The year 2006 could well be marked by two 'milestones' in the development of Australia's conscience and public opinion: the landing of 43 West Papuans and their acceptance as refugees by Australia, followed by the tabling of the Migration Amendment Bill 2006 in a highly questionable attempt by John Howard to appease Indonesia's fury over the Papuans, and later in the coming of former US President Al Gore to Australia.
Both events rocked John Howard's desired status-quo in public opinion: the Papuans were accepted as refugees within 90 days, and the proposed - and atrocious - Migration Bill's passage through Parliament failed, thanks to growing dissent opposition by his government's backbenchers: Petro Georgiou, Judi Moylan and Russell Broadbent spearheaded the revolt.
And the visit of Al Gore as 'a travelling salesman' to promote his Inconvenient Truth rocked Australia's silence on climate change issues, thus already setting the context for the 2007 Federal election, at the time still more than a year away.
Below are the pages we added to the website throughout the year 2006 and the 2006 Press releases. The tables for several other archives are also included on the page.
The call for a Royal Commission into detention and the treatment of refugees, asylum seekers and immigration detainees has always been relevant, especially since the 2001 Tampa stand-off. With Downloadable Petition Form!
18 October 2006: The Project SafeCom Blog Archives - This is the page that brings together all entries from our Blog. They are manually entered, so please accept apologies if sudden and new entries are not posted to this page immediately.
28 December 2006: The 2006 Volunteer of the Year Trophy - Since we started our organisation in 2001, many people have helped Project SafeCom develop into the organisation it has become: and at the 2006 Christmas wind-up we took the opportunity to honour one of our volunteers.
10 December 2006: Mission accomplished: Labor's back with a Rudder that works - We can be confident that the ALP's troubles have melted into thin air with the appointment of "the dream team", and especially the fact that Kevin Rudd is its leader. From Rudd's theology follows a vision of social responsibility in action - an vision that will eventually also spell an inevitable end to mandatory detention.
6 December 2006: After five years, Bring Hicks Home! - "He lives in a cell of featureless walls, 24-hour lighting and a single window of frosted glass that in daylight glows like a fluorescent globe," write Ian Munro and Penny Debelle in The Age, when the fifth year in Guantanamo Bay ends for David Hicks. Also on this page, Naomi Klein reports on the 'culture of torture' of her neo-conservative government.
3 December 2006: From coal and horses and shock-jocks: Forcing the coal industry on its environmental knees - The judgment against Centennial Coal's Anvil mine by the New South Wales' Land and Environment court was a blow for the coal industry, but a giant - albeit potential - win for the planet, which brought together on the same side of the table some very unlikely partners: shock-jock Alan Jones, a 26-year-old student from Newcastle, and wine growers from The Hunter.
29 November 2006: New DIMA Mugs: did the brooms sweep Immigration clean? - How did the Immigration Department change in response to the Mick Palmer Report? Buying everyone new coffee mugs or devising a new slogan does not signify change - and yet, that's exactly what Immigration did following the Cornelia Rau and Vivian ALvarez scandals.
28 November 2006: Towards a world on the move: the right of people movements and migration - Globalisation, restlessness amongst people who are economically and socially oppressed - or simply 'squeezed' in their societies - or a restlessness perhaps also expressed as an omen of climate crises ever-further advancing themselves. Will the world help, or control and punish?
21 November 2006: Greg Combet delivers the 9th Hawke Lecture - "...it is my argument that more than at any time since Australian Federation, we need as a nation to develop a new democratic consensus for the future. The 21st century holds not only great opportunities, but also significant challenges and contradictions."
19 November 2006: People's Inquiry into Detention: We've boundless plains to share - In response to the narrow terms of reference of the Palmer inquiry, the Australian Council of Heads of School of Social Work (ACHSSW) initiated the People's Inquiry into Detention. Here's the Introduction to the First Report of the Inquiry.
17 November 2006: The We-Do-Tube-Too Farm - Here's the page where we show that We Tube Too ... after all, these days myspace.com, the place where You Tube lives, is owned by our own Rupert Murdoch, and who said we weren't patriotic? So, We Tube Too these days!
10 November 2006: The 2005 Senate Inquiry into the Migration Act - this submission by former DIMA staffer and Migration worker Frederika Steen, who works as a volunteer for the Brisbane-based Romero Centre, is an excellent argument for the almost complete failure of the administration of the Migration Act under the Howard government's cruel set of ethics.
