Archived pages 2011
Perhaps the year 2011 should be marked as the period where the political discourse about asylum seekers reached new depths of rhetorical opportunism under the "old parties".
The Liberal/National Conservatives led by Tony Abbott and the Labor government under Julia Gillard engaged in a war of rhetoric and presented callous, risk-taking proposals.
With the introduction of the failed "Malaysia Refugee Swap Deal" Solution, a calculated and nasty bidding war about who's better at "stopping the boats" became permanently established.
The underlying moderation notion that the passengers of those boats are asylum seekers just seeking Australia's help under their UN Charter rights has now entirely suffocated in the political cacaphony.
The Malaysia Refugee Swap Deal
On Saturday May 7, 2011 the Gillard government announced its "Malaysian refugee swap deal". Under this agreement all boat arrivals, starting with the first 800 asylum seekers arriving from midnight July 26 2011 would be "deported" to Malaysia. The government intended quarantining all maritime arrivals for this purpose - starting with the July 31 vessel.
However, a successful High Court challenge saw this agreement scuttled on 31 August 2011. The government responded by drafting amendments to the 1958 Migration Act to circumvent the High Court ruling so it could proceed with its original agreement.
This Bill however was not brought to a vote following fierce opposition by the Greens, the Liberal-National Coalition and Independent MP Tony Crook (Pearce). On 13 October 2011, the Gillard government accepted its defeat by stopping progress of its legislation in the House of Representatives. Instead, it announced that all maritime asylum seekers would now be processed "onshore" in Australia while insisting its plans for the refugee swap deal would be maintained.
What's on this page?
Below are all pages added to the website during the calendar year 2011, followed by our 2011 press releases.
16 December 2011: Evil Smugglers or Extreme Rhetoric? - The Political Origins and Development of Australia's People Smuggling Legislation. Jack Smit's Masters Thesis - The research findings indicate that the increasingly harsh measures imposed by successive Australian governments targeting smugglers and passengers represents an increasingly punitive and continuous series of policy proposals and parliamentary discourse...
12 December 2011: When Canberra neuters the courts - When asylum policies are unlawful, Australian politicians manipulate the law and make it legal. With the Deterring People Smuggling Bill 2011, the Gillard government responded just within the nick of time: one day before the courtcase was to come before the Victorian Court of Appeal, the measures were rammed through the House of Representatives within 54 minutes. Its sole purpose was to stymie the courtcase.
12 November 2011: A Suicide Bomber in Quetta and an Australian Poster - For Hazaras, it's bad enough being stuck in Quetta, Pakistan, when staying home in Afghanistan is too dangerous. Things get worse if you then get targeted in Quetta. Three recent photos of one such incident in Quetta show people are cleaning up the bodies against the backdrop of an Australian Government poster, depicting "a leaky boat" and warning people not to try to come to Australia in "the illegal way".
7 November 2011: Julia Gillard and Labor's factional warlords - The Gillard government's asylum politics in pictures. The raid on Kevin Rudd was not orchestrated by Julia Gillard, although she was a willing pawn in the ruthless raiding minds of the foolish apparatchiks in the right-wing factions of the Labor Party. Some members of these factions are known to have applauded John Howard and Philip Ruddock's merciless vilification of asylum seekers. A series of cartoons depicting the increasingly desperate political development vis-a-vis asylum seekers by the Gillard government.
6 November 2011: Australia's extra-judicial jailing of Indonesian children - We avoid the Criminal Code, because that would prevent us from jailing children without charges; we use discredited wrist X-ray testing to determine their ages without getting results in due time; while this goes on, our Immigration Department cowboys collude with Australian Federal Police in order to jail more than a hundred kids in adult Australian prisons. And barely anyone stirs this hornet's nest of Australia's medieval lock-em-up mentality.
5 November 2011: We're terrified of the boat people - We're terrified of the boat people: Children and boys are depicted as smugglers in Australia's psychotic war against boat arrivals. This is a page containing a number of media reports about the fate of those who sail asylum seeker boats to our shore.
16 April 2011: Island boys and Indonesian smuggling laws - Why did Indonesia formulate their anti-people smuggling laws? A massive political campaign has long told Australians that people smugglers are evil, that they are the scum of the earth, that they run a vile industry. That campaign has run in tandem with one convincing us that those sailing to Australia are 'illegal immigrants', 'queue jumpers' or 'economic forumshoppers'.
10 March 2011: Malcolm Fraser and 'commercial' refugee voyages - A published academic paper about Malcolm Fraser and refugee boats. Australia's former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser was not the great humanitarian of Australian refugee policy many people have claimed in recent years. Such claims are held especially when painting a contrast with the hardline policies implemented by Prime Minister John Howard from 2001 onwards.
2 January 2011: The SIEV-221 drama: lessons from a disaster - Will anything be learnt from the wreckage of the SIEV-221 off Rocky Point? If anywhere Australian politics is broken and bankrupt, it is around maritime asylum seekers arriving on its shores. Labor is still captured in a fatal strangehold of its perpetual neurosis since the 2001 'Tampa election', while conservative-radical politician Tony Abbott and his immigration spokesman Scott Morrison continue with their brazen and opportunistic baiting of Labor with a continuous 'stop the boats' howling.