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What if it was our kids? Four Corners and asylum seekers

The federal government does not say how it chooses those it sends for offshore processing. It does not explain how it chooses children to go to Manus Island. Australian doctors have told the Department…

Cameras were secretly taken in to detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru by the ABC to film the living conditions there. ABCTV

The federal government does not say how it chooses those it sends for offshore processing. It does not explain how it chooses children to go to Manus Island.

Australian doctors have told the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) that children should not be there. Regardless, DIAC have sent an anaemic girl with a history of blood transfusions and a boy with anaphylaxis to be indefinitely detained on Manus. Doctors' protests were not responded to – by either the medical service contracted to deliver health services or DIAC.

On Manus Island there is a 24 hour delay between calling for medical evacuation by air and a plane arriving. Doctors assess this as too long for children. Despite this, 30 children are currently in the Manus camp and most have been there for longer than four months.

ABC’s Four Corners has documented these and a series of mental and physical health conditions redolent of the earlier incarnation of the Pacific Solution. Failures of accountability, legal and media access, poor physical and mental health, suicides and self harm.

Doctors and workers from the Salvation Army all spoke out, moved by what they had witnessed on Nauru and Manus since last August. Their accounts were not those of bleeding hearts or of those politically opposed to offshore detention. These were ordinary people who went to do the jobs that offshore processing require. One recounted seeing a man after 50 days on a hunger strike that looked like he was in the end stages of cancer.

Legally, ethically and economically, there are serious questions for the government to answer. Even if unconvinced by the damning numbers – 16,000 arrivals since last August - the Houston Panel, once certain in their recommendations and shoulder-to-shoulder with the government, are perhaps less certain about their recommendations this morning.

Empirical evidence shows that deterrence policies often increase risks for asylum seekers crossing borders. This foreseeably results in increased deaths. Evidence from Australia, the US and Europe indicates that border control can increase conditions for increased harm and death. This does not mean that individuals or facilitators are not implicated in border deaths. Rather it points to the need to systematically take account of the ways punitive and deterrence based policies rarely sustain significant changes in irregular border crossing nor reduce deaths.

Evidence is also clear that border related deaths are not only a concern on the high seas. Deaths in detention, suicide and self harm, equally speak to the failures to effectively respond to asylum and irregular migration. Deterrence in the context of forced migration is not sustainable. Deterrence crafted in one context (Australian domestic policy) aimed at and experienced in another (those fleeing persecution) has not resulted in changes in behaviour over significant periods of time.

The images on Four Corners were, again, shocking. But will the response be one of fatigue and denial rather than transformative policy? Arguably a “nothing works” mentality has developed. Perhaps financial and human cost is now something we just seek to pay to make the problem go away. The game is too hard. The rules too complicated. The stakeholders too many and diverse. The voices too vitriolic. The people too far away. But it seems the problem is one that just won’t go away.

Concern for saving lives at sea, and the implemented recommendations of the Houston Panel - offshore processing and the legally meaningless “no advantage” test - have resulted in the diminution of human life as evidenced by Four Corners.

When announced, the Houston Panel held out a chance to be a game changer. It could have addressed the key issues missing from the asylum seeker debate, and in so doing re-ordered Australian priorities and our chances of successfully regulating irregular border crossing. It required big and complex thinking and future arrangements across the region. We need to recreate that chance. Rather than be lost to the inchoate and poorly implemented recommendations that have led to these current circumstances, we must transform our approach to border control.

Perhaps we can again imagine kids on Manus Island just like we imagine our own – a group the size of the average primary classroom - and maybe we can overcome the everyday disregard for human rights and its high financial price.

Like many who watched the Four Corners report, when I drop my kids off this morning I will pause to consider the group of children on Manus and the price they pay for the stories we tell each other about what it is we must and can do. I also wonder what my children and their classmates will make of this generation of failed efforts.

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204 Comments sorted by

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  1. Trevor Kerr

    ISTP

    "Concern for saving lives at sea" could've led to a more rational & acceptable method. Most observers & commentators seem to recognise that those "leaky boats" are a root cause of the problem. As I understand how our laws work, persons who take passengers to sea in unseaworthy craft are liable. So, wouldn't it be possible to segregate the women & children (as innocent conscripts) from the arrivals, to place them in on-shore shelter to be near all necessary facilities, like health care & schooling? All of the adult males, being jointly accountable for bringing women & juveniles into danger, could be held in detention until the facts about ownership & management of the boats are obtained.

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    1. Gil Hardwick

      anthropologist, historian, novelist, editor and publisher at eBooks West

      In reply to Trevor Kerr

      I find it utterly appalling, Trevor, that in one article on The Conversation there was outrage at Melbourne University over women being told in a meeting to sit apart from the men, and now here you seek to advise us to separate men from women trying to get into the country on boats, as if by mere virtue of their sex it is men who are wholly responsible, and "jointly accountable for bringing women and juveniles into danger", and by corollary women merely by virtue of their sex are not.

      It is way…

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    2. Liam Hanlon

      Student

      In reply to Trevor Kerr

      Yes because women are obviously incapable of making their own decisions so the men should take responsibility just like the 18th Century!!

      Or how about we stop the disgusting treatment of them all and process onshore in the community.

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    3. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Trevor Kerr

      Oh for heaven's sake, the boats are not that dangerous and the only drownings have occurred because our authorities let them.

      As for bringing the wives and kids, do you rancid fools think they should be left home to die. They are not conscripts, they are refugees themselves who face genocide in many cases like the hazara.

      When is Australia, the academics, the media and the pollies going to get it through their thick skulls that it is a legal right to seek asylum and how people do that, who they pay and how they travel is nothing to do with us.

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    4. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Gil Hardwick

      Agreed, we did the separate the women and kids before by granting the men temporary protection that has no legal basis anywhere in the world and got 400% more women and kids coming.

      Families are entitled by law to remain together and be safe.

      What the colonial mindset in Australia has is this belief that we can set up jails like transporters of old in other countries and not be challenged ever.

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    5. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      " As for bringing the wives and kids, "
      Actually Marilyn, it does seem from footage on boat arrivals and the gender of detainees that most are either single or are leaving their families behind to die or just wait until the system has been hoodwinked and they can be brought on over.

      What people do outside of Australia is as you say nothing to do with us, unless of course we are left to be picking up flotsam and bodies.
      They certainly are subject to our laws when here and that will include security clearances.

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    6. In reply to Greg North

      Comment removed by moderator.

    7. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Quote " the only drownings have occurred because our authorities let them."

      Inclement weather play a part in any rescue operations. Is it not wise for those who intercept these vessels to place themselves at risk either. Our officers have to get out and back in again safely as well. I suggest you look at the fact we as a nation do not have endless resources to save everyone across our large EEZ.

      Quote " As for bringing the wives and kids, do you rancid fools think they should be left home to die."

      Of course not...but in the case of those kids with health issues, how many safe countries with established hospital services do the parents of these children pass prior to arriving in our EEZ?

      Surely some responsibility lies with the parents putting the health issues of their children above and beyond by passing other safe and servicable nations to make it here?

      Do you view these nations they travel through as having any responsibility or just ours?

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    8. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Then why are the Swiss not flocking here then? Many countries have forced conscription..shall we assume this means wholesale persecution?

      I lived in Switzerland and most I spoke to enjoyed this experience.

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    9. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      Come on Wade, that's abit disingenuous - conscription in democratic Switzerland is not quite the same thing as the situation in some of the places refugees are fleeing!

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    10. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      Rot, it makes no difference to how anything how many countries people pass through or around if they can't get protection.

      And inclement weather is not the point at all, the weather is a small issue when the government here wait 41 hours to send out a rescue.

      And if we put children in harms way with their parents against their will how the hell is that the parent's fault.

      Honest to god, we don't have to punish innocent people because they asked for help.

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    11. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Well I am not the one assuming everyone who seeks to come here via unseaworthy boats and via many safe countries that they could reside in, is the fault of our government because they are 'all' persecuted.

      Who's being disingenuous again?

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    12. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      1 - Please list the 'safe countries they could reside in'. Indonesia is not one of them.

      2 - A very high percentage of those who arrive by boat are found to be genuine refugees. Even most of those picked up by the Tampa were found to be genuine refugees when Howard was in power.

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    13. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Please state which countries are not safe and why? Is the 650 million dollars per annum our country sends to these countries in aid of solving these very problems not enough?

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    14. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      Wade, the universal law is simply that everyone has the right to seek asylum from persecution in other countries without being punished and with the right to be treated equal to the citizens of host nations.

      What part of that is too difficult for you to comprehend?

      The rest is lies made up by lazy governments and media.

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    15. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      Wade, why don't you look at Indonesia on the UNHCR website, then Malaysia and then Thailand.

      The thing is people have to get to a signatory nation to be protected and in this region we are it.

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  2. Sean Lamb

    Science Denier

    "Perhaps we can again imagine kids on Manus Island just like we imagine our own – a group the size of the average primary classroom – and maybe we can overcome the everyday disregard for human rights and its high financial price.."

    This might come as something of a surprise - but plenty of children are actually born on Manus Island. Why the sudden concern on the subject of children's health now that a small number of children have been transferred there?

