End the mandatory detention of asylum seekers

Advance Australia Fair?   (c) Anita Morris 2013

Advance Australia Fair?
(c) Anita Morris 2013

Australian politics 101
Aussies skip this section.
Australia has two major parties. The Australian Labor Party which used to be the Leftist party but is now right of centre. Traditionally associated with the Unions. The Liberal Party is the conservative party, started on the right and is now on the far right.

Mandatory detention of asylum seekers
For the last 15-20 years, Australia has been locking up asylum seekers, who arrive by boats, for in indefinite periods. The Liberal Party started it but the Labor Party didn’t stop it. The UN has found Australia in breach of 150 instances at the international tribunal.

The Liberal party is in office on a promise to stop the boats.  Boats have been towed out of Australian territorial waters, and into Indonesian territorial waters which pissed off the Indonesians and demoralised the Navy. One of the boats sunk in Indonesian waters before it reached Indonesia and is under investigation by Indonesia. (The other thing that had the Indonesians angry was that Australia was caught spying on key members of their parliament and the president’s wife) Now the Liberals are attempting complete censorship with mixed success. Mostly because the asylum seekers are on Manus Island, part of Papua New Guinea, Nauru and Christmas Island. Only Christmas Island is an Australian dependency. A man in detention died on Manus Island in suspicious circumstances. Tony Abbott, our current Liberal Prime Minster, promised a full investigation but it stopped the moment PNG said such investigation was unwanted.

Australia doesn’t help run or take refugees from UN refugee camps. The only refugees we are currently accepting are those who arrive by plane. 93% of asylum seekers arriving by boat are found to be genuine refugees, compared to under 40% who arrive by plane.

Malcom Fraser was a Liberal Prime Minster 1975-1983 and accepted over a quarter of a million Vietnamese refugees over eight years. He is a vocal opponent of the current policy.

Personally I believe we should be processing asylum seekers as quickly as possible. They could be productive members of Australian society but the length of detention is giving them mental illnesses. Australia has two other problems I believe these refugees can solve. One we have an ageing population and not enough new people are entering the workforce to support those that are retiring. Two the populations of our rural towns are shrinking, as young people leave for the big cities for either better jobs or tertiary education. Settle these genuine refugees in these towns  and give them a five year visa that requires them to stay there. After that period they should automatically become permanent residents.

Australia’s National Anthem is Advance Australia Fair.

Lyrics because even most Aussies don’t know the words.

Verse 1
Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history’s page, let every stage
Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

Girt by the way means surrounded.

Verse 2
Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

Most of it is Colonial Bullshit. The original five verse version was worse. But I want to draw your attention to two lines we are not living up to:
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share;

I’d like to think Australia are generous enough to embody the sentiment behind those words. Hence the question “Advance Australia Fair?”


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