31 October 2006: People & Planet: A Social Justice & Environment Diary - this great initiative by Global Trade Watch, which benefited dozens of NGO's and grassroots groups around Australia, proved an overwhelming sucess, and we almost sold out within a few days. Here's the page for the Diary.
21 October 2006: Richard Woolcott: Intolerance, Terrorism and Fear - The Legacy of 11 September and the Threat to our Values, Rights and Liberties. "...our democracy is not functioning as it should. I believe it is affected by hubris, the arrogance that comes from ten years in power, the politics of fear, nurtured by the so-called 'war on terror' and latent racism."
16 October 2006: Reporting on the Loewenstein Book Launch and Forum - a page with photos, speeches and articles following the 11 October 2006 Forum on Antony Loewenstein's My Israel Question at Kulcha Multicultural Arts of WA, organised by Project SafeCom, in collaboration with the Social Justice Network.
10 October 2006: Living in limbo on Nauru: the last Iraqis marooned offshore - Two Iraqi refugees who fled from Saddam Hussein, Faisal and Sagar, remain marooned on Nauru for more than five years, because ASIO declared them as 'official threats' to Australia.
8 October 2006: An Inconvenient Truth Down-under - "The reason [Australia] has joined the US in failing to ratify Kyoto, is that it wishes to sabotage this international agreement. Australia's policy under the Howard Government has been to attempt sabotage, not just of Kyoto, but of any international climate change treaty or protocol that 'works'..."
6 October 2006: The Palm Island Inquest findings: unacceptable political inertia - This is not an issue that should concern only indigenous people. Police should not be permitted to become a law unto themselves ... We are all diminished if we stand by and tolerate a response which shows such a systemic disregard for basic levels of human decency.
4 October 2006: Who Cares? - The impact of detention on the mental health of detainees - Pro bono human rights lawyer and activist Claire O'Connor writes about children in immigration detention, and the implications for failing to deliver adequate Mental Health Services. A paper delivered at the Inaugural Women Lawyers Conference in Sydney (September 2006).
23 September 2006: Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Amadinejad at the United Nations - During the UN session of September 2006 two remarkable speeches shot some serious holes in the credibility of the USA, and its role as "the world's policeman". Here they are, both on our website.
:::CALL TO ACTION::: Monday 18 September 2006: A Planetary Emergency: Earth on the boil - this week, of all weeks in the year, seems a most opportune week to send you Project SafeCom's 'brand-new' publication - the brochure "From Climate Change to Climate Justice".
17 September 2006: Of Down-Under Creed and Confession: two essays about Australian beliefs - two perspectives on Australia, presented about what Australians believe, and trying to capture what creeds we hold. First, social researcher Hugh Mackay, with barely held contempt for the Prime Minister; and an autobiographical essay from Tony Kevin.
5 September 2006: George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck - "... seeing this multi-award winning movie about the McCartheism era in the USA raised my faith in the WA State government by quite a few notches - even though the government seemed to have taken in all of the Federal Anti-Terrorism legislation ..."
2 September 2006: Tales from The Land of Jihad Jack - A hundred or so years ago, if you couldn't get to sleep, and you were born into a loving and caring family, you may have been so blessed as to have Granma enter your bedroom and tell you a story or two from the book of fairy-tales....
30 August 2006: Does Ahmadinejad want to Wipe Israel off the map? - Is Iran's President Really a Jew-hating, Holocaust-denying Islamo-fascist who has threatened to "wipe Israel off the map"? Professor of political science Virginia Tilley's question suggests we're "Putting Words in Ahmadinejad's Mouth".
28 August 2006: Five years on, the Tampa drama continues - As SMH investigative reporter David Marr shows, the drama continues, now in the private lives of those refugees who eventually made it into Australia, and barrister Julian Burnside QC gets challenged by Australians on a public Blog.
26 August 2006: The 'Flotsam' Downflow from Indonesia - Without the Migration Bill, will Indonesia dump their refugees on our shores? A reflection on the Burmese refugees and the "coincidence" of the timing of their arrival on Asmore Reef. Includes former diplomat Tony Kevin's speech on Australia-Indonesian relations at an Uniya seminar.
26 August 2006: Dreaming of a straight-shooting and principled ALP - "...imagine a room in Parliament House in Canberra. Imagine the Federal Labor leader ... flanked by ... Mr António Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The occasion is the launch of Labor's new and definitive Human Rights and Refugee Policy for the 2007 Federal election."
