Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Leading human rights barrister Julian Burnside examines asylum seeker policies worldwide


The Human Rights Arts and Film Festival will screen the world premiere of Border Politics on 15 May in Melbourne. Border Politics follows human rights barrister Julian Burnside as he crosses the globe to examine the treatment of refugees.

The documentary highlights refugee and asylum seeker policies enforced in developed countries. Julian Burnside compares the attitudes of these countries to demonstrate the role political leadership plays in refugee policies.

Currently, every minute, 24 people around the world flee their home because of violence or persecution. Many do not survive. During 2017 one in 36 asylum seekers died crossing the Mediterranean.

“The human dimension of the problem is kept well hidden,” says Julian Burnside. “The tragedy is that those who suffer it are politically irrelevant, and those who have the power to change it either do not know or do not care”

The film is directed by Judy Rymer, who has 30 years’ film-making experience. Her work covers a wide range of subjects concentrating on social and political history, and science.

The Human Rights Arts and Film Festival opens in Melbourne on 3 May 2018 and tours across the nation. This year, their festival focuses on five contemporary human rights themes: conflict and global people movement, gender equality, Indigenous rights, rehabilitation and retribution and the environment and rights. Tickets can be purchased at www.hraff.org.au


Julian Burnside
Julian Burnside is an esteemed Australian barrister who practises principally in commercial litigation, trade practices and administrative law. He is also a prominent human rights and refugee advocate, and author.

From Border Politics. Julian can discuss the film and what it covers, including: the harsh treatment of refugees by most Western democracies and how Governments increasingly talk up xenophobic fears, falsely labelling refugees as economic migrants, illegals and terrorists; increasingly using refugees as scapegoats in the race by politicians to curb our civil liberties and erode our human rights.

Gillian Triggs
Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs was the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2012-2017. Gillian Triggs was Dean of the Faculty of Law and Challis Professor of International Law at the University of Sydney from 2007-12 and Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law from 2005-2007. Triggs is a former Barrister and a Governor of the College of Law.

From Border Politics. Gillian can discuss the troubling findings of the Human Rights Commission report and her involvement in Border Politics.

Judy Rymer
Judy Rymer is an award-winning director/producer whose work has been commissioned by both local and international broadcasters. Director of Border Politics. She can discuss why she was motivated to make this film and the process of filming the documentary.

Detention Harms Health medicos pose with Ai Wei Wei sculpture today: Carrie Lee, Co-Organiser, Detention Harms Health March

Facebook: Latest violence on Manus

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Lynne Newington

    April 14, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    We don’t hear much about women standing in the gap regardless of circumstances.

    I recall like yesterday two men [from different Balkans background I later discovered], had each other by the throat at a workplace facility trying to get in between them while others looked on men and women.
    Another when, following a taxi, a male dragged a woman out of the back passenger door an began absolutely annihilating her and running to her assistance. All the driver could reply to me was “I’m keeping the meter running” …

  2. Leonard Colquhoun

    April 14, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    Good to read in #28 an eye-witness account of that moronic self-disrespecting decision by the AJA to team up with the clowns and celebs collective. Definitely deserves that now clichéd question ‘What were they thinking?’.

    Next thing, we’ll be reading about teachers having to drop classroom prep to serve breakfasts before Lesson 1! Oh dear! They’re already under (moral-grandstander) pressure to do just that!

  3. Paul Tapp

    April 14, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Leonard #27 … The maxim of good literature is that the ‘first draft of anything is shit.’

    I was at the meetings opposing the AJA’s amalgamation with actors, and I too saw the end of The Fourth Estate dedicated to the principles of the community’s Right To Know. The AJA then earned the noble epithet of “Soldiers With Pens” but sadly, as you have deduced, the amalgamation with actors diminished the watchdog value of our industry. I think in Tassie, the influence of the new owners of our newspapers have depreciated the commitment of journalism to investigate and expose. Budget cuts too, restrict the area in which journalism can investigate and report. I guess that’s why there’s been scant coverage of the decision to start water restriction in Orford and Triabunna. Marine Protection Tasmania (MPT) held a special meeting at the weekend to discuss the matter. Here’s my letter to MPT.

