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Friday, 27 September, 2002, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
Australia's Pacific Solution - comments
Australia's Pacific Solution. Thank you for sending us your comments. They will be posted here and updated throughout the week.
One issue that remains unresolved is the boat (Sievx) that sank with the resulting loss of 353 lives. Not only did Operation Relex fail to find this vessel, but questions are now being asked about the Australian Government's role in a people-smuggling disruption task force that was operating in Indonesia. Sabotage of boats has been alleged by an Australian Federal Police informant. There is still plenty more for Sarah Macdonald in this!
Good on you! We couldn't have expected this kind of objectivity from any of our journalists.
Firstly I must highly commend the makers of this recent report on Australia's concentration camps and hard line pacific solution. The documentary portrayed fact after fact while giving each side a chance to comment. The real reason behind my note is to push for it to be shown again, this time on Irish TV.
I feel this is a huge topic right now in Ireland and this documentary would go very far in giving people the facts. Jonathan
Re: Ahmed-UK: I suggest you read over a few times what Mr Dennis Green said before you post in future.
Go Australia! The only country to take action against these beggars. Its about time England did too!
Can't wait for the next totally biased programme on Zimbabwe. (As if that's going to happen)
Angus Shore, Australia
People must realise the difference between political and economic refugees, as the debate in Aussie at the time covered. There is only a requirement to take asylum requests from political refugees. In addition to this at the time of the boat problems there was a great concern about Al Queda and its attempts to commit further genocide. My belief is that in Aussie, the looney left does not run rampant. Unfortunately in this country they do! We must be/or feel guilty about our own and everyone else's actions.
To Dennis Green, UK - Iraq is hardly an Islamic country, it is a secular dictatorship with the leader aspiring more towards Stalin than the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It's like trying to blame Christianity for Nazi Germany.
Despite the politics involved in the story, it would appear the general consensus of Australian's were supportive of the government actions. Contrast to our government here that seems to bow to any decision handed down by Brussels without any consideration of it's people and their view. Well done Australia. It's about time someone stood up for their rights!
Australians seem to forget that many of them, generally speaking - came from very sad backgrounds themselves in the past, as they seem to have lost any compassion they may have had. I was terribly shocked at that awful DJ who ran that woman sympathiser down and belittled her. It is true Australia's Prime Minster did get his votes on the backs of these very sad people. Seeing your programme really shocked me but I'm very glad the world should know what actually took place.
Stephen Green, England
Congrats to the BBC for highlighting this severe human rights abuse. Amnesty must demand that the Australian Prime Minister should no longer hypocritically wear their badge. The UN must lay pressure on Australia to end their human rights abuses.
Excellent programme by the BBC. If this atrocity had been committed in a so-called "developing" nation or resulted in the deaths white Europeans or Americans it would have been plastered all across the front pages.
I had a vague idea that the Australian government conducted punitive measures against outsiders and weaker groups. This programme was more of a shock than I could have imagined. Individuals within the Australian government must surely be held to account for the policies and lies revealed by such excellent investigative journalism.
Sharon Tappe, Australian in UK
How do you think Australia is supposed to handle such vast numbers of people coming - think about housing, employment- especially for those who cannot speak English or are not willing to learn? Although our country is large, it is covered in huge amounts of scrub land and desert therefore remains unpopulated. We are a massive multicultural society yet people cannot see behind the debate about who we haven't and maybe won't let in. So back up a little and look a little harder at the bigger picture.
There is far more work to be done on the matter of the treatment of refugees in Australia. I hope the BBC press with further investigation of human rights violations against asylum seekers in Australia.
How did the Australian nation come about? How did the white people in Australia get there in the first place? Try remembering your origins and then remember your humanity. Suffering happens all over our unjust, corrupt world and because we are human we profit out of it. So please I offer an apology of heartfelt sorrow to every human being!!, an equal to me in every way, that has been unfairly treated or killed by the governments of this world, especially desperate refugees!
I may only be 14, but I took history. It seems to me that this sounds a lot like the American civil rights movement. I also thought that it was quite pathetic that the dj had to prove his point by insulting the woman on the line.
Why didn't these people seek asylum in Indonesia or at any number of the safe countries between their home country and Australia? How does America treat the illegal immigrants from Mexico and elsewhere?
I could not believe how Indonesia allowed such unseaworthy and overloaded ships to leave their ports. Surely there must be some international laws preventing such actions?
Does anybody want to tell the racists in Australia, i.e. that ignorant arrogant radio presenter that Australia belongs to firstly the Aborigines.......not the white settlers....um yes they do like to forget that don't they. When they don't even give these people their born rights why would we the decent people of the world expect them to treat refugees with anything other than racist contempt?
I have been trying to help two families on this island with medical conditions that are not being treated and the word on these camps are that typhoid fever is the problem there we more commonly know it as salmonella poisoning. When I approached Mr Ruddock with this information the phone contact with the people on the island in the camps was terminated but they were given out lots of food for a few days after that?? I believe to get rid of the evidence.
