusable. Hence you completely disregard and discount all facts, all references to law and pretend they do not apply. Doing so is the only way you can deal with the sure knowledge that you are utterly in the wrong but are incapable of admitting it.

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    23. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Greg Young

      Gee is it that time already?

      No worries, Greg, I'll let you have the last word as I suspect you'd want anyway.

      Sleep well.

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    24. Chris Watson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg Young

      Because the treaty was signed fifty years ago, when the world's population was less than half what it is now. Our earth is not coping with the increase.
      Since 1954, many countries, Australia included, have reduced their reproduction to fewer than two children per woman. It is not fair that those countries should be expected to provide better lives for the children of people who have continued to breed like rabbits.

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    25. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Chris Watson

      That's a very good point, Chris. As our own 'natural birth' population is declining, we're importing peoples from cultures where large families is the norm. Something has to give. It can't go on like this.

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    26. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Greg Young

      No, Greg Young, you confuse immigration with people smuggling. The former has and will always be a total disaster for Australia. "Future Eaters" by Tim Flannery is a powerful environmental argument against your idea of "thriving". When you come to realise that the vast majority of immigrants add to our imports without raising a single dollar in exports then the scope of the economic aspect of the disaster is apparent.
      The latter is of course - worse.

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    27. Chris Watson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg Young

      If an arachnophobic's fears of a daddy-long-legs have no basis in reality, does that prove that funnel webs can't hurt us?
      We have no experience of large scale Islamic immigration so we can only go on the experience elsewhere, which is not encouraging.
      I am not one of those who thinks that the big influx of refugees from Vietnam was entirely positive or even warranted. Population increase has been ruining our country for a long time and, since we have kept our own reproduction to fewer than two children per woman, we must blame the problems on immigration.

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    28. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Chris Watson

      'We have no experience of large scale Islamic immigration so we can only go on the experience elsewhere, which is not encouraging'

      Precisely. I glean the English language media from all over the world, mainly Europe, and read about all the problems associated with large scale immigration from Muslim countries.
      It started with the German 'gastarbeiter' program back in the 60s and 70s when thousands of Turks were brought to Germany. Some have assimilated but many haven't, forming ghettoes in the…

      Read more
    29. Lee Hatfield

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jon Cassar

      muslim culture, as practised by a great many islamists , is not compatible with aus ,culture. the gov't should only let persecuted women in, and maybe gays when they can be identified. i know that the politically correct will say that this is racism, but it is more religionism or culturism, which the gov't is willing to go along with , if it suits them! i don 't think i approve of a large population just to please the rich industrialists and greedy poly's. it's bad for the environment and amenity…

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  4. Michael Shand

    Software Tester

    Good article, it seems the only way we can deter asylum seekers is to treat them worse than the taliban, unfortunately australia seems up for the challange

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    1. Lee Hatfield

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael Shand

      michael shand,i think i will go for a holiday in afghanistan on your recommendation you are telling me that i will get a free holiday with accommodation better than a lot of my camping holidays, with good food,bathroom facilities, beds , free computers and phones,recreation facilities, even clothes if i need them, and a free ticket home whenever i feel like going!

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    2. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Lee Hatfield

      "i will go for a holiday in afghanistan on your recommendation "

      I didn't recomend any such thing

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    3. Lee Hatfield

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael Shand

      michael shand , you did complain about the standard of accommodation of the boat people being really bad! i can only assume that you think it is better in afghanistan, and if you are telloing me it is that much better there, it sounds a gooid holiday destination!

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    4. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Lee Hatfield

      Well you know what they say about assumptions, I didn't actually state that the accomodation of the boat people was bad, what I stated was that our approach seems to be to try and make it worse for them to come here than if they stayed in afghanistan - I didn't say we were succeding, I said we are up for the challange

      You seem to be looking for a fight where there isn't one

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    1. john byatt

      retired and cranky at RAN Veteran

      In reply to Mike Brisco

      well said, you have blown this crap out of the water, will disseminate and post on Morrisons facebook, may last ten seconds

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Mike Brisco

      The graphics are more about highlighting that a people smuggler promised boat to Australia will likely not occur and given many people are finding that out, it not confuse too many who get their hands on it.
      The accuracy of people depocted is hardly relevant and it is not designed to denigrate but inform.

