Archived pages 2007
The year 2007 was a Federal election year, and eventually it became the year of 'Howard's End', a joyful event for the many who saw serious undermining of human rights and United Nations Conventions by this right-wing, radical neo-conservative government as a major issue in Australia.
While the year ended on this note, it started with former US vice-president Al Gore's 'race around the world', urging global attention for climate change issues and forcing a major rethink, also in Australia.
2007 further marked the closure of the notorious Baxter detention centre, the return of terror-suspect David Hicks to Australia, and the making of Project SafeCom's first online movie, a report on our 2007 World Refugee Day event in Fremantle's NAVY Club.
Below are all pages added to the website during the calendar year 2007, followed by our 2007 press releases.
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.
31 December 2007: Work in Operation: a slight diversion for website visitors - An enjoyable page used by the webmaster of the Project SafeCom website as a replacement page when a page is "locked" for editing purposes. Watch the movie of Men at Work: "Do you come from a land down under?"
27 November 2007: The ALP's me-too refugee policy: Australia will keep turning the boats back - The Howard Years have finally come to an end with a resounding victory for the Rudd camp, and while we know that we will be 'more amongst friends' than before, there is still a lot of work ahead for us, in terms of creating a wholehearted implementation of Australia's obligations as a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention.
15 November 2007: Tension, self-harm and protests in Villawood - "Twenty-four hours after slashing his arms, hands and stomach, a detainee inside the high security stage 1 of Villawood detention centre is still without treatment ... others feel mistreated, abused, both through process or lack of process, or through direct abuse by guards..."
14 November 2007: Project SafeCom's 2007 Annual Report - Expectations of the number displaced people inside Australia being on the rise, and World Systems theory arguing that a serious crisis may emerge during a breakdown of capitalism and the ensuing chaos... In the centre of the storm of planetary changes, so vast, so confronting, that it now captures everyone's attention, there's also talk of vast changes to our way of life, our mode of production, and of many of the core paradigms.
:::CARBON CALCULATOR UPDATED::: 4 November 2007: Our Carbonify Calculator Upgraded - Our Carbonify Calculator has been replaced with a much better version, one which includes your rubbish - calculate your Environmental Footprint now!
27 October 2007: Ahmed al-Kateb gets permanency: Escape from a life in limbo - ... a young man with an old face who carries one of the most famous names in the legal history of this country: Ahmed al-Kateb. This week his incredible story reached something like a happy ending when he was issued a card carrying the words, "Permitted to remain in Australia indefinitely."
24 October 2007: Constructions of racism in the Australian parliamentary asylum debates - in 'Constructions of racism in the Australian parliamentary debates on asylum seekers', Using an exploration of parliamentary debate during 2001, authors Danielle Every and Martha Augoustinos argue that the government's construction of asylum seeker views was carefully and consciously constructed, and that it needs countering in equally careful and conscious ways.
22 October 2007: John Hartigan: The 2007 Andrew Olle Media Lecture - "The defence of press freedom is not a self-indulgent game. Freedom of the press, exercised responsibly, is the base line for freedom of speech generally in the community ... [New York Times editor Abe] Rosenthal's legacy is important today. His advice was never to compromise on press freedom. He told his journalists: 'Fight like hell every inch of the way.'"
13 October 2007: The American Magazine: Howard's End? - On March 11, 1996, Howard was sworn in as prime minister, a position he has kept ever since. Australians reelected him in 1998, 2001, and 2004. He's running again today. The race has been tough, and a Howard victory would be surprising -- but in each of his four previous campaigns he has faced serious obstacles.
4 October 2007: Kevin Rudd: Howard's Brutopia; the battle of ideas in Australian politics - "the culture war is essentially a cover for the real battle of ideas in Australian politics today: the battle between free-market fundamentalism and the social-democratic belief that individual reward can be balanced with social responsibility. Howard's culture war is in large part an electoral strategy drawn straight from the Republican Party's campaign manual."
:::UPDATED Febr 2008:::: 26 September 2007: Oskar Schindler and the people smuggler - Under Australia's interpretation of what constitutes a 'people smuggler', the young man who sold the donkey to Joseph and Mary would be prosecuted and imprisoned by law ... So would the priest who helped the Von Trapp family ... this page is about Ali Al Jenabi, one of those people smugglers.
23 September 2007: Sri Lankans: you're all refugees, but not in Australia! - "What kind of country has Australia become? This is the question Australians again have to ask themselves in the wake of the Federal Government's disturbing decision to deny 72 Sri Lankans, who have been found to be genuine refugees, the right to settle in Australia."
