Should we follow Scott Morrison’s example? Is it time to use Freedom of Speech as a precursor for a new model of Border Protection? Could we identify those who set out to destroy a peaceful society and create fear, dread and terror and boot them out?
There are a few constants that have been dragged up time and time again by the Abbott-Turnbull Government and two of these are Freedom of Speech and Border protection. The Liberals really want these two bills endorsed but there is opposition to block them.
However, should we grant unrestricted Freedom of Speech? Border Force could then identify, threatening speech and behaviour which creates, fear, dread and terror for many Australians and act on this quickly.
However, unrestricted Freedom of Speech does not mean freedom from consequence. If another human being or group inflicts emotional trauma, stigma, fear, dread and terror onto individuals or groups, they should be seen as violent individuals who are a threat to society.
Asylum Seekers are held up as the universal threat to society. This underpins the harsh, punitive asylum seeker laws, the LNP champion to all of us, including the new proposed life time ban on asylum seekers who arrived by boat.
The Coalition have implied that Asylum Seekers are a threat to society as they are a burden on the taxpayer (Dutton) and Turnbull indirectly states that Asylum Seekers are a threat, due to the people who bring them here.
You should not underestimate the scale of the threat. These people smugglers are the worst criminals imaginable. (Turnbull, 30/10/2016)
Therefore, in the spirit of fairness and equity, if this logic is applied to asylum seekers coming by boat, then it stands to reason that we protect our borders from others who are a threat to our society and boot them out, never to be let back in again.
Let’s look to Scott Morrison as an example of how this works.
In 2014, Scott Morrison (then Minister for Border Protection) used his ‘power and authority’ to protect our borders. He threw someone out of the country who he determined was a threat to Australia.
This person was not an Asylum Seeker with brown skin, but a wealthy, white, “female attraction expert” or (Misogynicus Piggius). After a very active social media campaign, Scott Morrison cancelled the visa of Julien Blanc. Scott Morrison kicked Julien Blanc out of the country.
Mr. Morrison said of the cancellation of Blanc’s visa as:
“This guy wasn’t pushing forward political ideas, he was putting a view that was derogatory to women and that’s just something that our values abhor in this country,” he told Sky News.
Morrison acted on Julien Blanc because what he advocates is very harmful to women. If implemented by his male followers, we would see the physical and sexual harrassment of women in society, escalate. In a nutshell this is a threat to individuals, groups and society.
The Minister for Border Protection used his discretion to identify Blanc as a threat. This paves the way for the same discretion to be applied to identify other individuals or groups who are a threat to our way of life.
This is why it is important to follow Scott Morrison’s lead.
The Turnbull Government and the One Nation Party create fear, panic and dread for so many people in society. They do this through their freedom of speech to announce harmful cuts, stigmatising rhetoric and the purposeful division of society (Taxed and Taxed Nots, Homeless vs Refugees etc). One Nation encourages mass protests against segments of society, through alignment by choice with right wing Nationalists groups as well as their divisive and stigmatising rhetoric.
As per the example of Morrison above, these words and behaviours have the ability to incite violence towards individuals and groups. They are pushing a view that is derogatory to segments of society; and to align to Morrison’s quote – “and that’s just something that our values abhor in this country.”
The Liberal and National Party politicians and One Nation Senators would be identified as a threat to society, if Morrison took the same logic and the same discretion and applied it to them. The perceived threats and the reasons they should be booted out of the country, are listed below.
The ABCC will increase worker deaths, workers will face massive fines and also jail time, for stopping work, due to a safety breech in the workplace. Destroying Rights at Work and purposesly implementing measures that will increase worker deaths is a direct threat to the lives of the Working Class.
The LNP identify as a threat to the Worker. Protect our Borders. Boot them Out!
The Turnbull Government are abolishing the Year 7 Whooping Cough Booster when there has been an increase in whooping cough deaths. This puts, babies, young children, teenagers and the elderly at a high risk of death and/or serious illness. Destroying imperative control measures for deadly diseases is a callous abomination and a threat to all of society.
The LNP identify as a threat to the Vulnerable. Protect our Borders. Boot them Out!
For putting forward a bill with even more disgusting and abhorrent punitive measures than the measures that jobseekers already have to face, including zero benefits for an entire month. Also for the Turnbull Government’s utter failure to create enough jobs to stimulate the economy and give the people a decent quality of life. In addition to giving job agencies the power to apply financial punishment to people in abject poverty – even if they are in hospital.
For imposing financial penalties for not finding jobs that do not exist; is sick, twisted and callous. These types of measures place the lives of young people in jeopardy and they face increased risk of suicide and homelessness. To have the intent of destroying the lives of the vulnerable is an absolute threat to all unemployed people now and in the future.
