:blinks: Didn’t see that one coming, I must admit :slight_smile:

Thanks Gaspode. Have to say, I uncovered a few things during this thread that I hadn’t known myself, so it was handy all round.

Woo-hoo! Iggernance retreats another step :smiley:

Based on talk-back radio (which is hardly a reliable poll) public opinion is running about 80% in favour of the Australian government’s approach. This got me worried. Then it was indicated that a significant factor in public opinion was that the refugees are Muslims. At that point I changed my mind on what should be done.

The significant play was when the Captain set off a distress flare and issued a May Day call, giving him justification to move to the nearest safe haven.(though Christmas Island doesn’t have a port, or the facilities to dock a vessel of that size). While I expect the basis was bogus, that put the ball fairly in Australia’s court.

Australia should allow the refugees to disembark on Christmas Island, handle their applications for asylum with due process, accept those who can demonstrate their status as refugees, possibly resettling some in other countries and deporting the balance, if any.

I’m sure that Indonesia has shirked it’s responsibility here, but that’s an issue to be discussed and resolved over a much longer time frame.

While the mayday may be bogus now, the situation on the ship can’t go on much longer as is. Freighters ain’t cruise ships. The Tampa is usually crewed by 27 or so, IIRC, and now it’s got 400+ on board. That’s no walk in the park.

I did read something in the paper today (Herald Sun); the Tampa’s cargo is stocked with everything from cars to machinery - and one of those huge shipping crates full of potato chips. Apparently, the crew is beginning to wonder if the eventual recipient of those potato chips would miss a few packets or not.

Except that we’re going to anyway. However, it’s not just their upkeep that we’re paying for. We’ve guaranteed Narau that we’d payfor all of that. Now we’re now paying for a military operation as well. (I’ve read somewhere that the operation alone is going to cost around $20 million, which would pay for them to stay in Australia for over a year, but I can’t find a cite. I think it was in Saturdays SMH) And possible compofor the ship owners .

One reason that they would want to come to Australia rather than Indonesia is that we recognise 80% of boat people as refugees (90% of Afgans), whereas Indonesia recognises only 14%.

And Gaspaode, PLEASE stop calling them “illegals”. By the above stats, 414 of the 460 (not 438) are legitimate refugees. Just because they haven’t yet shown themselves to be refugees according to UN standards doesn’t mean they deserve such contempt. In my opinion that’s kind of like calling a rape victim a ‘slut’ untill she’s proved that she wasn’t ‘asking for it’. True, these people haven’t gone through the channels our society preferes they did, however they’ve been through extreme circumstances which require extreme measures. whether or not you think they should settle here at least give them a bit of dignity.

This is a long way from over. My guess is that the government will lose in Federal Court [disclosure: I am a member of the one of the organisations bringing the action].

In any case, that piece of legislation that Howard tried to bring in to retrospectively and prospectively allow any action taken on the verbal authorisation of the Minister to be immune from civil and criminal liability will be a stain on the self-styled “party of freedom” for many years. He gave the opposition 40 minutes to think it over. I didn’t think it was possible for Howard to disappoint me.

Well no, I’ll continue to refer to them for what they are. They are illegal immigrants. This isn’t like calling a rape victim a slut, because their is no reason to proof that a arpe victim is a slut. There is proof that these people were attempting to illegally enter Australian waters, therefore they are illegal immigrants. The same way as the accused or the defendant in a rape trial is called that, even though he may in fact be the victim. Please, stop with the emotive analogies until you can find one that will stand up to a moments scruitiny.
BTW how do you know what circumstances these people have been through? If you have evidence of this I really think you should contact the Immigration Bureau as it will doubtless help these peoples’ cases. You do have evidence for such a claim posted in GD don’t you?

Oh thank you for a board that is actually discussing this topic intelligently. I have been on another board and the turn out was dismal.

At the beginning there was lots of good debate between the humanitarians and the meanies :grin: (I am a meany). But the minute the news came back that the SAS had not found the health problems that the captain/refugees were claiming to have all the humanitarians fled.

