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Old 09-01-2001, 09:15 PM   #1
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Illegal Immigrants and John Howard Response

For anyone who is not aware, over the last week there has been a very heated debate happening in Australia involving a Norwegian shipping vessel that is carrying around 450 refugees that is lying, now, within Australian waters, here is the story.....

Most of the immigrants are from the Middle East, with the majority of them being from Afganistan, most of these immigrants found their way to Indonesian and it is here that it is assumed that so called 'people smugglers', would have ensured that they were placed onto a boat that would have ultimately allowed them to come to Australia, this however is illegal and these refugees would not have been given any assurances taht they would be granted entry into Australia. Most illegal immigrants make it to Australia in appaling conditions, on boats that are over crowded, disease ridden and poorly made boats. The refugees who are at the centre of what has been happening in the last week, were on their way to Australia from Indonesia in a boat that was poorly made and thus it started sinking, whilst calling out an SOS, the Norwegian ship that was close by, on the recommendation of Australian authorites came to the rescue of the people and picked them up, with the captain believing that he was going to drop these people off at Christmas Island, which is an Australian island and was close by. The Australian government, led by the most useless PM that we have ever had, John Howard, sternly warned the captain not to enter Australian waters and if he did action would be taken, John Howard believes that the immigrants should return to Indonesia as this is where they came from and the boat they were initially travelling in was Indonesian, however the Indonesian government flatly refused entry to these people, so for the last week this ship has been mored in the distance off Australian waters, waiting to learn what is going to happen to these people.

Now the reason why our PM has had such a firm stance on this issue is for many reasons, even though he has denied that this has had any relevance in his decision making, everyone knows that there is an election this year, so politics will be politics.... in the past months illegal immigrants and boat people and the fighting that has broken out at detention centres has been in the news a lot and it would appear that a lot of average Australians are annoyed at the volume of illegal people entering our country, so John Howard is trying to win over the conservative population, but really in my opinion he has shown to the world how conservative, and insensitive Australia is, I am sure the cattle leaving the country or wanting to come here has been treated better.

I do not have any answers to these questions however I do know that there will always be illegal immigrants wanting to come to countries, we have to remember that people are people, they have hearts and souls, and I know that I am very fortunate to have been born in Australia, but what if I had not????, what then, what if I am persecuted in my home country.....Australia is a huge country, we can house many, human rights are very important and in the last week our PM has once again confirmed my disgust in him, a PM who cant say sorry, will never acknowledge the importance of Australia being a republic and breaking ties with the monarchy and now as a country that is insensitive when it comes to refugees, grow up Mr Howard and stop trying to manouvere evry occurance for political gains........
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Old 09-02-2001, 12:04 AM   #2
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I am at least grateful they have decided not to dump them in East Timor- i still cant believe they considered that...

Its been causing brawls in university cafes all week
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Old 09-02-2001, 03:25 AM   #3
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First of all, people running away out of
Afganistan are not immigrants but refugees.

Did i read it good, first the Australian goverment ask the captain to save the boat
people and than Australia said, fuck off not
in this country ? not good for the future. Next time, ships will not come for the rescue.

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Old 09-02-2001, 05:55 AM   #4
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Wait a minute,

I thought the captain wanted to bring them to the nearest harbour (Indonesia) but the refugees went on hunger-strike an forced the captain to bring them to Christmas-Island!
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Old 09-02-2001, 07:53 AM   #5
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All this 'fact' will depend on which media reports you read.

Just so you know Dr T, its also been reported that Australia was their intended destination, as we have a pretty good track record for taking in refugees.

From what we can gather though, the boat was on its merry way taking its precious cargo, when it ran into trouble, the Norwegian vessel came to their assistance and is now caught up in the mees while the governemnts of Australia, Indonesia, Norway, Afghan and now New Zealand argue over what is best to do.