Another tactic to attack and dehuminise those on welfare, is to make up ludicrous mendacious claims about how much more money those on welfare get compared to ‘hard working Australians.’
In addition, the cashless welfare card is now proposed to be implemented Australia wide.
The LNP identify as a threat to the unemployed. Protect our Borders. Boot them Out!
The insistance of a plebiscite has not been a civil debate so far
I would like to make special mention of George Christensen, who has young people living in fear in his own community because of his hateful rhetoric towards LGBTIQ people.
and also a special mention of Member for Mallee and Nationals MP, Andrew Broad, who equates marriage equality to rams having sex in a paddock.
The LNP identify as a threat to the LGBTIQ Community. Protect our Borders. Boot them Out!
Attacks on First Nation People
For reducing 150 indigenous programs to just five. Cutting essential funding for legal services and the National Shame that is the Don Dale correctional facility and incarceration laws in some states and the absolute failure to ‘close the gap.’ Including defunding valuable programs for young people, such as the Jimmy Little Foundation.
The LNP identify as a threat to Australia’s First People. Protect our Borders. Boot them Out!
Attacks on People with a Disability
By damaging the framework of the NDIS. So many people in dire need of assistance under the NDIS, championed it’s inception. However, we have now seen changes to payments and a letter detailing changes to the board. These changes indicate that those on the board with essential lived experience of disability, will now be replaced with those with Corporate experience.
The Abbott-Turnbull Government is also hell bent on inflicting punitive measures on people with a disability. Pushing them off the pension and onto the punitive framework of Newstart. As detailed above, a stay in hospital is not a valid excuse for the overseas employment giant Max employment. They will still apply a financial penalty. This is a type of insane power and authority. This enables companies who work for the shareholders, rather than those who serve the public, to impose onto an already disadvantaged individual, a financial strain, when they are already finding it difficult to make ends meet.
In addition, the narrative used by the Liberal party when discussing welfare and disabilty, is ableist and degrading.
The LNP identify as a threat to people with a disability. Protect our Borders. Boot them Out!
It is essential that this group is included. Asylum Seekers and anyone deemed as foreign (ie Muslims) have been used by the right side of politics for years now as a plaything in the game of spoiling identity.
The harmful rhetoric championed by Tony Abbott backed by his 1,000 flags and now adopted by our apprently ‘moderate’ Prime Minister Turnbull and inflamed to the Nth degree by Pauline Hanson and her merry band of devoted Nationalists, white supremiscists and Neo-Nazi’s; is one of the biggest threats to our society as a whole.
Due to this constant stigmatising and demonising rhetoric, individuals are verbally and physically abused. Some women have lost their freedom due to fear to go out in public.
This sickness. This irrational fear of people for no reason is alarming. Pauline Hanson and One Nation are central to inciting this divisiveness hatred and fear.
On Saturday, this was not just opinion or analysis, but a reality.
A Busload of Reclaim Australia and Pauline Hanson supporters bussed into Eltham.
They travelled especially to stand up against people in a community, about an issue that does not affect them, because they do not even live there.
They waved Australian Flags. They hid their faces by wrapping their head in a flag.
Riot Police were called in to stand guard – an indicator of the level of threat.
They rallied against refugee advocates. These advocates expressed their views peacefully and showed their support for refugees with Butterflies.
The LNP, One Nation Party and Nationalist support groups identify as a threat to Refugees and anyone who goes against their beliefs. When we see those with intolerant views bussed into a peaceful community. When we see them displaying behaviours which cause others fear, dread and terror; the ‘them versus us’ debate has gone way, way, way too far.
This article explains why Hansonism could rise from a minority status to a majority status – with Turnbull’s help.
It is time for Australians to decide what Patriotism means. Patriotism has become strongly embedded in the political psyche. It is time to determine who defines Patriotism. The politicians or us?
Political populism is a strategy used by politicians to appeal to the masses. Politicians do this by targeting a common fear to appeal to the masses and unite them behind the leader.
Populist politicians use this to unite the lower class and the elites through shared fears. These fears are usually quietly contained fears not openly spoken about, and it is the job of the populist politician to draw these fears to the surface. This transforms the quietly contained fear into openly expressed raw emotion.
This is the point when the Populist Politician holds all the Aces.
The reason Asylum Seekers and Muslims are used as targets within the rhetoric, is the fear of anything foreign is a natural psychological reaction. The beauty that politicians see in this strategy is that it brings together all classes – elite and poor, to unite over a common fear.
This explains why the rejection of foreigners/Muslims is more important amongst Hansonites than jobs, education, health and welfare.