    Don't get me wrong, I fully support…

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    1. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      PS I hope I get additional points for using the term unauthorized arrivals (or is that not PC as well).
      I have learned recently that there is no such thing as illegal boats - although that doesn't seem to stop us banging up the crew members in jail for long periods. Just another of the impenetrable mysteries of Political Correctness.

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    2. In reply to Sean Lamb

      Comment removed by moderator.

  3. Pamela Curr

    logged in via Facebook

    Hi Sean,
    The idea to send people back to the nearest UNHCR camp sounds neat but where is this nearest camp?

    Fact is there is NO camp for Hazaras- most have already fled across the border to Quetta in Pakistan where they are being killed by bombs or gunned down by Lashka-i-jangvi, a group dedicated to killing Hazara Shia people without too much interference from the Pakistani authorities.
    Hazaras are actually running from this violence- there is no camp between Pakistan and Australia where…

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    1. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Pamela Curr

      Pamela, there are no perfect solutions to the problems of the world.

      There are millions of Hazara in Afghanistan and hundreds of thousands in Pakistan. If any individual Hazara has been particularly outspoken or courageous, then obviously they can be fast tracked, otherwise we need a solution that protects all Hazaras, not the minority who can afford people smugglers.

      If they are facing genocide - as you suggest - then either we need to intervene militarily to stop the genocide or we need to airlift the lot to Australia. We can't have a policy that saves a few thousand that can afford people smugglers while leaving the bulk to disappear in a maelstrom of shootings, bombs and massacres.

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Pamela Curr

      There are UNHCR refugee camps in Pakistan Pamela, even in Iran I think you may find as well as in Turkey, India for Sri Lankans and the Mynanmar/Thai border.
      You will find some very detailed information via the UNHCR but meanwhile check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refugee_camp for a general guide.

      None of them are desirable places to live and that is the lot of the refugee.
      As much as Australia can help and we do have a generous humanitarian stream within our immigration regulations, we cannot be the UNHCR for all those who want to give refugee camps a miss and nor should we be but that is what your so called enterprising people expect and not by knocking on the front door.

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    3. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Thanks Sean.

      I did find this in my wanderings through the UNHCR site - http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e487016.html - which sets out the work of the UNHCR in Pakistan - a very interesting read - most notably for the statement that UNHCR since 2002 has repatriated 3.8 million Afghan refugees. They make no mention of sending any on to third countries. They sent back over 60,000 in the first 10 months of last year.

      I wonder how they get on. I wonder if anyone actually cares. I suspect not. Doesn't look like much of a refuge does it?

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    4. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean, everyone has the right to seek asylum from persecution.

      WE agreed that we would protect those who got here.

      Do you have a problem with that simple fact of lawa?

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    5. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      The UNHCR is not set up to run permanent refugee camps for ideally there should not be permanent refugees and the very reason why they have repatriated so many from Pakistan to Afghanistan is because that is what their primary goal is, repatriating when safe to do so and the prime reason why they set up as close to a country of origin as possible.
      You will even find advice from UNHCR personnel in some sections of the UNHCR site where they claim that is exactly what most refugees want and I'd reckon…

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    6. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      But every asylum seeker on the planet pays someone to get them out of their country so they are not killed.

      What the hell is so pathetic about Australians that they believe this is a crime of some sort.

      As for intervening militarily, where have you been for the past 12 years?

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  4. Pamela Curr

    logged in via Facebook

    If ever there was a policy initiative which instantly produced an adverse outcome this is it.

    Aim to stop people coming by boat- result 15,543 people arrive since AUG 13 announcement. This number exceeeds all previous arrival numbers within same time span.
    Aim to save lives- result more deaths by drowning- more women and children on boats as the indefinite detention, no right to work rules guarantee destitution for families left behind. Result more mothers and children on boats- the most vulnerable and most likely to drown at sea.
    Carrots from Aug 13 Expert Panel rec have not eventuated- few visas out of Quetta or Jakarta so no point waiting. Families are reuniting by boat.
    Punishing them by sending to Awful Manus and Nauru camps has had no effect.
    If policy fails- do we stop it?

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Pamela Curr

      What you in effect are saying Pamela is that the Rudd/gillard governments have been completely inept on what to do about irregular arrivals.
      They are even more inept because the matter had been adequately addressed by the Howard government and Rudd was even warned of what was likely to happen when he abandoned the LNP government approach.
      The warning not only became reality but has multiplied more than tenfold and will likely multiply even more for as long as we have a government that waves a flag saying come on over and join our communities on welfare.

      Go back to what happened as a result of LNP policy and the decline in numbers from about 2002 to 2007.
      It is no wonder that the latest policy initiatives have not worked given the extent to which numbers had already increased and motivating factors brought to bear.

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I could not agree more fully Peter that Australia needs to do something that will see us giving a reliance to the UN Convention as it is the flick.
      It is however Australian Law that rules and not the convention, though I would not be surprised if some old codgers on the High Court want to rule that the UN Convention should be abided by.

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    3. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Greg North

      No, what part of it is a legal right to seek asylum here don't you understand?

      It is a legal right in 148 nations but we are the only ones who jail everyone regardless of age or health or legal rights, we are the only ones who believe we own the oceans and seas and borders of the world and think we can dictate who is on them.

      WE can't, that is just our lazy racist pollies ranting.

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    4. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg, i think that, if we have ratified it (voluntarily) it kind of become sour law...

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    5. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      I have not said that asylum seekers do not have a legal right to seek asylum Marilyn and yet I would not be surprised that this is not only well known by those attempting to do so just as I am not surprised with your comments.

      We detain people for various reasons Marilyn and do not jail them as much as you might like to think so, it having been found that some undesirables do not just use people smugglers but even are co-ordinators of such events.
      Remember the Captain!

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    6. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Greg North

      We don't detain them for any reason at all.

      As for the Captain, he was just another bloody refugee.

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  5. Jack H Smit

    logged in via Facebook

    Here's my press release from this morning:

    MEDIA RELEASE: Every departing aircraft to Nauru or Manus Island makes us more bankrupt

    Project SafeCom Inc.
    P.O. Box 364
    Narrogin
    Western Australia 6312
    Web: http://www.safecom.org.au/

    "Australia's hideous bipartisan offshore dumping of asylum seekers has once again been exposed by Four Corners, and if there is anything constructive to be said following the program, then it surely must start by pointing the finger at the moral and financial…

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Jack H Smit

      Just a couple of brief facts for you Jack:
      . There was once a time with the Howard government when numerous boat arrivals were in deed brought to a trickle
      . There is also another era when one KRudd just about built a bridge between Xmas Island and Indonesia and that trickle developed into a torrent.
      . How many people as irregular arrivals do you reckon Australia can house and offer all manner of services to Jack? and I suppose we should not bother too much about those that might drown or just build that bridge.

      What I think about Jack is that the $B's we are paying out for a relative few could go a long long way in the UNHCR providing a better life for many thousands more refugees in really dire circumstances.
      Have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refugee_camp for a summary and maybe we should just airlift the 1.6M out of Pakistan - http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e487016.html

      So how many Jack?

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    2. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg, if everyone of the 1.8 million refugees in Pakistan decided to come here there is zero we could do to stop them.

      And we would by law have to lodge their applications because Australia is well aware that Pakistan is cancelling protection for them.

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    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      You are not planning a publicity trip for them by any chance are you Marilyn?

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    4. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Greg North

      You are a complete fool Greg. They don't need me to do it, Chris Bowen was at the meeting when it was decreed by Pakistan and Iran to send home Hazara regardless of the consequences to them and that was when he rushed through Manus and Nauru.

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  6. Stephen Ralph

    carer at n/a

    No-one wins with respect to this current situation.

    I wonder how all politicians feel knowing that political argy-bargy and gamesmanship brought about this resolution to the "boat people" dilemma.

    Cannot all parties get together on this issue without the bullshit and rhetoric and resolve many/all of the issues without thinking in terms of an election in 4-5 months.

    We would think the better of our elected members if they could collectively display the will to eradicate this tragic and almost criminal situation.

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  7. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    Sharon, you really need to go back more than a decade to put irregular arrivals to Australia into context for yes around the turn of the century there was an increasing flow of people using boats run by people smugglers and the LNP government of the time had some horrendous detention issues to deal with but they were dealt with and so numbers of irregular arrivals by boat dropped right away between 2002 and 2007.

    Labor won the election in 2007 and despite having been warned what was likely to…

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    1. In reply to Greg North

      Comment removed by moderator.

    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      There are no doubt push factors at times Marilyn and that still does not mean Australia has the capacity to all that want to attempt making boat trrips which usually involve smuggling them out of Indonesia unless of course the Indonesians decide to turn a blind eye which they may well decide to do given the income many Indonesians may derive from the process.

      Sri Lankans have been known to steal fishing boats and it alleged that even captains/crews may not have been given a soft landing.

      There…

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    3. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Greg North

      No we do not. It is not about us, it is about the rights of the refugees.

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  8. Frederika Steen
    Frederika Steen is a Friend of The Conversation.

    logged in via Facebook

    Children, with and without their parents are being punished in our name with immigration detention in a third world country , because our politicians pretend that can be a deterrent to making a life threatening escape journey from a place where asylum seekers are are the target of active genocide, because of their religion, their ethnicity, their social class etc. I obligation is to protect asylum seekers, assess their persecution claims and treat them with dignity. What a failure.

