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Jewish Aid asks: What would you do? - With our current national debate on asylum seekers seeming to be so devoid of compassion and basic humanity, this 3 minute video impels us to ask the most uncomfortable of questions - If you were in the position of an asylum seeker, fearing for your life and that of your family's - What Would You Do? In this short clip featuring leaders from a cross-section of Australian society - from fashion to food, music to TV and to business - we are striving to put the human element back into the national discourse. Visit the Jewish Aid campaign website here

What's new and what's News?

showing off all new pages we've added

Hello, and welcome to a page which details new pages on our website, new projects, and new developments for Project SafeCom. For more frequent updates, you can subscribe to our highly acclaimed News and Updates here.

All new pages are listed or linked below, also a selection of pages are brought together in The Project SafeCom Reading Room - listing everything that's longer, gutsier, more eloquent and - according to us - has higher content rating. They're divvied up into three main sections: Speeches and Articles relating to Australia's refugee detention debacle, and we've added a third section on 'Democracy and peace' within the context of what's now known as 'Howard's Australia'.

We Tube Too  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!

Archives

3 March 2008: The Bill of Rights resources archive - Project SafeCom's archive of Bill of Rights resources: speeches, papers, presentations and books have seen the light of day right around Australia since the 2001 Tampa standoff and the anti-terrorism legislation introduced during the Howard years. This page brings together our resources on a Bill of Rights for Australia.

13 February 2008: Archive of Indigenous Issues pages - the number of pages dealing with some aspects of Australia's First Peoples has been growing steadily since we started our work in 2001, so it's appropriate we bring them all together on one page. Here's our archive of Indigenous issues.

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.

All archived pages: 2001-2011

Click on the blue button below to open all archives, and click it again to close and hide them








 



New and recent pages

2014

  • An Open Letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott (from members of Australia's academic community) - "We believe that the current approach to dealing with asylum seekers arriving by boat, especially off-shore detention and claims determination, is seriously flawed and unsustainable.". Sent and publicly distributed on Tuesday March 4, 2014. (PDF File 280Kb)

25 February 2014: New passenger burns testimony emerges at Fairfax - On February 7 2014 the beleaguered ABC released a new video of an orange lifeboat under tow-back to Indonesia by a Navy vessel. On the same day Fairfax published an extensive interview with asylum seeker Yousif Ibrahim Fasher about the Navy push-back abuse allegations. Then the anti-ABC howls from the Abbott bunker fell silent.

25 February 2014: Burnt hands and the ABC's burnt fingers - When allegations of Navy abuse during asylum seeker interdictions surfaced in ABC reports, it became Tony Abbott's convenient culture war trigger. Ever since the 2013 election, the pack of conservative wolves have been quietly howling and trampling at the bit to start degrading the ABC on behalf of the commercial media hounds bleating about ABC bias.

31 January 2014: An Australia Day incident, and a proposal - A chance meeting of Project SafeCom's Co-ordinator Jack Smit with a doctor in rural WA sheds some unusual light on new aspects of Certain Maritime Incidents...

2013

1 November 2013: Malaysia's response to Gillard's refugee swap plans - Not only proved Gillard's Malaysia refugee swap deal unpopular, legally condemned and fruitless in Australia, within weeks of its announcement it also came unstuck and was heavily criticised in Malaysia. Until the end of the Gillard government it was only Labor that kept harping on about it against better knowing. Australian reporters too shone a light on the prospects of asylum seekers under Malaysian rule, that was damning on all levels.

1 October 2013: Abbott's Liberals and the 'illegal boats' election campaign - Tony Abbott's aggressive 'Labor's illegal boats' campaign was a brazen attempt to redefine asylum seekers as 'illegals' throughout his time in opposition - but activists successfully undermined his 'flagship' in Perth.

31 August 2013: The Gillard government's offshore dumping policy (1) - Under Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Labor kept lurching sharply to and fro before finally settling on leaving asylum seeker cruelty of John Howard well behind in its wake - creating its own newly ALP-constructed asylum seeker cruelty policy, from offshore detention on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea to an international refugee trade deal with Malaysia.

31 August 2013: The Gillard government's offshore dumping policy (2) - Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced on May 7, 2011, that all boat arrivals could well be subject to deportation to Manus Island on PNG for detention and processing purposes. The announcement and the announcement of a Malaysian 'refugee swap deal' started a heightened media interest in every single boat arrival, and ongoing speculation about the fate of these passengers resulted in a virtual media frenzy following boat arrivals.

1 March 2013: Last gasps for a cruel and unjust policy? - Hundreds of broke Indonesian sailors have been jailed in Australia without charges amidst the surrounding growing furore over this seeming failing policy. This page lists new developments under Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, and the prospects of a lawsuit on behalf of asylum boat crew brought by legal teams from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

19 January 2013: A Department of Reactive Control Freaks - A July 2012 Report into the performance of the Immigration Department by the Australian Public Service Commission confirms that not one area of the Department performs to a sufficient standard of operation. The DIAC Capability Review offers up a damning indictment on the lack of professional standards in all functional areas in the Department.

2012

3 October 2012: The Immigration Department's new media control - Just three months after ABC reporter Leigh Sales' July 2011 critical commentary, news broke that the Department of Immigration had informed Australian media outlets of its newly drafted media strategy. The new detention centre access rules were based on the media strategy in place at Guantanamo Bay.

30 September 2012: ASIO: now targeting kids and lying to the Parliament - For the first time in history, Australian spooks claim refugee children are national security risks, and it appears that ASIO tried to provide false claims to a Parliamentary Inquiry.

5 August 2012: The Deportation of Dayan Anthony - For seasoned refugee advocates, the forced deportation of a Tamil asylum seeker to Sri Lanka in July 2012 is a concerning event. It is feared that politics and a political agenda is overriding clean, fulsome and thorough refugee assessment inside the Immigration Department and in the Gillard government.

11 March 2012: The EVIL travel brokers in Indonesia - Media reports about asylum seeker travel brokers. In Australia, the boats simply bring asylum seekers to the region of Australia's "refugee prison" on Christmas Island so they can (as Article 31 of the United Nations Refugee Convention states) "present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence".

3 January 2012: Just how sick is the Immigration Department? - The Immigration Department claims that 'people are our business' on the stationery, but does fanatic control with inflexible rules govern its operations? The Department's slogan has no credibility when considering that its complex maze of rules and criteria are not only rigorously applied, but that they are applied without a skerrick of decency or moderation.

2011

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.

2010

30 December 2010: Missing boats or media sensation? - When the West Australian first broke the story of claims that a boat with asylum seekers was feared missing, the reporter based her story on claims of just one advocate, they were not cross-checked, and the report confidently stated the number of missing passengers at 97, and a 'rumour' that a vessel had arrived on December 2, 2010.

  • David Marr: Belling the Cat - David Marr, on Human Rights Day, December 10 2010, delivers the 10th Human Rights Oration at the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission in Melbourne and asks: Does Australia really give a damn about human rights? (PDF file 113Kb)

22 November 2010: High Court demands process fairness for boat refugees - The full High Court ruling of the M61 and M69 cases in November 2010 was a significant reprimand of Australian politicians by the highest court in the land - but before we jump for joy, it's imperative to remember that the proof is in the pudding, and the pudding is prepared in the kitchen of those same politicians.

24 October 2010: Remote Islands and Penal Colonies - Australia's response to boat refugees is marked by dehumanisation, regimentation, incarceration and isolation. The way we respond to those seeking shelter is similar to the way the British expelled thousands of their own unwanted in the 18th Century: those on the First Fleet were sent to the penal colonies on the far-away island of Australia.

2 October 2010: The forgotten Human Rights Watch letter - You won't know about this letter - except for a mention in half a sentence in The Age one day. No Australian media outlets bothered reporting it during the election campaign - all outlets were running around Australia, jealously scooping exclusives from the Tony and Julia Circus Show.

2 October 2010: Behind the Story of The Sun Sea Tamils - Gisele Gauthier's fantastic summation of the journey and background of the MV Sun Star also mentions it: the ship with Tamils, now docked at Canada's Esquimalt Base, was turned away by Australia during the 2010 Federal election campaign. Here it is.

2 October 2010: Hadi Ahmadi's People Smuggling Trial - To incorporate that farcical National Indignation with that nagging Breach of Sovereignty, Australia has created extreme punishment for those who bring refugees to safety. We call these punishment mechanisms our "people smuggling laws". The collection of media reports around trial and punishment from 1/6 to 24/9 2010 of Mr Ahmadi: a Perth Court hears about moral duty and bribed police witnesses.

9 August 2010: MV Sun Sea: Tamils wandering the oceans - There's a boat wandering across the world's oceans, with reports that at the start of the Federal election campaign, Australian authorities boarded the ship and told the captain to move on and 'bugger off' - in the underlying spirit of "sorry folks, we have an election on". This page tells the story.

5 July 2010: Karzai Solution a dangerous Afghanistan Theatre - PM Julia Gillard may be announcing the Karzai Solution, where in a "pact" with Afghanistan she expects guarantees for safety for Hazaras from the Karzai government. If reports about this are accurate, then the Prime Minister is either dreaming or lying about the prognosis of safety for Hazaras to the Australian electorate.

20 June 2010: Rudd and Readings for World Refugee Day 2010 - It may all have started with the Australian version of Yes We Can with Kevin07, but not much seems to have survived the onslaught of the nasty monster of Parliamentary politics. Are Kevin Rudd's human rights troubles irretrievable? Around 2010 World Refugee Day and Refugee Week, several writers link with the issues.

1 June 2010: The 2009 missing Hazara boat - On October 2, 2009, a boat with 105 refugees sailed from an unknown Indonesian port to Australia. One of the passengers phoned his New York family to tell they were on their way now. Nothing more was heard of the person who called or from anyone else on board. This is the page for those passengers.

  • Jack H Smit: Smuggling in nasty laws -Jack Smit's Opinion about the Anti-People Smuggling and Other Measures Bill 2010 - from The Fremantle Herald's Thinking Allowed section, May 15 2010, page 5. (PDF file 195Kb)

8 May 2010: Laws for smugglers are jailing the ferrymen - Australia's nasty laws jail innocent Indonesian fishermen instead of smugglers: By marginalising the fishing communities that used to fish around Ashmore Reef for centuries, we contribute to their availability to smuggling networks as sailors. Australia supplied and 'trained the bus drivers for the bus company' - the sailors we jail as people smugglers.

7 May 2010: A Time to Burn: The End of Kevin Rudd's Bonhoeffer Confessions - The Burning of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's article "Faith in Politics" (as part of the RRAN All Night Perth Airport Detention Centre Vigil), May 7, 2010, 7:30pm-7:45pm at the Perth Airport Immigration Detention Centre, Cnr Baker & McComb Road, Redcliffe WA 6104).

21 April 2010: Rudd re-opens Derby's Curtin detention hell - Temps climbing to 44 C. Guards that treat refugees with violence and disdain, telling them they're illegals who will never make it into 'Australia proper'. Immigration officers who screw up formal requests for medical or other assistance and throw them in the rubish bin. That's how many remember the Curtin detention centre...

19 April 2010: The 2010 Anti-Smuggling Legislation - Punishing smugglers, or finding a covert way to lock Australia's borders? "In view of commitments given by Australia under the UN Refugee Convention, also to refugees arriving by boat, this legislation gives the appearance of being highly manipulative in nature."

  • People Smuggling: Project SafeCom Submission to 2010 Senate Inquiry -The laws are a thinly veiled attempt to manipulate the limitations imposed on signatory states through the United Nations definition of what constitutes people smuggling. They complete a development where the priest who smuggled the Von Trapp family across the Alps, as well as Oskar Schindler, will now be jailed as people smugglers by Australia. (PDF file 288Kb)

18 April 2010: World Outrage about Kevin Rudd's Big Asylum Freeze - From psychiatrist Jon Juredini to Malcolm Fraser, from human rights lawyer Greg Barns to Andrew Bartlett, outrage swelled fast around Kevin Rudd's processing freeze of Sri Lankan and Afghan asylum seekers. The anger did not stop just there, it went international within a week.

17 April 2010: Labor compassion and decency freezes over in Election Hell - Some had expected it sooner, but finally Labor has buckled under the weight of the attack dogs. In a joint and televised joint press conference by Stephen Smith (Foreign Affairs), Chris Evans (Immigration) and Brendan O'Connor (Home Affairs) - a sad affair where they resembled The Three Stooges - they announced Canberra's Big Freeze.

1 April 2010: Is Mr Hadi Ahmadi a people smuggler or escape organiser? - Mr Hadi Ahmadi assisted in bringing four boats to Australia. His passengers were not 'illegal immigrants' but asylum seekers: of the 900 passengers, no less than 866 were declared genuine refugees once their claims were processed. That's a success rate of 97%. Does that make him a people smuggler or a UN Convention enabler - or an "escape organiser"?

We Tube Too  25 March 2010: Al Jazeera TV: Seeking asylum in Australia - Nick Lazaredus reports from Christmas Island, and interviews Amnesty International Australia's refugee team co-ordinator Graham Thom, Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services Laurie Ferguson, Christmas Island Shire President Graham Thomson and human rights advocate Jack Smit.

11 March 2010: SBY in Canberra: smugglers will be crims - but the passengers? - Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's remarks were reported after the morning press conference by AAP, but no media outlets picked them up or read between the lines. What the Indonesian President gave away after closed-door talks in Canberra was more than we heard from Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

4 March 2010: Uninvited and unheard: Australia's case of post-Tampa boat arrivals - Author's copy of a peer reviewed paper by Project SafeCom's Jack H Smit in TAMARA, Journal for Critical Organization Inquiry, 8(2), pp. 207-224 - Special Issue: Refugee and Migrant Integration in Developed Nations: The Discovery of Discourse, September 2009.

2 March 2010: To Catch a People Smuggler, to Wade through Brine of Spin - Anyone who tries "to catch a people smuggler" needs to first peel off the many layers of spin and labelling. This page, primarily about 'Captain Bram', one of the Australian government's "notorious" people-smugglers, wonders why he has not been extradited to Australia.

UPDATE February 2014: All older pages up till 2011 have now been copied to the archive sections. The latest archives are now available from The 2011 archives page, and they will as per usual be removed from other pages. Links to all older archived pages are in the tables above!

2008-2012
2005-2012
Project SafeCom