To demonstrate, I will cut and paste a comment I received the other day about Pauline Hanson’s support for cuts to welfare:
I am not amused by some comments on here obviously i am a Pauline supporter and for one sick and tired of being called a racist because of my concerns for our country ..welfare cuts .. so be it ..better than paying thousands to a muslim man with a few wives and heaps of kids which they will keep on having to get the muslim numbers up in Australia (Forum User)
Forum User is expressing that he is happy with six billion dollars of welfare cuts because it is more important to prevent a Muslim man who has (in forum-user’s mind) a few wives and kids, accessing welfare; than it is to be angry at the Government for placing the disadvantaged into deeper poverty.
Forum User views his stance as patriotic, as Pauline Hanson reinforces this message.
When this misunderstood form of Patriotism, championed by populist politicians feeds into harming everyday Australians and pushing minorities down even further; who should define Patriotism? The Politicians or Us?
(Note: – the racist comment was generalised, no one had called him a racist on that forum)
The success of this can be explained because there is a deep-seated need within humans psychologically to belong. Social Identity Theory describes this as in-group and out-group behaviour and is the biggest underpinning factor for the ‘Them versus Us’ attitude.
The populist politician uses the symbolic interactionism of words “Illegal immigrants” and symbols “multiple Australian flags” to draw the quiet and unexplained harboured fear to the surface, turn them into raw emotion and to set apart the groups.
This has negative consequences on democracy for the reason it pushes minority groups down further and further until they may be regarded as non-human altogether. Individuals within these shunned groups are classified in the minds of the masses as ‘other’ with an irrevocable spoiled identity.
This is where the fallacy of the Patriotic Approach enters the debate. To remain vigilant and to protect the ‘In-Group’ anything outside of the ingrained beliefs or threatens the In-Group is deemed ‘unpatriotic.’
The debate by Liberal politicians for years now (strongly commencing with John Howard) has been built on Argumentum ad Populum. That is, appealing to the emotions of the multitude, rather than drawing on authentic leadership to build a strong argument.
Argumentum ad Populum cuts across two underlying constructs – Pathos – the use of language to appeal to emotions. Usually emotions which are harboured and need to be drawn to the surface.
For example, using the term ‘Illegal immigrant’ instead of ‘refugee’ or ‘asylum seeker’ implies that there is a criminal aspect attached to that person. Criminals are people we are generally afraid of.
The Pathos used to discredit and create the outgroup, are the terms unpatriotic and ‘lefties.’ This places anyone considered to have a social conscience (aka a left-wing individual) as unpatriotic. The politician reinforces this divide.
— Pauline Hanson (@PaulineHansonOz) October 30, 2016
This use of this language legitimises the harboured fear and draws it to the surface as it creates the common enemy – unpatriotic lefties.
The other construct is the Argumentum Ad Hominem – or the personal attack.
The use of Pathos by populist politicians reinforcing over and over that their believers are Patriots, strengthens this belief. This also is an antecedent to enable the use of Argumentum Ad Hominem as it used to protect the In-Group from the mendacious traitors within the Out-Group who cannot be believed because they are unpatriotic.
Anyone who sides with the ‘Targets’ (Asylum Seekers or Muslims) is labelled unpatriotic and is in the ‘Out-Group’ and shunned along with the targets.
When the Prime Minister announced that, “No asylum seekers who tried to come to Australia by boat, even those found to be refugees, can ever enter the country“, many reeled in shock and horror.
However, One Nation Party Leader, Pauline Hanson rejoiced; proudly proclaiming on Twitter the Prime Minister was following her lead.
— Pauline Hanson (@PaulineHansonOz) October 30, 2016
Many are reeling in horror, as they see this as a complete disconnect from the politician Turnbull has portrayed himself to be for many years.
Along with others, I came to the conclusion that Turnbull had morphed into Abbott and has now morphed into Pauline Hanson. I referred to this as watching a bad Dr. Who regeneration. However, upon reflection I along with others, was very, very wrong.
Turnbull is not morphing into Abbott or Hanson. He is channelling John Howard.
John Howard is the most prolific popoulist politician of our time. He pushed political populism to a new level. With the threat of Hanson’s movement in the early 2000’s becoming prominent this became a threat to the Howard Government.
Political populism seeks to fill a gap and motivate people to believe they have real agency to ‘beat the system.’ Third party populist politicans are successful when the gap is perceived to have widened between the promises of the Government to provide security and quality of life and their (failing) practical solutions.
When a third party populists instill in believers that they can beat the system; this means their target is the Government. This is now a direct threat to the Turnbull Government.
