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.
GetUp! Australia Heads or tails. Life or death Campaign
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)
Losing your job is not a ‘liberation’, Tony Abbott (Read Van Badham’s moving story here)
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!