14 August 2006: Got that sinking feeling? - Some of Australia's closest neighbours are getting 'that sinking feeling' - and with good reason: their nations are sinking, or rather, rising sea levels increase the likelihood of them becoming "climate refugees". But this page is about our own country: Australia...
9 August 2006: The Coalition Rebels speak out - Three Government MP's, The Hon Judi Moylan, Mr Russell Broadbent and Mr Petro Georgiou crossed the floor over the Migration Amendment (Designated Unauthorised Arrivals) Bill 2006, sat in the opposition benches, and voted against the Bill with the Australian Labor Party and others opposed. Here are their remarkable speeches.
20 July 2006: John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt: The Israel Lobby - Yesterday, ABC Lateline reported: "... two leading American academics have sparked a war of words over their claim that US-Middle East policy has become unbalanced because of the activities of a right-wing pro-Israeli lobby, which tries to shut down critics by labelling them anti-Semitic." Here is the "offending" article, from The London Review of Books.
15 July 2006: Twenty-five Reports that line government bookshelves ... on Indigenous Australia - Australia already has a complete roadmap to indigenous well-being. Report after report was written, commissioned by governments. The one aspect jumping out and screaming for answers, is the absolute lack of will on the part of the Howard government to build on that roadmap.
15 July 2006: Women in Black on Whitefella business: walking to Canberra - On 11 July 2006, three women started on a journey from Perth to Canberra, and this page contains some of the published information, their message to the Prime Minister John Howard and the Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough, and an open letter to all Australians.
13 July 2006: Grassroots vs Astroturf: the tactics of 'Rambo' Ross Irvine - .... to help us combat NGOs, Irvine referred us to the teachings of the Rand Corporation, a US national security think-tank. This was when 'activist' became confused with "terrorist", "criminal", "guerilla" and "security threat".
30 June 2006: Christine Rau: Dealing with the Aftermath - "...by mid-afternoon, other outlets had already found enough material on the missing persons' website as to scotch any ideas of anonymity. By Saturday morning, her story - and ironically, her identity - was front page news."
20 June 2006: - Did the Cornelia Rau saga change refugee treatment? - For our event at Kulcha Multicultural Arts WA, Melbourne advocate Pamela Curr, the person who "found" her in the Baxter detention centre, asks whether the light which the Cornelia Rau case shone into the detention regime will make a difference to the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia.
16 May 2006: David Manne at the "Boatloads of Extinguishment?" - "The new policy of 'Radical Rejection' not only involves offshore processing. The Government has also refused to discount the possibility of using our navy to intercept or interdict boats with asylum seekers on board, without undertaking any assessment of the person's fears or need for protection..."
15 May 2006: From the Boondocks of Narrogin to the WACOSS Conference - The paper 'Having a finger in the pie in Canberra from the boondocks in Narrogin' as well as 'Working with the issue of Fear and Public Policy' were Project SafeCom's two deliveries to the peak body's conference.
14 May 2006: Iranian President Ahmadinejad writes to George Bush - "Liberalism and Western style democracy have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity. Today these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems."
13 May 2006: The Ban The Boatpeople Bill - The Migration Amendment (Designated Unauthorised Arrivals) Bill 2006 should really be called the "Ban The Boatpeople Bill". Since Tampa the Howard government has been insistent that "unannounced boat-using asylum seekers" are "illegals" or "unlawful" in their entry. Both terms have no basis in law in Australia...
23 April 2006: TAPOL Human Rights Bulletin 181 (West Papua) - It seems that since December 2005 things are starting to escalate around West Papua, so it's not surprising that TAPOL dedicates a large section of this December Bulletin to the issues in Papua.
::: CALL TO ACTION :::18 April 2006: CTA: Australia banishes all boat people ... it must be a joke!!! - A very serious request for your help: A scandalous and brutal Bill has been proposed by the Howard government to block all access to Australia of all asylum seekers arriving by boat, both for processing their claims and for settlement if these claims prove true.
10 April 2006: Pieter J Drooglever, An Act of Free Choice? - the Papuans of Western New Guinea and the limitations of the right to self determination. An English summary of the Dutch Government-commissioned report into the handover of Irian Jaya to the UN under the New York Agreement in 1962 and the Indonesian - and stacked - Referendum of 1969.
31 March 2006: The Secret War Against The Defenseless People Of West Papua - "If the history of human rights is not the history of great power's impunity, the UN must return to West Papua, as it did finally to East Timor." Essays and writings by John Pilger, Clinton Fernandes and Marni Cordell.
