Citizen Journalism

Archive for the ‘Refugees’ Category

Abbott-v-truth on ‘illegals’

In Federal Election, Refugees on April 24, 2013 at 8:14 AM

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By Tony Yegles

April 24, 2013

Leigh Sales won a Walkley Award for her interview with Mr Abbott on the 730 Report in August 2012. Part of this interview dealt with the issue of using the term “illegal” when referring to asylum seekers. Below is a quick reminder.

LEIGH SALES: Why have you referred repeatedly to illegal asylum boats coming to Australia? Do you accept that that’s illegal and that seeking asylum by any means is legal?

TONY ABBOTT: Most of the people who are coming to Australia by boat have passed through several countries on the way and if they simply wanted asylum they could have claimed that in any of the countries through which they’d passed.

LEIGH SALES: But I don’t believe that it’s actually illegal to pass through countries on your way to somewhere where you want to have asylum.

TONY ABBOTT: You try turning up in America without documents, without a visa, without a passport; you’ll be treated as very, very much illegal, Leigh. The other point I make, from recollection at least, is that the very term that the Government has officially used to describe these vessels is “suspected illegal entry vessel”.

LEIGH SALES: Do you – I’m asking you though, not about the Government. I’m asking: do you accept that it’s legal to come to Australia to seek asylum by any means – boat, plane – that it is actually legal to seek asylum?

TONY ABBOTT: I think that people should come to Australia through the front door, not through the back door. If people want a migration outcome, they should go through the migration channels.

LEIGH SALES: That’s an answer to the question if I asked you: how do you think people should seek asylum?, it’s not an answer to the question: is it legal to seek asylum?

Jon Faine also took Mr Abbott on about illegals in August last year, when the alternative PM conceded the point, but stuck to his script anyway.

Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that:

All people have a fundamental human right to seek asylum from persecution.

Leigh Sales not only won a Walkley Award but she was also cleared of bias in that interview by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Yet Mr Abbott keep using the term, and in Perth on April 24 he joined his custom’s spokesman Michael Keenan to put it on a billboard Read the rest of this entry »

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Abbott’s fear and loathing advertising for his ‘trust me’ election campaign

In Federal Election, Immigration, Margo Kingston, Refugees on April 23, 2013 at 11:11 PM

Is this the road Tony Abbott has chosen to travel to get voters to trust him?

Blast from past: Lindsay leaflet scandal in 2007

Lindsay leaflet scandal

Lindsay leaflet scandal

And now…

Bendigo and Eden Monaro pamphlet

Bendigo Advertiser 27/28 February 2013

Bendigo Advertiser 27/28 February 2013

y5saze

Bendigo Advertiser 27/28 February 2013

Western Sydney letter-box drop

Source: Liberal Party of Australia, Facebook Page

Source: Liberal Party of Australia, Facebook Page

(Luke Mansillo deconstruction
Liberal Party misinformation targets low educated anti-migrant Labor Party identifiers in Western Sydney)

Western Australia billboard

Mr Abbott & Mr Keenan - April 22 2013

Mr Abbott & Mr Keenan – April 22 2013

Please send us your nominations for Tony’s ‘trust me with your fear’ advertising.

Update 1:

Federal Election 2010

Liberal Party Ad says: Real Action Immigration. Stop Illegals now. The Liberals

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Morrison’s brick wall on how he’ll stop the boats

In Federal Election, Peter Clarke, Refugees on March 28, 2013 at 8:57 PM
Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison

By Peter Clarke
March 26, 2013

Yesterday, we published a detailed de-construction of an interview between the ABC 730’s Leigh Sales and Prime Minister Julia Gillard. It was a critique of Sales for what we opined were her inadequate interview techniques in that specific context and of Julia Gillard for her blatant refusal to answer questions and her use of media training 101 avoidance techniques to manipulate media interviews. Neither came out of that encounter with much credit, least of all the PM.

Here in the comments section and on Twitter the responses have been vigorous and varied. A very worthwhile discussion is still flowing online.