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    3. Michael Bartlett

      PhD Candidate at ANU

      In reply to Mike Brisco

      Well said. This is more or less in the same vein as the previous government's stupidly expensive marketing campaign which was ostensibly aimed at potential refugees but was aired primarily in Australia.

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    4. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Mike Brisco

      Don't forget that much of the illegal boat trade is organised from within Australia. We discovered that with the '4 Corners' exposure of 'Captain Emad' - remember him? He's not alone in providing logistics and intelligence to overseas colleagues about how the government and media were treating the issue. That's one of the reason the current govt. decided to cut off the ready flow of all-too-public information.
      Regarding the Hazaras - if we make special consideration for them, why not Sunnis fleeing Shi'ites, or Shi'ites fleeing Sunnis?How about Egypt's 8 million Copts who were starting to flee when Mursi was in power? There has to be a limit to how many people we sympathise with, allowing them free entry to Australia. They're part of their own culture and history and have to deal with their own problems at home.

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    5. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Mike Brisco

      'Organised propaganda'

      If anything suits that description it's the waffle and constant dunning of the lefty/greeny coalition, with their overworked arguments about poor victims of persecution, political persecution themes, and all sorts of tear-jerking photo opportunities.

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  5. William John Betts

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    Wow this is sick stuff and the artists involved should be ashamed of themselves. I'm almost for discovering their identities and Black listing them from any respectable artistic community, job or show.

    I'm offended they have dragooned the emerging a powerful art form of the Graphic novel to suit their sinister political agenda

    However this is and remains my greatest fears regarding this reactionary government, the lasting damage their reactionary politics has and continues to do to our culture and how it is viewed and interpolated here and over seas.

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    1. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to William John Betts

      And William John Betts, you want to discover their identities, black list them and prevent them working?
      And you see a government - elected via a democracy called Australia to stop the boats - as somehow reactionary?
      Mirror? Is that a good suggestion Bill? Get a mirror?

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    2. john byatt

      retired and cranky at RAN Veteran

      In reply to Frank Moore

      do not worry they will always get a job with the department of propaganda

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    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to William John Betts

      What's so sick about any measure that is intended to inform people more accurately than what people smugglers will do.
      A lot of people feel that this government is not doing anything that the previous government was and then according to a poll taken a few weeks back, a majority of respondents thought we should be doing more.

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    4. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Frank Moore

      Frank, get some eyesight - notice he said 'almost' - it was clearly an expression of exasperation so great that he feels tempted to suggest something as wrong as blacklisting.

      The world become sless frightening and confusing when you make allowances for nuances and shades of grey.

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  6. Chris Watson

    logged in via Facebook

    "Is this method of graphic campaigning, targeting incoming arrivals in a sophisticated and visually arresting way, equal to an asylum seeker’s fear, panic and desperate need of humanitarian refuge?"
    Why so much concern about the Taliban? The Hazaran civilians are in greater danger of being killed in traffic accidents than they are by violence.

    The UN reported the number of war-related civilian deaths as 2959 in 2013. That works out to between 11.8 and 9.8 deaths per 100,000 people, depending on your estimate of the size of Afghanistan's population (25 to 30 million). The most recent statistic given by the WHO (2010) estimates the number of deaths in road accidents in Afghanistan as 19.8 deaths per 100,000 people. http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A997

    Just for perspective, the road traffic death rate in the USA for 2013 was 10.9 deaths per 100,000, and its murder rate was 4.7 murders per 100,000 people.

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    1. MItchell Lennard

      Researcher - Distributed Energy Systems

      In reply to Chris Watson

      Oh Chris what nonsense,

      The notion that someone may be at more risk from a traffic accident or a lightning strike or rock fishing in one particular year is not even remotely relevant to a discussion about how to deal with people fleeing persecution.