:::UPDATED - HUNGERSTRIKE PHOTOS::: 23 September 2007: Sri Lankan Desperation on Nauru: "we now live with indefinite expectation..." - There's something eerie about refugees, locked up and away from their human rights, celebrating World Refugee Week - but that's exactly what happened in the week of 17th to 23rd June with the Sri Lankans we sent to Nauru after they sought Australia's protection. They sent us photos and a letter; here they are.
22 September 2007: Alastair Nicholson: Human Rights Under the Howard Government - "The situation of the protection of rights in Australia is particularly precarious because of the absence of any form of a Bill of Rights at a national level. We are now one of the few civilised countries in the world to lack this protection. The introduction of such a bill is anathema to conservatives ... This is precisely why we need it, particularly when ..."
19 September 2007: Paddling Excision: Big John comes home - This Tuesday at 11:00am, Dave Corlett and Simon Keenan symbolically landed their Big John mascot on home soil - right on the rock shelf in front of his official residence at Kirribilli House on Sydney Harbour. Big John's APS / AFP Federal guards weren't all that delighted, but Sydney Water Police were very interested in the epic 3-month sea kayak journey...
17 September 2007: Dr Carmen Lawrence's Valedictory Speech - Carmen Lawrence, six months away from turning 60, this week said her farewells in the nation's Parliament, and, unlike many MPs who leave without a word, the white-haired Lawrence rose in her place on Thursday morning and said her piece. And what a piece it was. She hit all the high Cs.
26 August 2007: Tampa 2007: The Cost and The Bill, as A Price Too High is evidenced - on the sixth anniversary of the Tampa standoff, A Just Australia and Oxfam have released their report 'A price too high', while even the last of those asylum seekers who were rescued by MS Tampa is only just getting out of the woods and out of the quagmire of the political ramifications of the ensuing 'Pacific Solution'.
21 August 2007: An End to the Baxter detention centre - today is the last day of operations of the Baxter detention centre - but, there's no reason to celebrate. Far and far from Baxter, on Christmas Island, away from lawyers, advocates, Australian courts and those annoying stirring activists, another centre nears completion.
17 July 2007: Project SafeCom's 2007 World Refugee Day readings - This week's Fremantle Herald, a major Project SafeCom sponsor, features major coverage of Project SafeCom's World Refugee Day event as part of its wraparound for World Refugee Day. This page reproduces the entire section, including articles by our speakers for the event who came from The Greens, the ALP, and from Melbourne. Perth Community Television (CTV) filmed the event, and the 15-minute documentary is included on this page.
3 July 2007: Sri Lankan Desperation on Nauru: "we now live with indefinite expectation..." - There's something eerie about refugees, locked up and away from their human rights, celebrating World Refugee Week - but that's exactly what happened in the week of 17th to 23rd June with the Sri Lankans we sent to Nauru after they sought Australia's protection. They sent us photos and a letter; here they are.
30 June 2007: Simon Keenan and David Corlett: Paddling the Excised Zone - Paddling for Refugees' founder Simon Keenan and author of Following Them Home David Corlett are embarking on a sea kayaking journey in and around the 'excised zone', those parts of Australia's north that have been cut off from Australia's migration zone...
26 June 2007: Clive Hamilton, The Australian, Free Speech and Hypocrisy - "This sorry story sheds a different light on the noble appeals of ... The Australian ... for a more open society in which free speech and a variety of opinions are not just tolerated but encouraged. The newspaper's defence of high principle is vitiated by its slavish support for the Howard Government, including its attacks on the Government's critics."
26 June 2007: Jennifer Martiniello, Howard's New Tampa: Aboriginal Children Overboard - Our Aboriginal communities are being squeezed further into dysfunction and disenfranchisement by carefully targeted political engineering, the systemic and ruthless roll-out of a planned agenda. It is no accident that Howard's scheme to address what he calls the urgency of the Little Children are Sacred report's 97 recommendations was trotted out so very quickly, and addresses so very few of those recommendations.
2 June 2007: David Marr: Careful, he might hear you - John Howard has ... cowed his critics, muffled the press, intimidated the ABC, gagged scientists, silenced NGOs, censored the arts, prosecuted leakers, criminalised protest and curtailed parliamentary scrutiny, and this has happened because we let it happen.
16 May 2007: Human tide: the real migration crisis: a Christian Aid report - "Christian Aid predicts that, on current trends, a further 1 billion people will be forced from their homes between now and 2050. We believe forced migration is the most urgent threat facing poor people in developing countries. The time for action is now."
