July 15, 2011

Green criminals destroy CSIRO crop

Greenpeace protesters have broken into a CSIRO experimental farm in Canberra to destroy a crop of genetically modified wheat.

They say the entire crop of genetically modified wheat has been destroyed.
About half a hectare of GM wheat is being grown on the site, as part of Australia's first outdoor trials.

Last month the CSIRO received permission to conduct Australia's first trial in which humans will eat GM wheat.

The wheat's genes have been modified to lower the glycemic index and increase fibre to create a product which will improve bowel health and increase nutritional value.
"No one is looking after the health of Australians. Julia Gillard isn't standing up to foreign GM countries to protect our daily bread so Greenpeace has to," she said.

Greenpeace destroys GM wheat


  1. geoffff8:54 PM

    I dunno why the Greens are so scared of GM wheat. They obviously don't have a problem with GM watermelons given they just put a ripe one in the Senate. Maybe they're worried the wheat will form their own faction and grab control of the TV remote.

  2. If we check their gardens, their veggie patches and their domestic pets, I'd think we'll find a whole bunch of genetic modification.

    Do they avoid folate-enhanced bread from the supermarket?

    A low act, even for Greenies.

    I find it particularly irritating that Greenpeace claim to be acting on my behalf - your behalf - to save us! I didn't ask this of them, and have never considered turning to Greenpeace for dietary advice or protection of my person. They are not entitled to lay claims of acting on behalf of us all.

  3. geoffff4:52 PM

    There's something especially contemptible about attacking scientific research. Messing around with the genes of wheat is hardly vivisection so this is straightout rank and irrational fear of the unknown. Next thing they'll be baying at an eclipse of the sun. A good thing Halley's comet is decades away. With this bunch it would spark a leadership spill.

    That image of the dickheads with the petrol driven whippersnippers (now there's a real green tool for a start) seems to sum up everything I despise about these people. I make no distinction between Greenpeace activists or their politicians or the newage, crystal waving, witchdoctor hippies around here who vote for them. It's a culture and there's something irrationally religious at it's core. I don't mean that in a nice way.

    The scientists reckon they can develop a wheat strain that improves the nutritional and health value of one of humanity's most important food sources by messing with its genes. And this is just the start of many such marvels.

    And what do these brain fucks do?

    This is a crime and I hope the Canberra cops make a fair dinkum effort to hunt them down.


  4. Anonymous9:12 PM

    It's a culture and there's something irrationally religious at it's core.

    A bit like Zionism maybe.


  5. Hmmm.

    Except their people's seem to want to destroy the world (including all who are in it, since humans are, apparently contemptible) as opposed to wanting somewhere nice and healthy to live.

  6. Anonymous9:37 PM

    Caz, you're sounding a little bit Chomsky. Read the proposition and the relationship.

    Is the inference valid or not, or simply maybe?

    Could Zionism be described as a culture?

    Is there something irrationally religious at its core?

    I'll let you decide.


  7. I thought Zionism was about something else entirely Justin, hence my comment.

    On the other hand, Judaism is a religious, ethnic and cultural identity.


    I think they have too much time on their hands and are mostly vacuous; emotionally and intellectually stunted - reliant on an empty ideology.

    It's supremely easy to "care" about the whole of humanity, to give a stuff about what happens in 1000 year's time. Far more challenging and complex to care and be committed to individuals and to worry about what happens to them today, tomorrow and next year.

  8. Anonymous10:00 PM

    Entirely different?

    The story of the Jewish people is written in the Torah. You can treat it as concretely or abstractly, as literally or allegorically as you wish, but it is the most fundamental source of the Zionist idea

    Zionism and religion


  9. geoffff11:11 PM

    Zionism means support for the concept of a national Jewish state. As a Jewish state now exists, and thrives, it means support for the ongoing existence of this Jewish state. As that state is democratic and secular, it means support for the continuing existence of this particular democratic and secular state.

    That is a "culture" for sure. and if human dignity, self determination and nationality is "religion" then I guess that's at the core of it.

    This really shouldn't be too difficult.

    Anti-Zionism is the opposition to all of these things. It is therefore by definition antisemitic.

    In its historical context it is an especially and seriously evil thing.

    For me it's one of those e-coli political tests. Like 9/11 conspiracy theories. Anybody who believes them automatically label themselves fuckwits. Same with Israel/Palestine. Anybody who says removing the Jewish state and replacing it with another Arab state is a good idea may as well carry a flashing neon sign on their forehead.

