CategoryRefugee Ethics

This will break your heart


The Guardian has published interviews with refugees who set out for Australia by boat only to find there was no welcome for them here. Rather, under a policy introduced by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, they were packed off to Nauru, where  their claim for refugee status was found to be valid and they have been released into a community of 10,000 people who despise them.  here is one of the stories...

Abbott and Turnbull: contrasting responses to children in detention, but both wrong


The response of the federal government to the children in detention report has shocked me. The report reveals the shocking abuse of children in detention, yet the Prime Minister’s response is to shoot the messenger. The complete lack of empathy on display was chilling. On Q and A last night Malcolm Turnbull was far better. There was no shooting of the messenger, there was a clear sense of...

We are a nation that abuses children. The ugly truth exposed


This week our Prime Minister promised that good governance would begin again. Perhaps he could start by releasing children from detention on Nauru. Also released this week was the report of the Human Rights Commission inquiry into children held in detention. It is sobering and disturbing reading. The report found that: 34% of children in detention centres were suffering from a mental disorder...

Don’t be fooled. Children will remain in detention.


In the wake of the agreement between the crossbench Senators and the government, many are under the impression that no children will be held in immigration detention into the future. This is a misunderstanding of what was agreed. Children are currently held in immigration detention centres on the Australian mainland, Christmas Island, and Nauru. Prior to the current agreement the government had...

What the changes to the migration act mean


This week the Senate passed the “Migration And Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving The Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014”. The bill results in sweeping changes to Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers. Reintroduction of Temporary Protection Visas When asylum seekers arrive in Australia they must apply for a protection visa. A protection visa gives them the freedom...

Australia. How we bludge off the rest of the world


I opened the Australian newspaper today to read a vigorous defence of the government’s  policy of turning back  boats filled with asylum seekers.  Australia has not only succeeded in stemming the flow of people coming by boat to Australia, we have apparently also reduced the flow of refugees into Indonesia, and saved people from drowning at sea.  This would be true if we could be confident...

Sometimes we don’t get to decide who comes to this country


This week Scott Morrison invoked John Howard’s famous dictum “We will decide who comes to this country and the manner in which they come.” We should decide whether to turn back boats filled with asylum seekers and we should decide who gets a visa granting them the right to enter and live in Australia. The right to determine who enters your country and under what conditions is...

The death of the wisdom of our youth


When I was growing up there were two pieces of wisdom frequently imparted to me: “the ends don’t justify the means” and “think about how you would feel if that were done to you”. These two pieces of ethical guidance were designed to help me act with clarity and correctness in difficult situations. The first piece of wisdom, that the ends don’t justify the...

Enough of the hate. It’s time for love.


I’ve had enough of people who say they are followers of Jesus yet act with hate. This week brought the distressing news that the Westboro Baptist church plans to picket Robin Williams funeral. Believe it or not, the church’s website address is The homepage includes a list of “sister” sites:;; and

Congratulations Mr Morrison, you’ve stopped the boats. Damn shame it won’t stop the drownings


The Federal government has achieved what it set out to do. It has stopped the flow to Australia of boats filled with asylum seekers. To achieve this goal the government has turned boats around, put people into high-tech life rafts and sent them back to Indonesia, and those it has been unable to send back it has incarcerated in the most degrading of conditions on Nauru and Christmas Island. The...

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