Opinion

Journey asks John Jegasothy ; What have you learned from asylum seekers?

At the time of writing, boat people and border protection were major issues in the federal election. The world was watching. The international community, as well as the Australian community, know the atrocities and crimes against humanity committed in countries like Sri Lanka, Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma and other countries where the victims of war and persecution are fleeing. Asylum seekers ...

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Boundless Plains

ACCORDING TO the Australian Government Department of Immigration, up until mid 1989 Australia processed fewer than 500 refugee applications a year. In June 1989 the Tiananmen Square massacre in China brought the issue of asylum seekers abruptly into the Australian consciousness. Then Prime Minister Bob Hawke made an emotional speech after the Tiananmen Square massacre and granted permanent residency to ...

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Finding shelter

THE FEDERAL Election Hot Issues flyers stated that in 2009 Australia received 6170 applications for asylum. Not all of those applicants arrived by boat, but 90 per cent of those who came by boat were found to be refugees and were granted permanent protection visas. Refugees and humanitarian entrants make up just 6.6 per cent of the places in Australia’s ...

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Why stopping the boats won’t help

THE POLITICAL orthodoxy that any of the policy solutions offered by the two major parties will “stop the boats” demonstrates some clear misunderstandings of international law. It is not illegal to enter a country for the purposes of seeking asylum. The major difference between Australia and most other countries is that we are surrounded by water, hence the need for ...

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New political leadership

AS I WRITE this in the immediate and confusing aftermath of the recent election, my thoughts turn to the qualities and values I felt were missing from the election campaign. In the coming weeks and months the pundits will dissect the regional swings and local issues that were contributing factors in the national result but my sense is that Australians were ...

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Where there is no vision, the people perish

IT IS EASY to denigrate politicians. With the most participants in this country, denigrating politicians could be said to be our national sport! But what if the old saw is true that we get the politicians we deserve? What does the state of political discourse in the current federal election reveal about us citizens? We criticise our leaders for their apparent ...

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Voting for values

I WAS exposed to and involved in politics from an early age. My Dad consistently stood as the opposition candidate (ALP) in Queensland’s safest Liberal seat. Over 12 long years he made it a marginal seat. One year someone even voted for our dog, which travelled around with Dad on election day. From 13 I was handing out How to ...

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