    Most politicians…

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Frederika Steen

      And we cannot be the UNHCR for all those who want to avoid using established refugee channels.

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    2. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Greg North

      There is no such thing as an established refugee channel because we have asylum seekers from 60 different nations in any given year.

      http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/cases/cth/FCA/2002/1009.html?query=al%20mas

      “60 In any event, while it is literally correct to describe the applicant as an "unlawful" entrant and an "unlawful non-citizen" that is not a complete description of his position. The nomenclature adopted under the Act provides for the description of persons as "uinlawful…

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  9. Danderson

    logged in via Twitter

    Must be a while since the last mass drowning at sea, I say that because I see we're back to advocating 'compassionate' incentives again. (incentives to make the trip)

    Well as Sarah Hanson-Young remarked of the last mass drowning "these things happen".

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    1. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Danderson

      Danderson, perhaps if we didn't wait 41 hours to send out search parties they would not drown.

      But for information while they pretend that we can torture people who get here safely they have cut foreign aid to the poorest countries in the world so more kids starve.

      Since Rudd took office some 50 million kids under 5 have died of starvation, war and preventable disease and the only thing that happens to prevent that is nothing.

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    2. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Quote "Danderson, perhaps if we didn't wait 41 hours to send out search parties they would not drown."

      Have you seen the condition of these boats Marilyn? If they go down out there you can hardly blame the lack of resources our government has as the definitive reason.

      Quote....."Since Rudd took office some 50 million kids under 5 have died of starvation, war and preventable disease and the only thing that happens to prevent that is nothing."

      What relevance has K. Rudd taking office got to do with this terrible statistic?

      You seem determined to blame our government for the persecution/deaths of every person on the planet and that is simply insane.

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    3. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      The asylum seekers see the condition of the boat when they get on.

      They know that many have died getting on similar boats.

      So how much sense does it make for us to try to find another deterrent for them making the journey?

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    4. Danderson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      They get on because they know for a large portion of their numbers it ends up being fruitful to do so.

      If that weren't so they wouldn't bother.

      Would you spend a lot of money risking your life when there's no possible reward?

      There's footage of them on TV expressing concern that a change of government is likely to shut the door for them. Yes, they know.

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    5. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Danderson

      The definition of a refugee is someone fleeing for their life and spending what money they have to do so. Some start of rich in well paid jobs and flee to end up safe in Australis but poorer because they can't work in their old profession.

      But the right like to think of boat people as just economic illegal immigrants.

      And how can they think that Abbott will "shut the door" when even those in Australia don't know what he will do?

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  10. Sean Lamb

    Science Denier

    Golly. and here I thought this was going to spark a conversation about the urgent need to improve medical conditions for children in our nearest neighbour.

    Mysteriously it has been sidetracked into a discussion about how we can best spend a billion dollars a year on a very small group of the middle class of a handful of distant countries.

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    1. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      What are you on about? The only ones who are getting anything at all are spivvy Australian companies only too happy to profit from the misery of others.

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  11. Paul Collins

    Chief Thinker at demografix pty ltd

    I have spoken at length to the people on Nauru via facebook.
    1. They paid approx $40kUS at the point where they left. Not to any Indonesian boat owners.
    2. They confirm that the Indonesian authorities know who the smugglers are.
    3. My solution is simple...go after the drug dealer, not the drug users, so pay the Indo authorities more than the smugglers are paying them and 'take out' a few smugglers via assassinations. That will send a very clear message. The operation to 'take a few out' should be a joint ASIS/Indo operation.
    Radical, I know, but required to save many lives.

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/ASYLUMSEEKERSINNAURU?fref=ts

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    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Paul Collins

      Doesn't need to be anything so extreme Paul.

      John Menadue has made some excellent proposals regarding offshore processing adjacent to source countries and flying them in once approved. It's worked before and worked very well.

      I wonder how anyone can actually work for DIAC myself - what a disgraceful mob! No rational basis for picking who gets sent to these prison camps. No explanation. You can stay - you've gotta go.

      And meanwhile folks who can afford the plane fare and get their visas sorted can pop up and apply for refugee status - which of course is where most of our refugees come from.

      This is an abitrary use of power by real faceless bureaucrats. They seem to answer to no one. It is like something from a totalitarian government - like Germany in the 30s.

      I am ashamed of Brendan O'Connor. And of Julia Gillard. And of us all. No one should sleep easily.

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    2. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Paul Collins

      It is not smuggling. It is simply none of our business who people pay to leave danger in other nations.

      If we stop people leaving their own countries we are as bad as the days when we co-operated with Hitler to stop the jews.

      And it won't save a single life you dingbat, it will have them all killed at home.

      I fail to understand why it is that Australia alone in the world jails people for helping refugees, what is the supposed crime?

      Saving lives? Surely if refugees ask for help to…

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    3. Paul Collins

      Chief Thinker at demografix pty ltd

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter
      Agree that offshore processing is part of the solution. In fact the people on Nauru suggested the same, however they also said it would not stop those that did not get through the offshore processing process and that boats would continue.
      We need to actually stop the boat process to save lives and that needs some very hard decisions to be made. As I said, we should go after the drug dealers, not the drug users.
      Note that the people on Nauru paid $40,000US and could have easily afforded a plane fare. Many applied for student visa's and were refused. Their intention was to come on a student visa and then claim asylum. It is complex, however stopping the deaths at sea and closing the camps seems paramount to me. Nope, it is time to act on the smugglers and hard.

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    4. Paul Collins

      Chief Thinker at demografix pty ltd

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      People drowning at sea is terror, so hard decisions must be made to stop the terrorism of the innocent.

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    5. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Paul Collins

      I wonder that given the millions spent on this issue whether one solution to a few problems would be to train "boat people" in the skills where jobs are needed.

      Obviously not rocket scientists (although that's not to say it couldn't happen), but training for jobs where labour is scarce on the ground. We could curtail or stop those 497 visas and use the "boat people" - could be a win win?

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    6. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Paul Collins

      Everyone who gets on a boat knows that this is risky and is are thus risking their lives. Surely the major disincentive for a boat trip is already there - the known risk of dying.

      What sickens me are all the people who just want to stop the boats pretending to care for asylum seekers (we just want to stop them drowning) when in reality they care so little for these people that they support what we saw on TV last night.

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    7. Paul Collins

      Chief Thinker at demografix pty ltd

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Marilyn
      People are drowning at sea. Fact. Surely you want to stop that and close the camps?

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    8. Paul Collins

      Chief Thinker at demografix pty ltd

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Mmmm... let me think... do I care if they die or not? Really, is that your only answer? I want to stop people drowning at sea and close the camps. I support offshore processing and stopping the people putting lives at risk. They are criminals.

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    9. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Paul Collins

      So what if they could have afforded a plane fare? It makes no difference at all when we ban them from getting a visa to enter the country to claim asylum simply because we have decided they will claim asylum?

      It has nothing to do with who people pay or how much they pay.

      It has to do with us refusing them entry.

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    10. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Paul Collins

      And letting them stay jailed for 5 years on an island hell hole is good you think? People being bombed, jailed without cause, tortured and abused is terror to but we contribute to all of those things.

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    11. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Paul Collins

      But we are punishing the ones who don't drown, what has that got to do with stopping people from drowning?

      Over 300 Australians drown every year on boats and in the sea and pools, do we scream out that they must be stopped.

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    12. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Paul Collins

      They are not criminals, they are other refugees who just help each other.

      What is the crime involved with getting people to a safe country?

      Come on, tell us.

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    13. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Don't most asylum seekers arrive by plane?

      How are we treating these people?

      I think we lock them up, but in Australia (where we lock up most boat arrivals as well).

      Is the justification for locking up those who arrive by plane that we want to stop people drowning?

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    14. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      If we randomly selected parents who have swimming pools or who took their children to the beach, and locked up a few hundred on Manus island, this probably would be effective in saving lives.

      The need to go to the beach or have a pool is not that great. So people would change their behaviour. Children's lives would be saved, and the innocent people locket up have not been locked up for nothing.

      But locking up asylum seekers, who have done nothing illegal and are in fact not just enjoying a luxury like a pool or a trip to the beach but fleeing terror as genuine refugees isn't going to achieve much.

      This debate isn't about saving lives - it is about the political expediency of stopping the boats. Neither Labor nor Liberal care about the suffering we watched last night. And though many people pretend to care, they will still vote for the people who they know will continue to do this in their name.

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    15. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, I've been involved on the side of immigration processes in a defacto way you could say and not directly with humanitarian visas though I have had cause to become a little knowledgeable on the subject and it is often that many people do not fully understand the humanitarian program and that may include you in some respects seeing as you post:

      " I wonder how anyone can actually work for DIAC myself - what a disgraceful mob! No rational basis for picking who gets sent to these prison camps…

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    16. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg,

      The folks running the ovens were only following orders too, remember. If I wasn't such a dedicated athiest I be wondering whether these DIAC officers will be trying the Nuremburg Defence on their maker come judgement day.

      These DIAC folks are making arbitrary irrational and punitive decisions without any explanation or accountability. You stay - you go and take the kids with you.

      Like I said I don't know how they get to sleep at night... how they can kiss their kids goodnight.

      As for the rest - how many? where? etc - the answers are difficult and not ours alone. A regional solution to processing and a global answer to eventual relocation. But at the moment no one at all seems to want them or care. That will take some time and discussion to sort out - but it was done before. If we actually want to solve the problem.