There's a law in Holland that states culpability for anyone person failing to act when somebody is in mortal danger. I think the Australian government should be sued for just that as well as the hateful individuals that incite and encourage this kind of behaviour on radio or other media should be sued and held responsible for wilfully provoking inhumane political managing; remember Ruanda?! I don't want this just to be a letter to the media maker. I want international courts to act and step in now; it's the right time. Let's tell them; let's tell the politicians; certain countries or individuals won't listen until you make them. And hey judges, wake up.
Garrick Rollason, United Kingdom
I was shocked to see the film as I had no idea what had become of these people since the news reports last year. I see this as an example of Australian racism and I am going to indicate my feelings to the Australian Government.
I find that the Australian policy is a brave one and hats off to the Australians for doing the right thing for their country without being "politically correct". Other western countries should follow suit and help their own people first before throwing down the red carpet for these opportunists in many cases. People who are genuinely worried about their situation at home will tolerate the inconvenience. The opportunists will not and would throw the issues of human rights into the fray. No, the Australians have had the right idea.
As an Australian living in the UK, I am appalled at the alleged conduct of the Australian Government and certain military personnel in some instances highlighted by the report. However, I felt that the programme was seriously biased against the Australian Government and the Australian people. For example, the programme made no mention of the circumstances leading up to the "Tampa" incident - that the 430 asylum seekers had been rescued from a sinking Indonesian boat in Indonesian waters, and that they had put considerable pressure on the captain of the Tampa to take them into Australian waters, having refused to let him take them back to Indonesia. This is a complex issue, and I felt that Sarah MacDonald's report lacked objectivity and therefore lacked credibility.
The 64000 dollar question raised is why are all these "Asylum seekers" heading for Non Islamic lands? Is there "Something wrong with Islam?"
Ann Newton, England
Oz is spot-on, we need our own island to send them to, might be a bit nippy in winter though
The last time I saw such biased journalism was last time I visited the UK and watch a documentary on the Australian Government's 'shocking' treatment of the Aborigines - what a joke! Based on some of the comments already posted here, this type of journalism has clearly influenced some people's opinion of how things really are in Australia, at least those who believe everything they see on TV. And now these 'refugees' - I don't think so. I believe that John Howard and Philip Ruddock are doing a good job under very tough conditions. I hope they will both be around for a long time to come. Australia needs them.
What a shocking programme. I'm continually staggered by the callous racism of politicians from so-called democratic countries over the issue of refugees. This issue is one that shames more than just Australia.
Simple solution to a complex problem expertly executed. The UK should take note and adopt a similar position. The Danes withdrew their welcome mat and it paid dividends for them with the numbers seeking asylum successfully diminishing. Human rights is not an issue, based upon the simple fact that most are economic migrants and are themselves in breach of both international and UK law - just round them up and ship them back ASAP - the UK cannot afford them.
If refugees were escaping from oppression in Indonesia or Malaysia then your (biased) report would make more sense. Realistically Australia is far from the closest safe port of call for refugees escaping Afghanistan and Iraq. These people are simply entering illegally, and need to get in line behind more deserving immigrants of all nationalities (which are most welcome).
Tim L, UK
I feel Australia has the right to refuse entry to the asylum seekers, as was said at the end of the programme only 25 of them were genuine, I live in a area which has a high volume of refugees, the council is only housing the refugees, and people with families who have been on the housing list for many years have to wait , whilst they are housed first, our NHS has only been in the state it is since we have had the flood of refugees, as they all come with problems, the UK has got to stop taking more in, good luck to Australia, for they are only looking after their own people and their country.
The silence on Guantanamo Bay is deafening. Let's not forget the fact that most of these people are fleeing the bombing and manipulation of successive European and USA governments. It is the US and Europe who have groomed Saddam from his early days in the 80's to what he is now. Australia more than fairly pays it dues in resettling people legitimately. Why should a nation of only 19 million people be judged and expected to fix these problems when our GDP is insignificant to those of the G7. Australia has enough problems for Australians.
There can not be a bottomless pit of money where asylum seekers are concerned, when there is not enough money to provide adequate healthcare pensions and medicines for our own citizens. There must come a point when we will also have to close our borders.
Ben McGarr, England
I applaud the BBC for their latest story on the refugees and their treatment by this current Australian government. However, I plead with the BBC to not leave the investigation here. There is much more to these stories than meets the eye and given the take over of the media in Australia by right wing conservative journalists I doubt very much that an Australian media outlet will fully investigate these issues.
A very powerful programme that showed Australia outrageous treatment of innocent people. I couldn't believe that a county could be so racist. Well done Sarah Macdonald for such an informative documentary.
Thanks for an informative yet deeply sad programme. I was shocked at the cool and collected way the Australian government representatives talked the language of hate, how they covered up the truth behind certain events to further their own political gains. I guess I am just naive; after all it seems to the same everywhere, I just held the Australians in high regard on such matters, until now.
All I can say after watching this programme, is that I'm ashamed to be an Australian!
Watching your report simply by chance was shocking. Having been brought up in Germany and having heard a lot about refugees stories I feel like living some 60 years ago. I have no idea what a government calls these kinds of actions. They can surely not be legal nor by any means ethical. Sixty years have passed but the way refugees are treated has not changed a bit.
