Bling bling for asylum seekers

Nicholas Gruen posted an excellent piece about asylum seekers the other day, and Andrew Bartlett has another one today that’s also well worth reading. Andrew’s post exposes the mealy-mouthed hypocrisy of John Howard’s utterances on the issue, especially in relation to the detention of children, which even Howard labels as “regrettable” while blaming the parents! As Andrew points out, successful asylum seekers are not “illegal immigrants”, they are refugees whom Australia has promised the world it will give shelter. They have both a legal and moral right to stay in Australia, and Howard’s ongoing attempt to blur this critical distinction and demonise them by affixing the “illegal immigrant” label is typically duplicitous and sleazy.

Nevertheless, I’ve commented numerous times previously that there are real and legitimate issues surrounding the handling of asylum seekers. Despite Howard’s cynical, sleazy politicising of the whole area, they need to be addressed constructively by anyone who proposes dismantling the current system, obnoxious as it unquestionably is.

In many countries where asylum seekers are broadly housed in the general community while their applications are being considered, the rate of absconding among unsuccessful applicants is very high indeed. Britain is a prime example, where around 2/3 of unsuccessful asylum seekers disappear into the illegal economy. No doubt that causes a degree of social tension, but it probably isn’t critical in a country that has no official migration policy.

In Australia, by contrast, we have a very substantial migration program and our national interest undoubtedly requires that public confidence in it must be maintained. That may well require a level of constraint on asylum seekers that would be shunned in the best of all possible worlds. I doubt that the Australian public would tolerate an absconding rate anything like that of Britain, and embracing policies that led to such an outcome would merely play into the hands of a Pauline Hanson-style racist demagogue.

Sweden has a hugely lower absconding rate for unsuccessful asylum seekers than does the UK. It has an annual refugee intake slightly greater than Australia’s (about 15,000) into a population only half our size. Many observers have suggested that a prime reason for Sweden’s much lower absconding rate is that it has a universal system of photo ID cards that must be produced by everyone for just about every purpose. You simply can’t survive in Sweden for more than a short time without having one, which makes it almost impossible for asylum seekers to abscond.

Australia’s experience when the Hawke government proposed something similar with the Australia Card in the 1980s suggests that it just isn’t politically feasible to introduce such a system here, nor is it likely to be in the foreseeable future.

So is there a workable alternative to universal mandatory detention of asylum seekers if we want to avoid wholesale absconding? RWDB blogger Alan Anderson discusses this issue in an article in today’s SMH, but fails to canvas any alternatives to mandatory detention that could prevent or severely reduce the absconding rate.

Coincidentally, the NSW government announced a system only a few days ago which sounds like a perfect solution to the asylum seeker absconding problem. NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos* announced a program where paroled sex offenders will be fitted with state-of-the-art electronic monitoring bracelets:

It is natural for the community at large to feel a degree of apprehension when a serious offender, such as a sex offender, is released back into the community on parole. Many offenders in that category are very compliant in prison: they meet the terms and preconditions enabling them to be paroled in accordance with orders of either the court or the Parole Board. In many cases at present the supervision of those offenders cannot include the use of all available technologies to determine their movements. I am pleased to inform the House that a new global positioning system [GPS] tracking technology will soon be introduced to monitor serious offenders 24 hours a day while they are on parole. The emergence of GPS technology began in the United States of America Department of Defence, and in 1993 it was licensed for civilian use. England piloted the technology in 2004, and New South Wales will be the first Australian jurisdiction to pilot it.

The technology has been used in the United States of America for a number of years and currently it accounts for approximately 3 per cent of the electronic monitoring market. It is deployed in 28 states, targeting repeat offenders, sex offenders and domestic violence offenders. Using the GPS-based satellite tracking and recording system, called the STaR unit, the Department of Corrective Services will have the capacity to pinpoint an offender on parole within five metres. The new system will be used, particularly in the case of serial sex offenders, with the aim of providing a higher level of protection to the community. It is important to remember that this is not about relaxing circumstances for grounding a parolee; it is about enhancing the department’s capacity to supervise a parolee.

I’m not meaning to compare asylum seekers with paroled sex offenders in a pejorative sense, but the fact is that the practical policy issues the two groups raise are very similar. Both are groups whom it is not reasonable to keep in long-term custodial care, but whom there are powerful reasons for wanting to keep under surveillance.

