keywords: Christmas

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Humanity meets bureaucracy on asylum seeker Fast Track

    • Shira Sebban
    • 15 August 2016
    14 Comments

    Sobs rack his body. Under the Fast Track Assessment process being used to clear the backlog of protection claims, the nondescript official sitting opposite him, or one of his colleagues, will most likely be the one to decide his fate. 'Should you be found not to engage Australia's protection obligations, the government may share your biographical details with the authorities of your country of origin,' the official intones. 'If you give them information about me I will be killed,' comes the chilling reply.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia's 'alien' relations then and now

    • June Factor
    • 03 August 2016
    13 Comments

    In 1940, Prime Minister Robert Menzies received a letter from a woman in Western Australia: 'I have heard on the wireless the news that Australia would be willing to receive internees from England. I beg to protest; we have enough of the scum here already, too many in fact ... I sincerely trust that a U-boat gets every one of them.' The 'scum' she rejected so emphatically were the German and Austrian refugees, predominantly Jewish, soon to travel to Australia as 'enemy alien' prisoners.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Census scepticism as privacy comes under threat

    • Kate Galloway
    • 01 August 2016
    18 Comments

    Government wishes to capitalise on our data using new data mining technologies. The ABS uses the language of efficiency and public interest in justifying the changes. It even implies that the new online census is environmentally friendly. It may well be that collecting and retaining our names along with our personal information is efficient, but that does not address the foundation question of whether we as citizens retain the privacy that constitutes us as members of a liberal democratic society.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Religion and violence in Australian-Indigenous history

    • Frank Brennan
    • 27 July 2016
    2 Comments

    The violence at the pastoral frontier of the British colonies here in Australia was all pervasive. 228 years after it commenced, we are still experiencing the after-effects. When I started advocating Aboriginal rights here in Australia almost 40 years ago, the prevailing wisdom was that the missions and missionaries were all bad news. It will come as no surprise that I have always doubted that Aborigines were well rid of religion and the missionaries in all circumstances.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    What if the PM went to Manus Island?

    • Samuel Dariol
    • 23 June 2016
    15 Comments

    It is one thing to sit at a desk and make policies that will impact on individuals across the sea whom you do not know. It is another thing to cross the sea, to look into the eyes of people abandoned there, to meet the children and see the pictures they have drawn, and to see in their eyes terror, despair, depression and contempt. For a prime minister to go to Manus Island would require him to throw off the shroud and stare affrighted at the maggots in the flesh of the body politic.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Reflecting on justice for asylum seekers during an election campaign

    • Frank Brennan
    • 30 May 2016
    5 Comments

    'Being in the middle of an election campaign, I will not be making any partisan party political points. However being here in the bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro, I will conclude with a critique of both major political parties, and with one piece of political advice for citizens of goodwill seeking a national asylum policy more in harmony with the ideals set out by our bishops in their social justice statement.' Yass Catholic Parish Potluck Dinner, 28 May 2016

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Legislating for human dignity without being misty-eyed

    • Kate Galloway
    • 02 May 2016
    23 Comments

    I have often wondered at the likely success of entreaties to compassion for asylum seekers. This is not because I do not personally feel compassion for these people. And it is not because I do not believe that it is morally correct to show compassion, including through government policy. Rather my response is partly a factor of my training as a lawyer. Through my legal eyes, I can see little hope for appeals to politicians to show compassion. My conditioned response instead is to appeal to law.

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  • RELIGION

    Crossing boundaries with the wire-cutter Pope

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 19 April 2016
    15 Comments

    Lesbos is famous for crossing boundaries. It was the home of the poet Sappho and the tender, delicate lyrics dedicated to the woman who was her lover. More recently it has been the home of refugees who have crossed from the murderous conflict in Asia. Pope Francis is also as famous for crossing boundaries as we Australians are for patrolling them. He is reinventing the papacy as a one-man barbed-wire-cutting team. So it is not surprising he decided at short notice to cross into Lesbos.

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