BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Programmes: Correspondent: Read your comments  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Read your comments Friday, 27 September, 2002, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
Australia's Pacific Solution - comments
A refugee boy

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!
Kay, Australia

Good on you! We couldn't have expected this kind of objectivity from any of our journalists.
Grace Gorman, Australia

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
Jonathan O'Shea, Ireland

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)
Mark, England


I am so disgusted by this current Australian Govt that I am emigrating back to my country of birth, NZ

Angus Shore
Congratulations to the BBC for starting to uncover the truth about what's going on here. There is a book about this due to come out soon. I am so disgusted by this current Australian Govt that I am emigrating back to my country of birth, NZ. What's worse is they get away with it!
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.
Paul, UK

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.
Ahmed, UK

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!
Andrew Hemer, England

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.
Rosemary Barclay, UK currently


Amnesty must demand that the Australian Prime Minister should no longer hypocritically wear their badge

Patricia Towey
Australia has to take a stand or it would open the flood gates as happened in other parts of the world. I agree with Rajesh of the USA you can only request asylum and we know a large number usually have no right or are trying to claim under false pretences. Also every country has a duty to shape its own affairs for our future generations.
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.
Patricia Towey, Ireland

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.
James, UK

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.
Sean, UK


We are a massive multicultural society yet people cannot see behind the debate about who we haven't and maybe won't let in

Amelia
I do not want people in the UK to think that Australians lack compassion and sympathy for these refugees. There are many of us who were horrified by the events and we didn't vote for the now fairly recently elected government. I applaud you on a very realistic portrait of the Tampa crisis. The only person to come out with some integrity was the captain of the Tampa.
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.
Amelia, Aussie (living abroad)

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.
Peter Hylands, England

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!
Anwen Jones, United Kingdom

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.
Grace Ollier, UK


Why didn't these people seek asylum in Indonesia or at any number of the safe countries between their home country and Australia

Anon, England
Well done to Australia, many countries have been destroyed and over run by those seeking an easy ride, I wish our spineless rulers would take the same hard line... no one wants to give their hard earned money to beggers!
Gypo, England

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?
Anon, England

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?
Toby, England

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?
Kara Hamilton, UK


There's a law in Holland that states culpability for any person failing to act when somebody is in mortal danger. I think the Australian government should be sued for just that

Sumeru Pillipes
Why didn't these people claim asylum in the nearest safe country? I personally know of three friends who fled for their lives from their country of birth and did so to the nearest safe country. Not to some place half the world away. How do we in the UK stand up to the same scrutiny? What about the USA?
Anon, UK

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.
Sherin Sherife, Australia

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.
Sumeru Pillipes, Amsterdam


I see this as an example of Australian racism and I am going to indicate my feelings to the Australian Government

Keith Overton
As an Australian living in the UK, I thank-you for alerting people to the disgraceful immigration policies of the current Australia Government. Whilst the PM's actions were motivated by his re-election campaign, it is important to note that the majority of Australians did not vote for his government in the election that followed the Tampa incident. There are many of us that find the treatment of asylum seekers in Australia appalling and would love to see a more moral government in power.
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.
Keith Overton, UK.

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.
Utpal, UK

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. Helen, UK
Helen, UK

The 64000 dollar question raised is why are all these "Asylum seekers" heading for Non Islamic lands? Is there "Something wrong with Islam?"
Dennis Green, UK


I believe that John Howard and Philip Ruddock are doing a good job under very tough conditions

Linda, Australia
I cannot believe that a so called civilised country can act so inhumanely towards fellow human beings. Has the Australian Government lost sight of the fact that most Australians are immigrants themselves? I feel that this programme demonstrated how the Australian people have moved so far right - Attilla the Hun would have demonstrated more compassion. The shame for me is that I have many relatives in Australia who echo the sentiments expressed by those sad misguided individuals. We reap what we sow, on their heads be it.
Ann Newton, England

Oz is spot-on, we need our own island to send them to, might be a bit nippy in winter though
Bob Spear, UK

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.
Linda, Australia - visiting the UK

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.
Danny Roy, Scotland

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.
John Lamont, Scotland

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).
Andrew, Australian living in UK


By the way we treat the stranger to our Nation, so God will judge us

Tim L
By the way we treat the stranger to our Nation, so God will judge us. None of us owns anything on Earth; we are at best only stewards and caretakers. Kaiser Bill praised Hitler when he was elected Chancellor with Hymns and Anthems even, and were there not large numbers of Jewish people seeking refuge in other people's Nations in 1930s Germany at the same time? Why do we learn nothing from history? And have you seen the landspace they have down under possums?
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.
Barbara , UK

