Friday, April 25, 2014

Gallipoli not the only war to define Australian warfare Gary Foley Sydney Morning Herald April 25, 2014

Gallipoli not the only war to define Australian warfare
Gary Foley Sydney Morning Herald April 25, 2014

As an Aboriginal person who had family serve in World War I, I am acutely aware that there are many Aboriginal families who had relatives who fought at Gallipoli. I am nevertheless always deeply concerned each Anzac Day about the way in which Gallipoli has become so politicised in the evolving memory of so many Australians. As historian Don Watson has written, ‘the more politicians and media commentators talk of the values of Anzac Day, traduce it for convenient contemporary instruction and daub themselves with the soldiers’ moral courage, the more like a kitsch religion it becomes’.
In the process of the politicisation of Anzac Day and events almost a century ago on the Gallipoli peninsula, I feel that many Australians are further entrenching an attitude of denial about key aspects of their own history. They are seeking to divert attention away from earlier wars that had more to do with defining the Australian national character than Gallipoli did. By that I mean the colonial ‘wars’ that many in Australia still have great difficulty in even accepting as wars.
The politicisation of our historical memory can be seen through two phases…….
………. as prominent historian Henry Reynolds asserts, ‘If there was no war, then thousands of Aborigines were murdered in a century-long, continent-wide crime wave tolerated by government. There seems to be no other option. It must be one or the other’.
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Remedy Australia report reveals Australia rife with human rights violations

Cec Busby SX April 11, 2014
A report by Australia’s newest human rights NGO, Remedy Australia, has revealed Australia is a land, rife with human rights violations.
The report shows Australia has the world’s fourth highest number of human rights violations recorded against its name by the UN and that little action has been taken to remedy the violations.
Remedy Australia was founded by Nick Toonen……..
Toonen said the aim of Remedy Australia is to bring Australia’s human rights record into line with what the international community and the Australian people expect of our nation.
‘Some of the nation’s leading human rights lawyers and campaigners have founded this new NGO to focus on getting Australia to act on UN concern about specific human rights violations,’ Toonen said.
‘Remedy Australia is a supporter-based organisation which holds our governments to account.’……..
Download Ball’s report, which involved four years of research. Find out more about Remedy Australia.
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

When the boats come in Aloysious Mowe SJ, Aurora (Diocese of Maitland) April 2014

Most recent public opinion polls show that a significant majority of Australians support the harsh policies of the present government towards asylum seekers who come on boats.

I know of no recent survey of attitudes in the Australian Catholic population towards the same issue, but it cannot have escaped us that the current policies have been put in place by a government led by a Catholic (and former seminarian) who wears his faith on his sleeve, and that the Minister for Immigration lists ‘Church’ as his favourite hobby in ‘Who’s Who’.
The reality is that the current policies have in effect criminalised anyone who comes to Australia by boat to seek asylum. The government consistently refers to these asylum seekers as ‘illegal’, and cites this alleged ‘illegality’ as the reason for refusing them the right to seek asylum in Australia. The government is fully aware that the UN Refugee Convention, to which Australia is a signatory, states clearly that asylum seekers should not be punished for the way they enter a country. Making an issue of a non-issue, that of illegal entry, is one of the big lies being told by this government, a lie that has contributed to the hardened attitudes of the public.
The consequences have been horrendous……….
Children have now been locked up for months on Christmas Island with no access to education. In recent weeks the government has begun transporting some of these children to Nauru, their future uncertain, and their physical and mental health at risk the longer they remain in detention.
The government claims the moral high ground by saying that Australia is on the side of the millions of refugees who have been waiting patiently for years in refugee camps around the world for countries such as this one to resettle them, and that 11,000 visas a year are being granted to these people. Those who come by boat are jumping the queue and should instead stay where they are until it is their turn to be resettled.
This is another lie…….
……….We do not help those most in need; rather we choose the ones we want…….Australia has refused to take unaccompanied children and people with severe disabilities, arguably the most needy of refugees, because it does not want the trouble and expense that these groups would present. Australia also deliberately refuses to take refugees from certain countries, regardless of need, because of concerns about security, ……….
While the countries bordering Syria have taken in 2.5 million refugees from that country’s civil war, Australia has been unwilling to share its wealth and resources with the mere 17,000 boat arrivals in 2012, and the 20,000 in 2013. Pope Francis is surely right, and his words are most apt for Australians, when he says that our consciences need to be ‘converted to justice, equality, simplicity and sharing’. …….
………. what of the rest of us who claim to bear the name of Christ, who made himself poor? Have we welcomed the stranger, even at great cost to ourselves? Or have we locked up our Lord on Christmas Island, and sent him to Nauru and Manus Island, out of sight and out of mind? ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me’ (Matthew 25:45).
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Asylum seekers transferred to remote detention centre day before court case

Matthew Knott Sydney Morning Herald April 2, 2014

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Ben Rushton
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has defended moving asylum seekers involved in legal action against the federal government from Sydney to remote Western Australia the day before their case is due to be heard in court.
A spokesperson for Mr Morrison said that the detention centre network was not run at ‘the convenience’ of asylum seekers or activists.
A lawyer representing the asylum seekers has accused the Department of Immigration of interfering with the judicial process by transferring 83 asylum seekers from Villawood detention centre to the Curtin detention centre……….
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