Although Hanson is smiling and cheering as if she is the alternative-Prime Minister; she is foolish if she is smiling now.
When the threat of a populist third party is a threat to the Government, the Government needs to become the system which embraces those who aim to defeat it.
John Howard’s success in defeating Hanson was to incorporate her demands into his policies.
In response, (to the threat of Hanson) John Howard recast policies on Aboriginal affairs, multiculturalism, immigration, social welfare and Australian nationalism to match more closely those advocated by Hanson (Wear, 2008)
When the Hansonites in the early 2000’s set out to destroy the ‘system,’ Howard’s response was to become the system that was accommodating and embracing, so that system was no longer deemed a threat.
Turnbull is channelling Howard by adopting Hanson’s policies to transform the system of Government into one that is no longer a threat to the growing movement of Hansonites.
This will require a very ugly Prime Minister who will lead a very ugly Government.
In addition, Howard wedged the opposition on populist policies. Author Thomas Keneally famously nicknamed John Howard “The Wedge-Meister.”
Howard wedged the opposition on issues such as Freedom of Speech (Turnbull tick!), Border Protection (Turnbull tick!) and the need for Muslim immigrants to assimilate (Turnbull tick!)
Howard used ‘Australian values’ to ‘wedge’ Labor in an attempt to draw major support to his leadership. Essentially, Howard was trying to wedge Labor as ‘unpatriotic and a member of the ‘Out-Group.’
It is very clear why Turnbull has ramped up the rhetoric with “No Asylum seekers who come by boat will ever come to Australia in their lifetime” and has openly challenged Labor to support the bill. Turnbull is not only channelling Howard by adopting One Nation’s policies, but also vying for the title of “Wedge-Meister.”
If Labor do not support this bill, Turnbull will paint Shorten as ‘unpatriotic, unAustralian, a threat to our borders and security and a threat to Australia.’ It will be the biggest attempt to shove the Labor opposition leader in the “unpatriotic out-group” we have seen to date. Turnbull will then have free reign to dismiss Shorten using the Patriotic Approach discussed above (non-patriots cannot be believed because they are not patriots).
The challenge for leadership from the opposition to break this, is this type of successful political populist behaviour results in a very strengthened and cohesive cognitive culture amongst the group of faithful believers. If the Government keeps adopting Hanson’s policies and becomes the system that is no longer a threat and gains popularity; this creates a major dilemma for how the Labor opposition responds to this.
Although this could mean Turnbull may be remembered as Australia’s most hateful and divisive Prime Minister; what matters now is Shorten has a huge responsibility to respond effectively. He will need to challenge every nationalist policy Turnbull adopts of Hanson’s and he will need to be shrewd when combatting wedge politics.
True leaders would not turn to populist mechanisms to stoke, stir up and inflame that natural fear. They would use honest, open and authentic leadership to allay these fears.
For Australia to combat nationalism, as the Labor leader, Shorten needs to be an absolute stand out Authentic Leader. It will be Shorten’s challenge to find the gap in the ‘newly transformed Turnbull Government’. He will need to advocate strongly on the one thing that the Hanson/Christensen/Turnbull Government fails to deliver on, that will give the masses agency, security, salvation and hope.
There is a challenge also to us as a people. A very serious challenge.
If populist policians are defining patriotism, as something one stands for, even if it it means harming our nation through divisive, destructive and stigmatising policies and rhetoric; who should define Patriotism? The politicians or Us?
Our challenge is to redefine Patriotism. Patriotism for Australians should always be underpinned by ‘The Fair Go.’ We need to stand up strongly together and reject anything that does not align with the Fair Go and shout this down as unpatriotic behaviour.
It is time we redefined Patriotism and took back our country.
Paul Keating was so right about Malcolm Turnbull, wasn’t he? “A bit like a big red bunger on cracker night. You light him up, there’s a bit of a fizz but then nothing, nothing”
After all the glasses-twirling hype and the selfie-induced-train-hopping; nothing is exactly what we are getting from an undemocratically elected, Liberal Party appointed Prime Minister who is quickly learning that he can’t please the people and his party. However, he has clearly chosen who he aims to please. Malcolm Turnbull has clearly chosen to please the conservative right wing of his party and not the people of Australia and certainly not our children!
In his interview on 3AW with Neil Mitchell, Turnbull described Labor’s commitment to fund Gonski as, “Reckless.” Malcolm Turnbull believes that the fair and equitable education of ALL little Australians is “Reckless.” Malcolm Turnbull believes that investing in our children, the very people who will shape this country for our future, is ‘Reckless.”
Malcolm Turnbull believes that your child does not deserve a fair go!