As always, partisan passions appear to animate many people’s perceptions, judgments and opinions. A very few observers were able to bring a sense of disinterested appraisal to bear that rose above merely backing sides.

This is not about being a cheer squad for one of the political parties over another. That’s way too easy really. This is about effective, ethical journalism. And (look away now if you must) THE TRUTH. I know, I know, THE TRUTH is a highly contested idea and many would argue it barely exists, certainly within journalism as widely practised, but it is still a guiding ideal to aim for in some reasonable form.

Any other suggestions? Post-modernists, come on down!

We celebrate and critique journalistic practitioners using a range of measures and factors, depending on each case we examine. We critique politicians who, out of one side of their mouths, extol the notion of a ‘free press’ in the abstract, especially within a parliamentary political debate such as around media reform, and then, in their daily political encounters with legitimate questioning, seem to do their best to hobble and intimidate journalists and avoid the tough enquiries of that free press as they fulfill their democratic, fourth estate roles and functions.

Mind you, they and their media minders keep the avalanche of media releases, leaks and duchessing of favoured scribes flowing and rejoice if slabs of their propaganda appear in print, come out of broadcaster’s mouths or get picked up as talking points or assumptions during interviews by journalists too time pressed and/or lazy to do their own original research.

A free press? Sure thing.

Or even worse, as Tony Abbott has done and continues to do, avoid forensic interviews almost entirely. What does an outlet such as the ABC do then?  Media entities are institutions within the media-saturated democratic ecology too. The ABC, historically and today, holds a special and vital place in our system despite its flaws and the many and growing pressures upon it. Both sides of politics despise it more than love or even respect it.

The commercial sector is just as vital. The strong advocacy (often overtly, corporately self-serving) character of much of News Limited’s contemporary journalism, recently most stridently around media reform, is a major blot on the journalistic landscape. Read the rest of this entry »

Roaring at the man drilling tattoos into my sensitivities

In Nancy Cato, Refugees on March 5, 2013 at 4:24 PM
Survivors of Unthrown Children - 2001

Survivor Family of Unthrown Children – 2001

By Nancy Cato
March 3, 2013

At my usual early hour on a sunny Melbourne Saturday, I pushed back the covers along with the urge to go back to sleep and wondered why I felt discomforted.

I’m a happy soul, usually.

And then I remembered; the images of Scott Morrison’s many interviews the day before on his pea-sized understanding of the asylum seeker debate were drilling tattoos onto my sensitivities.

Before I had much chance to let my brain catch up to my outstretched hand. I’d sent out this message via Twitter for all to see:

Your words @ScottMorrisonMP have punctured my skin, entered my bloodstream & sadly for you, boosted my adrenaline levels. #fightnotflight

 I stand by them.

Mother Nature knew what she was doing when she equipped us with the instinct to take flight or stand and fight when sensing danger. The animals of the wild also know it well, and you Mr Scott Morrison have turned me into a wild Mother Lion today. A very wild one.

You see, Mr Morrison, I have two tiny granddaughters. They’re innocent, loved and free and I want them to remain that way, at least while I’m around to tear anything to pieces that would destroy their rights or foul the very air they breathe.

That’s just what you’re threatening to do, Mr Morrison. Do you realise that? Do you have the faintest idea of the impact your words have the minute they settle somewhere, anywhere?

No?

Of course you don’t. You’re far too busy stirring your inner crucible aren’t you. Let’s take a look in it shall we? I hesitate, but see it for what it is we must.

Ugh.

It’s bile. It’s slimy and deep. Look, I can see the ingredients that refuse to integrate: superiority, affluence, ambition, greed, power and opportunism. And what’s that down at the bottom? Ah yes. Hatred, all fine-tuned to the latest recipe of racist thought your alignments dictate.

Can you see what your words turn into, the minute they leave your mouth and mix with the hot air you’ve summoned around you Mr Morrison?

No? I’ll tell you.