The Petro Georgiou bill doesn’t successfully address this problem at all, in fact it proposes requiring the release of (male) asylum seekers after 12 months, precisely the time when they are most likely to abscond if their protection visa application has been rejected. The use of monitoring bracelets, by contrast, would allow all asylum seekers to live in the general community throughout their application and appeal process with little or no risk of absconding. No doubt there would be significant costs involved in establishing such a system, but it’s unlikely they would be anywhere near as high in financial terms (not to mention Australia’s international reputation) as the cost of maintaining a system of remote, high security concentration camps for asylum seekers who have committed no crime and simply seek Australia’s protection from persecution, torture and death.

* It’s a shame Jeff Shaw went to the bench and then got sacked. He might have been a hopeless pisspot, but at least I could spell and pronounce his name.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
This entry was posted in Politics - national. Bookmark the permalink.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
62 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

If these asylum seekers “simply seek Australia’s protection from persecution, torture and death” as you claim, then they would not object to being held in detention while their claims are assessed.

The fact that they do object, often violently, indicates that their motives are not as you have painted them.

While a tracking bracelet has its attractions, it won’t satisfy those who support illegal immigrants — because those people want the illegals to abscond and blend into the community. They would raise all sorts of objections on the grounds of “civil liberties” and “human rights”.

I think the current system of detention works, and works very well indeed. The number of illegals arriving onshore has dropped way down, and stayed down, since the Tampa.

The system is not broken, so there is no need to fix it.

David Tiley
2022 years ago

No, they object to the fact that they have a vile time in prison.

It had never occurred to me that this notion required imagination.

observa
observa
2022 years ago

Afraid not Ken, because when you recall the assisted breakout from Woomera, the luvvies would think nothing about removing and destroying tracking bracelets. In fact they’d think it was their duty to do so. That only leaves ID cards and/or detention.

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

I’m sure many things have never occurred to you, David.

One of those things being that people who are actually fleeing from real torture and persecution would be grateful for a safe and comfortable place to stay.

Which is one reason we can be sure that the illegal immigrants who riot and destroy their living quarters are not genuine refugees but more likely criminals.

observa
observa
2022 years ago

I’d also add that Howard has a point about asylum seekers/illegals in general, in the sense that it’s regrettable that their detention system is as harsh as it is, largely because of the shameful treatment of facilities by some. There could be less ‘concentration camps’ if the arrivals were more amenable to abiding by the umpires decision in open immigration centres. That will never be the case and so we will no doubt oscillate between a policy of hard detention and relaxation, depending on how the people smugglers sniff the political breeze in Oz from time to time.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

observa

I read somewhere that these bracelets transmit an alarm as soon as someone tries to cut them off. Since they also transmit the location to within 5 metres, it should be possible to minimise successful absconding.

I guess determined assistance from the “luvvies” could succeed in whiskingthem away before authorities arrived, but warnings that more than one or two such incidents would result in the revocation of the scheme and return to full detention should be fairly effective.

Moreover, there are key high risk times when the absconding risk is highest e.g. just before and after applicants are advised of an adverse decision. They would be placed under much closer supervision at those times, to reduce the possibility of an assisted absconding. No doubt there would still be occasional disappearances, but it should be possible to keep the incidence within very tolerable bounds, and at much lower cost than the current system.

Don Wigan
Don Wigan
2022 years ago

“…would be grateful for a safe and comfortable place to stay.” EP

By safe and comfortable, Evil, are you by any chance suggesting that Woomera, Baxter, Nauru and Manus Island fit that category? They were designed, pure and simple, to punish and demoralise people on the grounds that the message would eventually get back and they’d stop coming here and bothering us.

If as Observa says the choice is between IDs and detention camps, I’d be prepared to put up with the former. Instead of creating new Norfolk Islands and Port Arthurs, I can’t see any logical reason why detention, if necessary on a short-term basis, couldn’t be more of a community-based effort like those hostels we had for reffos and Pommy migrants in the early post-war years.

There are plenty of struggling rural communities that might benefit from a few local jobs in catering, crowd control, teaching ESL, etc.

It doesn’t have to be a punishment regimen.

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

Nonsense, Don.

Those facilities were not “designed to punish”. Woomera, for example is an old Army base. Do you honestly believe the Army designs its bases to punish soldiers?

Not only were the facilities designed to provide decent accommodation for Australian servicemen, they were considerably upgraded for the detainees, with air-conditioning and colour TV to name a couple of improvements.

Any genuine refugee would regard them as fine accommodations.

The violent and abusive illegals have demonstrated that they are not only fakes, but exactly the sort of people we don’ty need in this country. I don’t think that releasing such thugs into the general community would achieve any good purpose, bracelets or no bracelets.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

BTW The mandatory detention regime wasn’t implemented because the incidence of absconding was high. It had nothing to do with any such events. Mandatory universal detention was implemented while a large group of Cambodian asylum seekers were being processed in Darwin, and because a large group of volunteer lawyers (of whom I was one of the principal co-ordinators) was providing them with wide-ranging assistance to pursue their refugee applications. None of them had absconded when mandatory detention was implemented, nor had there been a particularly high rate of absconding with previous waves of refugees (most of the Vietnamese were accepted as refugees in any event). DIMIA was concerned that giving these people (the Cambodians) open, ready access to generous legal and community support in Darwin would result in far too many of them succeeding in their claims and therefore sending an “undesirable” message to others who might then chance the voyage to Australia. DIMIA whisked them away to Port Hedland and Derby (Curtin Air Base) to ensure that they could carefully control the amount of legal and other assistance these people received.

The inception of the scheme had little or nothing to do with absconding rates, although there may well have been DIMIA fears of absconding when applications were eventually finalised in an adverse way.

Whyisitso
Whyisitso
2022 years ago

“I guess determined assistance from the “luvvies” could succeed in whiskingthem away before authorities arrived, but warnings that more than one or two such incidents would result in the revocation of the scheme and return to full detention should be fairly effective.”

What nonsense! Warnings would be laughed at. Once you dismantled the detention system there’s no way they could be resurrected, and any attempt to do so would be playing right into the “luvvies” hands. These saboteurs aren’t the slightest bit interested in the welfare of the detainees; they’re just using them to embarrass the hated Howardites.

moriarti
moriarti
2022 years ago

EP
It occurs to me that a worst place for putting “people who are actually fleeing from real torture and persecution” could not be found.
Lengthy incarceration with ample time to contemplate the possibility of being returned to their original place of persecution. Not much in the way of a meaningful activity to otherwise occupy their thoughts. And relying on a frustratingly long beueaucratic process in a bid for liberty.
It’s not surprising that SOME internees have manifested pysch conditions resulting in bizarre behaviour.
Nobody in thier circumstances would be happy to be there.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Whyisitso

I’m not suggesting that detention be abolished completely, just its mandatory universal character for irregular arrivals. Detention would still be required after initial arrival until it was established that applicants didn’t pose criminal, security or health threats. And it would still be used after they had exhausted all appeals and before actual deportation. And also if an objective assessment of high risk of flight was made. This is the way detention is utilised in most countries. Thus detention facilities would remain in existence, and could be cranked up for greater use if the monitoring bracelet scheme was subverted by the “luvvies”. There would certainly be bipartisan and general public support for re-imposition of mandatory detention in such a situation. It’s very unlikely that luvvie protests would carry much weight. But I don’t expect such a situation to occur. Quite a few countries manage to keep absconding rates within tolerable limits, and I see no reason why Australia shouldn’t manage it too.

C.L.
2022 years ago

If the detainees are released from Baxter, maybe Northern Territory Labor could use it to lock up drunken Abos. A more gratuitously sleazy example of dog-whistling racism hasn’t been seen in Australia for years. Naturally, the sphere’s left-of-centre bloggers are ignoring it.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

CL

It’s no different from recent elections in WA and Queensland. Conservative Labor governments compete with equally conservative Coalaition oppositions to prove who is the toughest on Laura Norder. Nor is it confined to Australia. Remember Tony Blair’s slogan “tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime”. I think you’re drawing a pretty long bow suggesting that left bloggers are guilty of a consipracy of silence to cover up for Labor mates. It’s more like it’s a predictable yawn that happens every election and that isn’t worth discussing (although the petty criminals who are its victims probably disagree).

Warbo
Warbo
2022 years ago

Who needs the Refugee Review Tribunal when you’ve got EP to decide who has a valid case to stay in this country?

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

Moriarti,

There’s a simple solution for asylum seekers who don’t want to be detained in Woomera.