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  12. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

    This is a political issue. One of the reasons that Rudd won in 2007 is that people voted to end Howard's expensive cruelty. As Four Corners made clear, Labor is now repeating Howard's expensive cruelty.

    I watched Four Corners last night, have looked at the news and opinions on this issue today on the ABC and The Age, and have read the article above.

    I have yet to find a single mention of the Greens in any of these articles or opinion pieces. NOT ONE MENTION.

    In 2007 people were informed…

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    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      I don't think the Greens have actually put forward a workable alternative yet Michael rather they have adopted a critical position "No Offshore Processing" - a slogan rather than a policy.

      In my view and the view is shared by many who have studied the problem carefully, offshore processing is exactly the right answer.

      Not punitive concentration camps in far flung places where no processing seems to occur. But actual working processing centres within walking distance of the source countries to the greatest extent possible (hard with Sri Lanka true) and fly them in. Anyone turning up in a boat goes back to be processed near home. Anyone failing to make the grade knows they must look elsewhere. No more boats. No more prisons.

      Then we put everyone working for DIAC to the tools building the very fast train link and living in tents.

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    2. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      "that people voted to end Howard's expensive cruelty. "
      Howard maybe was cruel to the people smugglers, but since his policy rapidly dried up unauthorized entries then the cruelty also ceased.
      Meanwhile everyone who gained resettlement in Australia from 2003-2007 did so as a direct result of Howard stopping the boats. So he certainly wasn't being cruel to them.

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    3. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Agreed - the Greens have not put forward a solution which is mainly aimed at stopping the boats.

      But as Four Corners pointed out, Labor's current solution, even with concentration camp conditions, isn't stopping them either.

      For what the Greens really are putting up do a google search - but my guess is that they support on-shore detention for a short time for security and health checks, then settlement into the community while their asylum claims are processed. Those found not to be refugees are sent home. Those found to be refugees are settled here.

      Even with this much softer approach I don't think the boat numbers would reach such numbers that it would become a major concern. And if things did start to get out of control then other solutions would be considered.

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    4. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      A lovely air-brush of history which ignores the Four Corners programs which shocked the nation by showing us the conditions of asylum seekers in his camps (including shocking conditions in camps which were in Australia).

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    5. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      "Even with this much softer approach I don't think the boat numbers would reach such numbers that it would become a major concern"

      Well for starters that ignores the problem of drownings at sea. But I suppose you would support the idea of accepting all asylum seekers who make it to Indonesia? Although some of the Sri Lankans are attempting direct routes which must carry much higher risks.

      I expect you are right - it wouldn't destroy Australia, but it would mean that our refugee program would be largely decided on the basis of who had the means to make it to Jakarta.
      I don't pretend that one can design a refugee program that can mathematically select the most "deserving." But your scheme seems to me to be manifestly unfair and biased against the less privileged.

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    6. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      WE don't need processing centres, we don't have them for the tens of thousands of asylum seekers who have flown here.

      The process is only a couple of interviews and an application form for an 866 visa.

      People don't need to be clumped together to do that, they just have to be near a DIAC office.

      And they can't be processed near home, they have to be here by law.

      What is wrong with all the morons in this country.

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    7. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Resettlement is nothing to do with the refugee convention, it is a small migration program run on a voluntary basis and it has no legal basis or treaty backing whatsoever.

      And stopping the boats did not happen, he just forced people to go somewhere else.

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    8. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      The suffering we saw last night on Four Corners, and that we are spending a million dollars per person to inflict this, doesn't seem to worry half the posters on the Conversation.

      And the other half seem to throw up their hands and say "I care. I wish Labor would do better" and then vote for the party doing this.

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    9. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Marilyn I really don't mind. We can implement the Greens policy if you like. I just think it will have consequences.
      Namely that our resettlement program will be fully taken up by people who may not be so completely desperate as you believe, but rightly think that Australia promises them a better life for them and their kids. If you are happy with that outcome, its fine with me.
      I notice a near universal agreement amongst the progressive side of Australian politics that although medical conditions in PNG are intolerable for the children of asylum seekers, they are perfectly satisfactory for the children of Papua New Guineans!

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    10. Paul Collins

      Chief Thinker at demografix pty ltd

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Good point, although the PNG kids get to go to the hospital, do they not?

      So, bottom line to me is that we should take our 20 or 30k and we should decide who they are and when they come. We should not accept deaths at sea as part of the process and we certainly should not have any camps. So, come by any unauthorised method and get flown back to point of departure. No exemptions.

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    11. Steve Hindle

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      "Even with this much softer approach I don't think the boat numbers would reach such numbers that it would become a major concern"

      Michael, how do you come to that conclusion? Considering the massive growth rate in arrivals after Labor weakened the Howard era policies, most Australians would not trust any political party that decided to weaken them further.
      The number of refugees and is somewhere around the 40 million mark. How many refugees do you think we can reasonably absorb?

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    12. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Steve Hindle

      The evidence is that boat arrives is more correlated with what is happening in home countries than the policies and actions of the Australian government.

      The main refugee problem is that people are refugees. The best solution is to make their home country a safe place. Note that economic migrants are not refugees.

      My frustration is not that there are those of the right who have different values to me and thus support things I oppose. Even if the Greens were in government in their own right…

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    13. Steve Hindle

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      "The best solution is to make their home country a safe place." I fully agree and we are not doing enough, but realistically we have limited influence in creating world peace.
      "The evidence is that boat arrives is more correlated with what is happening in home countries than the policies and actions of the Australian government." I disagree. In each of the years 2002, 2003 and 2004 there was only 1 boat arrival. This correlated strongly with the harsh policies of the Howard govt. There was not an outbreak of world piece during this period.
      You made no attempt to answer my question "How many refugees do you think we can reasonably absorb?" Perhaps if the Greens made an honest attempt to answer this same question the media and the Australian people would take them more seriously.
      I don't think Australians are uncaring. They just need to know how our politicians are going to manage if much larger numbers start to arrive. What are the limits?

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    14. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Steve Hindle

      Steve - If we look at refugees from Iraq, then they are here as a result of an illegal invasion. An invasion that killed hundreds of thousands, and created million so internal refugees as well as millions of refugees who had to leave the country.

      Only three countries took part in the illegal invasion - one of them is us.

      "We have limited influence in creating world peace" is not true - we have been a major part of at least one of the problems.

      The Greens are not being specific for an unknowable…

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    15. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      "I think people like you are uncaring"
      So you saw something of TV and so you are suddenly convinced you are incredibly caring????
      What about the camps you didn't see on TV? If we devote all the resources to the clients of people smugglers the people in the camps you can't see will be staying in those camps forever..
      But I guess that will be OK because 4 corners won't show a program that might distress Michael Wilbur-Ham! And provided Michael Wilbur-Ham is at peace our international humanitarian…

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    16. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      What we watched last night Australia fully under the control of Australia and costing us one million per person.

      That other bad things happen in the world is without doubt.

      But I think it reasonable to question us spending so much to inflict so much suffering just to satisfy the misguided politics of people such as yourself.

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    17. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      But it is not my politics or my policies. I think it is the most ridiculous policy ever.
      How many times do I have to spell my policies out?
      Do you accept any responsibility for the fact that the dismantling of the Howard's policy resulted in a 1000 drownings?
      I accept that you didn't foresee the outcome - although the outcome in my view was very foreseeable. Just as I accept you are genuinely blind to likely outcome of the your current preferred course of action.

      But do you not have the decency to express just a little bit of regret and sorrow for the incredible amount of bereavement your lack of foresight helped contribute to?
      Do you dispute that if Rudd had not dismantled Howard's policies then those drownings are very unlikely to have happened?
      Or are the 1000 drownings an acceptable byproduct for your narcissistic display of moral superiority?

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    18. Steve Hindle

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      "The Greens are not being specific for an unknowable future is a poor reason for dismissing them when we face a major revenue shortfall which Labor have not yet told as how they will handle, or how they will fund their election promises..."
      Simply calling the future unknowable can never be an excuse for not having a plan. It is possible to look at tends, estimate numbers and at least have some sort of plan. I have no idea why the rest of sentence rambled into economics?

      I ask a simple question for the third time.
      "How many refugees do you think we can reasonably absorb?"

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    19. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      I see no point in debating Sean further as I won't change his mind, he won't change mine, and I'm sure that most readers have already decided who's views they prefer.

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    20. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Steve Hindle

      The problem Steve is that demanding an answer from me is as stupid as me demanding an answer from you on behalf of the Liberals.

      The other stupid thing is turning my 'refusal' to answer the question into a justification for spending a million dollars per asylum seeker to punish them when they have not committed any crime for a reason (to stop the boats) that doesn't even seem to be working.

      So how many refugees do I think we can reasonably absorb? Tonight I think that we could absorb 58,482 per year, but I doubt that we would get anywhere near that high from boat arrivals.

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    21. Steve Hindle

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      It sounds to me that you have given no thought at all to the growth in refugee numbers. You have no idea on how much larger these numbers could become or how Australia could support them. You offer lots of criticism but have no solutions to the difficult problems Australia faces.
      You seem very qualified to speak on behalf of the Greens.

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    22. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Steve Hindle

      I speak for me. Often my views align with the Greens. Sometimes they don't.

