Say it loud - I'm elitist and proud

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

I CAN'T wait to read these two books, reviewed in this week's Spectator:The Hitler Emigres by Daniel Snowman and From the Land of Green Ghosts by Pascal Khoo Thwe. As Philip Hensher puts it:

Immigration on a mass scale rarely results in the gigantic immediate enrichment [brought about by immigrant Jews in Britain] visible in the 1930s and 1940s, but it always amounts to enrichment over time. History has almost no instances to show such waves of immigration resulting in cultural impoverishment.

Monday, April 29, 2002

Miranda Devine accuses the ABC of a lack of objectivity in its handling of a video showing distressed asylum seekers in Curtin Detention Centre:

The video, shot by Australasian Correctional Management, which manages the centres, shows detainees who have worked themselves into a state of shrieking hysteria.

Worked themselves - or were worked?
Either the Government is employing psychopaths in its detention centres or the staff have worked with detainees long enough to recognise such dramas are designed to get attention.

There's a third possiblity: the people who work there become inured to the conditions. She finally admits in the third-last paragraph:
None of this is to say there aren't genuine cases of injustice and suffering in the centres. But intemperate attacks on Howard by the well-meaning have not registered with the electorate, judging by opinion polls, and serve only to alienate wider community sympathy from the deserving.

Well, you're not helping, even though you write a column in one of Australia's best-selling papers.
There are certainly people detained who deserve to come out, and who will, once processed. But, there are also, as Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock keeps saying, people posing as refugees and those who have destroyed papers in order to make the job of verifying their deceit difficult. And yet, even to say so is taboo, especially since the children overboard affair was so bungled by the Government.

But you just said it.
Instead we are all expected to take part in the charade that says melodramatics by detainees on the Lateline video are a consequence of ill-treatment and not emotional blackmail and attention-seeking.

As opposed to the 'objective' charade that they're all just whingers.

I like the comment of Professor Richard Harding, Inspector of Custodial Services in Western Australia, in an interview about the video:
Let me put it this way -- if the conditions that you have seen in Curtin and Woomera and some of the other detention centres were replicated in an Australian jail, they would be ungovernable. Red-blooded Australian prisoners would simply not put up with what we are doing to people who've not been convicted of anything.

Meanwhile Tim Blair helpfully tells us:
Recent high-level defectors from Mukhabarat [Saddam Hussein's secret intelligence service] have told the Iraqi National Congress - an umbrella organisation of Iraqi opposition groups established by the American Central Intelligence Agency in 1992 - that Iraq gleans its best intelligence from agents posing as asylum seekers across the world, including Australia.

But read the story in full and you find:
Nabeel Masawi, a senior congress member who has procured several high-level defections from Mukhabarat in recent years, stressed that the vast majority of Iraqi asylum seekers were genuine and deserved compassion.

"We could be of help here. We could help Australia and other countries establish who is not a genuine case and who might be using asylum as a cover for something else," Mr Masawi said.

Is anyone at Immigration taking him up on this generous offer? I agree so wholeheartedly with Jack Robertson on this issue, it's scary. While I believe detention should continue to be available as an option, it should be used more selectively, conditions in detention centres have to be improved, and the process speeded up.