    [i]”Sorry I couldn’t make such an important meeting. Am Interstate. Will you be making a statement as to the outcome. If so, would appreciate being copied. Have only just read this message. Am also curious as to why The Gateway Cafe was chosen as the meeting point, given Michael Kent’s duplicity in the Tassal project. To have the meeting at his business and residence simply gives him credibility.Water restrictions were imposed several years ago and threats made by this council to those ‘caught’ washing cars and flushing boats. Council through its mayor at that time lied to the community as to the reason behind the restrictions and should have been prosecuted and dismissed. The reason behind the shortage of water was a corrupted pipeline that fed water to the woodchip-mill. To announce further water restriction to provide water to Tassal operations is a reiteration of the previous restrictions. I do hope that a vote of no-confidence in GSB council and Tas Water came out of the meeting. Cheers and good luck with your campaign. Kind regards.”[/i]

    Robyn #27 … It’s nice to know that ‘sovereignty’ is worth your public comment. It’s a far different Australia now, and commitment and sacrifice over the past century means very little to so many Australians. Several years ago I was contacted and informed by a retired senior cop that within two days of arriving in Tasmania, two so-called refugees were selling drugs in a telephone booth in Hobart. My response was “I’m no longer a journo, contact the ABC”… but nothing came of it. As far as I’m concerned refugee advocates and UN organisations that expect us to open the flood gates have expectancies that defy the policies of good policing, border protection legislation and the fading concept of ‘sovereignty’. En-route to WA this week, a young man was screaming into his mobile phone at Melbourne Airport, that he was going to kill some ‘f….ing c…’ within 30 minutes of leaving the airport. So startled were onlookers that I reported him to three security people grouped nearby. This was in response to regular and annoying PA announcements to report anything or anyone suspicious. I approached the security team and pointed them to the offender of Middle-East extraction. “We’ll keep an eye on him’, was the bland response.

    Same, same in a Perth shopping centre yesterday where a young man of ME extraction was shrieking at his girl-friend with menaces and with a lexicon of abuse that frightened onlookers and my grandson, whom I readied to protect should this guy move toward him. An instinct to physically react with him, borne of my ‘ambush training’ as a national service rifleman, would most certainly land me in trouble. Knowing the new media, I would have been the villain, based on a recent story beaten up by the ABC portraying a policeman as being brutal in handling a dangerous thug. ‘Sovereignty’, Robin Charles Halton, is as ubiquitous as the Aussie pie and a cold beer at an Aussie bar. It is inherent in all of us .. and when the bugle blows we know what to do, regardless of Politically Correct consequences.

  4. Leonard Colquhoun

    April 13, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    Re Comment #25’s “Our Prime Minister was elected because of his understanding of ‘sovereignty’” – er, which PM would that be? Surely not Malcolm ‘The Unready’ Turnbull?

    Not sure that Malcolm ‘The Unready II’ (remember, we had another Malcolm who was almost as much a fizzer as Turnbull, even though he had the benefit of several years control in both chambers of federal parliament) has an “understanding of” anything. PM Howard certainly did, as shown by his (perhaps) most famous statement about who decides who comes into our country.

    I would agree that the quality of journalism has fallen, for (I reckon) two main causes (while acknowledging that there were others) are: the self-dissing of their profession by amalgamating the former AJA with clowns and with people whose livelihood comprised pretending to be someone else, and the handing over of professional training to academics whose No 1 interest is to be not training anyone for anything. (The teaching profession has fallen for the same credentialista delusion.) Writing first drafts of history – yeah, right.

  5. Robin Charles Halton

    April 13, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    #25 … Good one Paul Tapp, protection of our sovereignty is first and of foremost importance!

    Johnnie Howard was firm on the fact that “we will decide who comes to this country” should be true, although in practice outside Parliament things went out the window, given the Lindt Cafe siege. Yep, that immediately changed my perspective of a dependable selection process for so-called refugees!

    Obviously Australia needs to tighten up immigration rules. Dutton seems to be on track, and it is pleasing that somebody has a firm hand on these matters.