It’s kind of difficult to have an argument when you are the only one posting with any regularity and everyone else is agreeing with you.

So I would like to bring up the Border Protection Bill that Howard tried to get through Parliament. First let me say that the Bill was hastily drafted and did have some problems with it. I admit it. My Parlimentary process classes were also a while ago, but doesn’t the Senate have the power to send a bill back for amendment? If so, why did they not choose that option? If not, then I’ll shut up.

The unfortunate thing now is that with this Bill being rejected, the Courts are now in the curious position of not just interpreting the law, but formulating policy. Something that would not have been possible had the Bill been passed.

Anyway, this is my first post here at straightdope, hopefully I’ll be back.


Just checking some key smilies :lol: :grin: :devil: :demon: :wave:

Welcome to the SDMB LinoleumInnocence. Yes, respectful disagreement is possible here.

If this information (about amendment) is on the Parliament website, I’m yet to find it. I’ll see if I can find it in Hansard. I’m guessing there was some sort of guillotine or other urgency procedure which prevented any serious amendment process. What I can see is: the text of Border Protection Bill 2001; (Independent Tasmanian) Senator Haradine’s Proposed amendment (limiting the definition of ship in the Bill to the Tampa); and a fair number of Second Reading speeches.

What, you think they’re on a holiday? A nice cruise around the Pacific, perhaps? Since when did we abandon “innocent until proven guilty”? Labelling them “illegal” pre-judges their case. It is legal to arrive in Australia without a visa if you are a genuine refugee. However if you are found NOT to be a genuine refugee THEN you are an illegal immigrant, but not before. 80% of asylum seekers are granted refugee status in Australia. The stastic for Afgans is closer to 90% and although I’m no statastician I’m sure that this 460 is a pretty big sample which would conform to the existing numbers.

I feel that my analogy is valid. Rape victims are often denegraded and dismissed by people they know as having made ‘a big deal about nothing’ - both before and after a court has found their attacker guilty (admittedly this is getting better in our society). Rufugees have a similar experience with popular attitudes. Hell, enough refugees ARE rape victims, as well as victims of several other varieties of torture. That’s often why they decided to leave their homes in the first place. Many people think that they’re looking for an easy way in to greener pastures, hence “queue jumpers” as a popular description, however that could be rarely further from the truth.

Calling them “illegals” also invalidates their ordeals in the same way that calling a rape victim a ‘slut’ would would invalidate hers. Check out B Furgusson (1992) The Refugee Experience - Escape and Resettlement for accounts of what asyulum seekers go through. I can’t find a copy in the public domain, but it should be available from you local uni library. If you have a UNSW login and pass it’s available here. I might be able to email you a copy (it’s about 800k), but I certainly can’t post it here for copyright reasons.

The Refugee Action Comittee have also released a pamphlet that I can provide a link to:

Amnesty’s info on what’s going on in Afganistan:

big_yellow_kingswood, earlier in the thread I referenced the website of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, and I suggest you take a look around there…

The term “illegal immigrant” simply means that someone has crossed a country’s borders illegally, and that’s all it means.

Status as an illegal immigrant does not mean immediate deportation, nor does it preclude the person being able to stay in Australia under the humanitarian program as a refugee. Illegal immigrants have the chance to claim refugee status when they are interviewed by DIMA staff.

I really can’t say it any better than tavalla.

As I said, stop with the emotive analogies until you can find one that holds water.

These people are illegal immigrants. No room for debate no matter how it may offend your sensibilities.

I tend to think this issue is bigger than semantics. I had this argument with my sister who is a die hard “meanie” on this issue, whereas I am a moderate-kinda-sorta-maybe meanie on it. My sister was griping about the “pinko ABC” referring to these people as “asylum seekers” when they areillegal immigrants dammit! I actually think “asylum seekers” is the least emotive term of the lot.
The terms “refugees”, “asylum seekers”, “boat people”, and “illegal immigrants” have been used more or less interchangeably by the Australian media since this thing started. To be picky, “illegal immigrants” may not be correct as they are intending illegal immigrants, depending on whether you think the captain was coerced into entering Australian waters. Call 'em what you like, I still think semantics are given too much importance these days.