    Interesting blog by the way. Thanks. Saved to favourites.

  10. geofffff11:52 AM

    Hmmm ... might start a thread at WD on this. these dickheads need more attention .. thanks Caz

  11. "Zionism means support for the concept of a national Jewish state."

    Yes, that's all I thought it meant.

    The other thing that disgusts me about this Greenpeace act of barbarity: no coverage of it! Little piece in The Canberra Times, but has it been reported anywhere else? Other papers, on the radio, on the six o'clock news, by George Negus?

    I haven't seen or heard anything else about it.

    Fooking deserves wider attention Geoff, although I imagine WD audience would sit and applaud, rather than condemn.

  12. Anonymous1:40 PM

    Not all people of Jewish faith seem to agree you your "anti-semantics" Geoff.

    We implore and beseech our Jewish brethren to realize that the Zionists are not the saviors of the Jewish People and guarantors of their safety, but rather the instigators and original cause of Jewish suffering in the Holy Land and worldwide. The idea that Zionism and the State of “Israel” is the protector of Jews is probably the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the Jewish People. Indeed, where else since 1945 have Jews been in such physical danger as in the Zionist state?!

    “It is essential that the sufferings of Jews. . . become worse. . . this will assist in realization of our plans. . .I have an excellent idea. . . I shall induce anti-semites to liquidate Jewish wealth. . . The anti-semites will assist us thereby in that they will strengthen the persecution and oppression of Jews. The anti-semites shall be our best friends”. (From his Diary, Part I, pp. 16)


    And this Jewish perspective:

    Zionists do not represent Jews

    The Zionists have no right of any sovereignty over even one inch of the Holy Land. They do not represent the Jewish people in any way whatsoever. They have no right to speak in the name of the Jewish people. Therefore, their words, declarations and actions are not in any way representative of the Jewish people. This is because the Zionists' seizing of power over the Holy Land is antithetical to Jewish law, and also because the Zionists do not behave like Jews at all rather, they desecrate the sanctity of the land.

    Is this a game of anti-semitic-semantics or what?

    Maybe people of Jewish faith could just sort it out between themselves - let me know when you have figured it out Geoff.


  13. Can't say that I've ever understood the anti-Zionism = anti-Semitic thing Geoff. Can't, and won't ever be able to get my head around it.

    Judaism existed long before Zionism, the latter having a history, sure, but much shorter.

    They are not fungible concepts, to my mind, never have been, never will be.

    But then, my limited intellect tells me that the person who came up with the idea of dropping a few million Jews into the middle of a bunch of Arabs was either stupid, or having a jest.

    Of course, all we've had since is whinge, whinge, whinge, whinge: jeez, poor us, stuck in the midst of a bunch of Arabs, this really sucks.

    Well, yeah.


  14. geoffff6:50 PM

    I think I can understand that, Caz, but let me try this if it helps. because the way I look at this has changed a little I think.

    When I was a kid my mother was for some years president of the local branch of WIZO. That's the Women's International Zionist Organisation. No big deal. All it meant is that once a week she got together with her mates, not all of whom were Jewish, and did stuff usually involving food and drink. Trust me with this. This stuff is fungible.

    One or both of my parents were also members of the Lions, the Southport Yacht Club, the Coolangatta Beef and Burgundy Club, the Huntington Club, the Chamber of Commerce and the Liberal Party. I mean how middle class can you get?

    For me Zionism is as natural as breathing. I did not even now there was such a thing as an anti-Zionist Jew until I read about it in one of Chaim Potok's beautiful novels set mainly in New York in the thirties, forties and fifties I read in my teens. And I was a curious kid.

    This sort of thing is not only fungible but it develops. I am more prepared to say now that anti-Zionism, as it can only mean, and I defined it above, is just another manifestation of antisemitism.

    Whatever the situation was in 1860 or 1920 or 1940 or 1946 when Palestine was not even the hottest of a bunch of hot potatoes left for the bungling Brits after the war is all real interesting and being a nerd I know a bit about it. But ultimately irrelevant.

    We are defined by our age. Jewishness was once excusively defined by religion from a time when all people were defined by religion. But even then they had chiefs and kings.

    Lots of stuff can be said with hindsight. Even with that I still can't see what the Zionist/Jewish leaders could have done with what they had. Obviously staying in Europe and Russia was not an option for millions even before Hitler.

