Saturday, August 06, 2011

Single male "asylum seekers" told - you will not be allowed to stay in Australia

Most of the stuff below is sheer nonsense. The so-called "asylum seekers" are Shia Muslims. If they really needed asylum, there is a whole country run by Shiites -- Iran. And under Muslim rules of hospitality Iran would be obliged to accept them. And Iran is a heck of a lot closer to where they come from

IMMIGRATION officials have told single men from the first asylum boat subject to the Gillard government's Malaysia Solution that they will be removed to Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

The men from a boat carrying 55 asylum seekers were moved yesterday morning to the notorious White 1 compound inside the island's main detention centre. The compound was previously reserved for detainees accused of rape, rioting and stirring unrest.

Australian Federal Police plan to deport the men in groups of 15 on an Australian Antarctic Division airbus currently leased by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

The potential removal to Malaysia of a small boy, families and unaccompanied minors from the recently arrived asylum boat is contentious.

The United Nations Children's Fund yesterday said it had "grave reservations" about the deportation of unaccompanied children to Malaysia, calling the plan "inhumane". UNICEF Australia chief Dr Norman Gillespie said the 18 minors who are destined for Malaysia, unless the government grants an exemption, should be allowed to stay in Australia. "To deport these children, who have already been traumatised, to subject them to further trauma, we think is a very extreme action," he said.

Families and children are being held in the Christmas Island centre built by the Howard government after the Tampa crisis in 2001. The Immigration Department does not call it a detention centre any more and it is therefore deemed suitable for children.

Yesterday the department confirmed there were 18 minors on the asylum-seeker boat that arrived on Thursday - not 19 as previously reported. An Immigration Department spokeswoman said one of the asylum seekers who had claimed to be a minor had later told officials he was over 18.

Federal Immigration Minister Chris Bowen reiterated yesterday that there would be no blanket exemptions for children. "I will not have the situation where we provide a reward for people who put their children on a boat, and undertake that dangerous journey," he said.

Acting Opposition Leader Julie Bishop said the government was caught in a trap. "It either allows unaccompanied children to be taken to Malaysia to an uncertain fate where the Australian government has no control over what happens to them or the government caves in to the people smugglers," she said.

The age of asylum seekers claiming to be unaccompanied minors has been contentious since the surge in boats that began in late 2008. Unaccompanied minors have a high success rate in obtaining a visa - not one has been forcibly removed since the surge in arrivals that began in 2008.

The Immigration Department did not intend to carry out thorough age checks because the entire group of people claiming to be unaccompanied minors was going to be deported anyway, a department spokeswoman told The Daily Telegraph.

Refugee advocates were also concerned yesterday that the group could suffer religious persecution in Malaysia. Most of those in the group, comprising Afghans and Pakistanis, were Shia Muslims and could experience discrimination.


Queensland has fruit bats by the millions but Greenie laws prevent people from chasing them away

RESIDENTS in strife for using air horns to scare off fruit bats have been told by the State Government the animals are not a health risk unless they are handled.

This is despite the spread of Hendra virus, which has claimed the lives of at least four people and, in the latest outbreak, resulted in the deaths of 15 horses and a pet dog.

A brochure downplaying the health risks of flying foxes was handed to Gold Coast couple Robyn and Robert Burgess after their home was raided by Department of Environment and Resource Management officials on Thursday.

An air horn the couple had used trying to scare off a colony of flying foxes was confiscated and they were threatened with jail and a $100,000 fine if they persisted, The Courier-Mail revealed yesterday.

Officials gave the couple a brochure entitled "Living With Flying Foxes" which warns of the risks of lyssavirus - a rabies virus contracted from bat saliva - but says Hendra virus does not spread to humans direct from flying foxes.

This is despite uncertainty over how Hendra is spread and the unprecedented infection of pet dog Dusty, put down last week by order of authorities.

The flyer admits bats smell and are noisy "but are really not so bad when you get to know them". "Flying foxes are not a health risk to you unless you are bitten or scratched, so please don't handle them," it says.

Lawyer Bill Potts, who Mr and Mrs Burgess called in after the DERM raid, said the advice was "most concerning" amid the Hendra virus outbreak.

He said the risks of Hendra should not be downplayed until more was known about it, especially now that domestic pets could be infected. "The Burgesses have three cats and they have come inside with bat droppings. The uncertainty about how humans contract Hendra virus gives rise to considerable anxiety," he said.