      And I care about policy outcomes and not party - so if Abbott wins and he does something that I think is good I'll say "Well done Tony".

      As with most conservative poster's here you have deliberately avoided my main point:

      What is your justification for spending a million dollars per asylum seeker to punish them when they have not committed any crime for a reason (to stop the boats) that doesn't even seem to be working?

      And by the way, the way I came up with the number was by saying something less than half of our current migration. So if we significantly cut non-humanitarian migration, but bring humanitarian migration up to my level, the question becomes how can Australia support double the net migration that I proposed?

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    23. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Steve Hindle

      Steve, you do find that many people will have politically distorted views on issues such as the irregular arrivals and also have absolutely no idea on how they would manage numbers.
      I do think they live in a fantasy world and should for their own sakes be prepared to ask themselves some pertinent questions.

      I have raised several in a post above and even made it easy enough for them in putting forward a structure against which they can rationalise some and yet with such people that is never likely to happen.

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    24. Steve Hindle

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      "And I care about policy outcomes..." Do you really?
      The policy outcome of Labor undoing the Howard era policies at the urging of refugee advocates has been over 1000 people drowned and the return of the people smugglers. A rate of growth in arrivals that if it continues, will in a few years will easily pass your absurdly low 58,482 per year. You have no answers.
      The situation on Manus Island is a disgrace. Labor is now in an impossible bind on how to recreate a deterrence system that is humane and as effective as the system we had that worked.

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    25. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      You remain somewhat loose with the facts Marilyn for of course an onshore visa applicant has to be in Australia ( what is indeed being onshore is all about ) to lodge a 866 visa.

      There are also humanitarian visas of several classes that people can apply for from abroad
      http://www.immi.gov.au/visas/humanitarian/offshore/ .

      That only 700 were granted out of more than 20,000 applications is just a reflection of how few places are available and that mostly because of the irregular boat arrivals.

      Tens of thousands of arrivals by air may have occurred over a decade or however long you want to establish whatever number.
      You will also find that a majority have their applications turned down.

      Whether you like it or not there are immigration regulations and policing of our borders to manage the numbers that come to Australia by virtue of the resources we have and what most Australians expect of our political leaders.

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    26. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Steve Hindle

      Pure party politics from you Steve -

      Not only don't you care about refugees, you seem to miss the point that Labor are now just as bad (or should that be implementing very similar strong measures) as Howard.

      How is Abbott going to 'stop the boats'? Why will his solution work when Labor's has failed?

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    27. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Marilyn,

      Please don't call me a moron. Some of my best friends are morons and I don't think they'd appreciate being lumped into the same category of abuse as me.

      The fact is that in places like Pakistan and Indonesia and Malaysia where there is no protection afforded to foreign nationals fleeing persecution - camps are probably necessary. As they are all over the world. But they must be transit camps - not places of permanent isolation and imprisonment. Processing must be fair and rapid.

      Nor would I allow anyone from the existing DIAC anywhere near them - far too much border security not enough human rights in their thinking. I don't know what one can do with them actually... unfit for any purpose. Maybe digging holes and laying tracks.

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    28. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      You do seem to have an attitude for the DIAC people Peter and yet have you seen any footage of just how some detention places in Indonesia and Malaysia are?
      If you want concentration camps and ovens, that is where you could start looking.

      Just the other day there was a news report on one detainee who along with a few others had decided to escape a detention premises in Indonesia and on being apprehended and returned he was subsequently so badly beaten up by the Indonesians that when his body was dumped at a local hospital, it was DOA!

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    29. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg North

      Not so much an attitude Greg - I don't really consider them human- the things some folks will do for a quid eh? And I hold them personally responsible for their actions. Aren't we all?

      No arguments from me about the reception that refugees get in the region - Malaysia is about the worst. But as has been noted Afghan Hazaras hiding in Pakistan are far from safe

      That's why we need transit camps - to protect them if nothing else not so much to keep them in but to keep the local coppers and military out. But it is essential to move them through quickly and efficiently and get them off to a final destination.

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    30. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter - I think that most of the times huge numbers of people flee a country it is because of a problem which is hopefully temporary - a famine, a civil war, etc.

      For example, those who have left Siria and are now in camps are not needing to be resettled in other countries but looked after humanly in the camps so that they can return home once the civil war is over.

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    31. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Yep - the UN has some numbers on this somewhere - I'll track them down - lots are temporarily displaced by famine in Africa for example - they want to return home when they can - but for some of folks there's no going back for the foreseeable future.

      Here you go: http://www.internal-displacement.org/statistics Gee there's a lot of them.

      The key criterion for refugees however is having to leave the country and not be able to go home at all... no home to go back to really. So to apply for refugee status one must take the risk and try and get to Pakistan or Indonesia or somewhere else, then apply.

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    32. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Just so you know Peter, the far greater majority of DIAC people are busy processing all manner of visa applications more so than making decisions on which irregular arrivals go where, that task I suspect being handled by a relative few.
      Again, given the numbers of people now being involved with irregular arrivals, I suspect that many may not even consider themselves to be living too much of a life as a human and I would not at all be surprised if stress levels for many are ultra high and that even…

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    33. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Greg North

      Oops, banged the wrong button before finishing.
      Anyway Peter, globally it was something like 13M refugees and 27M IDPs
      The refugee figure may now be nudging around 15M, courtesy of the Syrian situation.

      Unfortunately for those that do not seek repatriation, resettlement is painfully slow and in that other UNHCR link I posted, if you read it, you will see how quite a few camps basically become permanent cities if you can call them that or they merge in with some nearby towns/cities, all very messy.
      Australia is to the fore on resettlements, along with Canada and the US and again you'll find the UNHCR figures quite amazing, for between us I think it is something more than 90% of resettlements covered.

      Meanwhile, quite a few of those you may want to change your mind on as being less than human are closely involved in all the work necessary for resettlement.

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    34. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to John Phillip

      Google if you want to find out much more of the Greens policies.

      But even google can't provide a link to info on what Abbott is going to do to stop the boats.

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    35. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to John Phillip

      John, I don't care what you think because I know that nothing I write here would convince you to change your mind.

      I do care what those of a progressive mind think. Progressives need to work together to come up with an alternative to what Labor are now doing and what Abbott will do (which remains a mystery). And progressives need to move beyond thinking 'if only Labor would do better' and work towards making policy change happen.

      I'm currently creating a new forum where mindful people will be able to do just that - make progress towards progressive solutions rather than just endlessly 'debating' the looney right.

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  13. Roger Simpson

    logged in via LinkedIn

    If the Four Corners story was on the poor treatment of cattle in Indonesian abattoirs today's newspapers would've been full of articles of condemnation. No it was on "queue jumpers" aka "asylum seekers" and therefore the mainstream media doesn't give this story a mention.

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    1. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Roger Simpson

      That's because the lazy rubbish have all brainwashed themselves into believing that it is about border protection and our security rather than the human rights of those fleeing wars and persecution.

      Gillard is the worst of all of them we have had over the years because she knows very well the damage she is causing and simply does not care.

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    2. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Roger Simpson

      The Age has had two articles, the ABC at least one follow-up news article, the Conversation has this, and I'm sure that there is more.

      A quick look at the Herald-Sun found this - http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/families-may-be-moved-out-of-manus-oppn/story-e6frf7kf-1226632047365 - so the story is being covered.

      But of concern, a concern it seems limited to just me, the unifying feature of all the press coverage I've seen is that none of them even mention the Greens.

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  14. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    What if it were our kids?
    Well, Australians are content to send their children to schools haunted by unpunished pervert priests while at the same time sending the remainder to schools collapsing from financial neglect and decay.
    And are about to reward the politicainss who brought all this about with supreme power.
    Perhaps those children of concern are safer where they are.

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  15. Leigh Burrell

    Trophy hunter at Trophy hunter

    All illegals to be deported. Smugglers and crew to be gaoled for a minimum of 15 years - both adults and minors!

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    1. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      Leight - Great to see that you show compassion to those who seek asylum here.

      Under an international agreement signed by Menzies it is legal to arrive in Australia to seek asylum.

      You are a bit harsh on the people smugglers though, especially the kids.

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    2. Leigh Burrell

      Trophy hunter at Trophy hunter

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Indonesia is not a signatory and the movement of these people through there is in violation of immigration law under their jurisdiction. They are illegals.

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    3. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      It is illegal to own a bible in Saudi Arabia, so does that make everyone who owns a bible in Australia an illegal as well?

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    4. Leigh Burrell

      Trophy hunter at Trophy hunter

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      No, Michael. Illegal boat people contravene Indonesian law while they are in Indonesia.

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    5. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      Leigh Burrell, repatriating all illegals would only need to be done for a month - or two at the most to End the People Smuggling Trade.
      Recall, that despite all the trauma, oppression and starvation in the world, only laws and policies by the ALP/Greens have created this problem. Prior to these policies, there were no drownings.

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  16. john mills

    artist

    One million$ on each refugee according to four corners the other night, put that in the bank, and let at least two to five live on the interest alone, and then after two years take the million back, refugees--HELLO!! or hire some turnkeys, lock up the women and children, and bleed the country dry, that's the way. Der.

