Posts Tagged ‘australia’

My question for Border Force is, if the press release was simply “badly worded”, why have we not been told of its ACTUAL definition and intention? We have been told it was “incorrect”, and the operation was cancelled, but what was the CORRECT definition of these “incorrect words”…??!

VicPol were apparently (off the record) talking of their disgust in these plans, having no idea of the operation, yet today, Tony DumDum has said that the whole idea was VicPol’s, and that DumDum and the office of DumDum had no knowledge of this operation taking place at all… If Border Force are acting on National Security, and are a government department, WHY does his office apparently have no notification of it?!

Either DumDum is lying to us (again/still), or Border Force are following in the footsteps of Hitler’s Nazi Party, and circumventing the acting government and becoming a power above the law of the land… This is only 6 weeks into their existence, so expect more of this behaviour in the months to come. We can only hope that the next government work to disband Border Force, and launch a Royal Commission into our current government’s abuses of human rights…

Australia is (was) better than this. I am embarrassed and ashamed to call myself Australian under this government. A country built on immigration, suddenly becoming a police-state and essentially reverting to the teachings of Nazi Germany to weed out those ‘undesirables’ amongst us… it is a deplorable and lazy way to do things…

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Labor has officially lost my vote.

Let me explain this properly. As previously mentioned, I have been a Labor voter ever since I could vote. My Grandparents, and all relatives back to Federation have been Labor voters, due in part to their employment at the local Rail Yards, Dock Yards and other trade industries. My family have always been working class, hardworking union members throughout their years, finding comfort in the knowledge that the trade unions were there, fighting for their rights, conditions and safety.

In the past two years, however, Labor has seemed to have lost its way. Labor have been leaning further and further to the right, following the poll trends and the ‘easier options’, and not following their own principles. More and more often, Labor has been conceding to the Liberal view, either siding with the LNP’s decision to introduce mandatory Metadata collection and monitoring (even though the evidence shows that every country that has introduced these regulations are now either seeing their errors, or now having these regulations removed due to their inefficiency and exorbitant costs) Lowering their visionary standards (agreeing to a lower RET, meaning our Renewable Energy Target will be at an all-time, uninspiring level of around 5% by 2020 – Compared to China and America at 80% by 2050, and Denmark’s achievement of 140% a few months ago).

With all of this, I have been fooling myself, in the thoughts that “At least the Australian Labor Party (ALP) is not and “extreme” or “cruel” as the Liberal National Party (LNP) – at least I agree with many of ALP’s policies, compared to none of the LNP policies. This has now changed completely

Tonight, I have reached the decision to vote Greens for the first time at the next Federal election. I base this decision SOLELY on ALP’s decision to now adopt, or consider to adopt, the LNP policy of “Turning Back the Boats”. This decision is not a light decision, or even a decision that people may think ‘does not affect them’. This decision will affect every Australian at some point in their lives.

Allow me to clarify.

Using the field of music, I want to list some artists who were refugees. Bob Marley, Freddie Mercury, Gene Simmons, Angus & Malcolm Young, Bon Scott and Jimmy Barnes. Using these few names as an example, I want you to think of this.
Without Freddie Mercury, Queen may well have remained a garage band. All of the music that they created and inspired in others would be silent. Freddie’s roles as an ambassador for AIDS Awareness has potentially saved MILLIONS of lives.
Without Bob Marley, we would have missed out on the introduction to Reggae music into the mainstream. This would’ve stopped the progression to early forms of Punk & Ska. Marley also gave rise to other artists, such as Jimi Hendrix, Cream and Eric Clapton – not just covering his music, but embracing the soul of his music, and taking it to a different audience. Bob Marley also highlighted the dangers of smoking, dying of lung cancer at such a young age.
Without Gene Simmons, KISS would not have introduced us to GlamRock. A rock show would almost certainly be void of pyrotechnics and extravagant costumes.

Angus & Malcolm Young and Bon Scott, although not refugees, were migrants to Australia as part of the migrant wave of the 1950s. Jimmy Barnes was also a part of this wave. Without Australia’s acceptance of these kids, Australia would not have nurtured, and ultimately delivered these talents to the world.

I want you to imagine a world without the music of Queen, without mainstream Reggae or the larger-than-life presence of KISS. Imagine modern rock music without the influence of AC/DC. Music would be rather boring. Now think of everyone that relates to this music. The people that use a particular song to remember something good in their life. A song that perhaps has helped them get through a difficult time in their lives, marked a special occasion, a first kiss, the grieving of a loved one, or even an escape from the world and its nasty abuses. Without this music, where would these people be now?