    The UN is starting to lose touch but by hook or by crook we need to be bloody careful about attacking the Russian stronghold over Syria.

    How about this one: Russians are sort of Asians only with a white skin. They are not of European thinking so we Westerners should be very careful when dealing with them. The current situation is critical unless we want to create a major conflict which could spread globally quicker than any diplomacy could!

    Burnside should be confined to his home ground here in Australia, just the same as that crazy goggle-eyed Muslim girl who was recently refused entry into the US with her intention of public speaking – and in her case, rabble raising!

  6. paul tapp

    April 13, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Tasmanian Times has more courage than the collective contribution to democracy and fairness than the so-called main media.

    Journalism is declining in standards and impact by degrees. It is more a flashy career now than a calling. As a TV journo I had consistent confrontations with new bosses who replaced the old guard. Newcomers wanted to see more journalists on-camera, part of an inherent policy to promote personality rather than deliver hard news. “Our audience doesn’t want to see me. It wants to hear the news that I have gathered.”

    Human rights advocates like Burnside are much the same as narcissistic journos who mistake themselves for the news. He overlooks the millions of men and women who put their lives on the line to protect the sacrosanctity of national sovereignty.The UK is tuning its back on ties with old friends because those friendships were threatening the UK’s view of the importance of sovereignty.

    The view that Tasmanian Times doesn’t attract younger writers overlooks the trend in this countries that replacement generations are too distracted by superficial pursuits to understand the importance of contributing to polemics. Our Prime Minister was elected because of his understanding of ‘sovereignty’ and most Australians will return leadership that reflects the understanding of the dangers of advocates as Burnside.

    The United Nations and the Burnsides of the world orchestrate passive invasions of countries like Australia and the UK. I’d like to be about when the UK dumps the UN as well, and hopefully we will have the courageous leadership as now to follow suit. I am still coming to terms with the global sensational coverage of the ball-tampering incident. There are so many cameras focussed on sport that it was overlooked that Smith might just have been scratching his balls. Jesus is weeping.

  7. Leonard Colquhoun

    April 12, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    About borders: every nation has both the duty and the right to decide who enters its country and the circumstances under which they enter.

    Questions: do Burnside et al leave their houses and cars completely and very obviously unlocked and unsecured? Do they publish their PINs on social media for all to know? How many of Melbourne’s unruly homeless do they take home each week? “Words! Words! Words! … Is that all [those] blighters can do?” (Thank you, Miss Doolittle!).

    Failure means loss of sovereignty, as has been shown several times in our history:

    ~ the post-Roman Celts of southern Britannia lost their lands (and language) to Germanic boat-mensch (some of whom had been invited in as ‘muscle’ in the incessant clan warfare which followed the end of the Pax Romana) between 450 and 550 CE;

    ~ the Anglo-Saxons lost their kingdom (but not their language) to Francophone Norman invaders from across the English Channel after failing at Hastings in 1066;

    ~ the Irish Celts lost their freedom (including the freedom to continually indulge in clan warfare, as well as their language as a vernacular) after 1170: and then there’s

    ~ 1788 ..

    BTW, ‘diversity’^ and ‘multiculturalism’ are morally neutral abstract nouns; they are not “truths to be held as self-evident”.

    ^ Some very perceptive and astute wit answered the question ‘What is the opposite of diversity?’ with ‘University’! Bet he or she will get no-platformed!

  8. Lynne Newington

    April 11, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    [i]”Thanks for the journey, Lindsay Tuffin, and for giving us a voice when it really mattered. But then you killed my voice as well, by degrees, by those you didn’t name, and rendered others silent as well”[/i]
    Posted by Peter Henning on 11/04/18 at 10:15 PM

    It’s a free country, Peter … why not start up a “rag” of your own?

  9. Annie

    April 11, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    According to the Refugee Council of Australia there are at least 15,000 vulnerable people living within Australia on Temporary Protection visas who are still waiting for permanent residency.

