Monday, February 15, 2016

I’m An Asylum-Seeker, Get Me Out Of Here

Self harm and false allegations are all part of the deadly game certain ‘do-gooders’ are playing

Tanveer Ahmed

Refugee advocates are partly responsible for the distress of asylum seekers, expressed variably from self harm to alleged rape claims. Their misplaced advocacy powered by an inebriated moral superiority combine with the dashed migration expectations of asylum seekers to create uncertainty and alarm. Detention itself is merely the wrapping paper.

As they are to people smugglers, asylum seekers are a mere tool for the white and wealthy, post religious Left. While smugglers are compensated in dollars, the compassionistas receive premium fuel in their quest for authenticity, a jolt to hollowed out identities. Caring outwardly about asylum seekers makes them feel good about themselves.

Recent reports in the Australian that banning family members from travelling with self harmers for treatment immediately caused a dramatic reduction in the acts suggest there had been considerable incentive for hurting oneself in the past.

The latest round of ‘I’m an Asylum Seeker, Get Me Out of Here’ will leave taxpayers with a bill of a million dollars, thanks to the human rights lawyers’ speculative tilt in the High Court to keep a Bangladeshi child and mother on Australian soil. It was the climax of renewed optimism among refugee advocates since the arrival of the new PM, hoping to exploit any cognitive dissonance he might feel. Fairfax ran a front page piece recently about self harm on Manus and Nauru, among a spike of reports about the topic. Last year Transfield changed its name for PR purposes despite lawfully executing their government contract after sustained pressure from refugee advocates, a consolation victory for opponents who refuse to accept that they have lost the debate in the public, democratic sphere.

There were multiple doctors such as paediatrician Dr David Isaacs cheekily asking to be prosecuted for speaking out about conditions in Nauru. Last year psychiatrist Dr Peter Young was the key contributor to the Human Rights Commission report fronted by Gillian Triggs. All had expressed their opposition to the policy of detention well before they’d actually visited any asylum seekers. Their views on the traumatic effects of detention relied entirely on association and wouldn’t stand up to scientific scrutiny.

It does not compute that a set of people who have been resilient through conflict zones under threat of their lives and able to travel halfway across the world by land, air and sea decompensate when a ringed, pool fence is placed around them, in spite of all their basic needs being met. The community leader, former Liberal Party candidate and Vietnamese refugee Dai Le speaks of her time as a child in a refugee camp as unremarkable: ‘We just played. We didn’t know it was bad.’

The most decrepid refugee camps around the world, places that make the centres in Manus or Nauru look like the Hilton, exhibit none of the systemic issues surrounding self harm or alleged rape that appear to erupt in the local centres, be it on the mainland or offshore.

Similar mental health problems existed among asylum seekers when the policy of temporary protection visas existed, where comparable levels of uncertainty and dashed expectations surrounding a migration outcome were present.

An interesting angle is garnered from detention workers. I have treated a multitude and they usually present through worker’s compensation after being attacked by detainees. They all say there was no self harm when asylum seekers received permanent visas during Rudd’s initial ascent to power, regardless of processing time. Christmas Island was referred to then as a ‘transit hotel’.

Most workers suffer a cognitive dissonance, having begun the job to help asylum seekers but slowly realising there was little that could be done to solve a problem around an unmet desire, one in which incredible investments of money and risk had been made. The most affected workers are those that identify with the asylum seekers, particularly those able to speak Farsi, Tamil or Arabic. They paint a clear psychological environment in detention of failed expectations and ensuing rage and resentment, further exacerbated by the shadow of fractured politics and a refugee advocacy industry baying for government blood. Despite their good intentions, the result is the spilled blood of asylum seekers.

Self harm in detention centres has overlaps with the contagion effect that can occur in high school playgrounds or online forums, exacerbating the distress already apparent. There is also a kind of detention centre status anxiety, as asylum seekers compare their situations with those around them, becoming anxious and suspicious when claims of those around them are accelerated. Self harm can be attempts at suicide, a way to relieve frustration or malingering, where it is feigned for some secondary reward. Studies have found that malingering is most common in correctional centres. The studies do not involve children, but kids are almost certainly reflecting the distress and behaviour of the adults around them.

There is no question that asylum seekers are in great distress and have few outlets to communicate it. Self harm is often rage turned on to the self. It can be unconscious. Furthermore, there can be little argument that indefinite limbo can only be harmful and serves nobody. But in detention centres we have created an artefactual space where acting out behaviours like self harm or false allegations of rape have had incentives and rewards. Even now there is the possibility of transfer to the Australian mainland for treatment and the mobilisation of aggressive refugee advocacy, who are able to justify any kind of chicanery to prevent the lawful return of detainees because they are convinced of their righteousness.

It is all the more galling when the calamitous effects of unmitigated compassion are beginning to emerge through Merkel’s policies in Europe, initiatives she is clearly regretting and looking to unwind, lest they threaten her tenure on government. It is interesting that Tony Abbott was roundly condemned when he hinted at Merkel’s excesses, yet history is showing him to be prescient.