Now I want you to think about the following names. Sigmund Freud, Dalai Lama, Albert Einstein, Ben Elton, Victor Hugo, Lord Maurice Saatchi, These names have all shaped the world for generations. Modern Psychology, Religious ideologies, Modern Theology, Quantum Physics, Atomic Energy, Relativity, Space Travel, Comedy, Musicals, TV Classics (The Young Ones, Bottom, etc) Classic Literature, and lastly on this list, Advertising.

All of these massive names were refugees.

Now, imagine what Australia is essentially turning around and punting back into the open seas. All of these modern discoveries. Talents that have essentially changed our lives in every sense, overlooked. Potentially being sent back to their deaths. This list does not include the many, many unsung heroes in our society. Surgeons, Doctors, Lawyers, Politicians, Business owners / employers, Athletes, Musicians, Artists, Actors, Activists and even the guy who makes your morning coffee. Every single one of these people could essentially change your day, or your life.

Now imagine that we are now essentially telling the world that, although we are a wealthy country, and managed to avoid the GFC, putting us in a position that was envied by every other OECD country around the world, although we have more than enough room for more people to live in this vast land, we are not only not accepting them, but we are stopping their boats in international waters and turning them back to face persecution, torture, rape and murder.

These human beings do not get on a boat for fun. They do not get on a boat to ‘jump the queue’. Many of them (98% at last estimate) choose this method of entry because they are fleeing in the dark of night. They are unable to get a visa or leave their country as they are fleeing the persecution of their government. They are fleeing imminent danger at the hands of political forces, police, military. Many of these people that I have personally met have left family – wives, children, babies, parents, siblings – because they simply could not bring them, risking their lives to get here and hopefully send for them when it was safe to do so. People have left infants, only to miss out on their formative years – having no contact apart from occasional phone-calls, never holding their children in their arms. This is not a decision that any parent would choose lightly.

Make no mistake, these policies are not “Turn Back the Boats”, rather, they are “Turn back the terrified, scared, inconsolable, injured, damaged, broken, depressed and desperate human beings.” It could also be said that we are turning away unknown prosperity, knowledge, wealth, intellect, skill, artistic talent and life-changing personalities that are the very wealth that Australia was built upon. Without immigration, Australia would be a very bland place (Imagine if since 1788, Australia remained a land of Irish and English convicts. We would have no Italian, Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Jewish, Nordic, or even Russian people living here. Imagine how boring and plain our choices of restaurants would be? Without Immigration, Australia loses its very identity. Australia would cease to be the vibrant, interesting, amazing, diverse country that has made it the envy of the rest of the world. We would lose our identity as an accepting nation.

“Turning Back the Boats” will have disastrous effects for Australia, and more importantly, it will put the human beings that are on these boats into potential harm.

I will not vote for a party that supports this view, and therefore, I will no longer vote for Labor, and I am aware of several hundred people who have these same views, and will no longer be voting for Labor. I suspect that there will be many tens of thousands of voters who would share these same views, measured against only a handful that will decide to vote ALP over LNP based on this single policy. If this policy is changed to be more accepting and humane, perhaps I will reconsider, however I could not sleep soundly at night, knowing that a vote from me assisted in allowing a party into power who knowingly sends innocent men, women and children back to a country that could essentially rape, torture or murder them, simply for being who they are.