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  17. Frank Moore

    Consultant

    It is not acceptable to place children and adults in detention for long periods.
    It is not acceptable to allow people smugglers to determine the population policy of Australia.
    It is not acceptable to blame drownings at sea at the feet of those who seek to deter people smuggling rather than at the feet of so many on these pages who have made it their business to encourage people smuggling.

    This problem should take about 4 weeks to resolve:
    1/ Withdraw Australia from the Refugee Convention…

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Frank Moore

      Unfortunately Frank, as much as the UN Convention on Refugees needs to be re written for more than just the reason you have outlined, I doubt even Tony has the balls to undertake that we withdraw from it, but then again!

      It might be seen by the coalition that even where there was success previously, the more than ten fold in numbers currently arriving is going to make a turn around far more difficult to achieve and it will take a lot longer so maybe withdrawing could get some consideration…

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    2. Trevor Kerr

      ISTP

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yes, not with slogans or tugging at emotions, but with law. Black-letter law, too, when the High Court is involved. I tried to make that that point (clumsily) earlier, that solutions or temporary ameliorations must be based in existing legal frameworks and got ripped to shreds. :)
      Do we have a basis for prosecutions under maritime safety regulations? Are there any boat owners here, or persons familiar with enforcement of maritime safety?

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    3. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Trevor Kerr

      The Navy has already expressed it legal interpretation Trevor when they explained that they would refuse to obey any orders to be "towing boats backs" as promised by the Coalition - a direct violation of international law - refugee convention notwithstanding.

      Perhaps the enthusiasts for a more brutal approach should be suggesting we withdraw from the international law of the sea as well?

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    4. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter Ormonde, any legal problems can be resolved via the creation of more laws.
      The problem has been created by the incessant chanting of slogans by Leftists - in order to attract the votes of "Doctor's wives" and others - who could not see that the pontifications of ABC, ALP and other communists would lead to thousands of drownings at sea.
      Recent publicity surrounding human rights of children in detention reinforces previous chants - by the same reprobates - which led to CHILDREN being placed on boats - by their parents - under advisement and organisation of the crime gangs encouraged by the same folks - to die miserable deaths - at sea.
      The same folks bleating about children in detention must look in the mirror for the reasons why children were placed on boats - to drown at sea.
      Sloganeering, encouraged by leftist activists in the ABC and other media, have led to this debacle.

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    5. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Frank Moore

      So Frank - should we tow the boats back somewhere? Should we opt out of the international maritime laws? Should we demand that the Navy follow orders on pain of the firing squad? How far do you want to go?

      A wonderfully rational contribution to the discussion.

      Andrew Bolt for Governor General!

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    6. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg North, I don't share your faith.
      When previously in Government, the Coalition upped the ante with laws and policies til they got the needed result - a Stopping of The Boats.
      Because of the millions made by the crime gangs, corrupting lawyers here, and all sorts of officialdom in Indonesia, I don't believe that the laws and policy settings previously used by the Coalition will work with the same alacrity.
      Hence the need to withdraw from the Refugee Convention, which is the basis in law…

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    7. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg North, and yes, the Cypriots would take the money. The gist of last night's story was that the debt created fiscal cluster ruck that has destroyed Cyprus hasn't really bitten yet.
      Pretty soon, they'll be worse off than Nauruans - who, you'd recall, had some kind of Mining Boom, which wasn't saved, but wasted, leading them to all manner of poverty.
      I believe their last prime minister's name was Gilliard. I could be wrong!
      What I'm correct about is the fact that Nauru only participated in the Coalition's previous use of off shore settlement due to poverty.
      They are now participating in Labor's belated, half heart ed attempt to recover from their own foot shooting.
      And the same reason is why Cyprus will take the lot.
      So long as the cash comes.
      They wont be too proud to take the cash. They took it off the Russian Mafia, why wouldn't they take ours?
      However,

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    8. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter Ormonde, "rational" contributions similar to yours have led to policy settings and laws that have drowned children and will continue to drown men, women and children at sea. Take that on board.
      This is an old debate. AFAIK, the Aus Navy only pulled the turn the boats around stunt a couple of times "when it was safe to do so".
      Some imagination ought be employed here to make it safer and more routine.
      Options include:
      1/Paying off Indonesian Officialdom to come out and get them. Money is…

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    9. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Frank Moore

      What's an AFAIK Frank?

      Actually Frank I'm not sure you have actually read what I am suggesting - certainly not understanding it.

      Conducting refugee assessments in centres adjacent to source countries directly undercuts any need for risky sea travel - provided this option provides the fastest and most direct route to eventual settlement in a third country.

      This has worked before. It'll work again. And if folks do turn up on a boat they go back to these centres and wait in line - but all that requires a real working moving queue.

      And to be honest I think that's what fellas like yourself are opposed to - you just don't want them here - any of them.

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    10. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter Ormonde, last time I looked Australia sponsors refugee camps all over the place.
      What you are suggesting is:
      1/ Australia will encourage the refugee industry via sponsoring its own "Come to Australia Here!" camps.
      2/ Millions will arrive to find that only 20k places are available. Of these 10k plus (soon) were taken by customers of people smugglers.
      3/ Australia then would pick these folks up and fly them back to a sprawling desolate and hopelessly over populated camps - in another country…

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    11. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Frank Moore

      One of the reasons this discussion gets nowhere is that the conservaties are all assuming that if we changed to a compassionate solution that Australia would be flooded by hundreds of thousands if not millions of refugees.

      I'm confident that a compassionate solution, combined with effective assistance to other countries, etc would not result in a huge wave of asylum seekers.

      If I was convinced that compassion would result in millions arrive my proposed solutions would change, and it the conservatives could be convinced that with compassion the number of arrivals will be small enough to easily handle then perhaps they might be more receptive to compassion.

      So, if we implemented a compassionate solution, how many would arrive?

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    12. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Frank Moore

      Not really Frank ... like I said you are reading what you fear rather than what I am saying.

      Actually I reckon one of the most effective ways available for "stopping the boats" is to parcel folks like you off on holidays to places like Sri Lanka and Afghanistan - just so the locals understand what they will encounter here and that really the Taliban are quite reasonable by comparison. Ambassadors of ill-will.

      In the meantime Frank - try and understand that this is not about supplying folks with higher living standards - we only do that for ten pound poms and the like. This is about providing people with somewhere safe to live when they have no homes to return to. It's a subtle difference.

      As I have repeatedly stated - the only way to deal with dangerous boat trips is to make them unnecessary and counter-productive - that processing of refugee claims will happen near home. And we will have a wonderful crop of excellent citizens out of the deal.

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    13. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      It's an " As Far As I Know " whatever that word is for using first letters - acronym is it?, AFAIK

      Like I stated in response to you above Peter, there is fast eventual settlement and more like the slow boat to China.
      There are something like fifty thousand resettlement applications to Australia annually from refugee camps.
      I would expect that the quicker we process them as is intended, there will be more people who will want to consider re-settlement than returning to somewhere with a less certain existence.

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    14. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH), the real reason this discussion gets nowhere is because sanctimonious Lefties fail to put their hands up and say "We were wrong - The whole disaster is our fault - We didn't intend to kill all these men, women and children - but we did".
      The people smuggler business that "compassionate solutions" have created, is the Left's Vietnam.
      A crime against humanity created for reasons that all seemed like "a good idea at the time".
      I'm glad your confident Michael Wilbur-Ham - but I don't share your confidence. More to the point, we haven't even seen the LNP advertisements yet, giving graphic pictures and quotes DAMMING forever the political and moral reputations of the ALP, GREENS, INDEPENDENT coalition.
      Even so, the majority of Australians won't and don't believe you mate.

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    15. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Another reason that discussions like this never get anywhere is that the values and beliefs of the two sides will never change.

      I've read nothing here that makes me question my commitment to compassion.

      I've read nothing here that indicates that anyone of the opposite view has changed their mind.

      And what the very right think doesn't matter. If a future government were to implement a compassionate solution people like Frank Moore will still be in favour of 'stronger' solutions.

      Those…

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    16. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Frank Moore

      I would rather watch my clothes being washed than read Franks responses - just as much spin, and I end up with some clean clothes.

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    17. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter Ormonde, you are totally sucked in.
      The job at hand here is totally opposite your spin.
      The job is to improve the standard of living of desperate, bombed out, third world folks into a first world standard of living.

      As written elsewhere, the last thing Australia needs (for Australian needs) is more consumers and welfare recipients. The vast majority of us don't export, and lead lives subsidised by others (mostly in regional and rural areas). Adding more dependents to this list of the…

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    18. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Frank Moore

      Michael WH - the other reason that discussions on these matters don't get us far is because some folks are so filled with hate, fear and anger that this topic gives them the chance to vent it on someone "else" - some anonymous foreigner - without ever listening or considering anyone else - their opinions or their circumstances - they just know don't they - it's common sense. Like lancing a boil really.

      What's the betting that Frank here is a recent immigrant from the Old Country?

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    19. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      So, MWH, how many men, women and children have drowned in the quest for your "compassion"?
      Recall that Gilliard and Co did not acknowledge that boats were sinking and the innocent men, women and children on them were dying horrible deaths, drawn out to Australia on the high seas, at the mercy of criminals and leaky boats, so Howard and Ruddock could be pilloried in the helpful media.
      They couldn't acknowledge nor face up to their policy stuff up until the Christmas Island boat tragedy was filmed.
      So MWH, how many bodies in the water does it take to satisfy your lust for moral superiority?

