A happy day

by John Quiggin on July 28, 2005

Under John Howard, who built on precedents established by the preceding Labor government, Australia has adopted some of the harshest anti-refugee policies in the developed world, centred on the policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers (including children) without trial in camps located either in remote areas or (under deals driven with dependent client states) outsourced to Pacific Islands. This policy was popular to begin with – it won Howard the 2001 election – but as the panic of 2001 has subsided and the evils of the policy have emerged, public opinion has shifted against it, and the worst aspects of the policy have now been abandoned.

The release of the remaining children being held in detention brings an end to the worst single part of this sad and shameful chapter in our history. At the same time, the oppressive use of Temporary Protection Visas has been rejected by the Federal Court. I hope the government will not appeal against this decision, and that we can put the whole sorry episode behind us, and start the search for a more rational and humane solution to the problem of responding to asylum seekers.

{ 3 comments }

1

Hektor Bim 07.28.05 at 7:58 am

It’s always nice to see the end of concentration camps, especially for children. I guess it will take Australia a while yet to completely get over the “White Australia” policy.

2

shiobhan 07.29.05 at 12:59 am

I have been travelling Europe and working in London for 5 years – I have found it very hard to understand Australian’s on my return,- I was looking forward to the elections last year – to get the little pissant out of government – (surely the Iraq war, boat people tossing, etc etc- made people change their minds?)imagine my shock when the creep like bush got the majority – its weird – I’m talking to people here – and they are but he’s “honest John” – I keep saying he is a politician – this does not compute!! –

When I left Australia in 99 things looked okay – what 5 years can do – a boom in housing – corporate take over of heaps – I’ve noticed the neutering of the press as a strange phenomonen –
okay going to end the rant – er – now…

3

sennoma 07.29.05 at 3:49 pm

Happy indeed. Thanks for pointing it out, John. Made my day.

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