Mr Potts said the Burgesses and their Southport neighbours would apply for a government permit to "move on" the bats. "Damage mitigation permits" can be issued by DERM to ward off bats using devices including flares fired from shotguns, spotlights, smoke machines, "surround sound deterrent systems" and air horns. But a spokesman for Environment Minister Vicky Darling said permits were usually only issued to local councils.

Southport MP Peter Lawlor urged the Gold Coast City Council to "pick up the phone and get this process moving". He said the council had been given a permit to move a flying fox colony away from the Gold Coast Turf Club.

Southport councillor Dawn Crichlow said she had been trying to get action on the bat problem for 18 months. "The heavy-handed actions of DERM against the residents is an absolute disgrace," she said.

The colourful councillor, who staged a successful campaign to reduce an ibis plague on the Gold Coast - and once proposed to drug the birds and truck them out west - vowed to go into bat for long-suffering constituents living amid the Southport bat colony. "I've been on to DERM and given them a good mouthful," she said.

Gold Coast-based federal Liberal MP Steve Ciobo said home raids by government officials armed with search warrants was "outrageous, Big Brother, jackboot stuff".


Fred stands up for morality in NSW

THE Christian Democratic Party MP Fred Nile has used a parliamentary debate on his bill to remove ethics classes from schools to claim they teach the philosophy behind Nazism and communism.

The O'Farrell government used its numbers in the upper house to give Mr Nile's bill priority yesterday morning, allowing it to be introduced ahead of all other legislation.

It followed a meeting between the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, and Mr Nile 10 days ago where it was agreed that the government would allow the bill to proceed after Mr Nile threatened to use his party's votes to "torpedo " the government's wages policy.

Introducing the bill, Mr Nile said he did not believe children were being taught the difference between right and wrong in the ethics classes, which are being taught as an alternative to special religious education lessons.

"It's relative ethics, which is the basis of secular humanism, " Mr Nile told parliament. "I believe this is the philosophy that we saw during World War II with the Nazis and with the Communists. " The comments were branded "outrageous " and "an act of extreme cowardice " by opposition and Greens MPs.

The move to allow debate on the bill sparked renewed accusations that Mr O'Farrell had done a "deal " with Mr Nile in return for his support for the wages policy.

The Opposition Leader, John Robertson, said the arrangement was "the first down payment " and was "clear evidence that a deal has been done ". The Greens MP, John Kaye, said the government was "clearly delivering for [Mr Nile] on this. How far does this deal go? ".

The government supported a move by Mr Nile's colleague, Paul Green, to adjourn debate on the ethics bill until September 16. Mr Nile said the adjournment was "so that the Coalition can give further consideration to it".

Despite saying he would take Mr Nile's bill to cabinet and the party room for consideration, Mr O'Farrell insists the government will not support removing the classes from schools. Such action had been an election promise.

Mr O'Farrell has defended the decision to allow the debate by arguing that every MP has the right to have every bill they present debated in parliament.

Yesterday Mr Nile gave notice of a new bill that would close the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Kings Cross, which was made permanent by the Labor government last year.

Asked during question time if he would support closure of the centre, Mr O'Farrell said the government "has no plans to close the MSIC" but that if it comes into the parliament Coalition MPs would be granted a conscience vote. He said Mr Nile had not raised the issue with him.

Earlier, the government combined with crossbench MPs in the upper house to block an attempt by the Greens to force it to table any documents relating to Mr Nile's meeting with Mr O'Farrell.


Abbott moving in on Labor party territory

Malcolm Turnbull correctly says that elections are won at the centre. He also says that if he is nominated as the preferred leader by Labor voters then that's a good thing, because he'll win the Coalition new votes. In Wentworth. Of course.

Except that Tony Abbott isn't after the Labor voters who would turn for Malcolm Turnbull. Take a quick perusal of his itinerary - not this last, eerily quiet, slogan-free week when he has been in Switzerland, but in the months before. It shows him scampering through Capricornia, Dawson, Herbert, Braddon, Gippsland, McMillan, Hunter, Dobell… manufacturing, mining and tourism seats, many of them marginals (although with the polls the way they are, "marginal " is becoming a bit difficult to define).

They are all seats where Labor's working-class base is a whole lot more receptive to Abbott's "stop the taxes, stop the boats, stop the whole dastardly minority government " kind of message.