30 March 2006: Our Newsletter Survey: What you told us - In March 2006 we conducted a Poll amongst the subscribers to our highly regarded Project SafeCom News and Updates. This page outlines and analyses the results of that survey.
11 March 2006: Ten cheers for John Howard? - "...we no longer live in a healthy, self-correcting democratic system, but in an expanding, albeit still "soft-authoritarian", system of corporate national power. While leading elites remain mostly quietly complicit, dissenters look on in horror..."
11 March 2006: Burning Coal and burning the planet - The Australian Labor Party has just released its environmental policy blueprint, and on the face of it, the policy looks 'half decent', but, as always needs to be asked, is the ALP policy all it's stated to be? And, how vulnerable is the stated target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050?
9 March 2006: The fall-out from the Cole Inquiry - former diplomat Bruce Haigh, who's from a family of farmers in WA's Western wheatbelt, ponders about the Cole Royal Commission into the Australian Wheat Board and it's mainly negative fall-out that will not help the farmers in Australia.
5 March 2006: Silencing the climate change prophets - ABC Four Corners lifts the lid off government gagging of those who know and should tell us. "Some scientists believe that there'll be more environmental refugees. Is that a possibility?" - "I can't really comment on that..."
10 February 2006: Brothers in Arms: Israel's Secret Pact With Pretoria - Israelis have always been horrified at the idea of parallels between their country, a democracy risen from the ashes of genocide, and the racist system that ruled the old South Africa. Yet even within Israel itself....
10 February 2006: Worlds apart: Israel, Palestine and Apartheid - After four years reporting from Jerusalem and more than a decade from Johannesburg before that, the Guardian's award-winning Middle East correspondent Chris McGreal is exceptionally well placed to assess an explosive comparison. The first part of his two-part special report.
4 February 2006: Rallying for the Papuans - Photo Reports from around Australia - Within a week of the 43 Papuans arriving near Weipa in Queensland, Australians voted with their feet, and rallies were held in several states. Here are the photos from Melbourne, Sydney, Darwin, as well as some images taken on Christmas Island.
1 February 2006: Project SafeCom's higly acclaimed News and Updates - our (almost Daily) News and Updates have kept hundreds of human rights advocates, refugee rights activists, lawyers, migration agents, politicians and many of our members and supporters informed about the state of affairs around Australia since the Tampa Affair in 2001. Here's the subscription page.
22 January 2006: Inside the Grasberg Mine: an exasperating New York Times key feature investigation on West Papua's Freeport Mine. Published in December 2005, the article is already found on dozens of locations on the internet, and perhaps it's a study that will break the stranglehold on a situation that's both environmentally unsustainable, politically corrupt and an abhorrence in terms of human rights and ecological responsibility.
21 January 2006: Raise the Flag and Cry Merdeka - The first traditional Papuan boat, a canoe with outriggers, arrived on Australian shores this week from West Papua. The heat is on the Howard government especially because the Indonesian government allegedly embarked upon "revenge attacks" against family members of those who made the journey. This is a background briefing on the issues at stake.
6 January 2006: Radio National Big Ideas: New Media Publishing - a forum about New Media, online media and blogging - "The internet is changing writing and publishing. Is publishing on the net, through e-zines and blogs, a great way to get to read the thoughts and experiences of people all over the world? Or is it just too much self-published, unedited, unsubstantiated opinion?"
3 January 2006: Human Rights Watch on the Anti-Terrorism Bill - "In order to protect freedom of expression, "urging" action must not be criminalized unless it is directed at inciting imminent lawless action, is likely to incite such action, and if those listening are likely to take action in response to the urging."
2 January 2006: ASIO's Terrorism Powers and the Implications for Democracy - Sandra Fonseca from Reportage writes: The amendments to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979, which have bestowed unprecedented powers upon the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), are amongst the most concerning of the Howard government's legislative initiatives to counter terrorism.
