Kudos, Labor . . .

30 07 2008

Tampa Refugees (Safdar Ali Hussaini)

. . . for winding down the mandatory detention of asylum seekers:

SYDNEY, Australia — Australia is ending its policy of automatic detention for asylum seekers who arrive in the country without visas, the government said Tuesday.Detention in immigration centers will be used only as a last resort and for the shortest possible time, Immigration Minister Chris Evans said as he announced the policy change in a speech at Australian National University in the capital, Canberra.

Children and adults who are not considered a security risk will no longer be held, Mr. Evans said. The presumption will be that they will remain in the country while their status is resolved, he said. In addition, the cases of adults who are detained will be reviewed every three months.

Previously, illegal immigrants who reached the Australian mainland were immediately sent to detention centers while the government sifted through their claims for asylum, a process that could take years. (New York Times)

The Howard Government’s refugee policy, and worse than that, the enthusiastic support it received from many Australians, absolutely floored me when it reared its hideous head in the early 2000s. Hansonism in the hands of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party was a fad, and its public face very soon became a laughing-stock and an embarrassment. But, as many a Letters to the Editor page in the early years of this decade would attest, people were at best, indifferent, at worst seemed delighted about brown people from distant lands suffering physically and psychologically in desert camps. The issue galvanised my left-libertarian politics, to the consternation of many of my friends whose email inboxes I would regularly spam with articles condemning the practice. (How Web 1.0!) Read the rest of this entry »


22 02 2008

Take a vat of whine, add a heaped tablespoon of chutzpah, and you have the perfect recipe for an RWA on the losing side of an argument. 3 cases in point: Read the rest of this entry »

Same sex civil unions: A dialogue between Nicola Roxon and Robert McLelland

7 02 2008

Then . . .

[Nicola Roxon:] The Howard Government’s announcement that they will overturn the ACT Civil Unions Act is a slap in the face to the voters of the ACT and same sex couples. [. . .] Other than pure arrogance, there is no reason for federal intervention in this case.

Now . . .

[Robert McLelland:] We think a civil unions register along the lines of Tasmania is appropriate[. . . .] The ceremonial aspects of the ACT model were inappropriate.

Federal Labor wants to remove a section of the ACT Government’s Civil Partnership Bill that allows gay couples to celebrate their union in public (the horror!). Why this is so, apart from pure arrogance and sheer bigotry, is an absolute mystery.

(Could it be the ugly side of Faith in Politics?)

Now that’s what I’m talking about!

27 12 2007

As readers of my older blog will know, here in Japan I have severely restricted access to the cricket, owing to the fact that the ABC live stream is not available to overseas listeners. (In any case, I don’t have access to the internet at my desk.) When I checked the Boxing Day Test scores last night, things were looking . . . well . . . ominous–and even worse this morning when the Australians had been bundled out for a one-day total. But it seems things haven’t gone India’s way, either. As of 5.35pm local time, they’ve been dismissed for a paltry 196, and the Aussies are back in the middle. And here I am, reduced to “watching” the proceedings on Cricinfo’s live scorecard. No Harsha and Kerry show for me. Oh, well.

Ninglun informs us that the PM made an appearance on the ABC commentary today. Howard did something similar during the Ashes last year, as I recall: I remember him defending his opposition in the 70s and 80s to sporting boycotts and economic sanctions against the South African apartheid regime.


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