Quizzically Musing

Watching the madness

Posts Tagged ‘children

Tony Abbott – do not do it!

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Good grief, what politicians will do to win power.  One of the benefits of living in Australia, at least I believe it is still a benefit, is the right to criticise our politicians, even if we are of the same persuasion!

While Mr Abbott continued to condemn the Malaysia option, the carrot for him is that the proposed changes would ensure as prime minister he could send people to Nauru.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/abbott-muddies-water-on-boats-20110912-1k63e.html#ixzz1Xn2wbdfj

Furthermore:

A separate change would also ensure the minister could send children offshore without having to establish this was in their best interests.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/abbott-muddies-water-on-boats-20110912-1k63e.html#ixzz1Xn37Hz84

No.  Definitely not.

May I remind ALL politicians of the requirements of the International Refugee Convention as discussed by Michael Pearce: 

Withdrawal from Refugee Convention may be last resort

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/withdrawal-from-refugee-convention-may-be-last-resort-20110831-1jly1.html#ixzz1WhHoDtzt

At first I thought, “What? We can’t do that!” then I read the article. Michael takes an extremely pragmatic approach to the debate, together with presenting a fresh perspective.

Public policy in Australia seems to have reversed the legal position. The major parties and public opinion seem to say that we should refuse refuge to those who reach our shores and seek asylum because that denies refuge to those in the so-called queue. That is, we should abrogate an obligation which is legally binding on us so that we can comply with an imagined obligation by which we are not, in fact, bound.

Michael goes on to say (emphasis added):

This course will no doubt be very unpopular in some quarters and for good reason. It would signal to all that we, one of the richest countries in the world with enviable space and resources to spare, did not want to share with the bedraggled and desperate few who, by good fortune, wash up on our shores. But this is only to tell the truth about who and what we are as a people.

Would that more people listen to people like Michael.

Why this desire for off-shore processing?  What exactly does it achieve?  Why the desire to send unaccompanied children off-shore?  What does that achieve?

Chris Bowen needs to read some history. 

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said unaccompanied minors presented ”very emotional and difficult issues”. ”The overriding obligation is to say to parents, ‘Do not risk the lives of your children to get the prospect of a visa in Australia.’ ”

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/abbott-muddies-water-on-boats-20110912-1k63e.html#ixzz1Xn5AF2xs

Parents don’t send unaccompanied children in order to get a visa – they send them to save their lives.  What of all the unaccompanied children sent here from England many years ago?  Was that OK because they were English?  I actually work with a woman who is friends with a person who was sent by their parents to Australia to save that (then) child’s life in precisely the same way children are being sent now.  Unless Mr Bowen is totally oblivious to the realities of life, he knows in his heart if he were faced with the same decisions some of these parents are faced with he would do EXACTLY the same thing.  So would any parent.  Do not make glib comments in the media to try to paint parents as being in the wrong for trying to save their children.

Australia MUST remove the guardianship of these children from the position of Minister for Immigration.  It is hard to imagine a greater conflict of interest existing.  How this came about is beyond comprehension.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

September 13, 2011 at 11:23 am

Child “beauty pageants” in Australia?

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I’ve been watching the media coverage of Australia’s first US style beauty pageant for children.  I don’t like the idea.

Australia has always had beautiful baby competitions, but they were always babies or toddlers competing as, well, BABIES or TODDLERS.  Not primped and preened to within an inch of their adult lives, looking highly sexualised.  As a mother, I just cannot condone these competitions.

I read an article some time ago, when the competition here was first announced, about parents from both sides of the argument actually threatening members of the “other side” of the debate.  What are we becoming? 

Children should be allowed to be children.  No, I don’t see it as a “bit of fun” for the whole family at all.  I see it as parents trying to live their dreams through their children, at the expense of their children’s innocence and childhood.  The children would surely be better served by their parents listening to their reading or reading to them, than traipsing around being flaunted as mini-adults. 

Am I being “old-fashioned”? No, I don’t think so.  I think I’m being practical and responsible.  You may have a different view.  Please share!

Written by Robyn Dunphy

July 31, 2011 at 8:58 am

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Religion in public schools – NO!

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All I wanted to do was check the footy results.  Unfortunately I stumbled across an article in The Age reporting the Victorian Education Department is forcing public primary schools to teach christian religion.  I am astounded!  In Victoria we have a Liberal government.  One of the foundation principles of the Liberal party is freedom of the individual!