They can choose to remain in the first safe country they reach, instead of attempting to illegally enter Australia.

In fact, in the wake of the Government’s principled and successful stand on the Tampa, most have chosen to do so — thus validating the detention policy.

David Tiley
2022 years ago

So what was Cornelia Lau suffering from in Baxter? A surfeit of kindness?

Me, I thought that the system was supposed to be a deterrent. Now I discover from you people that in fact asylum seekers were put in holiday camps, so I was clearly wrong about this philosophy.

Seems to me that we must have been encouraging them all this time.

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

Cornelia Lau was suffering from being mentally ill, and consequently being a habitual liar who claimed she was an illegal immigrant when she was not.

Warbo
Warbo
2022 years ago

I thought of posting something like:

“Evil Pundit is suffering from being mentally ill, and consequently being a habitual liar who claims asylum seekers are illegal immigrants when they are are not.”

But it wouldn’t be very nice, so I won’t.

Oops! Too late!

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

EP, had you been a refugee from Sweden seeking to escape the horrors of sperm theft, I hope you’d have found the accommodations to your liking. No internet access sadly so I guess we’d never know.

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

Actually my immediate forebears were refugees fgrom Europe seeking to escape the horrors of Stalinism.

They took what they were offered in Australia, and they liked it.

zoot
zoot
2022 years ago

Ken, with regard to your worries about absconders, I offer some back of the envelope calculations.(I’m at work, without access to accurate figures)
From memory there were around two thousand “unauthorised non citizens” (note to EP and Observa _not_ “illegals”) in 2001. Of those around 90% were found to be genuine refugees (note to EP and Observa _not_ “illegals”). If my calculations are accurate that means there were about 200 possible absconders.
Now, according to DIMIA there are around 60,000 illegal immigrants in Australia at any one time – mainly Brits and Yanks who’ve overstayed their visas – and we seem to have no problems tolerating them. Is the problem really as big as you fear?
BTW thank you for an excellent post.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

zoot

The group of (mostly) Iraqis and Afghans who arrived in 2000-2001 were overwhelmingly found to be refugees, but the long-term success rate of asylum seekers is more like 30%, so we’re talking about an ongoing problem which, while not huge, needs to be taken seriously. Moreover, for the alienated potential supporters of a new Pauline Hanson, the actual numbers and scale of the problem will be much less important than its symbolic value.

Although the point about 60,000 visa overstayers is often made, it isn’t all that persuasive. They are overwhelmingly tourists simply stretching their holiday a bit longer without bothering about the paperwork. They have no intention of staying in Australia permanently and taking Australian jobs etc etc (unline absconding asylum seekers). Hence they don’t represent either a real or imagined threat to Hansonites. The lack of a racial element also means they’re not perceived as a threat by the alienated/aspirationals: the overstayers are white and British, American or European.

rachel
rachel
2022 years ago

It is a credit to the Howard Govt and others who support mandatory detention that so many people now accept as fact the idea that MD has been a successful deterrent. In reality, the last “wave” of boat people (the asylum seekers whom we seemed to be concerned about) made their way to Australia well after MD was introduced. While we cannot know what the counter-factual is (ie how many more people would have tried to get into Australia if we didn’t have MD), there does not appear to be any solid evidence that MD was a disincentive – nor indeed the introduction of TPVs.

What does appear to have stopped people was: successfully returning boats to Indonesia; taking those who couldn’t be returned to far flung Pacific Islands; the well-publicised sinking of SIEV X resulting in 353 deaths; and of course a major change in the circumstances of the countries from which many were fleeing in the first place.

While I accept that cause and effect is hard to prove, my personal view is that the sinking of SIEV X – for which I do not believe the Australian Government was in any way responsible – was actually the single biggest deterrent to people trying to get from Indonesia to Australia on fishing vessels. Certainly no serious boats arrived after that.