7 May 2007: Making sense at Manning Clark House - Some material presented or published following the Manning Clark House 2007 Weekend of Ideas: the SIEVX presentation by Tony Kevin in the media segment, the Agreed Statement of Principles issued by the Conference, and a Canberra Times article by John Warhurst.
7 May 2007: Dr Eva Sallis, Australian dream; Australian nightmare: Some thoughts on Multiculturalism and Racism - "...this place is called, with terrible irony, Blackster. It is the other side of town from Baxter, and, although less money is spent here, the echoes are stark, and when I thought about it, almost all generated by the fence." The Dymphna Clark Lecture at the Manning Clark House 6th Weekend of Ideas, "A Fair Go for Refugees?"
:::40 PHOTOS::: 6 May 2007: Kate Durham's SIEVX Art Exhibition goes to Canberra - From 30 March to 15 April 2007, as an art exhibition associated with the Manning Clark House Weekend of Ideas, reknowned Melbourne artist Kate Durham's impressive SIEVX art exhibition visited Canberra at the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre. Project SafeCom's Jack Smit attended the exhibition's opening.
5 May 2007: Malcolm Fraser: Australians: What are we? How do we see ourselves? How do others see us? - On 30 April 2007, before a crowd of 500 staff, students, and journalists, former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser delivered the 2007 Commonwealth Lecture at Australian National University. Here's the full lecture.
28 April 2007: What you told Kevin Rudd and Tony Burke - "We decided who will come in to this country and the circumstances in which they arrive when we signed and ratified the Refugee Convention..." This page lists a selection of comments to ALP Opposition leader Kevin Rudd and Labor's Immigration spokesman Tony Burke MP in the Project SafeCom online letter campaign during April 2007.
23 April 2007: Building our Alcatraz: the Christmas Island Detention Centre - A nine-minute movie of the construction site of the Christmas Island detention centre (with apologies for the length and the soothing background music: we believe it was made by the construction company, Boulderstone Constructions!)
:::UPDATED::: 10 April 2007: Alcatraz Down Under - The monstrosity is nearly complete... - Like a gigantic scar cutting through the pristine wilderness, the Christmas Island detention centre blights not just the hillside of the island, but also the Australian psyche.
10 April 2007: You told Labor what you thought: The letter writing campaign to Kevin Rudd and Tony Burke - During the last half of April 2007 hundreds of people wrote to Labor, prior to its National Policy Conference in Sydney. Here's the text of the letter and some of the concerns about Labor's policy relating to unannounced boat arrivals as expressed in the media.
18 March 2007: The Sri Lankans: being a refugee just ain't cricket... - There's a widespread consensus amongst journalists, reporters and commentators that John Howard eventually closed Nauru, and that it was Labor that resurrected offshore processing. It's not true, Howard never closed Nauru. The deportation of 83 Sri Lankans to Nauru in 2007, under Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews, marked one of Howard's last callous anti-asylum seeker acts. The Sri Lankans were flown to Nauru after a secret plan hatched by Alexander Downer to dump them back in Indonesia, collapsed.
28 February 2007: Clive Hamilton and Sarah Maddison, Silencing Dissent: How the Australian government is controlling public opinion and stifling debate. The book Silencing Dissent uncovers the tactics used by John Howard and his colleagues to undermine dissenting and independent opinion. Bullying, intimidation, public denigration, threats of withdrawal of funding, personal harassment, increased government red tape and manipulation of the rules are all tools of trade for a government that wants to keep a lid on public debate.
27 January 2007: Five years for David Hicks: it's quite enough! - Philip Ruddock, an Attorney-General who is 'grossly inaccurate', misleading in argument, in breach of the standards of the Australian criminal code, and who misrepresents the law? Ask former chief justice Alastair Nicholson and Queens council Lex Lazry.
26 January 2007: And the Winning Big Issue for 2007 is... - It sounds almost like the announcement by of Juan Antonio Samaranch, who announced that Syd-e-ney had won its bid to host the 2000 Olympic Games - it's just that the "winner" of the Big Issues in 2007 is a rather more disturbing announcement.
12 January 2007: Meditations on a new millennium: After the Tampa - A poem by Project SafeCom's Chair Cedric Beidatsch. "Evil does not lie in choosing to do wrong: It lies in not choosing to do good."
1 January 2007: The Gifts of Carmen Lawrence - The number of contributions from Carmen to the national debate, also but not only about Australia's treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, has kept growing, also on our website - this was the reason we constructed this page to bring all pages, all gifts from Dr Carmen Lawrence together.