      Most crimes against large civilian populations don't happen in a normally distributed fashion….. there is always a gradual increase in the rate of atrocities, small acts of individual persecution, that the perpetrators get away with, the numbers of these small events slowly increase, then you see large, seemingly random very large events… then it goes quite again for a while. These are not events that follow a distribution

      Your use of such odd event rate comparisons is mathematically erroneous

      If you don't think we should help people fleeing persecution just say so, don't try and confect silly erroneous mathematical contructs

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    2. Chris Watson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to MItchell Lennard

      "Your use of such odd event rate comparisons is mathematically erroneous"
      How so?

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    3. Russ Hunter

      Healthcare Professional

      In reply to Chris Watson

      Chris, do people have to be killed now before they enter your esteemed estimations? Is that when they qualify as being persecuted? After they're dead?

      You've managed to play down the genocide of the Hazara people there, Chris.

      Nice work.

      I wonder if those gloating over this great feat would be the ones pulling the trigger, in a less civilised world.

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    4. Lee Hatfield

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to MItchell Lennard

      well,it proves there cant be as many people fearing for their lives an afghanistan as some would like make out.

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    5. Chris Watson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Russ Hunter

      No, the figures I found include injuries as well as deaths, but it is difficult to make a direct comparison with injuries as they vary in severity.
      I haven't played down any genocide because there isn't one, unless you count the US road toll a genocide.
      The Hazara don't need political asylum. What they need is road rules, brakes and seat belts.

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    6. Russ Hunter

      Healthcare Professional

      In reply to Chris Watson

      Chris. Equating road accidents with persecution, in any way, is very poor form.

      Your definition of genocide must be quite out of step with that of the UN.

      Keep diggin though, by all means.

      You might want to wait till the Bolt laws are repealed though.

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    7. Chris Watson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Russ Hunter

      Are you actually suggesting that to lose a child in a car accident is somehow less painful than to lose one to an IED?
      Why is death from political persecution somehow more dreadful and deserving of alleviation than death in childbirth or from malnutrition?

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  7. MItchell Lennard

    Researcher - Distributed Energy Systems

    Really, is this the author really suggesting that this is a crucial question

    I am not even remotely qualified to discuss the merits or effectiveness of the graphic novel as a communication technique , so I won't.

    I would suggest however that far more important than the technical merit or effectivity of the communication technique is what the key message tells us about the government and the department.

    The Abbot government have and continue to be staggeringly duplicitous regarding the rationale…

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    1. Russ Hunter

      Healthcare Professional

      In reply to MItchell Lennard

      You are spot on Mitchell. Some people here want to avoid the truth as much as possible. And they will try every trick in the book (and not only on this issue).

      Some people want to pretend the UN Refugee Convention doesn't exist, or that we are not a signatory. It gets brushed away along with the UN Convention against Torture.

      Some people are hell bent on keeping an election promise out of political interest. An election promise which only exists because they created the issue in the first place to win xenophobic votes at the expense of our national character.

      Others defend these actions in one way or another.

      I think what we really need is more deportation. Let's swap decent asylum seekers for scum bags who currently reside here.

      I know who I would start with.

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    2. Chris Watson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Russ Hunter

      Which are the 'decent' asylum seekers? Many are coming from Muslim countries and may very well be Muslims themselves. In which case the men are asking Australia to endow them with a freedom and security that they, by their choice of religion, deny their own mothers, wives and daughters. In which case the asylum seekers are the scum bags.
      I have always found it difficult to feel compassion for men who:
      1. revere a man who married a six year old girl and had sex with her when the child was nine;
      2. see nothing wrong with slavery and the beating of disobedient wives;
      3. regard a woman's legal testimony as having half the value of that of a man.
      Read the Qur'an before you decide that Muslims warrant anyone's compassion.

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    3. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Chris Watson

      Have you read the Old Testament lately Chris? There are plenty of examples in there which are as bad, if not worse, than those you cherry-pick from the Qur'an above.

      Personally I don't dole out compassion based on what people believe, but on the fact that they are people and need help. You might want to read the parable of the Good Samaritan while you're re-reading the OT.