    These people are left in limbo and often feel very anxious. They currently survive on an Orwellian allowance known as the SRSS – the Status Resolution Support Service which the government would like to reduce. The current payment should continue as it helps people eat, pay the rent and access counselling and support. People have complex needs for support, and we do need to address this

  10. Robin Charles Halton

    April 11, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    #15 Annie … I also strongly support the Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s strong call for a reduction in immigration numbers from 190,000 to 170,000 persons. Dutton has confirmed he has held high level discussions with senior colleagues about the cuts.

    The way I look at it, it would help lower the cost of living, reduce pressure on infrastructure and the property market and reduce crime.

    The government now finds itself internally divided over the issue of immigration, and as Abbott pointed out, the subject has been taboo for too long and I suspect it is too unpopular to handle responsibly by the wimp element embedded in government.

    Governments are there to run the country in a sustainable way!
    Re population growth from outside the nation .. I would expect the PM to engage in this vital matter of national importance.

    There is no question about energy infrastructure. If the nation cannot cope with change from coal to gas to Renewables, then that shows that Infrastructure security is in tatters.

    Decision making in government needs to improve as it seems the PM is now a leftie surrounded by increasingly righteous representative of the people.

    Future polls may indicate the PM hanging in by the skin of his teeth as challengers within await in readiness for affirmative action to replace him before the end of the year.

    The national interest for the people already living in Australia and citizens of this country comes first.

    Nevertheless, a Shorten led government would be opening the flood gates for immigration ruining the opportunities for the nations citizens to best maintain a stable lifestyle.

  11. Peter Henning

    April 11, 2018 at 2:15 am

    #19 Re TT code, re anonymity, re trolls … I’ve said it all before, years ago. It’s on the record, as is the response from TT. Maybe they’d like to give us a flash back to the past. I haven’t changed my mind.

    The point is that if TT is to survive, it cannot do so while being a joint entirely rejected by anyone under the age of 60. And that’s being conservative.

    But like I said, it did have its important days, and they were important.

  12. Peter Bright

    April 11, 2018 at 1:51 am

    Peter Henning at #18 despairs of some perceived changes that have occurred over the years in Tasmanian Times’ content.

    He says [i]”It has failed to attract young talent, while relying on a diminishing pool of oldies, and a commentary increasingly dominated by right wing opinion.”[/i]

    I don’t agree with your last assertion, Peter. I visit Tasmanian Times far more often than any other site anywhere, and I do so partly because of the relative absence of right wing lies, deception and garbage. I’ve always found Tasmanian Times a superb source of information about what is [i]really[/i] going on in Tasmania, and it provides free access to all at the Editor’s expense in money, dedication and time. What else compares with it?

    Peter adds [i]”That is unfortunate, but inevitable, given the policy of the site to allow trolls free access for years on end, and to fail in distinguishing ad hominem attacks from discussion of issues.”[/i]

    Peter, If you’d like the site’s Code of Conduct more rigorously enforced I invite you to say so now, as I suspect that others might feel the same way. I know I do.


  13. Peter Henning

    April 11, 2018 at 12:50 am

    At this time in Australian history, when the normalisation of inhumane treatment of vulnerable people is condoned on the spurious grounds that the ends justify the means, we are in need of more advocates like Julian Burnside.

    It is indeed a path to hell when a society dehumanises the most vulnerable, for that paradigm is morally and ethically bankrupt, and is incapable of even considering democracy and egalitarianism as meaningful goals.

    Perhaps it is true that the Second World War merely stalled for 70 years the dominant political trends to the Right taking place in the 1930s in Australia.

    Australian fascists disappeared from the landscape, at least in public, even in the military, when Australia went to war in 1939. Those federal politicians who loved Mussolini for his national discipline, law and order, etc, had to pull their heads in.

    As in the US and some places in Europe, so in Australia the passage of time allows the past to be obliterated, and the wheel of the jackboot heel to return.

    The wheel has turned for Tas Times too. It has failed to attract young talent, while relying on a diminishing pool of oldies, and a commentary increasingly dominated by right wing opinion.

    That is unfortunate, but inevitable, given the policy of the site to allow trolls free access for years on end, and to fail in distinguishing ad hominem attacks from discussion of issues.