    I don't hear much moaning about the Arabs from Israelis. They know Arabs pretty well and can speak Arabic in much larger numbers than any other westerners. Anti-Zionist Arabs have no difficulty with fungibility. They use Zionist and Jew interchangably and would be astonished you had this difficulty.

    Justin, old mate, I honestly can't see the relevance of your link. I assume it's the site of one of those New York sects Potok wrote about. Your point?

  15. geoffff6:58 PM

    Also the Jews did not have a problem with the Arabs. Still don't for the most part. Serious. I know anti-Zionists often claim that "A land without a people for a people without a land" was a Zionist slogan but it never was. The Zionists knew about the Arabs.

  16. Anonymous7:49 PM

    Some people/rabbis thought it was relevant:

    Endorsements of True Torah Jews Against Zionism

    Anyway I'm sure you'll work it out sooner or later.


  17. geoffff10:16 PM

    I honestly don't get it Justin. The site of some Jews saying some really silly stuff? Your point?

    There are plenty of those. I thought everybody was agreed on that. Marx. Engels. Trotsky. Chomsky. That Polish guy in the middle ages who heard voices and said he was the messiah but was in fact a drunken leach who led his followers into Catholicism in return for a payoff from the head cleric. (true story).

    Jesus Christ, the list of Jews saying silly incendiary stuff is both long and either noble or ignoble depending on the stuff and who you are. Not just Jews of course.

    What did you expect? That there was something about being a Jew that makes you immune from ever saying bullshit? Is that seriously your position?

    You really don't get Jewishness do you? (That was Caz's word by the way and I reckon it's not bad). But here's a tip. You are never going to impress a Jew by finding another Jew with a different point of view.

    And here's the rub, Justin. The reason for this is because Jews are no different from everybody else. There is an enormous variety of them. No bad thing in any people in my view.

    So I honestly don't get it. Are you always going to link to a site of what I guess is one or another of the 126 Hassidic groups in NY some of which at least we have already agreed are on the extreme silly end of the religious nut spectrum.

    Again your point?

    It begs the question why are you trawling the internet for this stuff? Seriously why the interest in the multi-faceted world of Judaism/Zionism/Jewishness where nobody agrees on anything? I mean Caz had a point. What's so different about them?

  18. Anonymous10:57 PM

    There is an enormous variety of them

    Yes indeed and it would appear some Jews think Zionism OK, some not.

    Yet Jews who do not are by definition anti-semitic, according to you Geoff.

    Zionism is a culture as you have stated Geoff, it is a culture underpinned by, and a product of, the Jewish faith, is it not? Its central belief is that God gave Holey Land to the Jews.

    This land is my land, God gave this land to me.

    Get real, that is irrational, nothing more than a land grab backed up by mythological bullshit, and enforced by violence.

    It's a culture and there's something irrationally religious at it's core.

    And that was my point (the one you have been pretending to miss), as so eloquently indentified by yourself.


  19. geoffff11:35 PM

    So on the central issue of the day what is your point of view? The one state solution? Israel should be dismantled as a state because the whole thing is based on a Jewish land grab? Is that what you think? Or the Jewish rump state solution where Israel is reduced to some kind of modern version of 1938 Czhechoslavakia with no sovereignty over its borders or population?

    I dunno Justin. What is the conversation you are trying to avoid here? Come on Justin. Tell us why you reckon the Jews should be singled out for this special treatment? The Jews and the Jews alone? Tell us why you have no problem apparently getting your head around the concept of "Palestinian" nationhood, for instance, but Jewish nationhood seems to be a concept too far?

    Can you do that without linking to another religious site? I don't believe God gave land to anybody in particular if at all and nor did the Zionists most of whom were atheists or agnostics. I ask again what is your position on the burning issue of the day? One state? Two? One state with a rump?

    This is starting to sound like a barbeque. What an unfortunate allegory.

  20. Anonymous1:49 PM

    Yep it's a (religiously derived) land crab. Not that I've got anything against a Jewish State, it's just that robbing and displacing innocent people in creating that state lends itself to the type of ongoing conflict that we see today.

    It's been said before that since 1945 the Jewish people have nothing to fear, except of course (ironically) in Israel, for self inflicted reasons.

    People should not steal other people's stuff - it creates all sorts of shit.

    The Jews have a secure homeland if they choose, it's the same homeland as mine, as yours - it's Mother Earth, the only homeland we'll ever have, the only homeland we'll ever know.