In the final analysis, the Australian government and citizens have the right to control immigration. The refugees were attempting to illegally enter the country before their ship sank and some portion of them committed piracy shortly thereafter. Realistically, if this batch gets into Australia, how long will it be before the next group shows up under the same or similar circumstances?
I am surprised that the Australian government did not allow them to land and then put them on trial for (attempted) illegal immigration and piracy and then deport them. This may be unworkable in practice but be legal and would avoid the charges of cruelty that are being levelled at the Australian government.
Finally, I’ve noticed that most of the governments accusing the Australians of being heartless have NOT extended any invitations themselves and should therefore have very little to say in the matter.

Just my two cents worth.


IMHO asylum seekers is at least as charged as “illegal immigrant”. It presupposes the people are actually seeking asylum and have something to seek asylum from. If they are simply economic opportunists this is not true.

The next batch is garaunteed to show up within 8 weeks if current trends cnontinue. What this action just might achieve is to prevent a growth of the industry, but I don’t think anyone would be foolish enough to think it will stop it.

As for putting the illegals on trial, that’s completely impractical for so many reasons, not least of which is that once they declare refugee staus they can’t be tried until that is settled, which can take up to five years. After that amount of time in custody there’s no way they’d be sentenced to more time. The crew of the boat however have been charged, faced the magistrate and remanded in custody.

Why is there so much focus in 400 odd refugees instead of the tens of thousand people living in this country by overstaying their visa? The actual illegal immigrants is it because the majority of them are anglo-european?

The Australian Marines made the original call to the norway vessel to assist the boat in distress where were they ment to go?

Don’t newspapers and television news have any laws which they must answer to about report misinformation? Because the press releases about this situation among thousands of others are completely varied how do you form these opinions with out looking at all possible areas in which this may effect?

Does everyone not see that elections are coming up and they are hoping that people will be quick to judge and not really think through the consequences?

Thanks for the info on the procedures for dealing with these situations. I suspected that idea of mine wouldn’t work, but didn’t know exactly why. It is too obvious not to have been thought of by the government down there.

I believe that charity and compassion for those less fortunate are great things, but neither of them can, or should be, extracted through coersion. The situation with the refugees seems to be an attempt to do that.

Anyway, at the end of the day, it seems that the majority of the Australians don’t want them. That being the case, why should they be forced to take them or put up with a lot of righteous indignation from others who also don’t want them?



Yes we do have many people overstay their visas. But these refugees were not refused entry because of their nationality. Australia, by and large, isn’t a racist nation. You will find we are the second most generous nation in terms of throwing open our doors to refugees. But we have received boat load after boat load of illegal immigrants. In the last month or so we have received 1500. This situation was unusual in many respects. Enough so that John Howard felt justified on taking a stand.

Yes we did. The refugees were in trouble and the Tampa could help out.

I’m not sure what you are saying here. Are you saying that newspapers have lied? I have read various different reports in a variety of papers, mainly Australian but some overseas ones as well.

Perhaps you are thinking of the conflicting laws in this case. Who has responsibility in this area. The law in this area is grey enough that all the countries involved might have had some responsibility. But the issues are so murky that even Justice Tony North who is listening to a court case on this issue is undecided as to the law. By the way has anyone heard if the ruling has come down yet?

Yes elections are coming up. And John Howard would be a political idiot if he didn’t capitalise on the situation. Would his position have been the same had it not been an election year? I think so.


Quote: Yes we do have many people overstay their visas. But these refugees were not refused entry because of their nationality. Australia, by and large, isn’t a racist nation. You will find we are the second most generous nation in terms of throwing open our doors to refugees. But we have received boat load after boat load of illegal immigrants. In the last month or so we have received 1500. This situation was unusual in many respects. Enough so that John Howard felt justified on taking a stand.