    Nevertheless, the site was extremely important during the era from about 2006 (earlier or later?) as the main avenue for substantial comment about Tasmanian politics, especially in relation to forestry issues and Gunns’ pulp mill.

    It fact it was invaluable.

    It’s archives remain a treasure trove of information about Tasmanian people and their views – well, to a point. But an important point.

    But young writers are more savvy than those of us who wrote for TT for years. Why subject yourself to anonymous trolls? Or debate with fascists?

    Thanks for the journey, Lindsay Tuffin, and for giving us a voice when it really mattered. But then you killed my voice as well, by degrees, by those you didn’t name, and rendered others silent as well.

    That is why TT is unattractive to young talent …

  14. Annie

    April 10, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    It is also encouraging to see Foreign Minister Julie Bishop speak up today about the need to promote messy democracy (or words to that effect) within the Asian Pacific region. She has also been an advocate for the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and observed just how many nuclear weapons states are within the Asian pacific region.

    Also, non government advocacy groups such as the Nobel peace prize awarded ICAN would like Australia to sign up to the new disarmament treaty. Many countries have signed it already.

    The big picture is that disarming the nuclear weapons industry so that it can transition to projects such as equitable peaceful renewable energy solutions would ensure that more resources can help to achieve the Sustainable Development goals.

    It is very encouraging to see the strength of non government advocacy groups such as ICAN within Australia, so that people can participate.

    This sounds waffly however, one of the goals of the Sustainable Development agenda is that of good governance (which includes the right of the people and community to advocate and to have a say).

    For example, in Liberia, the people are standing up to the corporate greed of several big companies. The people call upon their government not to pass an amended law that is in the interests of the forestry, mining and palm oil companies. If the government is to meet its aim of lifting 3 million men, women and children out of poverty, it is in their interest to listen to the people in regard to the Community Land Rights Act.

  15. Annie

    April 10, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    Hooray for the Senate Committee investigating the proposed legislation that would have had an unfortunate effect upon public participation. The Senate Committee has stood up for the vital role of community advocacy groups, and also not for profit organisations.

  16. Annie

    April 10, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    The refugee advocates are righ, prolonged indefinite detention is harmful to people’s health. As Lynne states, children who are refugees or unaccompanied are very vulnerable and do need protection from exploitation. Their parents, especially mothers, can best care for children in the community.

    Re #14 … “integration of former refugees” Consider how proud Sam’a mum must be. His brave mum walked out of one of the world’s biggest refugee camps with her family when Sam was six, and eventually gained asylum in Australia. Sam is beaming with happiness as he is achieving his goals as an athlete in the Commonwealth games.

    Diversity, multiculturalism and democracy are wonderfully messy, and do help to make for strong communities. However, re #4 on the need for a “global perspective” and #9 on “generating sustainable solutions” – it is worth having a look at the bigger picture United Nations sustainable development goals which many countries have signed up to as they provide a compass. These goals can help to support international norms and the rule of law.

    Re: #9 ” The road to hell is paved with good intentions and refugee policy” and #12 “refugee policy has been too loose in the past” … it is great that Australia actually does have a planned immigration program, and also a planned humanitarian refugee program, irrespective of criticism.

  17. Christopher Nagle

    April 10, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Robin, I love multiculturalism. My own family is as multicultural as it gets. But it has to be accompanied by strong governance, resolute defence of our borders and an orderly/well funded system for successfully absorbing new population.

    We simply cannot afford to let characters like Burnside and his acolytes anywhere near the policy levers for that. Those well meaners are a recipe for disaster.

    When I say that multiculturalism isn’t risk free, what I mean is that in the hands of laissez-faire libertarians who do not understand governance, rules and boundaries, it is almost bound to be a disaster. Ungovernanced multicultural experiments almost always fail, because the potential for inter-ethnic instability and conflict are endless. It has to be micromanaged. We cannot leave anything to chance, because left to chance, the greatest likelihood is that things will go wrong.