observa
observa
2022 years ago

Zoot,
Ken’s point about the tourist overstayers is a valid one. Basically we don’t give tourist visas to people we think will want to claim asylum and DIMIA do deport about 20,000 persons p.a. now, largely turnarounds at our airports. Did you see the reality TV show on this recently? One islander type was put straight back on a plane because he lied about a 15 yr prison term he served OS for heroin trafficking. Another supposed Roumanian boxer(coming here to box in a tournament) from Russia was discovered to have a false photo passport, which costs about $30 in Russia. By the time the passport expert had done his thing and the chap admitted to the fraud, it was too late to catch a return flight and it was off to Villawood until he could be deported. Another Chinese businessman was caught with 30 odd false credit cards in his baggage and was detained to be charged. Two of his national mates who came in on his flight, were hanging about the terminal and trying frantically to contact him by mobile phone. They were picked up and put on a return flight to China, with their mate facing charges and deportation later. All in a days work for DIMIA, yet the luvvies pretend that this whole organisation is stuffed when it mishandles 201 persons out of 88,000 deportess in the last 5 yrs or so. According to Cornelia Rau(her press conference), she is now a prisoner of the Rann Labor Govt in Glenside mental hospital in Adelaide nowadays, in case you’re still interested.

blank
blank
2022 years ago

As Andrew points out, successful asylum seekers are not “illegal immigrants”,

Sure thing, Ken.

So “illegal immigrants” are unsuccessful asylm seekers.

Dosen’t this mean that those in detention have been determined not to be genuine refugees?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

blank

No doubt some of those currently in custody are people who have been conclusively determined not to be refugees and who have exhausted all appeal avenues. They are simply awaiting deportation. However, for some of these people deportation won’t happen any time soon, because their home countries won’t accept them back. Sometimes that is because they won’t return voluntarily and their home country has a policy of not accepting involuntary returnees. I don’t think we should be contemplating releasing such people into the community under any circumstances.

However others (e.g. Al Khateb) ARE willing to return home but their country won’t accept them back. These people can and should be released into the community with monitoring bracelets until their return home can be organised.

Then there are people whose applications have been rejected, but who are still pursuing merits review or court appeals. Typically only 10% or less of them will ever be found to be refugees, but even so there is no reason not to release them into the community while their reveiws and appeals are determined (which typically takes a couple of years and sometimes more), as long as we can be reasonably assured that absconding rates can be kept low. That can be done by a combination of monitoring bracelets and closer supervision at times of high absconding risk (e.g. just before and after notification of adverse appeal/review decisions). Where the risk is assessed as really high (on an individual basis), applicants could be taken back into immigration detention. As I said previously, I’m not suggesting that detention should or could be abolished completely, simply that it should not be universal or indeterminate.

I must say I’m puzzled (to put it mildly) by the attitude of readers who are so utterly opposed to the possibility of releasing harmless, non-criminal asylum seekers (including women and children) into the community on close surveillance terms using high-tech bracelets, but who seem perfectly relaxed about releasing pedophiles and rapists on those terms!

jen
jen
2022 years ago

readers who are so utterly opposed to the possibility of releasing harmless, non-criminal asylum seekers (including women and children) into the community on close surveillance terms

I’d say it’s because as repulsive as rape etc is, it is a known quantity. These foreigners are an unknown quantity and as such are viewed with suspicion, if not condemnation. they could change the way we eat, the way we live! Just look at the mess we’re in!

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

“Harmless and non-criminal”? I consider these people criminal by the mere fact of their illegal means of arrival. And they are far from harmless, with regular riots and assaults on DIMIA staff.

Also, why mention women and children separately? That’s ageist and sexist.

Bill Posters
Bill Posters
2022 years ago

EP sets his watch by the riots in detention facilities, evidently.

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

I find them more accurate than the telephone time servics.

Andrew Bartlett
2022 years ago

Thanks for the comments Ken.

Of course, there are many alternatives to mandatory detention, but it is hard to get a reasonable discussion about them. As some of the comments here show, getting even a mildly rational debate based on the simplest of facts is fairly difficult with this issue.

To respond to some of those comments – I don’t think I’ve met anyone who opposes some form of initial detention while health and security checks are carried out. The problem with the current law is its indefinite, mandatory nature with no scope to require individual circumstances (or even basic common sense, human rights or duty of care) to be taken into account.

It is not so much the physical conditions of detention centres that are the problem, it is the uncertainty of how long the incarceration will take place for and the fear of it ending with forced deportation to possible persecution – such an environment is incredibly corrosive on people’s wellbeing, as any number of studies have shown.