From the party’s web site:

We believe in the inalienable rights and freedoms of all peoples; and we work towards a lean government that minimises interference in our daily lives; and maximises individual and private sector initiative.

Forcing my children to learn christian religion, or ANY religion, is denying my rights and freedoms.  Forcing my children into religious education is certainly NOT minimising interference in my daily life!  This all seems to stem from 2006, when we did not have a Liberal government, so I hope the Victorian Government acts and acts NOW on this issue that is so against the principles of the party.

We are also supposed to have freedom of religion in this country.  This issue has caused me to change my vote once before at a federal level.  This time I will voice my disapproval more strongly!

The Humanist Society has set up a website to “garner views on the issue” and is taking legal action against the Education Department.

Australia is a country of people from many different lands, many different cultures and many different religions.  We are are multicultural society and forcing christianity into schools is NOT the Australian way.  Read the article and see what it is suggested the children who opt out of the classes are going to be doing:  according to the article, they must not do any other classwork.

I am shocked.  Very shocked.  I am still embroiled in a civil rights fight with a federal government department and now I must look at particpating in a fight against a state government department.  I have four children about to enter the Victorian education system.  As a parent this is not what I want for my children.  Clearly I am not the only one, given the  Humanist Society website states:

12:30 – We are also aware that the Humanist Society of Victoria’s website has been so inundated with people wanting to access it that it has crashed. This speaks volumes on just how many people care and want to learn more. Future information will come from FIRIS so be sure to subscribe to the newsletter.

EDIT:

In the spirit of “if you want to change something, suggest an alternative”, resulting from a discussion with someone else, my suggestion would be introduce Cultural Intelligence classes and within that framework touch on all religions to provide awareness, rather than indoctrinate in one.  We need Cultural Intelligence training, so why not start early?

Written by Robyn Dunphy

March 27, 2011 at 1:00 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

The dark side…

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This report in The Age is not something I particularly want to write about or for that matter even think about, but given the prevalence of the internet in all our lives, we all have a responsibility to be aware. Paedophiles.  How do we eradicate them?

A snippet from the article linked above:

“Thanks to my new friends for helping me realise that I am more normal than I thought I was,” reads a wall post by one user, who talks about abusing his “gorgeous” 10-year-old daughter.

“So this is where we let it all hang out and can finally talk openly and share with like-minded people.”

To quote Hillary Clinton’s use of a Nigerian saying once again, “It takes a village to raise a child”.  Just with this particular problem we are talking LOTS of children and a very large village: the global internet village.

Yes, I know, Facebook and many other social networking sites have an age criteria for joining.  That in itself doesn’t mean we should just turn a blind eye to the use of such sites by predators. 

I agree it is not solely the responsibility of the sites to police such activity.  The scale is prohibitive. We need a better way of ensuring people can’t just sign straight back up, which is effectively the case now.

The internet is the one place where we can all be someone other that who we are in real life.  In fact, there are many people advising us to make sure we hide our identity on the internet as a form of protection.  I ask myself (and you) where else in life can we hide our identity and get away with it for very long?  The bank? The local police? The tax office?  Medicare? Take away for a moment all the warnings about identity theft and so on and look at the bare bones of this hiding.  Why do we, as a society, make out the internet is so different to the rest of life?

We even refer to the “rest of life” as “real life” on the internet, neatly shortened to RL, of course.  Along with TTFN, LOL, BBL, AFK, IDK……….. the list goes on.

Hang on a minute – the internet is just a part of real life.  It isn’t a thing apart, a fourth dimension, an imaginary world.  That is a cop-out.  The keyboard you type on is real.  The screen is real.  The heat sink in your computer is real, as is the CPU and the motherboard.  The person you email, tweet, IM, wall post or whatever is flesh and blood, just like you and I.  So what is so unreal about the place?

Perhaps if we stop pretending, if we stop hiding behind anonymity and tighten up identity theft laws and punishments, if everyone has to prove who they are before delving into cyberspace we might just solve a whole plethora of problems.

Let’s all stop pretending.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

December 14, 2010 at 9:28 pm

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Two sides? At 12?

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I don’t think so.  Here we go yet again with child abuse.  It is reported that the man involved has admitted having sex with the 12 year-old victim.  The defence barrister says not to jump to conclusions because there are two sides to every story.

I’m sorry, mate, there is no second side to this story at all.   I know the basic legal principle – innocent until proven guilty and I agree with that totally.  Here we do not need proof: the offence has been admitted already.