Any leader who undermines the very essence of our shared Australian value of – “The Fair Go” is reckless. It is reckless toward us as individuals and it is reckless toward us as a collective. Turnbull’s rejection of Gonski funding is not just reckless, it is irresponsible and regressive.
To play on a phrase Julia Gillard famously used….If Malcolm Turnbull wants to know what Reckless looks like, he just needs a mirror. That’s what he needs.
The Abbott-Turnbull Govt has been the most reckless Government of my lifetime. That is why we need to talk about the:
Education changes people’s lives. The Gonski Reforms are an opportunity for fairness and equality in education. It is an opportunity to provide equal access to pathways of future success for all of our children. The Gonski reforms will pull some sectors of our society out of generational disadvantage. The Gonski reforms enable our country to be competitive and improving our economy. Giving a Gonski is giving our children, your children, a chance to be competitive in the jobs of the future. Committing to Gonski could mean enabling the pathway for a future Prime Minister. Refusing to commit to Gonski is keeping the door shut to a Prime Minister that could have been.
The Prime Minister of Australia willingly choosing to uphold disadvantage over fairness and equality for all is beyond reckless, it is downright destructive.
This little gem drummed up by the ‘let’s stigmatise poor people’ rabble of the Abbott-Turnbull Government, decided that in the era of high unemployment created by decisions by their own party, that young people who could not find a job are not entitled to social security payments. Deciding that young unemployed people should have no money for basics such as food, clothing, shelter, hygiene products or medicine is very reckless indeed. (Labor, Greens and some cross-benchers opposed this and a new policy is in progress for jobseekers to starve for one month instead.)
I’m just going to leave this here because I’d rather watch Jason Clare explain how reckless Turnbull has been with the NBN, rather than write about it.
Wasting millions and millions and millions of dollars on a political witch hunt, presided over by a judge with a history that spans decades of very close ties to the Liberal Party of Australia, is one of the most reckless acts against the working class this country has ever seen. The reckless attack on workers to bring back a reckless star chamber style ABCC is abhorrent. No Mother or Father ever wants the young man in this video to be his or her child! Shame. Shame. Shame.
The cuts to health and the continuous push towards a user pays system are reckless to the extreme. The situation the Abbott-Turnbull Government is pushing for, is where your wealth decides whether you are in pain, undiagnosed with a serious or terminal illness, or possibly even die. This type of class division of access to health will lead to a broken country. No human life is less valuable than another life based on the amount of money someone has in the bank.
Both John Howard in 2005 and Tony Abbott in 2014 said that the Liberal Government was the best friend the workers have ever had. Pretending to be a friend to the worker, is not just reckless, it is deceitful. A Government who makes it easier to employ foreign workers instead of Australian workers is not a best friend to the worker. A Government who does that is made up of a pack of self-righteous, out of touch lazy gits and by taking a generous wage, are the real leaners on society. MP’s are not elected by the people to do backroom deals to push Australians out of work. How reckless is it to make changes to employment rules that result in Australians being replaced with foreign workers and then laugh about it. Really? How reckless is that to everything the people in this country value?
The push from the Abbott- Turnbull Government to make life more difficult for families by cutting family payments and attacking penalty rates is indeed reckless. Some parents rely on weekend shift work to help the family get through the week. Sometimes this is the only work mum or dad can get to work in with their primary duty of caring for children. To attack the penalty rates of some of the poorest people in the country in conjunction with cuts to family payments and abolishing the School Kids Bonus is yet another step closer to the Abbott-Turnbull led class divide trotted out by the Liberals and Nationals time and time again. Class divide is indeed one of the most reckless things a Government can do.
The approach and treatment of Asylum Seekers under the Abbott-Turnbull regime is abhorrent, shameful, disgusting and damaging. The Abbott-Turnbull Government’s commitment to the secrecy provisions of their policy is beyond reckless. I do not believe a word exists for how damaging this extreme practice is. The treatment of Asylum Seekers is in the name of all Australians, not just in the Government’s name. Concerned citizens and advocacy groups have the right to investigate the treatment of people seeking asylum in our name. Asylum seekers have the absolute right to advocacy, medical treatment and legal representation. The cloak and dagger approach has only lasted so long. As reported yesterday, Border Force admitted that at least 23 boats have been turned back and this is a regular occurrence. To say the boats have stopped is a bald-faced lie. With the Government casting its invisibility cloak over people seeking asylum, the public have no idea if people are still drowning or the number of deaths at sea. As Harry Potter Fans will appreciate, the Government has the invisibility cloak and with Dutton’s face as the stone and Turnbull’s twirling glasses as the wand, the Government really could be the Masters of Death.