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    20. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yes, many of those on the right are filled with hate.

      Generally conservatives are more fearful than liberals (meaning left/progressive). Conservatives strive for certainty. They also value group cohesion far more than individual rights.

      Studies have even shown that there are differences between the brains of a liberal and a conservative.

      So it is pointless to try to change the values or opinions of people like Frank Moore by posting here.

      Us liberals should instead focus on what we can do to change Australia's boat people policy to something much more compassionate.

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    21. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Not all of them Michael - don't forget Malcolm Fraser was/is a conservative - but not a right wing blame thrower and hate spitter. Mal Washer a WA Coalition MP is also a conservative but not inhumane.

      The tragic thing is that these voices have been squeezed out by the slavish populism of the incumbent Opposition who seem to be bent on out-bidding Hanson when it comes to courting the knuckle-scraper vote. No actual discussion is possible or productive when humane views are suppressed as Frank here is trying to do.

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    22. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I was too young for Whitlam, so despite the rhetoric, I think that Malcolm Fraser was the most socialist / progressive PM I've lived under as an adult (and this isn't taking into account his excellent human rights work after he retired from politics).

      Like Bob Brown, I'll applaud any politician who does or says what I think is right. But the political reality is that the Liberals have far fewer internal voices of reason than they used to, and, as Four Corners made clear, today's Labor party is equalling the worst of Howard.

      Ignoring Frank, what do you think we can do to implement compassionate policies?

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    23. Paul Collins

      Chief Thinker at demografix pty ltd

      In reply to Frank Moore

      As I have stated before... best to actually talk to the people on Nauru
      http://www.facebook.com/ASYLUMSEEKERSINNAURU

      1. They paid $40kUS each at the country they left from and corrupt govts all the way assisted them.
      2. We need to go after the drug dealers, not the users and pay the Indo authorities more than they are being paid by the smugglers. A few death penalties will do the trick and the boast will stop.
      3. We also need to close the camps.
      Why, because we simply cannot accept thousands drowning at sea, or the camps and we must decide who makes up the 20k.

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    24. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      What a joke! Michael the writer and Peter the farmer want a cosy chat of agreement between themselves with the aim of finding out "we can do to implement compassionate policies?". Missing the point entirely of all the above discussion, the opinion polls and the forthcoming rout of the ALP, Grrreens and Lame Independents who have failed to find out how: "we can eliminate the people smuggling - people drowning business".
      Let's hope Michael and Peter get together and consummate their burgeoning relationship in another policy bugger up! Where they only speak and seriously argue with someone who agrees with them....
      Now, from memory, that's what the ALP, Grrreens and Lame Independents did!
      Worked for them didn't it?

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

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Michaaaaaaaeeeeeeel you've been focussing on what you " can do to change Australia's boat people policy to something much more compassionate" for this entire bloody blog and have suggested absolutely ZERO. That's where you and your 'liberals', as you put it, have really failed. Lots of whining and criticism but no actual ideas. This woeful situation is just going to go on and on until something practical and better for ALL stakeholders is put forward.

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    26. Steve Hindle

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, there are a couple of problems with this type of solution, although faced with the horrible set of options available, it may well be the best solution.
      Would it be legal to return people to these centres. A version of the Malaysia solution revisited? Also the numbers seeking resettlement could run into the millions. This would far outstrip the number of places Australia could reasonably offer, even with a more generous resettlement program. What options would Australia have if demand outstripped supply, as seems likely. I don't see any good options left at this point so I don't share your " It'll work again" optimism, although I would be happy to be proven wrong.

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    27. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Frank Moore

      No Frank you don't understand again. What we are - well I am - saying is that there is no point in attempting to discuss this issue with you - or most others I suspect. You already know what's wrong and who is to blame. Children overboard and Tampa - that must have been Gillard or Rudd or someone else ... and that Norwegian captain fella - they'd all be slavvering bolsheviks too!.

      See Frank there's not really much value in seeking a solution with a bloke who's already got it all worked out…

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    28. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Steve Hindle

      Steve,

      I think it would be morally acceptable - and therefore probably legal if not defensible - to send people to centres where there is actually processing happening - not indefinite detention. That is we could provide some sort of guarantees regarding the timing for adminstration of refugee applications.

      The hardest part would be cajoling or bullying our rich and powerful mates to shoulder some of the load in picking up an increased number of approved refugees. I'd start with all those…

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    29. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Frank Moore

      Frank, in the time a small number of children have drowned on the way here since 2001 there have been 133 million children under five die of war, preventable disease and starvation before their fifth birthday.

      OUr solution to that is to spend $1 million per person to jail refugees on Nauru. $143,000 per person on Christmas Island and send $3.50 per person per annum in foreign aid to prevent the starvation and death of children.

      Australia doesn't care if children drown, they don't care about them in the least.

      http://sievx.com/articles/background/DrowningsTable.pdf

      And every year dozens of Australian children drown in their own backyards.

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    30. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Frank Moore

      There are no crime gangs doing anything. It is now well documented that the only people helping refugees to safety are other refugees and they do it all in other countries where it is nothing to do with us.

      Answer me this. If you have a gun at your back and ask person A for help and they send you away so you have to keep running to person "B who helps you, who is the criminal?

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    31. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Frank Moore

      No-one has ever been smuggled from INdonesia though. They have a legal right to sail anywhere they want to without our interference as do we.

      And why do you pretend to care about the safety of people you don't care about and when did INdonesia become another state of Australia?

      Refugees are not safe in Indonesia and we pay tens of millions in bribes each year to them to make sure they are not safe.

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    32. Trevor Kerr

      ISTP

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Order No.227 may have been given by Stalin, but the actual defense of Stalingrad was up to Chuikov. Abbott's Tow-back policy may be pure intransigence, but could be sprung from somewhere much worse and, in any case, is a signal "policy" that stains everything else the Coalition comes out with. It's adjectivally stupid and an affront to common sense.
      To the operating instructions given to the officers on patrol, Peter, we need to see those. For example, after taking aboard all parties, do they have the authority to enquire who is in charge of a grossly overloaded craft of dubious seaworthiness? Or do they roll out the 'Welcome to Australia' mat?

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    33. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Frank Moore

      There is no such thing in fact as only 20,000 places available because everyone who comes and claims asylum is entitled to do so.

      Ergo there is simply no quota ever.

      SUPPLEMENTARY BUDGET ESTIMATES HEARING: 20 OCTOBER 2009
      IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP PORTFOLIO
      (80) Program 2.1: Refugee and Humanitarian Assistance
      Senator Fierravanti-Wells asked:
      In relation to the number of places allocated to non-UNHCR-registered asylum
      seekers, please provide a breakdown including:
      a. the number of places…

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    34. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Frank Moore

      They are not people smuggler clients, they are people lawfully seeking asylum and it makes not a jot of difference who they pay.

      They have never been charged with paying for transport so what on earth makes ignorant people keep whining out the same old tripe.

      I know our worthless media are brainwashed by babble and are too lazy to do any research on this but it is a fact that under the smuggling protocol those who seek asylum and those who help them are not allowed to be punished.

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    35. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Frank Moore

      I say again 133 million children under 5 have died since 2001 without us wanting to do a thing about it.

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    36. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Paul Collins

      We do not have a quota for the 20,000, it is a lie they spin to fool the public because by law if every person who comes here as a tourists then claims asylum we have to let them.

      And there are no people smugglers.

      Why are people so ignorant?

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    37. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Well Marilyn Shepherd, I'm so glad - for your conscience - that only "a small number of children have drowned on the way here since 2001".
      That's a relief!
      And pointing me to that reputable site sievx.com was great - thanks!
      And indication of the overwhelming emotion behind your thoughts would include your conjunction of children dying of "war, preventable disease and starvation" with the quite seperate problem we have here. Well fed, cashed up tourists with practiced stories and passports and identification papers thrown "overboard" in a manipulation of our laws, via boats that are so dangerous to Australia's ecology, that they have to be towed out to sea and burnt.

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    38. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      And Marilyn Shepherd, all those stories you can google about organised crime, people smuggling, ministers of the crown calling them organised crime gangs, corrupting already corrupt junior, middle and senior officialdom in Indonesia - all those stories are bunkum.
      I am relieved you are here to straighten things out....

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    39. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      No one has ever been smuggled...
      Where is your medication?

      Insofar as my pretence to care about the safety of people, well, you have misunderstood me.
      I do care about just a few children drowning on those boats that have sunk and those that are about to sink.

      Unlike your good self, as shown above. "Only a few" - remember?

      And when that uni student was raped by one of your heavily vetted and checked and whatever "refugee" in Sydney, I'm sure she'd be glad that you have had an influence on Australia's border protection program.

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    40. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      No Marilyn, we have signed an international convention that has been worked into laws, giving away some, but important aspects of our national sovereignty to foreign and domestic based people smuggling rackets.
      Which is why, this must end.
      By simply walking away from any and all Treaty's that have been manipulated by Leftist, ALP, Greens, Internationalist Socialists (not to mention ABC journos!), Labor Lawyers and the like into laws that are currently costing us about 2 Billion Dollars per year.
      Money we'll never see again.

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    41. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      If those wanting to apply for asylum were to avail themselves of UNHCR processing, just think of how many additional people, children included that could be helped via the UNHCR and other NGOs with the money that would be saved.

