Quizzically Musing

Watching the madness

Archive for the ‘Asylum Seekers’ Category

Xenophobia

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As many readers may know, I have been out of the country visiting my husband.  This article is therefore several days old, but it was brought to my attention upon my return by themoleblogger.

Ross Gittins raises some very interesting points about the asylum seeker debate, looking specifically at the reactions of people and how those reactions can be manipulated by politicians and the media.

What we need are more members of the media speaking out clearly.  We need to acknowledge the problems and challenge the moral panic that seems to be gripping this country.  We need to find our humanity again.

Ross says, “…in their efforts to gratify and exploit public resentment of ”illegals”, governments of both colours have given the highest priority to preventing individual asylum seekers from telling their stories to the media. They must continue to be seen as monstrous invaders, never as flesh and blood.”

It is time we, the people, took a stand.  We must make it clear we will not be manipulated for political advantage.  Or are you happy to be a tool of unhumanity?  The choice is yours.

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Written by Robyn Dunphy

March 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Who locked up the children?

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This article today runs with the opening phrase of “Julia Gillard locks up …” 

No, Julia Gillard doesn’t lock up anyone.  WE, the Australian citizens are locking up these children, just as we did under Howard (which the article also refers to).

Prime Ministers do not do these things personally.  Prime Ministers and parliaments (assuming we are indeed a democracy) are simply doing what WE, the citizens, ask them or tell them or let them do.  WE are personally responsible, every single one of us.  For WE give the power.

Time for us to voice our disapproval of what our representatives are doing in OUR name.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

January 30, 2011 at 11:05 am

Australia cops criticism…

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… and rightly so.  While my personal page is off-line as the topic is considered sub judice currently, naturally the two articles I discuss here are close to my heart.

Australia has again been highlighted as the only developed democracy without national human rights law.   Perhaps if we did have such a law, my family and I wouldn’t be in the position we are currently in.  It has been interesting, as I discovered neither the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 nor the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 1951 are scheduled to or declared under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act.  I was not aware of this until last week and I am horrified.  I hope all Australians are horrified at such a discovery.

The second article was written by Malcolm Fraser.  Malcolm Fraser was Prime Minister of Australia from November 1975 for seven years.  I remember him well, as I had recently arrived in Australia in February 1974.  Malcolm has been involved in humanitarian work for many years.  He points out the regression in Australia’s policies since that time 35 years ago when we welcomed Vietnamese refugees.  That community is now, he tells us, nearly a quarter of a million strong and contribute greatly to Australia.  What changed?

What I have learnt about Civil and Human Rights in Australia over the past year has been enlightening: yet not in a way I would have ever expected.  It has been a sad year for me personally, of course, but I cannot consider only my personal situation.  I am horrified when I consider the possible extrapolation of my situation across the country.  I am still haunted by the images of the Christmas Island tragedy and the Christmas Island detention conditions.

It is time: time Australians stood up for what is right.

Digital media versus the broadsheet

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The Age carries a very interesting article today by Brigid Delaney on the digital media and what we get.  Brigid is right: most of the web versions of the papers don’t tend to offer the same depth (unless you look for it) as the paper version.

More worrying, as the article points out, is the “snippet” approach to reading the news by those of the digital age.  For my age group, I am probably not the norm.  I too read the news on the web most of the time.  Every now and then I will actually go and buy the real thing.

I remember being at a workshop on some professional development topic or other with a variety of people.  One of the other attendees was in charge of web site content and gave a short presentation about her work.  The way of writing for grabbing attention on the web is quite interesting (I would fail miserably) for there is a need to grab the attention in that first headline or sentence.  Writers know they have a very limited attention span to work with, so must get the message across in a matter of seconds.

Are we becoming a world that knows very little about a lot?  Is what we know even remotely accurate?  Are we, as the article suggests, concentrating only on the banalities around us?  Paris Hilton gets more attention than asylum seekers for example.  How much do people REALLY know about the whole asylum seeker debate, which let’s be fair, is far more important than Paris or LiLo.  Look at how much screen space was devoted to the St Kilda nude photo issue lately (which yes, I agree, I commented on myself), or how Fevola only has to sneeze to capture the digital front page – of even the broadsheets!  Yet are either of those local stories really front page news when compared with much else that is happening in the world?  Are the floods in Queensland less important that Fev?  I think not.

I often click on a headline or “breaking news” only to find the article is in fact five lines that tell me nothing.  OK, so I now know some guy was arrested somewhere, but I don’t know the details and will probably never find out.

Are Twitter and Facebook becoming almost our defacto news feeds?  After all, what do you have on Facebook? A page titled “News Feed” – but it isn’t.  How many people say they learned of something on Twitter?  How much can you learn from 140 characters?  Twitter is a great way to spread misinformation, though.  Retweet something often enough and it almost becomes accepted fact.  Look at the celebrities using Twitter to deny transgressions!

There is nothing truer than we get what we ask for.  As a population, it seems, we are asking for banality.  That is what we will keep getting, unless we ask for something else. 

Written by Robyn Dunphy

January 4, 2011 at 10:30 am

Fears Groundless?

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Two days ago this report appeared in the SMH.  This might be a reference to an entirely different boat, but I am haunted by information I received last night that there are currently efforts underway to locate a boat believed to be in trouble.

If it is the same boat, how terrible for the people.  They will have been at sea for a great deal longer than anticipated as they were expected to arrive three weeks before the Christmas Island tragedy, according to the above article.

I hope it is not the same boat.  Please let it not be the same boat.  There is nothing in the mainstream media this morning that I have noticed, so perhaps nothing has been found. Or nothing has been

This article published some days ago in The Age is a very good article on why people risk their lives in this way.   I came across another article the other day that was also pertinent. 

There are SO MANY displaced people and refugees in the world.  What are we, as a species, doing to ourselves?

While I know that mathematically as our global population grows, so will the numbers of refugees and displaced persons, I find the figures upsetting.  The UN figures state there were 26 million Internally Displaced Persons around the world in 2008.   15.2 million refugees in 2009.  Asylum seekers are refugees who have not had their refugee status recognised.  I quote the UN web site:

At the beginning of 2009, there were some 826,000 asylum-seekers of concern to the UN refugee agency. They are found around the globe. UNHCR advocates for governments to adopt fair and efficient procedures to determine if an individual asylum-seeker is a refugee, recognizing how difficult it is in many cases to document persecution.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

December 29, 2010 at 10:17 am