I who may well be...

Musings from the perspective of a human being who may well be not locatable completely within the usual categories of male or female or gay or straight or transsexual or intersexed or exploiter or exploited or supplier or consumer or performer or spectator.

Monday, May 01, 2006

refugee export industry

This the email I sent out to my local Federal MP and every Federal Senator last week. Underneath it is the first response.

norrie on refugee export industry

Under the proposed excisment of the whole of Australia from our migration zone, children will be forced to grow up in detention. Behind razor wire. For no crime. For no humane reason. And for the profit of the company or third world junta running it.

Our whole immigration policy is shameful. It does not meet the minimum standards of what I would consider to be Australian values, which most definitely do not involve turning a deaf ear to a cry for help, or sending out the bloody troops to lock up orphan refugees far out of sight. Please don't let it become even worse, hiding refugee atrocities on some island where we ordinary folk can't get to to help them at all.

Howard keeps calling us a Christian country, but this is not about bashing gays (on which Jesus did not say a word anyone thought worth putting in the Bible) but it is about aiding the stranger. This is also a sound secular value for a healthy society. I'm not asking that Johnny goes as far religion-wise as never bearing false witness, but at least he should let Australia be a Good Samaritan.

Thanks for your attention, and peace be with you.


Reply from Senator Ursula Stephens

Dear norrie,
Thank you for email expressing your concerns about the federal government's changes to Australia's refugee policy.

I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments - there is no fairness or equity in the proposed changes, which are designed to placate the Indonesian Government because of our appropriate action towards the West Papuan refugees.

Australia's refugee policy should stand up to the scrutiny of the United Nations conventions - these changes make our nation's policy fall far short of them.

You are absolutely right about the use of children as political pawns in this process. Their rights, and Australia's obligations are enshrined in the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child.

the fact that the Australian government has deliberately placed new refugees and asylum seekers (who arrive by boat) in offshore detention will deny them access to the Refugee Review Tribunal, legal advice and legal representation. It will also prevent the Federal Ombudsman from reviewing offshore cases of long term detention.

What does it say about a nation that enjoys the highest living standards in the world that we are prepared to avoid our international responsibilities for humanitarian aid, asylum and refuge to the poorest of the poor, the dispossessed and the oppressed? There is something very wrong about a nation that has everything denying anything to others - on a technicality.

As you have asked, I will continue to express my opposition to these changes,

thank you again for sharing your concerns,

Ursula Stephens
Labor Senator for NSW
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Water & Science
P.O. Box 1112
Tel: 02 48228155 Fax: 02 48228156 1300 301987
Visit www.ursulastephens.com to subscribe to my e-news.


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