Very few people would want asylum seekers to ‘disappear into the community’. If that is someone’s aim, they wouldn’t claim asylum when they arrive here, they would disappear into the community straight away. Asylum seekers who disapear into the community would be hopelessly vulnerable and have no means of support. The fact is that quite a number of asylum seekers have been released into the community on Bridging Visas over the past 4 or so years. ZERO of them have absconded. The key is to ensure they have sufficient support and assistance from the community, something that currently occurs without any assistance from the federal Govt.

Detention is not to ‘protect our borders’. The number of boat arrivals increased dramatically over the first 8 or 9 years after mandatory detention was introduced. Detention is aimed at keeping people away from the community so they can be more easily dehumanised, keeping them away from lawyers who can assist them in putting together their claims, and to try to break their spirit so they will return home. None of these aims have worked – it has just meant much longer detention, much greater cost to the taxpayer and much more human damage. If people have a genuine claim, they usually get recognised in the end – it just takes 5 years and massive amounts of stuffing around instead of 5 months and a much more effective and productive member of the Australin community. Witness those who have just been given visas on Nauru after 3 and a half years – they had been rejected 2 or 3 times, but never actually had the assistance of an agent to put together their claims properly until about 6 months ago – just DIMIA officers able to operate outside the law whose riding instructions are to look for reasons to reject. The outcome has not helped our ‘border security’ one bit, has cost millions of dollars and has traumatised a bunch of people, incuding children, who didn’t need to be. If there is one thing that has been established over time in a multitude of contexts – it is that if you harm a child you end up with a harmed adult. Hardly an acceptable policy outcome, even from the point of view of our own interests, seeing the vast majority of these children end up part of our community.

The fact that most European countries do not have a migration program remotely resembling Australia is one of the key reasons why these policies play out very differently over there. Asylum seeker issues have very little to do with migration to Australia and mixing the two up just adds to the misconceptions.

Personally, I don’t have much of a problem with a Swiss style identity card, although I know many Australians do. There are plenty of other arguments to recommend it, but Ken’s suggestion of this benefit is another one. However, I don’t like the notion of electronic bracelets at all, not least because it falsely implies that asylum seekers are dangerous or criminal. People are released on parole every day who have been charged with offences and do not have devices like this – asylum seekers have not been charged with anything and would not be released if there was any real risk to the community.

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
2022 years ago

For fucksake! Nobody should get into this country without appropriate identifying documentation and authority. This includes Australian citizens returning from holidays or business trips or drug smuggling operations or citizens in the middle of a loopy freak-out. At our border I would expect to be put into detention myself until my identity and citizenship/visa was sorted if I could not prove it myself there and then.

It’s a no-brainer and a no-hearter. You just do it if you are not a country run by dickheads.

and ps: Jen, are you seriously telling me I don’t like foreign food?

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

The only reason asylum seekers spend lengthy periods in detention is because they arrived in the country illegally in the first place. They have only themselves to blame for their situation.

By releasing them into the community, we would be rewarding their illegal behaviour when we should be discouraging it.

Genuine refugees stop at the first safe location and apply for asylum from there. Illegal immigrants bypass the less desirable safe locations and attempt to force entry to Australia because it is a rich country.

I think detention periods are far too long. In my opinion, Australia should renounce the outdated UN treaty on refugees, and deport all illegal arrivals immediately if it can bne shown that Australia was not their first port of call.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

James

I don’t want to throw petrol on the fire or anything, but your comment box contributions of recent times seem to be getting more and more aggressive, and with little or no provocation. One of your comments on Nicholas Gruen’s asylum post the other day particularly springs to mind, and the one you’ve just made is another example. You’ve always been one of the more measured and sensible right-leaning commenters to my way of thinking. Is there something happening in your life that’s making you cranky? If so, why not go outside and kick the cat a couple of times to get rid of your frustrations before sitting down at the keyboard to comment? I don’t actually expect everyone to agree with each other, but we could at least try to be a bit constructive not to mention polite (which you usually have been until very recently).

BTW I haven’t actually read anyone who is suggesting that asylum seekers should be released from detention before their identity has been verified and it has been established that they don’t pose a health, character, crime or national security threat to Australia. Most countries use detention in that way, and no-one with any sense is suggesting Australia shouldn’t keep doing so too. But currently Australia locks up all irregular arrivals until a visa is granted or until deportation, irrespective of issues of identity, health and criminal status etc. Usually those questions are all resolved satisfactorily within a few weeks of arrival, so mandatory detention has nothing to do with such factors.

jen
jen
2022 years ago

and ps: Jen, are you seriously telling me I don’t like foreign food?

yep, that’s exactly right, you bad temperd old bastard, just give me a couple of bush tomatoes and a bit of goanna, and I’m as right as rain for a fortnight.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

crocodile jen, the Territory’s answer to Steve Irwin. Actually, I think that might have been a goanna that Dash caught and killed in the backyard this morning. Do you want me to pop it in the fridge for your dinner? Very tasty with a cheeky glass of cleanskin merlot and a smidgin of witchetty grub pat

Alan Green
2022 years ago

So EP, you believe that it is illegal to come to Australia and ask for asylum?

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

People who enter Australia unlawfully, originating from a port where they are safe, are using a loophole in the immigration laws to force their way into the country.

Thus, they are illegal immigrants in the real sense of invaders who avoid legitimate border controls, even though some of them may not be technically “illegal” by court definitions.

They are illegal immigrants in intent and in effect, and laws which fail to recognise this should be changed. Hopefully the rationalisation of the Senate will allow the government to achieve such a change soon.

Fyodor
2022 years ago

Alan,

EP’s position can be summarised as follows: “illegal immigrants are illegal, except when they’re not”.

Hope that clears it up for you.

Andrew Bartlett
2022 years ago

EP’s position revolves more around different ideas of what constitutes “safe” rather than what constitutes “illegal”.

Please don’t blame the Senate for any of this though EP – much to my annoyance, the Senate (through the ALP) has passed every significant change to the Migration Act that the Government has put forward in the last 6 or so years, including ones aimed at people coming from so-called ‘safe third countries’ which EP refers in his latest comment.

The simple reality is that if, in rejecting people’s claims, Australia would be removing people to a country where they are not likely to be secure from future persecution (on grounds laid out in the Refugee Convention), then we can’t (and shouldn’t) deport people. All the law changes have just made it harder for people to demonstrate their case around that simple (in theory) test – which leads to more time in detention, more cost to the tax payer, more damage to the person while still usually having the same result in the end, which is a Protection Visa for genuine refugees, and deportation for the rest.

However, there is now a higher chance of people at risk of persecution falling through the cracks which have slowly been prised open by the Govt and DIMIA over a number of years. The incompetence and cover-ups surrounding Cornelia Rau and Vivian Alvarez (neither of whom had asylum issues involved in their cases at all) should give people some idea of how big some of those cracks have become.

jen
jen
2022 years ago

alright you ot time for a weebreak now. Serious commentators get pissed off. I have to tell you that Parish was famous again tonight on the local radio. I’m not sure what was meant, however, it was about the election up here. Parish said that Labor had done little to get the northern suburbs green can belt off side – pretty easy to see why the very same WHO DRINK COOPERS got him out of office quick smart before he did any real damage to drinking reputations. What a fat old elitist “EEEUUU if you don’t drink red like me then you must drink VB or Pims.

Anyway he knows he’s treaging on hot coals tonight. I feel fat and stupid and very unlovely AND I know I’m going to clean the house tomorrow. How depressing life in the middle class Northern Suburbs is. How I year for the squalor of my old life in Sergison CCt behind the venerable Beachfront Hotel carpark. Ahhh now you’re talking! That’s yer Frid’y night taken care of! Too much Bill I think. I’m starting to feel an edge of the Cockney – and I’m fighting it. Too many personas already.
Now back to your usual program.

zoot
zoot
2022 years ago

Anything you say, jen.

Alan  Green
2022 years ago

EP,

While you are technically free to express such opinions, you must be aware that (a) such opinions dramatically lower Australian’s standing in the international community, and (b) international relational are the cornerstone of Australia’s security policy. Your continued chatter is, in a real sense, willful treason, and I therefore declare you an illegal blogger.

Ken,

Since EP is illegal, is it moral to allow him to continue to post comments?

rossco
rossco
2022 years ago

Asylum seekers are not “illegal immigrants” – the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Refugee Conventions, to which Australia is a signatory, give anyone arriving in Australia, regardless of how they arrive or whether they have papers, the legal right to claim refugee status and to have their claims assessed. These rights are also enshrined in Australian law. Acting within the law cannot be judged as an illegal act.
Now I understand some people, including a number of previous posters might not like the concept, or agree with it or even find it hard to grasp, but it is what the law provides.
If asylum seekers were “illegal” they should be charged and taken before a court for an appropriate penalty. After all that is what happens to anyone else who breaks the law (acts illegally). It never happens with asylum seekers – they are just locked up and held in indefinite detention and never get brought before a court to judge guilt or innocence.

