Quizzically Musing

Watching the madness

Posts Tagged ‘Chris Bowen

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


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

Not In Our Name

with 4 comments

Getup has launched a campaign to stop Australia sending children to Malaysia as part of the “asylum seeker solution”.

I am proud to put my name to the cause and it is somewhere amongst these 31,654 names.

Not in our name

Not in our name

I quote from the email sent to me by GetUp:

To see it all you need to do is grab a copy of The Age. The ad also appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday. You might need a magnifying glass to see your name but that’s a good thing. It means that the response was so overwhelming that we could only fit in everyone’s names by squeezing them in with small font.


You may have also heard that on Sunday the High Court put an injunction on the Malaysia deal. This will temporarily halt the transfer of asylum seekers to Malaysia. The final outcome of the case may still be weeks away but this is exciting news and you can read more about the court case by clicking here.

We must stop this happening.  Join the cause!




Written by Robyn Dunphy

August 16, 2011 at 7:45 pm


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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.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

March 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm

No news coverage?

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I stumbled across a bit of legislation yesterday which I haven’t noticed any media coverage of.  When I looked, I managed to find one article, telling me the amendment passed the lower house in May. This surprises me, because the legislation in question gives quite amazing powers to the Minister of the department.  The then minister, Chris Evans, gives assurances in the artcle that he would use the powers judiciously.  He might – what of his successors? Who knows?

Admittedly, this particular department is rather close to my heart at the moment, but what worries me about this is the precedent it sets.  One minute we give such powers to one minister and the next will be?  The Tax Man, perhaps?  The Health Minister?

The actual wording of the amendment also worries me.  Thankfully Protection Visas seem to be excluded from the worst of the provisions, however it would seem that Partner Visas and Family Sponsored visas are not.  I find this totally unacceptable.

Then there is the power for the minister to simply cancel applications.  The effect will be as if the application was never made.  I take this to mean that people can apply under prevailing conditions in good faith, then simply be told, “Sorry, you actually never applied”. 

To start thinking about what other legislation such an approach could be applied to is frightening. 

Where was the media when this was originally being read in the lower house?  Why was there not more coverage? 

1984, here we come.

Yes, we have to manage immigration.  After all, this wide brown land is mostly desert.  It is big, but vast tracts are not exactly inhabitable.  It isn’t managing immigration that bothers me here – it is managing our politicians and how much unfettered power we allow them.

Edit December 5th: It appears the passage of  this piece of legislation got derailed due to the election.  It is hopeful that it is will stay derailed.  However, that does not change my underlying concerns.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

December 4, 2010 at 8:06 am

Who is in control?

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I’m a little confused, or a little innocent: which is it?

I read today that Julia Gillard is “in control” of her government.  Mark Latham has, apparently, been mouthing off again.  That prompted the “assurance”.  After Mark’s performance during the election campaign, that is hardly surprising, I suppose.  Chris Bowen has promoted Mark to the position of comedian.  How nice.

Now, I may be wrong, but I was always of the belief that our nation’s Prime Minister was in fact the leader of the party or coalition in government.  I was not aware it was a dictatorship and that one person was in control.  Strangely enough, I actually thought it was “our” government, not “her” government.  While I believe this was an unfortunate choice of words and nothing more, it did make me wonder a little.

I recall the election campaign: it was all about Abbott and Gillard.  As if we were actually having a USA-style Presidential election.  We weren’t, supposedly.

In this country we vote for our local representatives.  At least that is the plan.  I am wondering if we might get better government if we all returned to that basic principle of democracy.  Now we seem to vote first and foremost for a “party”.  I know nothing much about my local member.  Do you know anything about yours?  I contacted him once.  Never had a response.  Why would I bother again?  Would I vote for him?  Not likely! 

So given I don’t give a toss about my local member (I’m merely reciprocating),  do I just vote for the candidate for the other party?  Do I not vote at all?  Interesting questions we all have to face, I am sure.  Or, at least, those of us of voting age.

I’m still bothered by this use of the word “control”.  Is government really about keeping them all in line, like the crocodile formation we all walked to school in when I was a child? Making sure they don’t step out of line?  Our representatives are, presumably, mature, intelligent adults.  If not, why did we vote them in as our representatives?

I’m not sure I like this word “control”. 

Written by Robyn Dunphy

December 2, 2010 at 10:27 pm