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.
Greg, Australia

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.
S Cutler, UK


The mind boggles as I contemplate what would happen if the radio station shown on the programme were in operation here

Ben McGarr
The mind boggles as I contemplate what would happen if the radio station shown on the programme were in operation here. They'd be taken off the air in a matter of days, and forced to issue grovelling apologies, if not more. The saddest thing to contemplate, though, is the apologetic reluctance [or indeed fear] English people would feel if given such an opportunity to air their innermost qualms on just such a subject. Our whinging soft-touch liberal ascendancy can remain at ease, though. Their triumph is complete. The brainwashing of our education system and media has long since stifled any semblance of true debate on these vital questions for the survival of, not only England, but of the nation state itself, the only sure guardian of peace and freedom in this troubled world.
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.
Anon, Australia

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.
Raeid Jewad, UK


All I can say after watching this programme, is that I'm ashamed to be an Australian!

S Henderson
I think the Australian Government are to be congratulated on their stance on letting in these immigrants. The statement that this has cost them millions of dollars is nothing to what they would have had to pay if the flood gates were open. They have succeeded in stopping any one unlawfully entering their country. It's a pity we can't do the same.
Richard, UK

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.
Tristan, Scotland

All I can say after watching this programme, is that I'm ashamed to be an Australian!
S Henderson

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.
Franziska, Germany

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?
Jim, England


I've just emailed Amnesty asking them to expel Mr Ruddock. I hope they ask for his badge back.

Yakoub Islam
Having just watched tonight's 'Correspondent' I was shocked by the lack of compassion and humanity shown by the Australian government. John Howard in particular comes across as an inhumane racist, and to add insult to injury he wears an Amnesty International badge as conditions in his country's refugee camps drives people to attempt suicide and sew their own lips together. No non-western country would be allowed to get away with such treatment, and Australia should be brought to account for its treatment of asylum seekers. Refugees are not choosing to come to Australia because they fancy a lifestyle change; they come because they have no other choice.
Lydia, UK

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.
Yakoub Islam, UK

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.
Giles, UK

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.
Andrew, UK

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.
Dave Nelson, England

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".
Duane, Australia


I've worked with many Iraqi refugees when home in Australia and found them to be kind and noble people

Leon
As an Australian I find it appalling that the BBC would air a programme which is so manipulative and one sided against the Australian government. It is a shame that the journalist failed to address several issues that would be in Australia's defence, such as why the boat people didn't seek asylum in Indonesia. Whatever happened to objective journalism? And also I would like to point out that Radio commentators like Stan Zemanek and his supporters represent a very small minority of our population and is generally abhorred by the rest of us.
Glen, Australia

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.
Cindy Halsey, Germany

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.
Leon, UK


If just for a week, well-fed Australian politicians tried to survive the everyday horrors in '3rd' world countries, they might discover a conscience

Julia Trybe
Please don't advertise NZ as being the best and easiest place to seek asylum. We don't have the resources to patrol our waters like Australia has. At the end of the day this is an illegal operation. Who are these 'people smugglers' anyway? They seem to be the only ones who are winning!
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.
Julia Trybe, Australian living in UK

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.
John, USA

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.
Steve Douglas, USA

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.
Rahul Laxman Iyer, USA


People should realise they cannot demand immigration - they can only request

Rajesh
Australia, or any other country for that matter, has the right to refuse other people entering their country. People should realise they cannot demand immigration - they can only request. If that country's government grants them immigration its fine, else they should go back to their own countries.
Rajesh, USA

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.
Dave Fremantle, Canada

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.
Matthew, USA


Australia is run by right wing politicians with their Eurocentric, Arian concept dominating their treatment of the refugees

Steven
The policy is aimed at discouraging illegal immigrants while at the same time providing a safe environment for genuine refugees while their claims are being processed. The policy has so far been extremely successful in terms of discouraging people smugglers from trying to smuggle people into Australia illegally. It will also allow Australia to increase the number of genuine refugees taken through UN programs. This story doesn't point out that the majority of people in these offshore processing centres for extended periods of time have had their claims rejected and are appealing. All people in the offshore processing centres are free to return home voluntarily.
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.
Steven, UK

Send us your comments:
Name:

Your E-mail Address:


Country:

Comments:

Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
Australia's Pacific Solution

Australia's Pacific Solution

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Read your comments stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes