Something To Think About
This page will be changed periodically to display an article of relevance or interest, generally sourced from a newspaper, magazine etc. or submitted contributions, (which will not be edited, but must be approved for publication by refugeebuddies, for obvious reasons). All email contributions are welcome.
Last Updated: 8 June 2018 - This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on May 26, 2018 as "Dutton’s moral twilight".
Peter Dutton's Views On Compassion
Last Updated: 23 June 2018
The recent view, as expressed to The Weekend Australian 23 June 2018
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says Australia is facing a "danger phase" and any compassion for refugees in offshore detention will see more get on boats.
"It's essential that people realise that the hard-won success of the last few years could be undone overnight by a single act of compassion in bringing 20 people from Manus to Australia."
And a not-too-subtly-different one from March 2018
March 2018 - Australia considers fast-track visas for some refugees.
“If you look at the footage and read the stories, you hear the accounts, it’s a horrific circumstance they face,” Dutton said.
Our 'Honourable' Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton (to whom some uncharitably refer to as "Obergruppenführer"), suggested options included the "in-country persecution visa" category, and to bring them to Australia on humanitarian visas, via referrals from others in Australia.
He said the home affairs department was looking at ways to help “some of these horrific cases” and suggested an announcement could be made shortly.
The home affairs minister noted Australia has refugee, humanitarian and other visa programs which have the “potential to help some of these people”.
Back then, Dutton said this group deserved “special attention” on humanitarian grounds due to the ‘horrific circumstances’ they face at home.
He said he had asked his department to look at the options “because from what I have seen they do do need help from a civilised country like ours”.
“The people we’re talking about want to work hard, they want to contribute to a country like Australia,” Dutton said.
And just who is the group in question here? White South African farmers.
Rather than go through a litany of races, creeds, colours, country of origin etc, let's just use the collective noun "Humanity".
Humanity, no matter where from, deserves to benefit from "our boundless plains to share", not to mention our humanity .
And the bizarre case from June 2015 - more compassion (or something)
Brisbane airport officials stopped a young lady at passport control and later uncovered evidence on her phone that she intended to work as an au pair while in Australia.
Her 'eVisitor' visa was cancelled which rendered her in detention and an 'unlawful non-citizen' under Australian migration laws.
She then made a phone call to a contact - whose identity is unknown - and within a couple of hours Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton came to her rescue. With apologies to Herbert Morrison, "Oh the humanity!"
More on this story (from a UK conservative source)...
With A General Election Due In 9 Months (Or Less), We Are Confused Peter
Asylum Seeker & Refugees Hope(s)
Last Updated: 16 June 2018
Dutton’s moral twilight
Behrouz Boochani describes it as something like the obliteration of personhood. The words he uses are the “extermination of the self”. He says this is a type of erasure – that the system of detention and deprivation on Manus Island exists with “the objective of distorting your sense of self so you forget that you are human”.
Boochani wrote these words before Salim Kyawning was found dead. Kyawning was a Rohingya refugee, the 14th person to die in offshore detention. It fell to a charity to tell his family of his death. The Home Affairs office had not bothered. It put out a single line statement: “This is a matter for the PNG government.”
Australia has given up entirely on the men on Manus Island. It has no plan for them. It doesn’t care how they leave: whether they are resettled or refouled or sent home in bags. This was the suicide of a man transformed by cruelty into a non-person. He was killed by the instruments of Australia’s border protection policy.
The moral twilight of this system once asked whether it was worth saving a man from drowning to watch him die by his own hand. No longer does it bother. No longer does the government seem to care. While friends attempted to make sense of Kyawning’s death, the government leaked details of his case history to The Australian. The story ran with the headline “Mentally ill refugee ‘had violent history’ ”.
Boochani, an imprisoned writer, the voice of Manus prison, said he held special sadness for the fact Peter Dutton said nothing about Kyawning’s death. “He couldn’t even be bothered to make up a lie, as he always does. The media is also deliberately silent about this tragedy.”
Boochani asked how many people should die before Australia offered medical assistance to the men it has abandoned on Manus Island. “Salim was a father of three. A Rohingya man who escaped genocide and prosecution, endured five years of prison and illness, but lost his life to Australia’s cruel offshore processing regime. A tragic ending. Then Australia has a seat in UNHRC. Strange world we are living in.”
Perhaps nations do not have souls. If they do, Australia’s is hopelessly stained. Not just with the blood of these men, but with the indifference to it.
Australia is involved in a legal fiction over its responsibility to the people held on Manus and Nauru. It is a game of make-believe, a terrible one, in which people are dying, in which people are being tortured, have been assaulted and abused, in which childhoods have been stolen and lives taken.
Some months ago, Australia decided it was not playing any longer. It pulled down the buildings. It took back the doctors and the medication. Like a child, it got bored.
That is what killed Salim Kyawning: a country’s boredom at his fate. It will keep killing people like Kyawning until every last refugee and asylum seeker on Manus and Nauru is brought to Australia and offered the safety they deserve. That is the only end to this horror.
Then will come the inquiries, the commissions, the apologies, the dawning of a national shame. First, though, these people must be brought here.
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