    And that particularly applies if one is taking in people who have very little cultural preparation to enter a modern society. Sudanese and Somalian people need a lot more funding, help, guidance and oversight. And if that is not sufficiently forthcoming, there is just bound to be trouble.

    If we let too many Muslims into the country, we will eventually face issues over Sharia law and secular governance. That means 15% of the population, max. It won’t be a problem as long as we control the numbers.

    The Singaporeans seem to have got the balance right. If they had been running things, Cronulla would never got further than the first signs of trouble….a few words in the shell pinks of the Lebanese community and some shock jocks, and we would never have heard a thing about it. And everybody would have kept it nice….or else. In Singapore, being nice to your neighbours isn’t compulsory, but tolerance for inter-ethnic unpleasantness is very shallow indeed.

    I am all for bringing in refugees, but they have to have a lot of infrastructure around them if we are to avoid problems down track. So we have to limit the numbers and apply disciplined policy and not listen to the laissez-faire crowd who will screw us all if given half a chance.

    My sort of place…Singapore.

  18. Robin Charles Halton

    April 10, 2018 at 3:18 am

    We might have bigger worries right on our doorstep as China woos Vanuatu to fix its failing infrastructure and economy in exchange for a Chinese naval base in the Pacific.

    Within the remaining two years of this decade, both Australia and New Zealand (and with a bit of luck we may get Indonesia on board as well) to reject China’s soft targeting smaller South Pacific nations for influential expansion with military intent!

  19. Robin Charles Halton

    April 9, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    #9, Chris … Your statement “Multiculturism isnt risk free” etc. True.

    Without the AFP, Australia would be under siege day and night. If it’s not drug import surveillance and intervention it’s home bomb devices, human ram-raids and watching potential suspects with “mental health issues” out on bail wandering aimlessly till something triggers them to do something sinister.

    There has to be thousands of angry immigrants who are only a stone throw away from crime.

    Australia is not the Middle East or Israel, but similar daily precautions are necessary by the authorities to protect the lives of its citizens.

    One never knows what is around the corner, but the stricter the rules are on entry into Australia either temporarily or permanently, the better.

    Refugee policy has been too loose in the past. More of a hard line approach must continue and isn’t that what Mr Dutton continually impresses on us to maintain the best for the national interest?

  20. abs

    April 9, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    Christopher writes,”Trying to turn me into a Nazi stereotype isn’t just intellectual laziness, but indicates you are used to getting away with it, because your friends do the same; that is, reduce discourse to labelling, clichés and dysphemisms; in short, ideological junk.”

    says the poster who constantly uses labels, and dysphemisms to peddle his ideology.

  21. Lynne Newington

    April 9, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    That’s a different take on what I’ve heard in relation to the road to hell, but equally relevant ..

    “The road to Hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lamp posts that light the path.”

  22. Christopher Nagle

    April 9, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    Re #6 and 7…John, Hitler’s Mein Kampf is a bit like Machiavelli’s Prince. They are used without actually reading them, as tools of disapproval without actually making a case. Trying to turn me into a Nazi stereotype isn’t just intellectual laziness, but indicates you are used to getting away with it, because your friends do the same; that is, reduce discourse to labelling, clichés and dysphemisms; in short, ideological junk.

    I don’t mind if you want to have a go at the moral case I have made, but to do that, you are going to need to pull your finger out and do some real thinking…for a change.

    As to you Peter, you use the word ‘social justice’ like some kind of holy relic, and all you have to do is chant it like a mantra on the assumption that everyone will dutifully genuflect.
    The phrase is an overused and shop soiled ideological euphemism for sectional interest propaganda benefiting morally exceptionalist opportunists and special pleaders. It is a bit like ‘equality’ when what we are really talking about is spurious and fraudulent equivalencing.

    You and guys like Burnside use phrases like ‘social justice’ in ways that assume what needs to be proved. In short, it is a verbal crutch that saves on time and effort to make the case, having regard to all the factors coming to bear, which is what I have done.

    The question of what to do about defending yourself from and generating sustainable solutions to the worst effects of a collapsing world order and the failure of the world power that has propped it up since 1945, is much bigger than social justice piddle farting.

    It took 12 years to clear the refugee camps in Europe after WW2, when it was all over and everyone was getting back to some kind of ‘normality’. It took about 10 to deal with the Indo-Chinese wave. The convulsion we are now contemplating within the fabric of the world order that has sustained us for over 70 years is only just starting, with 60 to 70 million people already displaced…and rising fast.

    It is like the fire hydrant refugee flow and a resettlement mop. And then you have to make sure that the resettlement process is successful, because if it isn’t, all you have done is import the very problems that drove the refugees out of their own countries in the first place, and left your children and grand children with a massive headache, like the Europeans are already finding.

    And poor thing refugees can rapidly turn. Remember Leon Uris’ ‘Exodus’ and the poor Jewish refugees from the Holocaust and those dreadful British bastards who tried to send them back to the camps. Now look at our Zionist friends today. Their benign rule makes the headlines on a regular basis…

    Multiculturalism isn’t risk free. If you look around our region, most of the multicultural experiments have failed, or haven’t failed because the government heavily micromanages inter-ethnic relations. And getting it right isn’t cheap. It needs to be expensive because we cannot afford to have pissed off second and third generation migrant descendants who haven’t integrated. And if that happens, the politics get very nasty, with lots of very angry and discontented people doing very bad stuff to each other and the social order around them.

    Do not imagine that what is going on in Myanmar can’t happen anywhere else, because it can.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions and refugee policy, or a laissez-faire lack of it, is emblematic of the genre, as is Julian bloody Burnside.

  23. Lynne Newington

    April 9, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    #5, Lynne … “Julian is a professional do-gooder whose business is to be on the side of the most opportune angels who don’t ask too many tough questions.”

    That conclusion appears to be the case when innocent child refugees, now adults who survived, were dealing with the ravages of their lives by their church with no safe harbour to lay anchor.

  24. Peter Henning

    April 9, 2018 at 2:41 am

    #6 … I agree entirely.

    Burnside is a voice for human rights under international and national law.
    He is concerned about promoting justice and attempting to reduce injustice within law.
    What he seeks to achieve is admirable, and deserving of support.

  25. john hayward

    April 8, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    Christopher E-N at #5 has provided the most compelling argument you are ever likely to see, this side of Mein Kampf, for the repudiation of all soft-headed drivel such as kindness, generosity, and compassion.

    And what could be more manly than a show of stone-faced “toughness” toward the temporarily vulnerable?

    John Hayward

  26. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    April 8, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Lynne, Julian is a professional do-gooder whose business is to be on the side of the most opportune angels who don’t ask too many tough questions.

    He is your typical white ‘sorry my country’ bleeding heart, so asylum seekers just had to be an irresistible number; so much suffering .. so much political capital .. in the tradition of ideological drivellers like John Bilger and Noam Chompski…

    Julian is a classic liberal broker on the fault line between empathy and rational policy.

    The bottom line is that mass migration cannot possibly be an answer to the collapse of the post WW2 settlements, the imperial power that underpinned it and the imploding legitimacy of the western secular social and ideological institutions.

    Even the Scandinavians and the Germans are having to come to terms with that, behind the Hungarians, Poles, Italians and Greeks et al.

    It is the old lifeboat conundrum faced by boat commanders from the Titanic. Even half empty lifeboats were kept away from desperate people in the water, because to get too close was to risk being overwhelmed, and joining the desperadoes and their awful fate.

    And the brutal fact is that world wide, the Julian Burnsides and their lookalikes have comprehensively lost both the practical and moral arguments.

    Angela Merkel has been forced to do a mea culpa and the reason Julian isn’t being forced into that corner is that he doesn’t have to be elected by anyone and would be unelectable except in one of those bizarre inner city electorates full of bureaucrats and teachers who think policy is run on feelings, dear-heart ideological guidelines and moral tick boxes.

    I do not want to deconstruct Julian’s baloney in detail or re-argue the absolute necessity for disciplined policy, as it has already been done on these pages, but for those with short or selective memories, the link is:


  27. Robin Charles Halton

    April 8, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    I am really starting to wonder how Burnside can expect to wander the globe and make any real difference to the way refugees are treated, and what he can do about it!

    Lets look at the global perspective, over populated countries are either at war with each other or facing political quasi-religious differences which remain unresolved leading to violence, discrimination and driving persons to flee persecution.

    Western countries through unsustainable population and human rights expectations are having their own internal problems coping with increased desperate crimes that is affecting what should be say in Western Europe, Australia and the US should be democratic to look after its current populations.

    In Western Europe, despite their generous intakes of refugees over a long period, things are difficult for governments to manage in a peaceful manner.

    I think we all are approaching a time in history where we have to say enough is enough, let’s look after our own affairs first and foremost as the global order is collapsing. Australia needs to engage more with its current population as the two major political parties are both on the nose!

    In actual fact there is virtually nothing Australia can effectively do about the potential disintegration of Egypt,Turkey and Burma (Myanmar) in my opinion!

    Apart from the worsening mess in the Middle East virtually the entire continent of Africa is another emerging global flash point. The latest reports South Africa’s agricultural economy is under threat as farmers cannot any longer expect to coexist with the black politics with land hand backs, same happened in Southern Rhodesia( Zimbabwe), a very hard lesson of racial hatred partly due to inequality where the two populations cannot co exist to engage together to bring forth a successful and relatively peaceful and productive economy!

    At least our closest neighbor Indonesia appears to pose no threat to Australia as it battles with maintaining peace among its own unsustainable population!

    President Yoko appears to have a good diplomatic relationship with Australia through PM Turnbull which is a positive national security measure!

    Whilst the UN is continually losing touch, the Global expansionism of the Chinese influence is looking like taking over as a more effective entity with its promises of trade bringing with it opportunity for third world countries more so than the UN can continue to expect with its path on human rights!

    Burnside is in my opinion a dud, an academic dreamer that will be ignored by our politicians.

    Australia’s biggest issues are around our current overly reactive energy crisis, much of it of our own creation and maintaining the best for our national interest.

  28. Lynne Newington

    April 6, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    I can think of another conscience impact that could’ve gone a long way …

    Lynne Newington says:

    February 14, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I have often wondered [and spoken out on] why Mr Burnside has never come forward in relation to the sex-abuse crisis in this country, if not the Catholic one, that has been in the public domain for several years.
    With his human rights issues, and rubbing shoulders of the highest order, his voice would have been a force to be reckoned with.

  29. john hayward

    April 6, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    Is there any connection between the dramatic changes to the weather and the rapid dispersal of even a superficial deference to liberal democracy around the world?

    Because he seems so banally conventional, pollies like Turnbull can mask the onset of major changes to official morality just as they minimise the impacts of climate change driven by their corporate donors.

    I’m hoping that Burnside will have a bigger impact on the world’s conscience about the unlawful treatment of refugees than he had on the moral conscience of the Tas legal system.

    John Hayward

  30. Scott MacInnes

    April 6, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    I am very much looking forward to watching this. Hopefully they will make it widely available.

    By co-incidence, I have just been reading on this subject. Firstly, Julian Burnside’s indictment of our current leader’s approach:


    Secondly, there is a recent ABC Radio National Big Ideas podcast with doctor-turned-whistleblower Nick Martin, who is the most senior official deployed on Nauru to publicly speak out about the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.

    Thirdly, leading Australian public intellectual Robert Manne’s very even handed and thoughtful essays on this issue have been collected in his most recent book ‘On Borrowed Time’ and it’s available as an ebook from Linc Tasmania.

    Finally, just last week I prepared a press release, published on this site, for one of the world’s top rated charities, GiveDirectly, which has just launched an exciting new initiative to help refugees in Uganda:


    Uganda is a country which in 2016 took in more refugees than any other in the world – including the whole of Europe at the height of the crisis – although it is not making headlines.

    Despite very limited resources, Uganda has very progressive policies that have granted its 1.4 million refugees basic rights (like education, work, freedom to leave their settlements and own property and apply for citizenship) to help them rebuild their lives.

    Puts us to shame!

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