They become as blowflies. Each one blowing in the wind to settle and leave its new hatching to poison and rot the environment we love and care about.

Oh yes, I’m a Mother Lion today but not just for my grandchildren. I’m roaring in rage for all the children who hope to grow up in this beautiful country of ours, free from the despicable discrimination that you wish to impose on their thought. And I’ll tear into you as much as you deserve – albeit just with my words.

You do not seem to understand, Mr Morrison, that it’s far too late for you to pretend that this society of ours is pristine white and problem free. Like it or not we already are a Multicultural Society with skins ranging from black through red and yellow to white. Read the rest of this entry »

Refugees tell @latingle how they would change our policy and practice

In Immigration, Jane Cattermole, Refugees on March 5, 2013 at 2:13 PM

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By Jane Cattermole
March 5, 2013

I recently attended the Perth Writer’s Festival and heard heard refugees tell their own stories and describe the mistrust and bitterness they felt from some Australians. Laura Tingle moderated the forum on ‘Refugees: Where do they come from?’ and the panel was:

Robin de Crespigny, Author of The People Smuggler and winner of the 25th Human Rights Award for Literature

Kooshyar Karimi, Refugee, Author of I Confess: Revelations in Exile and General Practitioner

Carina Hoang, Refugee, Author of Boat People: Personal Stories from the Vietnamese Exodus and a Special Representative of Australia for UNHCR

Robin’s book tells the true story of Ali Al Jenabi, who fled Saddam Hussain’s torture chambers and became a people smuggler to get his family to safety. He became known as the Oskar Schindler of Asia.

Kooshyar’s story began in the post-revolutionary bloodshed of the Iran-Iraq war. He practised medicine and helped desperate women and girls who had been raped terminate their resulting pregnancies. He was kidnapped and tortured over 65 days and then had to spy on his own people or be slowly tortured to death. He smuggled his wife and children out of Iran into Turkey where he hid for more than a year before the UNHCR granted him refugee status. He now lives in Sydney and works as a GP near Newcastle.

Carina was the eldest of seven children living in Saigon during the Vietnam war. After four years living under communist rule and not knowing the whereabouts of her father, Carina, still a teenager, set out for a new life with her younger brother and sister. They had seven gruelling days at sea, ran out of food and saw people die, were attacked by pirates and tossed around by violent storms. They landed in Indonesia and taken by authorities to an uninhabited island where they lived for a year. Carina was finally granted refugee status and lived in America before settling in Australia with her husband and daughter.

As you can imagine their stories of persecution, war, torture and escape were harrowing, but I will focus on their responses to these questions from Laura:

We have a federal election coming up. If there was one thing you could get changed about refugee policy in Australia what would it be? Would it just be increasing the humanitarian intake? Also there are questions about processing and all that sort of stuff, or would it be onshore versus offshore. What would be the one thing, that if a politician was actually going to be brave in this debate, what would you like to see them do?

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Read the rest of this entry »

Please let us stay

In Immigration, Refugees on March 3, 2013 at 7:30 PM
Artist Martin Davies.  www.daviesart.com

Artist Martin Davies. http://www.daviesart.com

By Ursula Nolks
March 4, 2013

EDITORS NOTE: Thorsten, son of Ursula and Frank Nolks, rang me yesterday about the impending deportation of his parents on Wednesday after more than 30 years in Australia. Their lives changed course when Thorsten wanted to get married in 2008, because it was discovered his parents had changed their last name after arriving in Australia on a tourist visa. Tell your story and I will run it, I said. Ursula got to work and here is her account, followed by extracts from Ursula’s and Frank’s 2011 letter to the immigration minister. The family’s Senator, Trish Crossin, wrote to the minister on their behalf, and I’m hoping she will send it to me to post here.

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In 2008, Thorsten, Frank and myself were interviewed by two immigration department officers from Canberra in the Darwin office. Our then case manager Dale Astbury forwarded it direct to the Minister for Immigration for ministerial intervention. We were also told by Dale that ‘deportation was never an option’.