For all the railing by refugee advocates and politically motivated doctors about detention being like prison or torture, they fail to realise that its residents could cope with Alcatraz if they knew permanent residency was imminent. Despite the Prime Minister insisting on remaining ‘resolute’ in the protection of our borders, the totemic nature of the issue means they will simply not let go.


Migrant birthrates are changing Australia: Average birthrate below replacement level

This is an old scare but birthrates and age of giving birth have changed a lot in recent times so there is no reason to think that the present situation will remain unchanged.  The low recent birthrate among European women may simply reflect a pause due to most such women wanting to wait longer before having children.  Women in their 30s do now have more children than they once did.  Arab women also have fewer children once they assimilate to Western life

IT’S the biggest story of our times, but political correctness has stifled debate so badly that politicians are too afraid to even talk about it.

According to visiting ­Canadian author and free-speech advocate Mark Steyn, low birth rates have put Western societies into a “demographic death spiral”.

And he warns it’s impossible to rely on immigration to fill the gap without completely changing our culture.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph before his Australian tour next week, Mr Steyn said politicians were underestimating how quickly societies can change.

“Normally for a population transformation you need a Black Death, the Plague or a world war,” he said. “But in this case we are having it without any of that. That’s why it’s the most fascinating question of our times.”

Australia’s average birthrate of 1.79 is below replacement level. And while Mr Steyn gives Malcolm Turnbull brownie points for understanding the implications of declining birthrates — they once shared a session passing notes back and forth about the issue — he is pessimistic about the PM’s will to reverse the trend.

“We don’t have a language to talk about this without ­accusations of racism and sexism coming up,” he said.

“Western societies are basically importing a new population to be the children you couldn’t be bothered having yourselves.”

Mr Steyn said the cultural changes that come with Muslim migration should be acknowledged and discussed.

Women giving birth in Australia but born in ­Lebanon have an average of 4.03 children. For Syrian mums the figure is 3.38 and for Pakistani women it’s 3.02. For Australian-born women the figure is just 1.86.

In Oatley, mother-of-two Kylie McCathie, 39, said many of her peers were starting their families late after putting their careers first.

“When I lived in Surry Hills everyone in the mothers’ group was over 30 with their first child,” she said.

Mr Steyn’s visit coincides with Australia’s population hitting 24 million next week.

To mark the milestone, ­social research firm ­McCrindle has released a “fertility map” of Sydney’s birthrates by suburb showing the city’s Muslim population is leading the charge.

Many of the most fertile suburbs are in our migrant clusters, such as Lakemba, Auburn, Guildford, Punchbowl and Bankstown — popular with families of ­Middle Eastern background.


Rough justice

Why can't the slime at ICAC make a public apology and offer compensation?  They just cannot admit that they got it wrong

He was once  one of the highest-ranking and most respected emergency managers in the state. He has more than 30 years' crisis and fire rescue management experience and has overseen the response to some of the biggest disasters in the state.

But Steven Pearce, highly decorated former deputy commissioner of the State Emergency Service, lost his position and had his life ruined during an investigation by the beleaguered anti-corruption watchdog ICAC - even though he has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Now he is seeking compensation and acknowledgement for the pain and suffering endured by him and his family.

"There has never been any public acknowledgement from ICAC or the government that all of the allegations of corruption made against me were intensively investigated, in four separate inquiries, and all found to be unsubstantiated," Mr Pearce told Fairfax Media.

"I also deserve a public apology that I have never done anything corrupt."

Mr Pearce was the subject of an ICAC inquiry after allegations that he had misused an SES credit card and inappropriately dealt with two contracts. The allegations were made against him by his then fellow SES deputy commissioner Tara McCarthy.

He was suspended from his position while the ICAC investigated; the ICAC eventually made no findings of corrupt conduct against Mr Pearce.

The ICAC referred the matter to the Public Service Commissioner, who cleared him of any corrupt conduct. Ms McCarthy was sacked in May 2013, sparking an ICAC investigation into then SES commissioner Murray Kear.

Mr Kear resigned after ICAC found him corrupt for sacking a whistleblower and allegedly failing to investigate corruption allegations against Mr Pearce.

Last week, he faced a committal hearing into the charges against him. Mr Kear has pleaded not guilty. 

In late 2014, he quietly returned to work after an internal announcement to staff that there were no findings of corrupt conduct against him.

However, he had been back at work less than a month when he was told he would have to compete for his job, which he had held for five years, in a merit selection process.

He was then told he was unsuccessful in reapplying for his job although he was asked to stay on last year and during the NSW storm and flood crisis, and lead the management response until it was over.

It has since been deemed the biggest such response in NSW history.

Lawyer Rick Mitry said he has been instructed to proceed with a  damages claim against the government. 