I thought the correspondent programme was pretty biased. Why didn't it address the question of why these refugees who are now in a safe country (Indonesia) want to come to Australia? If you really are a refugee you would want to get to the nearest safe country. The only reason for them wanting to come to Australia is that in Australia they will receive benefits, free housing and healthcare. In Indonesia they will have to work to feed their families. The programme claimed that some of the 'refugees' paid people smugglers over $ 8000 per person to get to Australia. If they have that much money then why aren't they using it feed their families in Indonesia?
I've just emailed Amnesty asking them to expel Mr Ruddock. I hope they ask for his badge back. He and his government should hang their heads in shame at their disgusting policies.
While I feel that Australia handled these people harshly. I do not blame them for doing so. I live in an area in the UK that has an overwhelming refugee population. So much so that the British people no longer qualify for housing in that area. You cannot see a Doctor easily either. These people speak no English and they all too often get involved in illegal activities e.g.: welfare fraud. These people must understand that while we feel sorry for them, they must accept the fact that they have blown it and many civilized countries in the world will not trust them anymore.
These people should try and help there own nation out of the mess it is in. It may be hard, but life is hard. The Australian government has every right to let in people who will benefit their country by legitimate means. I have tried to emigrate to Australia and failed. Fair enough - I do not have the credentials and skills required. I understand the plight of some of these people. However, risking their lives getting to another country thousands of miles away is a waste of these people's ingenuity.
Full marks to the Australian Government. What a pity ours don't have the same resolve. Something must be done soon to stop the illegal immigration to this country.
Why, if you are truly desperate, do you not go to Indonesia before Australia? Because Australia is a nicer place and previously seen as a "soft-touch".
After watching Sarah Macdonald's report 'Australia's Pacific Solution' I was not only outraged by the bias journalism but also the lack of understanding for the large size of Australia's northern coast line. If Britain adopted some of Australia's' policies on ILLEGAL immigrants maybe it too could start to solve its own immigration problems.
Preceding Nauru the Australian government had worked hard in the region to discourage people smuggling and illegal immigration. Once the boat off Christmas Island became international news Australia was given no choice but to act the way it did. I've worked with many Iraqi refugees when home in Australia and found them to be kind and noble people. Most working extra hours to send money home to their families. I also respect anybody with the courage to uproot their families and seek a better life in another country. However anybody entering Australia should be regulated through the right channels.
Janelle, NZ - living in UK
I cannot believe in my county's government. If just for a week, well-fed Australian politicians tried to survive the everyday horrors in '3rd' world countries, they might discover a conscience. Where has compassion evaporated to in this modern world called Civilisation? We have so much space to share, and in matters of life or death for asylum seekers, our doors should be thrown open. The government offered farms to displaced (white) Zimbabwe farmers - are '1st' & '3rd' world rights different? Australian government racist policies shame the potential of our country's diversity. We are all immigrants after all...except for the sacred tribes whose land was stolen for a future such as this? Long live the truth and journalists such as John Pilger who help unearth what it truly means to be Australian. It could come back into fashion to care.
If indeed Australia is not truly trying to find a humane solution to this issue, then she needs to be brought before the world to be judged. We scream foul when some two bit nation so much as touches one of our western citizens, yet we deem ourselves free to abuse others. This is not right, it is not moral, it is not ethical, and it is definitely un-Christian. I include the last quip if only to draw attention to the fact that those in charge seem to enjoy providing an image of Christian love and wholesomeness to their constituents. At any rate, Australia, and indeed all of the western world, needs to take a step back and either stop their wrong deeds, or just openly admit it and cease with the hypocrisy.
I don't see any point in the argument of human rights groups. Australians don't want terrorists in their boundaries. And that is fair.
The only way to get Australia to acknowledge the problems of their policy is if Nauru submits a bill to Canberra asking payment for services rendered. In other words Australia must be hit in the pocketbook. It basically just dumped its problem on a smaller nation that is not prepared to cope with the refugees.
Australia's policy works. Good for Australia. We in Canada had similar problems. Simply to not allow the claimants to land is reasonable. If people want to emigrate, there are procedures to follow. To my mind, the only person who would not want to follow reasonable procedures would be the person with a criminal past to hide. I personally would not want such a man (or woman) in Canada. And I don't understand why a Greek or Italian or an Englishman, would either.
I find Australia's immigration policies to be racist and hypocritical. There are thousands of young backpackers from North America and Europe who overstay their visas and work illegally, for months and even years. The authorities are tough on these migrants when they find them. But you do not see the Army raiding youth hostels and sending violators to detention camps, which would be analogous to the boat people's treatment. I think the difference is that they are white, and speak English.
Damien Shephard, UK
Australia is run by right wing politicians with their Eurocentric, Arian concept dominating their treatment of the refugees. The systematic land grab policies from the Aborigines as well as social engineering proves this point. There is hardly any criticism of Australia as the perpetrators of inhumane treatment are people of European origin.
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