    Anyway good luck with the Zionist thingy and let's hope the story doesn't end up like this


  21. geoffff3:20 PM

    You still haven't answered the question Justin. OK you have accused the Jews of stealing somebody else's land because of their religion. Only the Jews by the way. (How you can claim this is not swallowing an antisemitic narrative hook line and sinker I'll leave for you and others, btw).

    But let's get back to the central question. You can talk about the wars of 1947 and 1948 and what led up to the as much as you like.

    (As an aside my experience with people who believe something like "Zionism is just a manifestation of the Jews' impulse to steal other people's land because God told them it's OK" are pretty intractable on the subject --- me too. This is an antisemitic notion. If you believe it you have a problem.)

    But I'm here to explain why I now believe anti-Zionism is antisemitism by definition, and Justin old mate, I think you're helping. Now no "ideal world" crap please. Do you want to see the Jewish state dismantled? Yes or no? A lot of people do. That's obvious. Are you on their side? If so, what do you propose? A straight one state solution with Fatah and Hamas and Iran and whatever brought in right away? Or the barbeque rump state solution with Israel forced to take down its "apartheid walls" and throw open its borders to anyone who is a descendant of "Palestinian Arab refugees" as defined by Dr Raphael Cilento in 1948?

    Or something else? If so what? Emigrate? Where?

    I think you can see where I'm going with this.

    Something I should make clear. Because somebody expresses an antisemitic notion does not necessarily mean they are an antisemite. The same goes for any form of bigotry. To identify something said or written as antisemitic is not an accusation that the person who said it is an antisemite. It's complicated, but there are many reasons they may not be. Discussing an antisemitic notion does not require an exploration of the inner and darker corners of a stranger's mind. Just as well. Not my line.

  22. geoffff4:11 PM

    It's crap by the way. The land grab antisemitic notion. For anyone who didn't know and could give a stuff :It's all been documented. Who owned what and when.


  23. geofffff5:16 PM

    Which brings me to another point. Remember that link of yours to True Torah Jews? I had a bit of a look as you do.

    Interesting. But stupid. The site looks professional and they have run ads in the NY press and radio and given they have little money of their own because they don't work I guess they are being well funded. Given these are the rabbis who showed up as honoured guests at a Ahmadinejad Holocaust Denial gigfest a few years back that money could be coming from anywhere.

    I thought this bunch of guys were excommunicated over that one by the other Brooklyn and Jerusalem Hassid sects? Do you know? Apparently that was too much even for the guys who crop women from their newspapers.

    I don't know. Don't give a damn really. See what I mean by the antisemitism/antisemite distinction? You ask me whether I think True Torah Jews are antisemites? I've got no idea. They are certainly religious crackpots with outside help and for sure some of what is on their site is antisemitic. But whether they are antisemites? I don't even know whether they are Jews.

  24. geoffff6:00 PM

    One interesting thing.

    That site has a few "latest news" links where somebody monitors for anti-Zionist items and events. Whoever has the job isn't as professional as I thought. Here's one link


    Do have a look Justin. They have reproduced in full a magazine length Haaretz article that it self reproduces in full the evidence taken at or around the time of the Eichman trial in regard to Yishuv/Zionist efforts to save European Jews.

    It's all there. The desperate scramble for the last 5000 visas the British would allow under the White Paper. The collapse of the Zionist offices in Europe. The desperate crazy attempt to do a deal with Eichman to save the Hungarian Jews at least. Every last detail of everything they could do and didn't do and why dripping with the raw emotion of that moment.

    It's one of the most harrowing things I've ever seen. Take a look.

    These guys linked it. Some how they thought it fit their anti-Zionist narrative. It is in fact as articulate a case for the Jewish state as you'll see.

  25. geoffff6:03 PM

    It's genuine alright. Here's the original Haaretz piece.


  26. Anonymous8:51 PM

    Initially I made a point, that point being that the Greens and Zionists maybe had similarities.

    Your terms re the Greens:

    It's a culture and there's something irrationally religious at it's core.

    And once again your terms in relation to Zionism:

    That is a "culture" for sure. and if human dignity, self determination and nationality is "religion" then I guess that's at the core of it.

    Now, by (your) definition/s, would it be possible to draw similarities between the two propositions.

    Both movements/cultures are secular yet have "religion" at their core.

    Both are determined to impose their will upon a minority.

    One is determined to secure our Planet, the other determined to secure a people, in a small part of that Planet.