But when a new case manager was appointed to us it all changed. We were made to start from scratch, and we were told that we had to get a valid visa or be deported.

We were advised by a Migration Agent to apply for a tourist visa, which will be denied but would give us the stepping ground for a ministerial intervention. After paying for tourists visas, then applying to the Migration Tribunal for a hearing, paying nearly $2500, our Tourist Visas were denied. From then on we were just given the runaround all the way to today.

Our last hope was help from our Senator Trish Crossin, and she sent a letter to Minister Chris Bowen on 3 August 2012. After we received a copy of the Senators letter we discovered that she was informed from the Darwin immigration department that we have alleged links with a motor cycle gang:

‘In relation to integration Mr and Mrs Nolks have successfully owned and operated a business in the Darwin community for 17 years. This enabled them to sponsor a number of community-based groups and participate in a Rotary Club, and have therefore evidence of being part of and contributing the community. This effort is fairly substantial and I believe has been largely overlooked.

‘The alleged links with a motor cycle gang have not been detailed nor investigated or actioned by the police or relevant authorities. It is my view that unless this is proven, this may well be hearsay and should not be a reason to refuse their request to stay in this country.’

In the last three years my husband developed a heart condition, and had to go to Adelaide for a heart surgery as there are no facilities here in Darwin. His condition has not improved, and this stress is certainly not helping.

In our last meeting with the department on February 20 we were informed we had to ring Werner Braun (Third Secretary) Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, and if we do not comply we may have to be detained and may be send to a detention centre.

Our concern is that after more than 30 years living in Australia and calling Australia our home, returning would be like starting with nothing with no family. We have one son. He lives in Australia and if something happens to my husband I have my son to turn to.

We are hoping to be able to stay in this country and to see our golden years in the country we love and call home. Going back would mean never to see our son or our granddaughter again. We believe in Family and keeping families together, not separating. Read the rest of this entry »

The new terrorists

In Margo Kingston, Refugees on March 3, 2013 at 1:36 PM
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Image by Webdiary artist Martin Davies

By Margo Kingston
November 22, 2001
Source: Webdiary

EDITORS NOTE: I was going to write a piece about Morrison’s play this week to trap Gillard in Western Sydney with his asylum seeker ambush when I realised I already had, more than a decade ago. Looks like Abbott is copying his political father’s playbook to win the 2001 election.

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Reading Frank Devine’s column in Monday’s Australian, it hit me that the vicious cycle of demonisation of “the other” had reached its illogical conclusion.

There was not a skerrick of a suggestion that terrorists were among the boat people until after September 11. Suddenly, without evidence, the link was made – by Peter Reith, Phillip Ruddock and by John Howard in the last week of the campaign. The reactionary right jumped on board immediately, repeating the claim, embellishing it, and refusing to interrogate what it meant – an implicit admission that our security checks were not up to scratch. You’d expect an upgrading of security, wouldn’t you? None was announced. And what difference would processing the boat people offshore make to the danger – most assessed as refugees and cleared by security would come here anyway? None of these questions were asked. None of them mattered.

The fear of terrorism was all too real after September 11. Naturally. Yet, from what we know to date, the terrorists entered the United States by air, with fake or real passports. They had the money to do the job without putting themselves in danger. We also know that there are more than 60,000 overstayers in Australia – people who have also broken the rules. Surely, if fear of terrorist infiltration was real, the fear would focus on our airports and the security we use to weed out fake documents. And surely it would settle on the rule-breakers already in our midst. A boat person is subject to serious, intensive security checks, so logically is much LESS likely to be a terrorist after jumping those hurdles.

But logic has no place in this debate. It feeds on itself – so much so that Howard happily released the video which proved his government had lied about its proof that children had been thrown overboard two days before the election, and busily filled our television screens and radio airwaves with his defence. In truth, truth has become irrelevant. The emotions fuelled by Howard’s campaign, and his tactics of complete identification with people’s fears, are visceral. Exposure of untruth cemented support for the misrepresenters.