I know that generations ago girls were married off very young.  In some societies around the world that is still the case, sadly.

Bribing a child with a promise of a horse just adds to the crime.  Taking payment from two (presumably) “mates” for sex with the girl is an even greater crime.  Will those two also be charged?  They certainly should be.  It reminds me of the recent Tasmanian case where an intellectually disabled child had been pimped out – the pimp was charged, but I never heard anything about the customers being charged.

When there is a child involved, ALL should be charged.

Sex is a wonderful thing.  It is not for forcing on innocent children and an adult male should have enough sense to know that.  If not, then he must still pay for his crime, for if he can’t recognise the wrong he is an ever greater danger to the community that a man who does have the sense.  Both are equally reprehensible.

The child is reported to have had an unhappy home life.  How much did this contribute to her vulnerability?  Should the parents be held to account as well?

The report doesn’t say how this came to the notice of the police.  If the young girl came forward on her own, I applaud her bravery.  I hope she manages to grow up without too many psychological scars from this time in her life.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

December 6, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Be careful where you give birth!

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This article is not a concern for me or my family personally.  We are not going to have any more children and all the children we do have, have citizenship of one country or another.  Interestingly, my daughter is entitled to New Zealand citizenship by descent, but not my son – New Zealand’s laws changed between their births!

I wasn’t quite sure whether to put this entry here or on my other site – it really is a bit of both.  While my personal site concentrates on my own personal visa battle, I have commented several times that we need to change the way we handle the question of immigration, partner visas in particular because that is currently the area I know most about, although I know a reasonable amount about protection visas as well!

The article linked to above caught my eye because in the cases discussed we are not talking specifically about people marrying across borders (although indirectly we are) or refugees: we are talking about quite simply happy couples having much loved children.  Children, who because of different laws in different countries around the world, end up stateless.

…Mark Manly, head of the statelessness unit at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said that gaps between national citizenship laws have put high-flying professionals around the globe in the same boat as migrants and refugees when it comes to getting passports for their kids.

“Far more people live outside their country of nationality than before, and there are more children born to parents of different countries,” he said. “We have a lot of situations where the children are not acquiring any nationality at all.”

One child in the article has a Chinese mother, Canadian father, was born in Belgium and after considerable stress for the parents, has now been granted Irish citizenship based on his grandfather’s nationality.  The father is quoted in the article, “When people think of refugees and stateless people they don’t think of Western, educated professionals with an office job.”

There is an international covenant that covers this sort of problem, the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, however it only has 37 signatory countries.  We have a long way to go.

This article supports what I have said before: the world is now a much more mobile place.  The various countries need to deal with this appropriately.

The article doesn’t address Australia specifically, but a quick look at the DIAC web site shows that clearly it could be a problem for foreigners residing here too, if they happen to come from a country where it is difficult or impossible to obtain citizenship by descent for their children.

Australian citizen by birth

Whether you are an Australian citizen by birth depends on the date of your birth.

Most children born in Australia before 20 August 1986 are Australian citizens by birth unless one parent was entitled to diplomatic privileges or was a consular officer of another country.

Children born after that date are only Australian citizens if at least one parent was an Australian citizen or permanent resident at the time of their birth.

Children born in Australia to parents who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, automatically acquire Australian citizenship on their 10th birthday if they have lived most of their life in Australia.

Australia is having an each way bet – let’s hope if you give birth to a stateless child in Australia, you don’t want to travel for the first 10 years of that child’s life!  I need to cross-check the requirements of the Hague Convention, as I am sure it mentions statelessness too.  So many conventions, so little time!

What about if you go overseas and have a child?  Well, the waters get a bit mukier:

Child born overseas to an Australian citizen

Commonly, if you were born overseas after 26 January 1949 to an Australian citizen parent, you may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship by descent.

If your parent became an Australian citizen by descent, he or she must have been present in Australia for periods totalling two years at some time in their life.

If you were born outside Australia or New Guinea before 26 January 1949 you may also be eligible for Australian citizenship by descent if at least one of your parents became an Australian citizen on 26 January 1949.

Good grief – do they literally mean ON 26 January 1949 and no other date?  Amazing.  What does “may be eligible” actually mean?

So it seems that while Australians are not specifically mentioned in The Age article, yes, there could be difficulties. 

I dare not venture into the topic of Australian Citizenship by adoption, I have a feeling that would be way too complicated for today!

Written by Robyn Dunphy

November 28, 2010 at 8:47 am