    Both have absolute faith in their cause, their right to exist, and their right to influence the opinions and behaviour of others.

    Both can be a bloody annoying pain in the arse '-)

    That was my point Geoff - I'll leave it up to the individual to consider whether my point is worthy of consideration.

    And now let's address the point that iJustin has been drawn into: dispossesion/land grab.

    As such one must consider Zionism not from an epistemoligical perspective, rather, as a living dynamic, an idea that has been born into reality.

    That reality being: conflict, blood and tears.

    It is that reality, that conflict, that has to be resolved, but that's not my job, its not for me to come up with solutions, that's the job of those whose lives are directly affected by the current paradigm to sort out amongst themselves.

    The Jewish homeland is now a legal reality, what Zionists choose to do with that homeland, that reality, and the dispossessed, will most probably (in this day and age) define Zionists as a people, as a culture, as a "religion" in the years ahead.

    Nope I have absoluteley noting against a Jewish homeland nor their right to have one, my gripe is that it could have been arranged, engineered, managed, take your pick, a lot better than it was/is.

    Historically Muslims, Jews and Christians have spent long periods co-habitating in peace, beats me why they can't again.

    So there ya go Geoff, I have nothing against Jewish people, their right to exist, or their having a homeland (hell, my son and daughter have the ancient blood of the Abraham mob running through their veins), but equally I have nothing against Arabs either. It's just a shame things are such a mess and a solution cannot be worked out that is all inclusive - somehow I suspect both religious and secular extremism (irrationality) may the problem. I'll leave that up to others to decide.



  27. Solomon9:22 PM

    I vote for the Greens (or where possible the Democrats) because they want to end mandatory detention of asylum seekers. Give me an alternative and I'm happy to negotiate. I can't see one.

  28. Solomon9:32 PM

    I mean that. Give me an alternative. I'd vote for "Zionists for refugees" if such a party existed.

  29. geoffff9:41 PM

    Zionists are for refugees, Solomon. Jewish refugees.

  30. Solomon9:45 PM

    Of course they are.

  31. geoffff8:36 AM

    What do you get when you genetically modify a True Torah Jew with genes from a Japanese fighter pilot?

    Torah Torah Torah

  32. Who do you preference Sol, or do you vote above the line?

    I can't bring myself to vote Green, so I have to resort to some obscure independent or Liberal - although I can't stand the current local member. I could cope with giving Costello my vote, a couple of times, but his replacement annoys me.

    I will have to cast no vote next time.

  33. Anonymous4:10 PM

    What do you get when you genetically modify a True Torah Jew with genes from a Japanese fighter pilot - and with a personality like Bluey Gillard?

    Tora Bora.


  34. Solomon6:26 PM

    I must have preferenced the ALP in the past two elections but this is no longer possible. The Malaysian swap is unconscionable; the Liberal alternative is to bring back TPVs and offshore processing and who knows what else if that doesn't 'work'. I have no preference; it's the gun or the noose.

    When the complementary protection bill passes in the Senate that will be a significant (and belated) improvement in the system. It will save a lot of people a lot of time, money and headaches. But it doesn't wash over the other failures.

    My thought watching Chris Bowen on Q&A the other week was that he resembled a trapeze artist the moment before he falls to his death; he's attempting something to grand for his skills with the Malaysia deal, which to work would require a complete transformation of Malaysian society.

    It occurred to me before that the only way to 'stop the boats' is to provide those same people with an alternative pathway to this or another safe haven. I wish I'd predicted the natural conclusion, that refugees would attempt to set sail from Indonesia to New Zealand and Canada instead. They have very quickly made a mockery of the policy, before the deal has even been signed.

  35. The Malaysian solution is morally indefensible Sol. Also bizarre. We're going to take - how many? - 4000 refugees off their hands? That should appease the racists in our midst! Will we get to hand-pick the good 'uns, or will we have to take whatever rabble is sent our way?

    Who would have thought a Labor government would dream up such a bastard of a policy.

    Well, it is Joolya, the queen of bastard politics and bastard policies.

    But that appalling situation aside (and we can always hope it goes pear-shaped and fails to eventuate): you do know that every country locks up people who arrive without a visa - arrives illegally in a country? I don't know the figures, but I'd have to figure a goodly proportion of refugees granted asylum in Australia via the front door have spent many years in refugee camps - yes, camps, slums, no running water or inside toilets, etc. There are people who have been in such camps for more than a decade, children who were born in those camps and know nothing else.