Media Releases 2006
|22 December 2006||Senior Migration Agent alarmed about Seventh Christmas in Detention|
|20 December 2006||Rudd should speak out after desperate Baxter detainee burns feet|
|16 December 2006||Minister's refusal sparks another Baxter suicide attempt|
|12 December 2006||Six hangings at Baxter detention centre|
|11 December 2006||Teresa Gambaro's Human Rights funding smacks of rank hypocrisy|
|8 December 2006||Rights advocates fear DIMA "Duck Shooting" Deportation Season|
|7 December 2006||Advocates aghast by ducking, blaming, weaving Vanstone|
|3 December 2006||Human Rights Lobby should all punt for Labor's 'Harry Potter'|
|27 November 2006||Iraq War of "two stupid white men" claims another Australian victim|
|23 November 2006||Cole Documents reveal Australia has a liar for Prime Minister|
|22 November 2006||ALP should drop their Greens' VIC undermining - they need The Greens|
|16 November 2006||Australia's Alcatraz: History will judge Howard as Down-Under Guantanamo Man|
|15 November 2006||High Court TPV decision exposes Australia's failure for moral safety-net|
|9 November 2006||Vanstone's delight over High Court deportation is a devil's dance|
|2 November 2006||Greens are best placed to "cause a right riot" over Glass House axing|
|30 October 2006||Vanstone's climate refugee "spin" diminishes Australia|
|9 October 2006||Zionist critic journalist Antony Loewenstein visiting Perth|
|18 September 2006||Govt should fully declare "dark side" of failing citizenship candidates|
|6 September 2006||ALP, backbenchers should support Greens "Living Under the Bridges Visa" employment motion|
|4 September 2006||Mike Rann makes SA govt look ridiculous over Sandra Kanck speech|
|17 August 2006||West Australian MP Wilson Tuckey unfit for government|
|15 August 2006||No government spin will undo Australia's 'dirty push-back deals' with Indonesia|
|14 August 2006||New asylum boat kicks off Indonesian "pushed-back" asylum drip-feed|
|14 August 2006||Migration Bill defeat a win for democracy and human rights|
|11 August 2006||Refugee advocates demand answers on Nauru child sex predator stories|
|10 August 2006||Migration bill: Howard government adds another dark victory to its tally|
|2 August 2006||Privatisation Border Control another reason to scuttle Migration Bill|
|29 July 2006||DIMA set to "deport" sick 9-year-old boy to Christmas Island|
|11 July 2006||Govt, Ministers, should intervene to protect Falun Gong from "organ harvesting"|
|7 July 2006||Three Perth women walk to Canberra against racism|
|14 June 2006||Refugee Lobby deserves credit for Senate Inquiry Migration Amendment Report|
|13 June 2006||DIMA Migration Amendment Submission: "a queer act" from public servants|
|7 June 2006||Australia and Nuclear power/mining demands informed referendum|
|6 June 2006||New Asylum policy may trigger International Court prosecution|
|26 May 2006||Findings and final action following Senate Inquiry a foregone conclusion|
|22 April 2006||Proposed Boatpeople Pacific Solution comes apart before it's written|
|20 April 2006||Australia risks becoming "dark kingdom world leader" in refugee warehousing|
|8 April 2006||Justice Minister disgraces himself with continuing "illegal" spin|
|7 April 2006||Howard tries another Tampa Dogwhistle round over West Papua|
|5 April 2006||Howard should bring true "Deliverance" to Papuans on the mainland|
|3 April 2006||Dutch PM should raise West Papua issue with Howard|
|3 April 2006||"Asylum barges" Dutch MP meets "Banning them Forever on Nauru" PM this week|
|30 March 2006||Only a post-Howard Royal Commission into DIMA will reveal all|
|28 March 2006||Indonesia Diplomatic Row: "Let it Rip!" over 'illegal migrants'|
|10 March 2006||Immigration Dept engages in ethnic cleansing, says group|
|8 March 2006||Which Migration Agent was jailed for supplying false information, and why?|
|2 March 2006||"Cross-the-floor ALP Bungle" exposes Labor's sickening disinterest in issues|
|27 February 2006||"Refugees don't sink damned boats, Mr Howard!"|
|13 February 2006||(website) Opposition should ask Queen to sack Howard government|
|10 February 2006||Minister should reveal all case details of latest DIMIA Bungles|
|7 February 2006||ASIO "interviews" returning Brisbane peace worker Ciaron O'Reilly|
|5 February 2006||Indonesia should stop interfering in Australian refugee assessments|
|26 January 2006||Christmas Island detention places Papuan families in direct murder danger|
|22 January 2006||West Papuan killings and violence are part of a 4-decade Indonesian pattern|
|20 January 2006||Vanstone's refugee injustice when it suits her 'knows no borders'|
|19 January 2006||WA Rights group remains skeptical about Vanstone's Papuan refugee assessment impartiality promise|
|19 January 2006||DIMIA's Half a Million Dollar Deportation stopped|
|18 January 2006||Minister for Immigration attempts to deport suicidal detainee|
|5 January 2006||WA Lobby group applauds ALP's push for Climate Refugees|