Logic is unwanted. The use of it merely reminds its users of the irrelevance of their discourse. Beazley’s pleas to the public that terrorists were far more likely to arrive in suits and carrying impeccable documentation at airports than on leaky boats, his last-minute protests that it was unnecessary to lie and demonise to prove the case for border protection, had zero impact.

And so we come to Frank Devine and his condemnation of the increased Greens vote at the election due to voters “in prosperous parts of Melbourne and Sydney”.

“Prosperity has much to recommend it, as do Melbourne and Sydney. However, it is from unthreatened urban enclaves that primal Greens come, combining sanctimonious tree worship with ruthlessness.”

“The Greens are also somewhat unusual in having an organised activist wing, Greenpeace, as well as a political one. Is it going too far to make comparisons with Sinn Fein and the IRA? No further than I’m prepared to go.”

You see what he’s done through imagery? There are terrorists on board the boats. Some people have supported the party which supports the terrorists on the boats. Those voters are terrorists. We are the terrorists within. It’s a line of “thought” echoing the link made between anti-globalisation protesters and the September 11 terrorists by his daughter in the Herald a week before.

The rhetorical devices used by such columnists is simple. Set up a straw man, `the other”, speak from the position of the right-thinking, normal reader, just like the writer, and tear the straw man down. It’s emotive polemic. It eschews reason at the same time as it purports to represent reason. Read the rest of this entry »

Laura Tingle reveals why some policies don’t get covered any more

In Jane Cattermole, MSM, Refugees on February 23, 2013 at 9:00 PM
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Laura Tingle

By Jane Cattermole
February 23, 2013

On Friday I attended a forum at the Perth Writers Festival titled Refugees; where do they come from. The speakers were Robin de Crespigny, author of  ‘The People Smuggler’, Kooshyar Karimi, refugee and author of ‘I Confess: Revelations in Exile’ and Carina Hoang, author of ‘Boat People: Personal Stories from the Vietnamese Exodus’. The forum was convened by Laura Tingle from the Australian Financial Review. After the presentations and discussion there was time for a couple of questions. Here’s one asked of Laura, and her reply.
Question:
Don’t you feel that the media has a much greater responsibility to act rather than to simply mouth what is the party line? You’re in a privileged position where you can speak with a far greater volume than most of us, so I would like to ask you, why doesn’t that happen? Who’s stopping you from speaking out? Why won’t more journalists have the courage of our convictions?

Laura Tingle answer:
image

Right!

This is a complex question which I’m trying to answer very seriously and successfully, and we’ll also be having a discussion about media tomorrow.

A few things have happened. One of them is the way the political debate in Australia is reported has changed dramatically over the last ten or fifteen years in particular. We used to have people who wrote about immigration and refugees and asylum seeker policy. We used to have people who were health policy experts.

I work in Canberra and this is what I can tell you about best. The change in the economics of the media and the change in the way the media works means that we no longer have specialists in those areas anymore. Now that sounds like a really small thing but it means that when a story is reported it’s reported by generalist reporters.

In Canberra we’re political reporters and we tend to report it, and I’m using the Royal We here. I’ll take responsibility for the sins that are mine and that aren’t. We report it as a political story, as a matter of political controversy. There aren’t people in the key offices of the newspapers who would have written really detailed, well informed pieces backgrounding these issues, but that’s a sweeping generalisation. The guy who won the Gold Walkley in December was Steve Penros from The West Australian and he wrote about the Christmas Island tragedy – but it is now a rare thing that it happens.

Now the Financial Review, which isn’t your mainstream Refugee policy paper I fairly concede, but we actually had a period, and this shows you how these things happen, where there are a whole heap of issues which the editor, the previous editor, there were a range of issues that business was just not interested in.

Refugees was certainly one of them. Climate change was another, and we literally couldn’t get them into the paper. That extended to immigration generally, which was I thought was, well, a bit stupid because, you know, it’s the labour market. Read the rest of this entry »