My name is Patrick, and I am not a Liberal voter and never will be.
I have been known to have many a heated argument, defending policies with friends, family and strangers.
I wanted to raise with you some issues which have recently become apparent within MITA, the Melbourne detention facility, at the hands of Serco.
As a regular visitor to the Broadmeadows Detention facility, I find it heartbreaking to hear of the constant denial of the basic human rights and common dignities afforded to the detainees.
This nation has been built on the blood sweat and hardworking backs of immigrants. We have all grown up with people from other countries surrounding us, either in our schools or our communities.
It is what makes Australia such an amazing and unique place to live. Until recently, we have been an envy of other countries all around the world. When travelling, I have always been proud to tell strangers that I was Australian.
This has ended now. I am now vocally ashamed to be Australian. When did our values as a country change so drastically?
We have essentially turned our back on the very piece of international law that has built our country into the great power it is, the UN Convention of Refugees, 1952. The piece of legislation that saw so many of our Italian, Greek, Maltese, German, Polish and many other nationalities settle here after World War 2, and has assisted so many other people to settle here when their countries were being ravaged by wars, famine, terror and disaster.
Friends of mine who travel now tell people they are from New Zealand, as it has become too shameful to admit that they are from a land who does not respect people from other lands or with other beliefs.
I currently visit the Broadmeadows Detention Facility (MITA) specifically to spend time with the ASIO negatively assessed Tamil men. These men have been held in detention without charge (at least, none they have been informed of) for five or six years, and in some cases, longer than six years. This is at the same time as we have Domestic Violence Perpetrators serving 3 month suspended sentences. Drink Drivers serving 2 years but being released on good behaviour, and rapists being released on parole, often reoffending, as seen in the Jill Meagher case.
In recent months I have been listening to many in the media and even politics complaining that Indonesia has breached International Law by executing the two men, but there has not been any mention that our current government do the same every single day, leaving people in detention for over six years without charge.
In recent months, at the hands of Serco, I have heard of basic rights being stripped from these people, with the worst being the right to religious freedoms, and being denied weekly visits to temple. Originally this was due to be completely removed, however after many visitors voiced our disgust at these plans, it has now been offered fortnightly instead of weekly. Even this is a rather low ‘kick in the guts’, as many of these people are already broken and hurting, and now have their only avenue to be heard by their maker denied to them.
Other restrictions that have been put in place over the past few months are to have journeys to the market to purchase ingredients to cook meals with reduced, home visits to friends and family in the community restricted and reduced (all people must be vetoed by Serco, or the visit is cancelled), and most recently, restrictions on visits from members of the community. These visit restrictions are the harshest yet, and I believe are even stricter than a maximum security prison. These include calling between 9am and 1pm the day before and booking a place (which is often already ‘booked out’ – yet upon arrival, we have noted only 8-10 people in a 60 person room), paperwork must be filled out each and every visit, we cannot mix with others in the visitors room and must remain seated. all visits are limited to 2 hours, as all visits are given a time-slot. if you are late, or the paperwork delays your entry, your visit will be shorter.
Previously, we could arrive within visiting hours, produce ID, and enter the room. All detainees were welcome to enter, and did not need to be requested. For many, it was the highlight of their day to be able to mix with the community and to forget about their hardships for a few hours over a cup of tea as we chatted. This also allowed new arrivals from Nauru or other mainland centres to mingle, meet and socialise, giving them some much-needed human contact, friendly smiles and a hug when required. I have seen many people progress from a tightened ball of no-confidence into a happy, outgoing and smiling individual in a matter of months. It gave them hope to keep going, the strength to push forward, integrate into the visitors centre and even meet other detainees from different cultures and form friendships.
This new system has effectively ended this small glimmer of joy in their lives, and for no benefit to anyone, including Serco. The mental health ramifications will soon begin to show, and I have grave concerns for many people there. New arrivals from Nauru are now reportedly kept under guard, not even allowed to mingle with other detainees, let alone visitors. We cannot visit them, as no one can get their names to nominate them.
This effectively makes Nauru into a sick version of a Big Brother house. They are totally isolated from the outside world, monitored in every way, and if removed from the BigBrother house for medical reasons, are kept guarded, so as not to ‘ruin the game’.
further to the dehumanisation of these innocent persons, Serco have now, on top of monthly room searches, in which all of their belongings are inspected, upturned, mattress flipped etc (much like a prison cell inspection), they have now added full body pat-downs to each detainee.
This includes all Men, Women and Children (I have yet to hear of how young is too young, but I have heard of 6-8 year olds being subjected to this)
I have just been informed that one single woman had her room upturned by three male guards, then was given a pat-down by a male guard. She was extremely uncomfortable, but could not decline.
 
These searches are not due to information that these people have drugs, weapons or even a mobile phone, rather, they are routine and expected at least monthly.
 