Manufacturing and tourism seats are particularly fertile ground, because for some time workers in those industries have been acutely aware that their world is changing.

Since May 2008, 102,000 jobs have been lost in the manufacturing sector. That's really, truly, lost jobs. Not hypothetical future "lost " jobs, which actually turn out to be the slightly reduced number of new jobs compared with those that might have been created at some time in the future, largely due to the assumptions made by whomever commissioned the research to prove their point about a current policy. But I digress.

Modelling for the government's carbon pricing scheme about future jobs is blunt. Before you factor in any carbon price, Australia is facing a relative decline in manufacturing.

"Manufacturing is one sector from which resources are drawn towards the higher rates of return in the mining sector. The high real exchange rate and competition from relatively inexpensive Asian manufactures put more pressure on manufacturing. " It says growth in manufacturing will slow, and some parts of the sector will shrink.

When a carbon tax is factored in the picture is no bleaker, although the composition of manufacturing employment changes. The impact of another global economic downturn was not mentioned, but it obviously cannot be good as job losses spread from manufacturing and retail into other sectors such as housing and tourism.

Abbott's message as he tours these regional seats has effectively been that he can stop the change and stop the job losses by stopping the carbon tax. Echoing the former prime minister Kevin Rudd he insists we have to be a country that "makes things " and claims it's the carbon price that is threatening that aim. So far the message has been lethally effective. The increasing economic uncertainty can only strengthen it.

As the markets tumbled yesterday, the opposition's climate spokesman, Greg Hunt, rushed out a statement saying that "given the global economic uncertainty, the Australian dollar and the slump in retail trade, this is the worst time possible for a new tax to be imposed on Australian families and businesses. We should be doing all we can to ensure the financial security of Australians is being protected. "

Coalition strategists concede that despite the campaign's effectiveness, the general point needs a little fleshing out - which is why manufacturing policy is likely to be one of the first policies addressed when Abbott returns from Europe and begins work on explaining his positive agenda.

(One issue he has to grapple with is the Coalition's hasty decision in January to promise to cut $500 million from the automotive transformation scheme, which some sources say could be quietly shelved. The industry insists the cuts would lead directly to the closure of some car-making plants.)

Labor's counter-message, meanwhile, is one of managing change, which is a whole lot harder to sell, even if you were halfway good at getting across a message, which it hasn't been.

Looking back, and clearing aside all the flip-flops and delays, much of what Labor has tried to do has had exactly this aim.

The original mining tax was designed to take some of the profits of the boom and use them to help the parts of the economy suffering in its shadow. It has been downsized and its policy message muddied in an almost textbook example of hamfisted implementation, but it does still pay for a cut to the company tax rate, with small business going first, and the new $5000 asset write-off.

The budget was supposed to be all about more money for training to help workers re-skill and rejoin the workforce, and dampen the skills shortages in the mining areas that could drive up wages and inflation.

And the carbon pricing plan redirected $1.2 billion to subsidise investments by manufacturers in anything that might reduce their emissions. It promised another $10 billion to help set up new renewable energy generation, a lot of it very likely to be in the same electorates and regions that are losing manufacturing jobs.

The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, suggested last week that the two-day October tax summit might also start a "conversation " with business about what the government now calls a "patchwork " economy, as if the gaping discrepancies between different sectors and regions are just bits of bad needlework on our lovely national quilt.

It is not at all clear what the "conversation " during those two days might say, since it can't include the mining tax, or the carbon tax, both of which seem relevant.

And given the rapidly unfolding economic events surely a conversation can't wait until then - although senior sources point out there are serious limits to what the government can do, given there is no money left if the budget is to return to surplus on time.

In any event, it's the worried workers in the manufacturing and tourism seats, the ones who aren't sure if they will keep their jobs, who the government should be talking to.

Even before the global markets started to fall like stones, selling a reassuring message - that change is coming but can be managed - required convincing policy, extremely effective communication and an underlying trust by voters in the integrity and competence of the government doing the management. Oh dear.

Maybe we're getting close to why some of Labor's blue-collar base is attracted to Abbott's message that saying no to the carbon tax can avoid painful changes altogether.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Turnbull's opportunistic jump to the Labor Party gets closer every day. It must miff the Goldman Sachs types that they don't exercise full control of the leadership of both parties anymore.