The risk of absconding is a red herring. If asylum seekers arrive by boat they are held in centres such as Baxter, Christmas Island or Nauru. If however they arrive by plane with valid travel visas but claim refugee status on arrival, as they are entitled to do, they are allowed to live in the community while their claims are assessed. Those arriving by boat have a much higher rate of being successful in their claims to be refugees than those arriving by plane. So those who are more likely to be genuine and therefore less likely to abscond are locked up while those who are less likely to be successful are allowed to live in the community. Ask Senator Vanstone to explain that one.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

I don’t recall the Universal Declaration on Human rights saying anything about traitorous compulsive sperm retainers, though. It’s a clear gap in international law that we should exploit before someone realises. Does anyone know of a guano coated Pacific island that may be prepared to accommodate EP in commodious barbed wire-enclosed comfort? He may not be technically illegal by court definitions, but we all know about those pinko judges like Kirby, don’t we? EP has only himself to blame for his situation. By releasing him into the community, we would be rewarding his illegal behaviour when we should be discouraging it. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

And as for jen’s slag earlier on about Coopers and VB and Pims, I’ll have you know I went down to the Beachfront Hotel just before (to buy a bottle of red, I have to admit), and you know what I found out? Coopers Pale Ale IS their best seller, but your VB runs a close second with Melbourne Bitter third. I KNEW I had my finger on the pulse of the northern suburbs. They didn’t even make Coopers Pale Ale back when I was in politics. And what sort of poofta drinks pale ale, anyway? Give me a Tooheys Old any day, I say. It’s because Darwin is full of refugees from Melbourne and Adelaide, people who know as much about a decent beer as they do about a proper game of footie. They like those blokes who run around in tight shorts like that ponce Warwick Capper, and can’t pick up a footie without knocking it on, and need a couple of extra posts either side of the big ones because they can’t kick straight. I mean, they even just inducted that smack freak Ablett into the AFL hall of fame. Next they’ll have Schapelle Corby on the AFL Footie Show giving Sam Newman a blo … time to go to bed.

What was this post about anyway?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

a comment doesn’t have to be about anything Parry.

They didn’t even make beer in your day
face it Parry mead was mother’s milk to yer

saint
2022 years ago

Oi. Nothing wrong with the Pale Ale.

But back to the topic if that is allowed.

I was wondering – just because an ID card was rejected 20 years ago doesn’t mean that it’s not a possibility now. But then, we do have ‘defacto’ IDs now in the form of tax file numbers and medicare cards. Perhaps these are better because they are not linked to everything we do (meaning you can’t be asked for your tax file number to say buy petrol…as it’s unrelated to the purpose of a tax file number)

You could restrict or issue special numbers for those released into the community – depending on what services they can or can’t access (I would hope health care would be a given)

That still doesn’t stop the possibility of absconding and disappearing into the black economy.

But that is a possibility now with ‘overstayers’ which are our largest group of “illegals” or however we want to classify them today.

What’s more, Immigration and other government agencies already do raids in cash economy type industries (eg crop harvesting) and triumphantly report their prizes in the press. Not fool proof but they obviously have decided to go this way with the thousands of overstayers, so what’s a couple of hundred possible absconders (bearing in mind that those considered at risk of absconding wouldn’t be released into the community in the first place).

So I think these arguments about absconding are a red herring.

John Morhall
John Morhall
2022 years ago

If ID cards would work and enable detention periods to be reduced, why is there such a concern about ID cards per se? Most people carry identity card of one sort or another: driver’s licence, credit cards, medicare, health insurance, work ID etc etc. What is the big deal about one more card? Why not trade one super card for a few of the others? If it would enable detainees to retain a sense of dignity without a threat to our security why not?

It should not be beyond the whit of government to employ a ‘smart card’ with a GPS chip embedded within it so that we could know where everyone is within 5 m. Unfortunately, the 5 m threshold would be insufficient to determine inappropriate consorting and the like, but one never knows. 1984 seems more benign than Animal Farm.