The Cashless Welfare card is the symbolic mechanism that brings the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s agenda of stigmatisation of the poor to life. This draconian, punitive measure ensures that those who are unemployed are branded as such at the checkout. The Government harps on about how they understand innovation, but then deny the unemployed the ability to purchase cheap goods off buy and sell sites on Facebook and at the local market. The cashless welfare card denies an unemployed mother the ability to give their school child that $3.00 in an envelope for the school excursion they just remembered about that morning. Income management only serves to degrade the unemployed as incompetent and not able to manage their own meagre budgets. It is a punitive and degrading measure, which takes away the liberty and freedom of those who are on welfare. Income management increases barriers to employment for jobseekers and that is indeed reckless to the individual and to our society as a whole.
One of the roles of the Prime Minister and Government is to provide leadership of tough issues. This often means doing what is right for minority groups, regardless of popular opinion. I was deeply perturbed at the very vocal Abbott-esque backflip by Turnbull in question time on Thursday. The new Malcolm appears not only to be reckless, but now completely unhinged.
Terri Butler: Given it is clear that members of the Prime Minister’s own party will not respect the $160 million plebiscite on marriage equality; will the Prime Minister immediately allow the free vote that he used to argue for on the private member’s bill that is currently before the parliament?
Malcolm Turnbull: I am not sure what it is about the honourable member’s approach to democracy that she so despises the views of the people that sent her here.
Parliament did not conduct a plebiscite to determine if we should or should not have sexual harassment laws introduced. They did not conduct a plebiscite to pass the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, contrary to what the popular belief at the time would have been. The Government of the day saw legal entrenched discrimination and had the guts to redress it.
By standing by a plebiscite, Malcolm Turnbull is valuing the opinion of bigots and homophobes who have recently photoshopped rainbow nooses around a woman’s neck in an anti-marriage equality advertisement. That is not valuing democracy. That is upholding bigotry and allowing bigots to have a voice against those they seek to oppress. As leaders, the Government has a moral obligation to view this debate from a legal standpoint of discrimination based on the choice of sexual preference and redress this discrimination immediately.
It is reckless for a Government to deny people who love each other the right to marry, based on their sexual preference.
If Malcolm Turnbull wants to know what reckless really is, here are just ten of the many reckless things the Abbott-Turnbull Government has done in the short space of two years and four months. Investing in Gonski is not reckless, it is responsible and visionary, two things the current Government lacks. To fight this Government’s recklessness, remember always to put the Liberal/National or LNP last on your ballot paper and Give a Gonski today.
Below is the video of Bill Shorten’s address at the Labor Conference, regarding Asylum Seeker and immigration policies. Key points from the address are listed below:
*Video sourced from Bill Shorten’s Facebook page.
This is a letter sent to Senator Macdonald through the GetUp! Campaign to encourage Senators to vote against the proposed changes to the Migration Act, including the deportation of Asylum Seekers with a 50% risk of facing harm, torture or death. Please follow this link and write to your Senator.
Dear Senator Macdonald
I am extremely concerned with Scott Morrison’s latest announcements of deporting asylum seekers based on the notion of a 50% or less chance of torture or serious harm. I have particular concerns about women and children seeking asylum. The specifics concerning gender specific torture or harm are never discussed or exposed, in a debate about asylum seekers which is generally silent. The following is an excerpt from a letter I sent to the Prime Minister and Minister for Women in December 2013. I hope the following influences your decision to vote against Scott Morrison’s proposal to return asylum seekers to the risk of harm, torture and death.
In a journal article published in the journal of Refugee studies, “Marginal Women, Marginal Rights: Impediments to Gender-Based Persecution Claims by Asylum-seeking Women in Australia”, McPherson et. al (2011) have identified two barriers to women’s claims of Gender Based Persecution: Emergence Barriers, and Assessment Barriers. Emergence Barriers speak to the factors impeding articulation of a claim. Although the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship has responded to the authors of this journal article, the following were not addressed:
Women applicants should systematically be interviewed separately from their spouse and should be allocated a female case officer, interviewer and interpreter.
Case officers should receive training and advice, from appropriately qualified staff working in the women’s violence services or refugee trauma support services, to help them understand the psychological effects of trauma, and its links to non-disclosure.
Every negative decision should be independently reviewed by a second officer or panel. Applicants should be systematically informed, from the outset, that asylum requests may be based on claims of GBP.