"He and his family have been traumatised by the events of the last couple of years,"  Mr Mitry said.

Mr Pearce said his case had been aggravated by the fact that the ICAC had named him on its website as being investigated, and it was "front page news", but it has never been reported publicly that he had been cleared. 

"My family and I suffered substantial public humiliation, emotional and financial trauma," he said. 

"Never did the system look after me and I was crucified publicly and professionally."

A spokeswoman for the ICAC said that the only jurisdiction the commission has was to make corrupt conduct findings.

"Further information on what the allegations were, the findings and recommendations can be found in the investigation report and associated material on the website," she said.


Fact check: Are 30,000 women and 100,000 men sleeping rough?

The brainless General Morrison again

"Tonight... there are 30,000 women - that's more women than all of the soldiers in the regular Australian Army - who are sleeping rough on the streets of Australia. There are another 100,000 men who are sleeping rough," Australian of the Year David Morrison said on the ABC TV's Q&A on February 1.

How many men and women sleep rough and do women sleeping rough outnumber the soldiers in the Regular Army? ABC Fact Check investigates.

The verdict: Mr Morrison's claim is wrong.

According to the 2011 census, the total number of homeless Australians was 105,237.  Of those, 45,813 were women and 59,424 were men.

However, these figures include six categories of homelessness of which sleeping rough is only one.  In the sleeping rough category, women numbered 2,180 and men 4,633.

Experts contacted by Fact Check said these were the best figures available and far fewer men and women were sleeping rough on the streets of Australia than Mr Morrison said.

There were 29,193 soldiers in the Regular Australian Army on June 30, 2015.

Whilst there are more homeless women in total than there are soldiers in the Regular Army, there are fewer women sleeping rough than the number of soldiers.

Homeless men in all categories do not number 100,000, let alone men sleeping rough.

A spokesman for Mr Morrison told Fact Check his figures came from The Big Issue, an independent, not-for-profit organisation supporting and creating jobs for the homeless.

A spokeswoman from The Big Issue said the organisation quotes a figure of 46,000 homeless women, as indicated on a fact sheet from the national peak body advocating for the homelessness sector, Homelessness Australia.  "It should be noted that the definition of homelessness is quite broad, so not all of these women would be sleeping on the streets," she said.


Thousands of students caught up in major college collapse

If government money is given out to every Tom Dick and Harry without checks that it is being used wisely, the temptation to take the money and deliver little in return will always be too strong for some.  But it will always end badly

Thousands of students of at least four colleges have been left in limbo with huge debts following the collapse of one of the country's largest vocational education companies.

At least 500 administration and teaching staff have also been affected by the collapse.

Aspire College of Education, The Design Works College of Design, RTO Services Group and the Australian Indigenous College were placed in voluntary administration on Tuesday. Aspire alone has about 20 campuses around Australia.

All of the colleges are owned by Global Intellectual Holdings, which is also in administration with debt owing to ANZ Bank.

The fallout follows a federal government crackdown on the scandal-plagued vocational education sector, which included bans on inducements like free laptops and freezing funds to private colleges accessing VET FEE-HELP to 2015 levels.

There has been widespread rorting of VET FEE-HELP, a HECS-style loans system for vocational training students.

"There's thousands of students that have been left high and dry," a source said.

One employee said that the administrators took all the employees' keys and credit cards and padlocked the gates at The Designworks College of Design campus in West Burleigh in Gold Coast.

The colleges have campuses across Australia, including several in Melbourne and Sydney, and receives tens of millions of dollars in government funded student loans.  The Australian Indigenous College only enrols indigenous students.

The source said the colleges had exploited the VET FEE-HELP scheme by enrolling as many students at possible, with little regard to their ability to complete the course.

"They would recruit as many students as possible. They weren't interested in the students or their ability to complete the course. They were interested in anyone that came out of the dole office, single mums, and they targeted poor areas."

A letter from the administrator to employees said that major federal government changes to the VET FEE-HELP sector had "resulted in very significant pressure on the college's ability to operate."

"The owners of the colleges have exhausted all available means to continue operating and, with great reluctance, have been forced to place the colleges into voluntary administration."

ASIC documents show the colleges appointed administrators from Hall and Chadwick on Tuesday.

According to Global Intellectual Holdings' most recent accounts, the head company employs 501 people. It is unclear how much is owed to current employees of the colleges and to other creditors to the business.

Global Intellectual Holdings made $83 million in revenue in the year to June 2015, making it one of the largest vocational education companies in Australia.

The group's collapse comes despite Global Intellectual Holdings making a profit of $17.95 million in 2015. During the year it paid $14 million in dividends to its directors Roger Williams and Aloi Burgess. The accounts show the company held $19 million in debt.

Commonwealth Bank is listed as a creditor to Aspire College.

The colleges offer business, management, community services, graphic design, beauty, interactive digital media and teaching English as a second language courses.

The first meeting of creditors will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Brisbane on February 18.


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