    We're not doing anything uniquely hideous or barbarous by locking people up while their refugee credentials are checked Sol. That's all I'm saying. I think the "off shore" thing was unnecessary, absurdly economically wasteful. But what do you think should be done with people who turn up in boats, and many more on planes (yep, far out numbering the "illegals" who arrive by boat)? How is it they get to be deemed more "deserving" or more "desperate" than a family patiently waiting in a dirt camp for ten years, waiting for a host county, waiting because they have no means to do anything else, and their refugee status is indisputable, already established. There are millions of those people.

    While on the people who fly in: why do Australians get so hysterical about a few hundred or a few thousand in boats, when many times that number of people fly in each year, without visas, and want to stay? Strange, isn't it.

    The boats! The boats!

    What about: the planes! the planes!

    Always puzzles me.

  36. Solomon7:46 PM

    We're taking 1000 per year over four years. So instead of 13,750 refugee and humanitarian entrants per year we'll get 14,750.

    Those we take will be UNHCR registered refugees and I expect would be referred by them, since this is how it operates with the offshore intake more broadly. The difference being that these will be assessed according to priority in the context of the 90,000 refugees in Malaysia and not global priorities. So what, it's a good thing, it just that a good deed can't be bought by trading other lives.

    Bowen's express hope was that the boats would stop coming and that he could take these 4000 more without returning a single person. Well we'll see how that works out.

    Few people manage to fly into Australia without a visa. In order to get on a plane you would need some kind of visa: tourist, student, business, whatever. Try getting a tourist visa if you're from Afghanistan. If you somehow made it to an Australian airport without a visa you would be taken straight from customs to a detention centre and there you would stay until your asylum claim is processed.

    Those who arrive on some kind of visa and then apply for asylum will be granted a bridging visa until their claims are finalised and their bridging visa runs out; if you over-stay you're again marched off to a detention centre. Otherwise you're allowed to stay in the community.

    ..which is what should be done with all asylum seekers within our jurisdiction. The fact of their arrival does not make them more 'deserving' or 'desperate' than others. It is that once within our borders they qualify for our protection as a legal right.

    The exercise of a right has no priority and no queue, any more than freedom of speech has a priority or queue.

    We can't conscionably return a person to a country where they might face persecution. In practical terms no other country will take them unless they are nationals or have some other right to reside in those countries, especially when those countries have a bigger refugee influx and lower capacity to handle them. Or unless we make some kind of human trade.

    The furore over boats is, I think, out of a desire for controlled migration and this is a visible breach of that desire. Those who arrive by plane need some kind of visa to enter and so are in a sense more 'authorised' than others, but I doubt if the anti-boat lobby (I can't think of another term) turned their mind to it they would be particularly fond of those people either. They've not been deemed a priority. They've just come, however they can, to plead for our help and mercy.

    Given the difficulties in doing so I have a certain admiration for anyone who has found a way to make it to the mainland; when it happens it's like the moon landing.

    The resettlement program globally takes so few of the world's many millions of refugees that it isn't a reliable or viable option. It's like counting on the state lottery to pay for your next meal.

    Those who have been specifically authorised by the Australian government under the offshore program are emblematic of controlled migration. Australia is third in the world in the number we take under this program. There are only three countries in the world that have a significant offshore resettlement program.

    But once more you can't trade lives for other lives. There is no obligation under international law to take people from outside Australia for resettlement, only that those who are already here not be returned, and it doesn't matter how generous we are in our other policies, that can't wash over our legal obligation to provide protection to all those within our custody.

  37. Rightly or wrongly, many people DO place a premium on the concept of being deserving Sol.

    Managing to come up with $20K to put a child on a boat, so that they can learn English, get a private school education (at Aust taxpayer expense) and hope that the whole family reunion thing can be pulled-off, is not deemed especially "deserving", nor, on the face of it, evidence of persecution in their homeland.

    On the other hand, someone, or entire families, will leave their houses to live in squalor for years, with no guarantee that they'll get out of a refugee camp - on the face of it, seems to be evidence of something pretty awful going on in their homeland, such that they wouldn't dare go back, and would actively choose to live in the latter, not the former.

    I feel no embarrassment in saying that I would prefer our tiny refugee intake was more from the camps, and that boat people were not bumping others off the list.