This article also highlights that:
“The bases upon which clients of our interviewees made asylum claims included sex slavery, rape, sexual abuse and attack, fear of honour killings, female genital mutilation, domestic abuse, emotional abuse, one-child policies, discrimination due to sexual orientation or feminist political activism, children being under threat, general religious restrictions on women, sexual harassment, denial of education, forced marriages, slavery, trafficking, and imprisonment” (p. 331)
It is my concern that this Government’s hard-line stance on Asylum Seekers and ‘turning back the boats’ has become instrumental in ensuring that the reasons women seek asylum remain silent, through the absence of leadership highlighting the atrocities asylum seekers are fleeing from, particularly women. It is also my concern that this Government’s hardline stance and popularity on the issue, has become instrumental to the increase in expressions of hatred and vilification of asylum seekers, particularly noticeable across social media forums.
Once again, this Government’s leadership highlighting reasons women flee asylum is absent and your Government makes no move to challenge this growing discourse. This only serves to further oppress and harm women, fleeing abhorrent levels of violence which ordinary citizens in Australia could never imagine. It can be summed up by this quote:
“Before atrocities are recognized as such, they are authoritatively regarded as either too extraordinary to be believable or too ordinary to be atrocious. If the events are socially considered unusual, the fact that they happened is denied in specific instances; if they are regarded as usual, the fact that they are violating is denied: if it’s happening, it’s not so bad, and if it’s really bad, it isn’t happening (MacKinnon 2006: 3, cited in McPherson, et. al, 2011).
The Hon Judi Moylan MP states in her article “Desperation, Displacement and Detention: Australia’s Treatment of Asylum Seekers Past and Present” Prison Service Journal (2013) that:
“It is axiomatic that tough deterrent policies have not stopped boat arrivals and it is unlikely that any civilised jurisdiction can invoke penalties so harsh, that they stop people escaping unimaginable brutalities. Managing the human dimensions of refugees fleeing war and civil unrest will require a return to regional processing, including ‘effective protections’ and a commitment to resettlement by participating host countries as indicated by UNHCR”
It is my concern that there is a plethora of research which highlights that this Government and the former Government’s stance on off shore processing, only seeks to place those seeking asylum, particularly women seeking asylum under more hardship and harm and as the Government’s policies encourage this.
Senator McDonald, considering the above information, I implore you to vote against Scott Morrison’s proposed changes to deport asylum seekers within the proposed changes to the Migration Act.
Well its the holidays Liberal & National Voters all around our wonderful country of Australia. Get your Champers cracking because this week (just in time for Christmas Cheer) you have achieved…
Cutting funding to critical programs that support good and decent people and programs in our communities. The federal government has cut billions of dollars from programs ranging from the environment to health and indigenous legal aid READ MORE HERE
Disrespecting the voice of our Indigenous People (again) ‘What Tony Abbott is proposing to do is slash funding to a body of elected indigenous representatives while spending $1 million to establish a hand-picked Ministerial Advisory Committee in its place (Shayne Nuemann) READ MORE HERE
”The new government has shown that they do not support real decision making for our families and communities through a national representative body chosen by our Peoples, for our Peoples.” (Kirstie Parker and Les Malezer)
Hitting the most vulnerable where it hurts I know the Liberal Party tell you that they believe “In a just and humane society, where those who cannot provide for themselves can live in dignity” (Federal Platform of the Liberal Party) this also means giving these people your precious Liberal Voting Tax Payer dollars – ie MONEY, not just your pity. READ MORE HERE
“I am very concerned that this approach people will see people facing a significantly increased risk of poverty as they are dumped people onto the lower Newstart Allowance. Reducing and restricting access to the DSP is about saving money, not getting people into work.” (Senator Rachel Siewert, The Greens)
Really, what better gift can you give those who have lost their homes? With Australia’s bushfire and cyclone season looming, the Federal Government has announced an inquiry into national disaster funding arrangements. READ MORE HERE
Senator Cameron, who lives in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, which suffered a big bushfire in October, has accused the Federal Government of short-changing residents affected by the fires there (Looks like he is right….)
Destroying Hope for the most vulnerable in our society Now, after the election, Mr Hockey is saying all cuts are on the table, including the NDIS.” READ MORE HERE
“Forty-five per cent of Australians with a disability live in poverty. We need the NDIS to change those things and the last thing we want to have just before Christmas is the suggestion that it might be wound back.” (Australia’s disability discrimination commissioner, Graeme Innes)
Liberating workers from the Production Line Prime Minister Tony Abbott is happy to announce that he celebrates with you, the fact that all the people who have lost their jobs at Holden and associated industries, will be so liberated they will be lining up to thank you…the Liberal and National Voters of Australia READ MORE HERE
“Some of them will find it difficult, but many of them will probably be liberated to pursue new opportunities and to get on with their lives,” (Prime Minister Tony Abbott)
Now Now, we know its not personal against Holden, you will also celebrate the loss of hard workers at Toyota A private meeting between the prime minister, Tony Abbott, and leaders of the main manufacturing union has reinforced their fears that no extra taxpayer assistance will be offered for Toyota Australia to keep its car production operations in Melbourne, where it has a total workforce of 4,200. READ MORE HERE
Yay attacking those Greenies again. Gees…it’s not like they are a business and contribute to the economy or anything… A government decision to remove funding from environmental legal centres will expose communities to damaging development and reduce scrutiny on the mining industry… READ MORE HERE
Conservationists say mining industry will be ‘breaking out the champagne’ at cuts to Environmental Defenders Offices
Aww sweet Liberal and National voters – you have someone to celebrate with!!