The thing that shits me the most about this is, as we have many times in the past, taken in these illegal immigrants, and as they are floating around Christmas Island, it is suddenly our problem. They have broken so many laws, yet we are supposed to turn a blind eye and let them in because they are suffering on the boat, and have escaped horrendous conditions of their previous countries. Now that we stop, everyone feels its time to bring up our distrous record with human rights issues. Eg, Aboriginal Australians.

We have detention centres filled to max capacity already. The inmmates of these kick up a stink and riot because they say the food is substandard, they are living in ex army barracks, they feel their rights as human beings is violated. etc etc etc. Correct me if im wrong, but isnt the food issue a bit moot? It surely is better than what they obviously had or didnt have before. The barracks were suitable for our army, why not them? Do they expect the Ritz Carlton? Perhaps a room at the Casino? They say they are treated as criminals and arent allowed to roam free. Again, correct me if im wrong, but criminals they are. No one can simply enter a country without going through the proper channels.

I would love to take in every stray dog and cat I see, but can't for obvious reasons. It is the same for our governemt with illegal boat people. We DO NOT have the resources or funding to house these people, to assist them with employment, get their English skills up to speed so they can function effectively on their own as people living in this country dictates. Its a burden we cannot keep shouldering by letting them all in. This is only such a huge issue because we wont accept resonsibility for them where we have so many times in the past. And to be flamed for it is wrong. You say Oz A that we have a vast country, we have the room and all that. But the truth is we dont. Australia is fast becoming land banked. As a coastal nation, we are pretty much living in all the areas we can inhibit and to move people out into desert living is something our economy simply cant support.

I cant quote this but I have heard we take about 18,000 immigrants a year through the legal channels. And that about 15,000 of these are from the UK. That isnt many. There are many reasons for that, but the main one I'm sure being we simply cannot just open the flood gates and let them in. I believe that we should allow as many migrants as possible in, we are a diverse and multiculural nation. But we have to have limits, or quotas. I do also feel great pity for them, I am lucky to have been born here. But I am sick of Australia been branded as we have been simply because we have taken a stance on this. This is also an insult to all those who have waited patiently for for years legal access to this country.

We aren't cold hearted, and we aren't a racist nation simply because we have decided to turn away a group of asylum seekers. What they have done is illegal, and to argue that they have come from poor conditions and are suffering on the boat doesn't wash. They are only suffering because they are now refusinfg to eat. I feel more for the kids that they have brought. They should add child neglect to the list of wrongs.

Asylum seekers wishing entry to any country have avenues to get them in. Why because they are on a decrepit boat and are now basically stranded to we wave that and give them a pass into here or any country? We could let them stay, so could any of the other nearby countries (such as NZ, whom are now considering it) but what will that lead to? You failed to mention the second boat behind this one Oz. What will become of them as well I wonder.

I think you will also find Oz that it isn't just the conservatives that are not happy about this. Remember Lil Johnny only came to power again because of the coalitions he formed, not because of his GST, or his abilities by his own right. But thats another argument for another day.
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Old 09-02-2001, 08:28 PM   #6
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Like I said Angela I dont have any solutions to this problem, I do acknowledge the fact that Australia can not take in all the illegal boat peoples that infiltrate our waters, and the detention centres issue, is something that I do not know enough about to comment on, what I am disgusted about with the whole Tampa affair is the way that it has been played out. The way that the government has handled this situation, it does not look favourably to the rest of the world, it displays Australia as a country that is cold hearted, human rights are important and whilst I do not have any immediate solutions, I believe that this situation could have been handled with a lot more dignity by the government and I do believe that John Howard has once again used a situation to exercise his own political gains, in what is supposed to be a federal election year, I just hope that there are enough Australians out there who feel as I do and who are even more determined to see him not return to being our PM at the next election.............

I do however think that there needs to be either within Australia or maybe within the countries of the UN a summit or discussion on the roles of sovreignty and what is to be done about illegal immigrants and refugees, remember Australia is not the only country that is infiltrated by such peoples, Sth and central Americans going into Nth America and Africans that go into Europe, how do these nations deal with such issues, Australia is not alone in this issue and there does need to be something done, but the way that the Tampa issue unfolded is not the way to solve these problems.......
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Old 09-03-2001, 04:17 AM   #7
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I think we wont have to worry so much Oz. If the GST didnt stuff up his chances for re-election, Tampa sure did.

In retrospect, I think the reason I was so mad abut this Tampa thing was because of the way it was handled, the ensuing shit fight with Australian officials meant we had to back peddle to save face. It would have made me mad to think we had to let them in after all simply to appease the rest of the world and avoid the tag we seem to have recieved anyway. Its a sad issue, but like Brettig pointed out, its had a suitable resolution.


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Old 09-03-2001, 05:21 AM   #8
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I don't know any statistics on this, so I feel a little inadequate to talk on it. What I've heard is (and I don't wish to perpetuate rumours) that these refugees have been paying to stay on the ships, I've heard people say that because of this, these refugees are in fact rich? Another remark I've heard is that they brought it on themselves for trying to come to Oz, and now New Zealand, through the back door i.e. if they had set out as refugees, they should've seen all this trouble coming in the first place. To me, that sounds like a harsh view. However, I'm still undecided about the right course of action to take.

But when I ask myself the question, "where else can these people go to?" I find myself wanting Oz/NZ to let them in.

neither here nor there,
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Old 09-03-2001, 08:43 PM   #9
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Angela Harlem, if I may, I would like to know what your thoughts were on the Australian/aboriginies incident a while back, and your thoughts on them now. One of my best friends is Australian and seems to have some 'strong feelings' on the subject, though I've never understood why.

I have always found the Australian atttitude towards aboriginies as rather strange, perhaps you could help me out?

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Old 09-04-2001, 09:00 AM   #10
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Ant, Sorry for the delay in replying. I dont have the time it will take to get an answer down now as its really late and I have to sleep, but I'll write back soon.

I'd love to know what your thoughts are too, from a non Australian point of view.

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Old 09-04-2001, 02:57 PM   #11
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What should i say. I only have angry thoughts
about this kind of topics. I think everyone has the right to look for a better future. We, in the western world, are rich enough to support the poor. We are happy to buy cheap
clothing, sneakers, furniture and even destroy forrest for our gardenchair.But when
people try to escape from theyre missery of bad workingconditions and low wages we close our borders. Even for refugees from country`s
like afganistan are not welcome. It is a fucking disgrace. And then we are complaining about the afganistan gouverment because they shooting up a budha statue.

Well, here you are. I am angry


Ehh, it is not personal.


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Old 09-04-2001, 08:18 PM   #12
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I agree with all the arguments here, except I think one major point was skipped by the international media, which is important...
Australia is NOT saying no to refugees. Australia takes in the 2nd largest amount (per capita) of refugees in the world (behind Canada) and will continue to do so. Thousands and thousands a year. The problem is that recently there have been alot of cases of these boats coming over from SE Asia, which are really dodgy. There are huge people smuggling rackets organised to get them here, and often they are not 'genuine' political refugees, but economic refugees running from debt etc.
For example, this boatload went from Afgan. to Indonesia where they hooked up with one of these organised groups. These groups promise (for a HUGE amount, ie US$10000 per person) a boat, plus guaranteed access into Australia. This of course is all bullshit. They get crammed in tiny run down fishing boats, that often do not make the journey, then dumped off on the 'top left' corner of Australia, the desert, where they have to be taken into camps. They however are under the belief that everything is going to be sweet when they get here. Meanwhile some fat Indonesian guy is laughing all the way to the bank. The Oz government believes that this latest one made the leader of this group a multi-millionare.

Australia's stand is NOT against refugees coming here, the door is still wide open, but an attempt to try and break these smuggling rings. It's a really big problem here and it is really unfair on the people who are suckered into it as well.

So in that sense I support the government 100%. However, I was pissed that they left them on the boat in the sun for a week, and the way they handled it in general. Pretty shitty.

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