    And lets also not pretend that our intake is anything more than pathetically tiny compared to other countries, or in absolute terms. We act as though we're doing such great stuff, when it's entirely token, just like our overseas aid.

  38. Solomon7:25 PM

    All refugees are deserving if they qualify for refugee status and meet the threshold for 'persecution'. If their motivation is economic they don't qualify.

    Their mode of arrival says nothing about them except their mode of arrival. A glance at the source countries for boat people: Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Burma etc is proof enough for me that there is persecution in their homeland. What it comes down to is usually whether their fear is 'well founded' and the decision-maker will knock them back because they are not of high enough profile to attract adverse interest or because their story lacks credibility because it is internally inconsistent, notwithstanding that there may be good reasons for the discrepancies like, for example, PTSD. It would be very rare for a decision-maker to ever declare someone an 'economic refugee' unless it is based on someone's own admissions.

    Those that enter our territory are ours by law. The link between the offshore and onshore program should be severed.

    Australia ranks high in resettlement figures because most countries don't resettle refugees from countries of first asylum; they just deal with those that enter their territory, lawfully or unlawfully.

    The amount we take is indeed tiny in the scheme of things but I object to the phrase 'token'. Saving one life is not a token and saving 13,750 per year is less so. There was some talk from one of the independents, I think it was Andrew Wilkie, that the opposition offered to double the offshore intake. Extraordinary how they can throw lives around like that as if it were nothing.

    Something does click when you make contact with someone who is offshore, in a camp or otherwise, asking for your help, or when they inform you they have to wait outside all night to get in to see the UNHCR. Or when you talk to someone still in their home country asking for help and no agency is willing to help them because by definition a refugee is someone outside their country of origin (Australia offers something like 20 visas under the in-country humanitarian program and this is usually children).

    They don't wait patiently in camps. They wait urgently and desperately, exploring all their options. If they were in a position to come unlawfully they probably would.

    I saw unlawfully because that is the official language (the convention itself says 'illegal' although it goes on to say no penalty should be incurred for illegal entry) but really they are specifically authorised by Australian and international law to seek asylum here by entering our territory by any means. That's the system: find your way here and we'll protect you.

    Applying for resettlement is an option for some but not very many people and no asylum seeker should feel it incumbent on themselves to wait around for this to happen. For most it will never happen.

  39. Solomon7:00 PM

    The offshore resettlement program is starting to come into greater focus to me now: out of the 10.5 million refugees world-wide, around 800,000 are deemed by the UNHCR to be at 'heightened risk' and requiring resettlement. 80,000 places are allocated through the UNHCR referral system per year, although 98,000 were taken in total globally in 2010 including those without UNHCR assistance. If you're not on the UNHCR list Australia won't resettle you unless there's some exceptional circumstance. Read: Australia won't resettle you unless you're on the UNHCR list.

    Refugees are at 'heightened risk' if:

    -there is no other way to guarantee the legal or physical security of the refugees concerned in the country of first asylum; this includes a threat of refoulement [forced return];

    -survivors of torture and violence, where the conditions of asylum could result in further trauma or where appropriate treatment is not available;

    - persons with medical needs, in particular life-saving treatment that is unavailable in the country of first asylum;

    - women and girls at risk, where there is a real risk that they could be exposed to sexual or gender-based violence;

    - children and adolescents, where a best interests determination supports this;

    - elderly refugees who may be particularly vulnerable and for whom resettlement appears to be the best solution, generally due to family links;

    - when it represents the only means to reunite refugee families who, owing to refugee flight or displacement, find themselves divided by borders or by entire continents;

    - when voluntary repatriation or local integration are not available or feasible in the foreseeable future.

    So there you are, that's your queue. You and 10.5 million other people, most of whom will never be recognised under this criteria and so never enter the queue anyway. It's not as if you can sit and wait around to get to the head of the queue, or as if it were even determined according to first come first serve.

  40. Sure, saving one life is beaut, that's great. But really Sol, taking 13.000 refugees a year is definitely TOKEN. We are not taking more than our 'fair share' (whatever that would mean), nor taking more than other countries. We are pretty slack in this department, just as we are with overseas aid (we still haven't hit the magic two per cent for aid, probably never will, which is a bit pathetic for a wealthy country). We are not generous.

    People waiting in camps have no choice but to be "patient" - they would also be anxious, desperate, hungry, cold, depressed, despairing. They are patient in exactly the same way that any person in jail on remand patiently waits for a trial (sometimes years).