Giving gifts to the people who tell Tony Abbott what to do – The IPA and Rupert Murdoch are so excited, maybe their gift to themselves to will be a belated Christmas present, or an early birthday present. All in all Liberal and National Voters, you can celebrate the battle for “Request number 50 to Tony Abbott from the IPA” Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function READ MORE HERE
Group Hug Liberal and National Voters. Your attack on humanity must be so appreciated amongst your own kind…. This Christmas, when you are kissing under the mistletoe with your much loved family and friends, firing up the BBQ on Christmas day and opening up gift wrapped I-Phones, I-Pods and I-Pads, please try to be humble this Christmas in your thoughts or prayers (if you do pray) and think what your #1 in the Ballot Box for Liberal or National has given Asylum Seekers this Christmas….
The Abbott government has disbanded a key group that provided advice on the health of asylum seekers in detention, as research reveals psychiatric problems – such as self-harm – are the most common reasons for the large number of detainee visits to hospital emergency departments. READ MORE HERE
Two women being held in immigration detention have lost their babies after repeatedly being turned away from medical care READ MORE HERE
Ignoring the Experts (again) The Department of Immigration decides who leaves Christmas Island and the manner in which they leave. Doctors may say a child needs urgent surgery in Perth but the department decides when, if ever, that child will reach a hospital on the mainland. READ MORE HERE
And just in case you get the million dollar question and no lifelines – “What is a trait of Narcissistic Leadership…”A trait of Narcissistic Leadership is to Blame others and this is exactly what Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has done. Although he is in charge, somehow this is the fault of the previous Government…..
An intellectually handicapped asylum seeker, who was deprived of her medication by authorities on Christmas Island and then separated from her mother, has begun exposing herself to male detainees, prompting fears she could be sexually assaulted. READ MORE HERE
And Progress will never be made whilst Foreign Ministers are stealing their wages by not doing an honest days work. An honest day’s work for an honest days pay should be the standard for everyone….Ms Bishop has come under fire for praising the conditions for asylum seekers on Nauru, after Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young that the minister had only visited staff housing, not the detainee tent accommodation READ MORE HERE
Yes Liberal and National Voters, its all so easy to Celebrate when you have a helping hand by employing inappropriate people to the top jobs (but nudge nudge wink wink, as long as they are on your side, hey).
Jobs at Mate’s Rates – The Abbott Government has moved to reform the Australian Human Rights Commission by putting in charge a critic of the body whose former employer had called for it to be scrapped. READ MORE HERE
Late update: Anti-Bullying program may be cut to accommodate Tim Wilson’s $320,000 salary READ MORE HERE
The defence of free speech is vitally important, especially in Australia, but this should not come at the expense of the dignity and equality of the disadvantaged (Sarah Joseph)
And while we are on the subject of free speech, the Speaker of the House gives plenty of it to her party…. The parliamentary speaker, Bronwyn Bishop, faced fresh complaints about her impartiality after she appeared to take a dig at two Labor frontbenchers READ MORE HERE
‘The office you hold is greater and more important than your own political rhetoric,’ (Tony Burke)
NB: Please see another blog , which covers discrimination due to the current marriage laws, amongst other areas of discrimination: This is ongoing until it is addressed – An Open Letter to the Prime Minister and Minister for Women.
That was the week that was 15-21st December 2013. Anyway enjoy your week-end coalition voters. Absolutely amazing effort this week. Don’t drink too much, you need to stand proud and all that…Cheers. See you next week.
Think Before you Vote. Join a political party like the ALP or Greens or other left-wing/progressive parties. Get Active. Get Engaged. Discuss issues with family and friends. Share information on Social Media. Join Get Up! Read a wide range of news media. Work hard to prevent right-wing Governments like the Liberal-National Coalition destroying our great country, embarrassing us on the world stage and instilling great hardship on our loved ones, friends and neighbours and on our communities. You CAN make a difference!