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    4. Lee Hatfield

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg Young

      the thing is that we don't still behave in the ways that were common back when it was written!.most cultures then had an unevolved , brutal side. dunno when the civilised idea that people should have basic human rights started. it just sort of grew.... my kids were surprised at how we didn't have full rights for women until a few years ago. i can remember when women couldn't be butchers or do a range of things in the military, be jockeys, airline pilots, etc,as well as a lot of other ones that had an unwritten rule that they didn't hire women. we have improved but some muslim countries seem to have gone backwards.

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    5. Chris Watson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg Young

      I have read the Old Testament, but having also read the New Testament, I am aware that the OT is relevant to Christians only as historical background. The commandments in it were specifically for the Jews alone. Apart from the nasty little piece of anti-woman propaganda in the Garden of Eden myth, and the apostle Paul's direction to women to obey their husbands and be silent in church, Christianity is quite innocuous.
      Christians do harm when they go against Christ's teachings. Muslims do harm when…

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    6. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Chris Watson

      You don't think there are modern iterpretations of the Qu'ran as well? You are just labelling all Muslims with the extremist brush. If you are going to reach back to the 9th century to criticise modern-day Islam, it's only fair to hold Christians to the same standards and infer that they all believe what was held to be true in the Dark Ages.

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    7. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Lee Hatfield

      "we have improved but some muslim countries seem to have gone backwards."

      "Seem"? "Some"? Not very convincing really, not when used as an excuse to imprison and torture thousands of people for claiming their legal rights.

      The fact that we are doing this with the approval and support of the majority of Australians suggest that "we" might not have improved as much as you think.

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    8. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Greg Young

      Difference is that we're not living and promoting as desirable, attitudes and beliefs held during the Dark Ages. That cannot be said for hardcore evangelical Muslims determined to impose the global caliphate and establish Sharia everywhere.
      Granted they are not the majority of Muslims, but the Nazis in their incipience weren't typical of all Germans and Austrians either. Our complacency at the rising influence of angry jihadis is going to lead us down a path we experienced in the 30s. Look at the growing number of Islamist wannabes amongst our own populations going off to fight and die in Syria, stoked up by militant imams in our mosques. Australia has lost 9 of these people so far, others from the UK, US, France have also died.
      Most reasonable people couldn't care which religion gets people on their knees if that's how they see their salvation. We just rightly do not wish to see any militant religious interpretations forced down our necks.

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    9. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Greg Young

      I think Lee might be saying that despite our sacrifices of our own young men over a decade or so, there have been no improvements in the politics and lives of people in the 'liberated' countries. Quite the opposite in fact, they're killing more of each other than allied soldiers ever did.

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    10. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Jon Cassar

      I don't think I noticed a single statement supported by evidence anywhere in there.

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    11. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Jon Cassar

      The countries you refer to are a mess because of our government's intervention. When you create a war zone, you are going to create an outflow of refugees; it is inescapable. We have helped to create this problem, but people like you are desperate to avoid taking responsiiblity for the consequences.

      You still haven't answered either of my questions.

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    12. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Greg Young

      Militant evangelical Islam predates Western intervention by centuries. Go back to the gates of Vienna and beyond. Read about the Sunni/Shia schism from the 8th century.
      Granted we may have kicked it along by inadvisable and unnecessary intervention in some countries (Iraq and Libya), but the seeds have long been dormant and it would be naïve to lay the faults of militant global Islam entirely at the feet of the West.

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    13. Chris Watson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg Young

      We are not imprisoning or torturing people. We are giving them a place of safety to live and providing them with food, shelter and medical care. Unlike prisoners they are free to go home or to anywhere else in the world that will admit them.

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    14. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Chris Watson

      '...they are free to go home...'

      Funnily enough many of them do go back home once accepted, despite their claims to being persecuted. Often wondered about that, why would they want to?

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    15. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Chris Watson

      Not that tired old line again.

      Australia has treaty obligations. Making people so miserable that they decide to return to a place they fled from is incompatible with those obligations. Now matter what people like you wish for.

      Shoving people im a tent city on an island hell-hole is not peoviding them with shelter. They are not being given adequate medical care, as evidenced by the letter of protest written by the doctors actually in attendance on these patients.