      That would be doing something for real refugees and not your monied freeloaders you feel so passionate about Marilyn.

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    42. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      You are the one spinning BS Marilyn for there are quotas, targets or whatever you want to call them for the various immigration regulations.

      It does not mean that they cannot be exceeded by those wanting to ignore the UNHCR approach and make irregular arrival.
      A person may have a right to apply for asylum and that does not mean their application will be approved.

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  18. Frederika Steen
    Frederika Steen is a Friend of The Conversation.

    logged in via Facebook

    words words words... many from arm chair "experts" who have never heard an asylum seeker/refugee explain what persecution they have survived before risking their lives to find a safe country. Children can explain the "life" they had in Quetta or Sri Lanka or on the run illegally in Malaysias. The fear, the punishment, the disappearances, the funerals the sickness etc. all damaging a child'd life.

    My thanks to Sharon for trying to confront a small cohort of finger tapping retired people on line…

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    1. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to John Phillip

      What the hell is the bloody question? We don't have to jail anyone for no reason.

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  19. Anneliese Ford

    Senior Consultant

    All major religions and also atheistic humanism advocate the universal law: 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'. Go back far enough up the family tree and every refugee is our brother, our sister, our parent, our child.

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  20. Henriette Vanechop
    Henriette Vanechop is a Friend of The Conversation.

    retired

    a) Does every human being have a right to elect where to live on this planet?

    b) Do people who have striven to attain a comfortable living standard have any right to wish to preserve it for their progeny ? (by comfortable i mean adequate for living in health and dignity, not in luxury while some live in abject poverty near or faraway) (Marylin, do you have children ?)

    c) With Greg North, i ask : How many millions can this island-continent support adequately ?

    d) With the images…

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Henriette Vanechop

      Unfortunately Henrietta, given that many of those seeking to get here by the irregular method will be leaving lands that do not have the most hospitable of terrain or climate even though they may not have bushfires, most will likely not even see one here as they will tend to live in cities.

      So I do not think you will see numbers affected by " d ", especially when our welfare payments are probably considered to be like untold riches compared to where they have come from.
      I recall an article not…

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    2. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Henriette Vanechop

      I have a couple of kids and 4 grand children and am about to be a great granny at the ripe old age of 60 as if Is any of your business.

      And the law says that the only way anyone can be granted asylum here is to be here.

      Why do dingbats have to come up with more and more ridiculous nonsense.

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  21. Frederika Steen
    Frederika Steen is a Friend of The Conversation.

    logged in via Facebook

    What is wrong with us, that we tolerate our Government joining with paedophiles and other abusers of children in robbing children of their innocence, of their childhood?

    With an estimated 2 700 asylum seeker children already in some kind of immigration detention and more to be institutionalised (“Refugee children to be held at Darwin detention centre”, May 1 front page SMH) our shallow politicians must justify to us this breech of human decency and international law.

    Desperate refugees fleeing persecution are unstoppable, sending them back to danger is not a legal option, so what exactly is a Coalition Government going to do after 14 September with and to this cohort of human misery, potential "genuine" refugees languishing in the “ care” of the Commonwealth of Australia?

    This is making me sick.

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    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Frederika Steen

      Don't get too sad about it Frederika - we've been doing it for centuries- for their "own good" of course - usually to Aboriginal kids, or poor kids, babies born to single mums ...

      I reckon part of what we are looking at is the knee-jerk kick from those hard tough love types who are reacting to the criticisms this sort of "care" of theirs has copped over the last few years.

      I'm just waiting for them to start wailing on about the "deserving poor". Shameful stuff this. All the more shameful that these characters feel no shame or dishonour in expressing such views.

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    2. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Frederika Steen

      Frederika Steen, Labor/Greens/Independent policy changes led to this humanitarian disaster.
      If you are a member of either:
      1/ The Australian Labor Party; or
      2/ The Greens; or
      3/ a supporter of the Independents who voted for the Gilliard Government.
      Then your sickness may be due to some form of moral responsibility.
      That many in the media and on these pages share - to their own feelings of sickness.
      My conscience on the other hand is clear.
      This debacle is not my fault - at all.
      I do feel a revulsion to the sanctimonious writers on these pages who fail to take full responsibility - as the Greens ought to - for the policy settings that have caused this.

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    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Frederika Steen

      I'm not too sure if you're claiming the Government in housing asylum seeker children are joining with paedophiles and the like because of adults in detention being of that quality but if it is so, all the more reason to be not granting asylum to the latter.

      " With an estimated 2 700 asylum seeker children already in some kind of immigration detention and more to be institutionalised (“Refugee children to be held at Darwin detention centre”, May 1 front page SMH) our shallow politicians must justify…

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  22. Natasha turnbull

    Student

    " What if it was our kids......" the article was titled

    If it was our kids, we would be charged for child abuse for putting our young children on dangerous leaky boats by themselves.

    There are hundreds of unaccompanied minors put on asylum seeker boats by their parents because any child under 18 would be automatically granted to stay and the parents would have the chance to come as family reunion.

    How many children were among these 1000 plus drowning deaths since Labor's open border policy in 2008? Sometimes holding moral high ground has deadly consequences.

    Where is the outrage from the do-gooders

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    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Natasha turnbull

      Not necessarily Natasha - depends what "home" is like - whether your daughters can get shot or bombed for going to school - whether you can be kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery in some "liberation army" or another... whether you can get killed jusyt for looking a bit different, praying the wrong way, wearing the wrong clothes...

      Getting on a boat is dangerous - but danger is relative. Not everyone comes from comfy leafy suburbs in this world.

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    2. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Natasha turnbull

      Well said Natasha, and Natasha Turnbull, recall that boat smuggler customers are leaving a safe haven (Indonesia) for a higher standard of living in a Sucker First World Country (Australia), to the delight of our friends in the TNI in Indonesia.
      Nothing looks as pathetic as Australia wrestling with its abundance of bleeding hearts who can't foresee the unintended effects of their "compassion" (drownings, corruption of Indonesia etc) and flounder about, wearing out their first world navy assets.
      The Do-Gooders on these pages Natasha could be slagged as "Drowners".

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    3. Natasha turnbull

      Student

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Are you so naive? Or you just willfully ignore the reality to suit your agenda?

      Think rationally, not emotionally - my very practical grandmum used to say.

      My sister works at Dandenong hospital (Vic) - an area where most Ahfgani refugees aggregated to live and she had quite a lot contact with them. The top reason for coming to Australia, they would tell you, is for their children's better education and future.

      You can argue that there is nothing wrong with that.

      But how about those genuine refugees languishing in refuge camps for years or decades waiting for places in Australia or other developed counties. Most of them are women and children with no money or resources for people smugglers.
      And here day in and day out, we have seen boats on boats of healthy young men came to our shore even after they have flown to various safe countries.

      Do you accept that it is fair?

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    4. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Natasha turnbull

      (It always amazes me how those of the right have such informed sources.)

      But anyway, Natasha, please ask your sister how many of those people arrived by boat.

      Also note that where you try to go if you are a refugee will of course have some pull - the reason I go to Dandenong hospital is that it is close and provides good care - but you are only found to be a real refugee is if there is a push - the reason I went to Dandenong hospital is that I had a broken leg.

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    5. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Natasha turnbull

      No Natasha that's not fair. Nothing is fair in this business. I am trying to suggest options that make it fairer - but everything depends on having a moving queue. Dumping people into concentration camps to wait forever is not an answer. Nor is it fair.

      But as your sister should know, in order to actually qualify as a refugee, you must be able to demonstrate that you are a member of a persecuted group or face individual persecution in your home country. It is not a walk-up start.

      I'd be…

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    6. Natasha turnbull

      Student

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      It sounds like that you are also a very trustful person.

      It is not hard to obtain a refugee status when identification papers were deliberately destroyed, when lines and lies were well rehearsed, when language translation all got lost, and when bleeding heart immigration officials became emotional and irrational......

      It is no surprise that there is no much public interest or reaction to reports such like the Four Corners anymore - people are really sick of these asylum seekers' manipulative behavior.

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    7. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      None of the above has anything to do with Australia...

      You are babbling about internecine disputes that have a long history. Much longer than the current fad of people smuggling.

      Safe havens exist at home and closer to home.

      The manipulation of laws to improve ones lot from a third world cesspit to a first world nation (Australia) will do a couple of things:

      1/ Genuine refugees will end up totally locked out because of the credulity of so many folks on these pages as expressed in the…

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  23. Paul Collins

    Chief Thinker at demografix pty ltd

    I have talked to the people on Nauru at length, about what the solutions are.
    1. One think that 4Corners left out was that they each paid $40kUS to sumgglers at the point of where they left.
    2. The people on Nauru want offshore processing close to where they left from and confirm that the Indo authorities know who the smugglers are.
    3. If we cam up with a plan, in conjunction with the Indo authorities like I have suggested to pay the Indo authorities more than the smugglers do and to 'take out' a few of them to 100% disrupt the final leg of the journey, then the boats would stop and we could close the camps today.

    It amazes me that only 179 people have liked the people/asylum seekers on Nauru Facebook page and yet everyone here seems to have an opinion. Just ask them what the solutions are. I have....

    http://www.facebook.com/ASYLUMSEEKERSINNAURU

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