Dr Peter White's Blog

Thoughts and comments from Dr Peter White -- political, philosophical, spiritual, musical and more

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Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

I am retired from the Uni. of Queensland, and have numerous interests inside and outside of the uni. I play classical, bluegrass, country and folk guitar (hows that for a mix?) I am a member of the Australian Labor Party and am currently branch secretary of the Mt Coot-tha branch. I'm also involved in developing virtual reality builds and websites. Never bored!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Refugees & people smuggling

Over the past three years, the Australian government has initiated policies that very harshly punish people attempting to get into Oz through people smuggling schemes.

Unfortunately, this also means many women and children. They are kept in detention centres in remote places. Some people have been in detention for 3+ years.

People came here -- albeit illicitly -- because there was no hope for them where they were: Afghanistan and Iraq particularly. When all hope is lost, and a lifeline is offered -- even a dodgy one, would seem to me to be a preferred option.

Many of these people have paid a lot of money to get onto a leaky boat with dubious credentials and crew to escape an intolerable situation.

And when they get here -- guess what? They're in an intolerable situation.

I think that the Oz policy needs to change. First, grant an amnesty to all those who are currently in detention, or who are on 'limited protection visas', to full immigration rights.

Secondly, work more assiduously to 1) eliminate unscrupulous people smugglers and the organisations that support them, and 2) open up immigration to those in desparate situations.

It's ironic that the people the government most fears -- illegal entry immigrants -- are frequently praised highly by the communities they live in, as good citizens, hard workers, and keen to make a go of it all.

We might also note that terrorists usually don't invade a country on a leaky boat. They come on an airplane with sound credentials (forged maybe?)

The way the Oz government has treated the 'boat people' is more than shameful, and it embarrasses the whole country.

'nuff for now.

Peter W


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