      This is not some blog for partisan ranting. Theoretically at least, posters here are expected to have some regard for the facts. It would be nice if you and your co-minded people here would produce a few facts to back up your assertions when others present you with arguments backed up by references.

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    16. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Jon Cassar

      Reference? Source?

      I suggest you acquaint yourself with The Conversation's new code of conduct.

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    17. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Greg Young

      'This is not some blog for partisan ranting'

      You're doing pretty well changing that on your own, Greg.

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    18. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Jon Cassar

      Ah, so providing references to source material and asking for the same level of debate is "partisan". I see.

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    19. Chris Watson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg Young

      Language is not infinitely malleable. You have to look at what is written and held to be the word of the creator. I have not 'interpreted' the Good Sam story.
      The beliefs of the dark ages did not come from the New Testament. Hardly anyone could read and that is how the elite liked it. Now that everyone can read and has a Bible if they want it, it is more difficult to pass off one's own idea's as God's.
      Modern Islam is no different from 9th century Islam, but bits of it are ignored by some modern…

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    20. Chris Watson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg Young

      How are you going to blame us for the situation in Syria?

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    21. Chris Watson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg Young

      It is time to unsign the absurd UN Convention on Refugees. Our humanitarian dollar should be spent providing girls and women with education and the contraceptive technology that they need and want.

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    22. Chris Watson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg Young

      I have seen pictures of refugee camps elsewhere and everyone seems to be living in tents. What are your grounds for calling Manus an 'island hell hole'? There are indigenous people living there without complaint.

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    23. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Chris Watson

      I've often thought that, Chris. Having lived in PNG myself, I've seen the villages, and while many are clean and organised they're certainly basic by our standards. It's a very hot part of the Pacific and moderation in accommodation standards is more common.
      That 'hell hole' claim is just hyperbole from the usual suspects.

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    24. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Chris Watson

      "What are your grounds for calling Manus an 'island hell hole'?"

      Seen the news lately? Would you want to live there?

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    25. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Chris Watson

      So do that, through the proper channels. Until it is revoked, it remains the law of the land and we have to abide by it. Whether you like it or not.

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    26. Jon Cassar

      ex-teacher

      In reply to Greg Young

      I just watched the news tonight and didn't see a single tent, just rows and rows of small cabins like we'd find at any beachside holiday camp. The detainees all look healthy and well fed which they certainly exhibited taking up stones against the authorities.
      If they truly don't like it there I'm sure the government can help them out with a one-way ticket back home.

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    27. Chris Watson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg Young

      Of course not. I would prefer to live in a luxury apartment in New York. But the indigenous people live there and if it is good enough for them, it is good enough for anybody.

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    28. Chris Watson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg Young

      I actually lived in a tent while travelling around Australia. It did provide shade and kept out the rain. Are you actually claiming that the first occupants of Australia, who lived here for tens of thousands of years, had no shelter?
      And as for medical care - how does it compare with the medical facilities available to the locals? Why should Afghans and Iraqis receive privileged treatment?

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  8. Phil Gorman

    Mendicant - retired teacher and mariner at - quite good company

    In reply to Mitchell Lennard

    Thank you. You have summed up the situation well.

    The medium conveys the message clearly; and the message is:

    "We know the Taliban will treat you as the Nazis treated Jews and homosexuals, gypsies and the infirm. Sub-humans are not our concern. Keep out!

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  9. Andrew Chuter

    Mr

    Worst graphic novel ever. Better to give a copy of Joe Sacco's 'Palestine' or 'Safe Area Gorazde' to every Australian and then we might better understand why people are prepared to risk their lives coming here.

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  10. Jon Cassar

    ex-teacher

    Just heard that one of the rioters on Manus has died and others injured, some badly. I can see the lefties and greenies making very large capital out of this one. Sarah Two-Names will be ranting and screaming the odds on tonight's TV news.
    Reality is, if people don't want to be confined for long periods of time in captivity, don't travel to Australia by devious illegal means. It's not going to work, and the left is only contributing to deaths and injury ultimately by encouraging these people to believe that they're in with a chance.

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