Second most generous nation?
We are ranked 13th in the world in funds sent to the international refugee organisations

and according to the World Refugee Survey to top countries housing refugees are:

Country Refugees
Iran 1,835,000 1:36
Jordan 1,518,000 1:3
Pakistan 1,217,000 1:120
Gaza Strip 798,400 1:2
United States 638,000 1:427
West Bank 569,700 1:3

Not to mention the 100,000 that entered Germany and the 70,000 that entered the UK. And while Australia on paper say they will allow a certain amount in, the actual amount of refugees that enter australia are really insignificant compared to the amount of coverage it recieves.
They where not refused based on nationality?
All refugee places allocated each year by the government are separated by nationality, so they allow only so many of certain nations to apply for refugee statis. And the differing allowances for nations is not based on pure numbers such as Country X has 1,000,000 refugees therefore they are allocated 50% of our placements, And Country Y has 500,000 and there for recieve 25% no matter what their race or religion.

Not a racist Nation?
Are you sure you live in the same Australia I do? I have to say that while I understand that there are other countries that may hold very racist views this does not mean that the level that exists in our country is by any means exceptable. People like to call ua a “multicultural society” but forget to realise that while a lot of countries are represented in australia they are not all equally represented as 94% of our population is still made up of anglo europeans.

I would like to know some of the reasons that could be used to not let refugees into a country?

Sorry per capita. Canada is the first and then Australia. Plus you need to check the wording of the survey. We are at the bottom of the list on some polls because it refers to the number of refugees allowed across our borders. Well Australia is an island continent, you generally don’t have many people crossing our borders in the traditional sense.

I thought in your original post you were referring to a hatred of Afghans as a racist reason for denying them entry. They were refused because they attempted to enter illigally. They will be sent to the end of the UN line and when their turn comes up they are welcome to come here.

Does lack of diversity mean that countries are racist? Australia is multicultural. You sling off the term anglo-european and in doing so are chucking together a whole pile of different races that aren’t the same thing. I don’t think that the Greek, Lebanese, Italians etc would be pleased to know that they are all the same.

Obviously Irish/English heritage makes up the bulk of Australians today, but we have influences from many other countries here.

When I say, by and large Australia isn’t a racist nation, I mean we don’t oppress people on the basis of their race like South Africa did and America used to do. And then again, our past isn’t all that spick and span either. But today, I don’t feel our nation is largely racist.

Hmmmm. That could take a while. But you will have to modify your question. I have NO problems with refugees. I HAVE got a problem with illegal ones. Ooops my lunchbreak is over. I will try and post the rest of this tonight. But as a short form answer:

  1. I believe that other countries had a responsibility for the refugees before Australia did.
  2. Letting them into Australia would have sent the signal that we are a soft touch and would have done nothing to halt the steam.
  3. They were queue jumpers. Legitimate refugees wait for years in other countries before being able to come to Australia
  4. These people were not poor. It is estimated that it costs $10,000 to get someone to smuggle you from Indonesia to Australia (I will look for where I got that figure from)
  5. They burned their identification. They would have needed ID to get through other countries to Indonesia. Why suddenly burn it now?
  6. If they were legitimate refugees, the first friendly country would have done, not one that is half way around the world.
  7. Related to the above Afghanistan is land locked. They had to have crossed other countries to get to Indonesia. Other countries - Germany - have a law that if the refugees come from a country that doesn’t oppress their human rights then they have no reponsibility for them.
  8. These people weren’t concerned with their health or the heath of their faimilies. Otherwise they would not have put themeselves on a ricketty boat that was obviously not seaworthy, because it sank.

More later



Did I miss something? Can’t recall seeing that on CNN.

[sub]BTW, welcome to the boards officeslave and LinoleumInnocence. If the link on TheLoadedDog’s OP you’ll find the Kiwi/Aussie chapter of the SDMB.[/sub]:slight_smile: