Keywords: Punitive

  • AUSTRALIA

    A Human Rights Day tribute to the Northern Territory's Tony Fitzgerald

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 December 2015

    I first met this Tony on my regular visits here to Darwin when he was working at the North Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service and then when he set up the mediation services under the auspices of Anglicare. In later years I knew him when he was your Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. He was a quiet, considered, gentle, strong and principled man. On Human Rights Day, it is only fitting that I honour Tony by offering some reflections on the architecture for human rights in Australia, on the contemporary human rights controversies, and on the way forward for better protection of the human rights of Aborigines and asylum seekers, two marginalised groups who had a special claim on Tony's sympathies.

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  • RELIGION

    'Equal laws and equal rights ... dealt out to the whole community'. How close 161 years on?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 04 December 2015
    1 Comment

    'Tonight, gathered here in the Southern Cross Club in the national capital, gathered as Eureka's children. We affirm that there is room for everyone under the Southern Cross. I hope you will return to Canberra carrying the Southern Cross flag when we proclaim the Australia Republic on 1 January 2020 which will be two elections after Australia last had a monarchist leader of a major political party. Tony Abbott is the last of his type. Whether the prime minister honoured to witness the proclamation is Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten or another matters not.' Annual Dinner for Eureka's Children, Southern Cross Club, Canberra, 3 December 2015.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What led to the trashing of Christmas Island

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 26 November 2015
    6 Comments

    Questions remain regarding the recent death and disturbance on Christmas Island, posed by the responses by New Zealand and Australian government ministers to the unrest. New Zealand Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne compared the Christmas Island regime to Guantanamo Bay. Australian Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton emphasised the $10 million damage to property. Both responses were partial. At a deeper level the riot was the predictable outcome of a brutal government policy.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    What separates us from IS

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 19 November 2015
    19 Comments

    The mass murder of unarmed civilians in Paris last weekend was appalling. Whether considered as an act of war or of terror, it was indefensible. The themes of war against terrorism and victory have dominated commentary on the killings. In light of the fact that the war against terror was the seedbed in which IS grew, they demand serious reflection. We should ask precisely what our enemy is attacking, what therefore must be defended, and what will be the signs of victory or defeat.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    If only gender-based violence really was unAustralian

    • Tim Robertson
    • 13 October 2015
    11 Comments

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has declared that violence against women needs to be seen as 'unAustralian'. But sexual violence against women was part of the colonial experience for the Indigenous population, and continues to be a symptom of the punitive measures enacted against asylum seekers that we have a moral and legal obligation to protect. Violence against women is very much 'Australian', and will be until the institutional violence that has defined our past is owned and redressed.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Rehabilitating Abbott

    • Fatima Measham
    • 12 October 2015
    18 Comments

    Australia has a long line of prime ministers whose standing has been propped up over time. Edmund Barton was a racist; Alfred Deakin spoke against 'undesirable coloured aliens'. The passage of time tends to extract the essential parts of a prime minister's stint, which is how complex figures like Whitlam, Fraser, Keating and Howard end up being rehabilitated in collective memory. It's hard to tell whether there is enough complexity in Abbott and his time as prime minister to enable such restoration.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Hamid crushed by Australia's immigration laws

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 28 September 2015
    10 Comments

    Hamid is stateless, and came to Australia by boat in mid 2012. He will never get permanent residence, because of his age or because the law states that if you ever held a TPV, you can never get the permanent protection visa. When I explained this to him, I thought might cry. He is now unable to see a way of getting a long term solution for himself and his family, all because of the need to punish refugees who arrive in Australia by boat.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Operation Fortitude aftershocks

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 07 September 2015
    9 Comments

    Actions taken in the Immigration Detention Centre after the 28 August aborted Border Force operation involved the use of force and intimidation on people who are being detained. Not for their misdeeds or any threat they pose, but for the convenience of the Department. And they disclose what happens when ABF officers are permitted to to use any force they think necessary without proper accountability.

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  • The politics of popular evil and untrendy truth

    • Frank Brennan
    • 01 September 2015
    1 Comment

    If you want to form government in Australia and if you want to lead the Australian people to be more generous, making more places available for refugees to resettle permanently in Australia, you first have to stop the boats. If you want to restore some equity to the means of choosing only some tens of thousands of refugees per annum for permanent residence in Australia from the tens of millions of people displaced in the world, you need to secure the borders. The untrendy truth is that not all asylum seekers have the right to enter Australia but that those who are in direct flight from persecution whether that be in Sri Lanka or Indonesia do, and that it is possible fairly readily (and even on the high seas) to draw a distinction between those in direct flight and those engaged in secondary movement understandably dissatisfied with the level of protection and the transparency of processing in transit countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. The popular evil is that political

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Family violence more complex than sexual abuse

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 13 August 2015
    9 Comments

    Childhood experience of violence is associated with many other aspects of disadvantage which, as a recent study shows, interact with and intensify one another. Violence at the home is likely to be linked to irregular eating habits, poor educational achievement, mental illness, contact with the justice system, and substance abuse. The challenge of responding to family violence is even more complex than that of protecting children from sexual abuse.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The ethical consequences of making the ALP electable

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 30 July 2015
    28 Comments

    Labor's National Conference endorsement of boat turnbacks does raise questions, as policies are not merely pieces of paper. They are statements of value, in this case about vulnerable and desperate humans. If, under our policies, we inflict pain for other purposes, it will come back to haunt us.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The problematic 'saving lives at sea' argument

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 28 July 2015
    35 Comments

    When refugee advocates criticise harsh policies such as boat turnbacks, they are confronted with claims that the measures are necessary for saving lives at sea. This justification has dominated the debate to the extent that any policy which further restricts refugee rights becomes justifiable on this ground. Imagine a proposal to ban cars because there were too many people killed and injured on the roads.

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