As a trained and licensed security guard, I have always been told that ALL pat-downs need to be same-gender, which is mainly for comfort reasons, religious reasons and of course the protection from potential lawsuits, should someone claim they were inappropriately being touched.
This was basic training, given on day one of all training, and yet Serco seem to be overlooking this. I can only imagine what other regulations they are skirting around…
 
I ask you this. Would you be comfortable hearing of your wife or children being subjected to a physical pat-down by a n overbearing male guard, with no charge or guilt, but merely because they could?
Of course, I mean no disrespect with the previous question, only to highlight my point that this practice should not be condoned, regardless of your views on asylum seekers arriving by boat or by plane etc.
This needs to stop.
A group of us have already met with management of MITA, and have been told of the ‘wonderful things that are being done for detainees’ etc. I see these responses now to be total lies and fabrications.
further communications with the management team to clarify some of these allegations have gone unanswered.
Could you please pass this on to anyone who is asking the questions in the Senates Estimates committee?
I would like to know, how all of these restrictions are meant to be ‘saving money’, when in actual fact, it will cost us much more in regards to the mental health, wellbeing and dignity of these people.
the effects of our inhumane treatment of these wonderful, amazing people will be felt for generations.
thank you

For the past 10 months, I have been visiting an Immigration Detention Centre in Melbourne. In this time, I have meet some of the most amazing, strong, determined and brave people I think that I will ever meet. For many, their incarceration has been over 6 years. They have not been charged with any crime or offence, nor have they been told why they are being held.

Essentially, they are being held indefinitely, with no end in sight. The only reasons given is, that ASIO has determined them to be ‘undesirable’. No further explanation has been given, and therefore no chance for the detainees to defend any accusations made against them.

Imagine for a moment that you and your family were faced with potential harm, murder, rape, beatings, incarceration or persecution for your beliefs, your values or simply due to the colour of your skin, all at the hands of your government. Obviously you would want to flee before you are discovered, to avoid these terrible things happening to you and your loved ones.

Searching the area, you realise that surrounding countries have extradition deals with your country, meaning that if you sought shelter there, you risk being sent back immediately to receive your fate.

Your options limited, you now seek a country that is a signatory to the UN Convention for Refugees (1951), meaning that they must accept you, process you in a timely manner, and assist with your settlement (and NOT send you back to the horrors that you have fled from).

Australia in your sights, you take a harrowing journey on a leaky boat, with no one on the boat able to swim, all fearful for their lives, but knowing that even this fate is a better choice than the horrors you are fleeing from.

Upon arrival, you are snatched up, whisked away, perhaps separated from your spouse, children or friends. Interrogated, and given a number (replacing your name) you are sent to a camp on a remote island. You are unsure if your family are arriving there also, or if they are sent elsewhere. Scared and alone, you discover that some people have been there in the camp for 18 months, 2 years, 3 years… Surely they are isolated incidents?

Eventually you are reunited with your family. Huddled together, you find that you now need to clamber for food, water, showers, toilets, sanitary products, soap, and even clothing. This is still better than where you have fled from, albeit rather inhumane.

Eventually one of your loved ones falls ill. Now you can experience the terror of being ignored when pleading with your captors for medical assistance. Doctors are only available 1-2 days a week, and the nearest hospital is partly burned down and riddled with Asbestos. For extreme cases, there are rumours that they can fly the sick person to the mainland, but they remain under guard and handcuffed like a criminal. Once well, they are returned to the camp. Sanitary conditions are below most standards of the developed world, with no water for toilets, 2 minute showers to conserve what water is available, and general filth coating every wall that you have seen.

As the months pass by, and slowly turn into years, you realise that this is your life. This is all you have now. It is still a better option than the terrors you have left behind, but every day has you question if it all might have been easier if you had stayed and faced the government, possibly being executed or forced to watch on as your daughters, wife and mother are raped before you are killed.

If faced with these circumstances, what would you do? Of course, I will assume that you would at least expect better treatment in the camp, or perhaps you would demand to be released, as you are seeking asylum? Now imagine that the government holds you in the camp indefinitely, without charge, without reason, and without communication. Essentially locking you up for the remainder of your life, simply for wanting to pursue the basic human right to feel safe and not fear being murdered or raped. I will assume you would be rather upset, angry, saddened, angry and most likely anxious and depressed.

THIS is happening in Australia right now. Today. In 2015.
THIS is an embarrassment to this once great country of ours.
Are we not better than this? Surely this is not how we want to be remembered in the history books?

6 Hours for 6 Years #6yearstoolong

6 Hours for 6 Years
#6yearstoolong

A little over a week ago now, my gorgeous Fiancé and I finally got married.

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It has been almost 12 years in the making, and many sleepless nights over the past 9 months spent organising, planning and constructing the various parts of the ceremony and reception.

But now, it is all over! Of course in this context, over is a good thing. We are finally married, and beginning our lives together.

And what a day!

For myself and my best man Nathan, the day began with a nice relaxing swim at the local beach in Williamstown. This was on my insistence, as swimming at the beach always relaxes me, and this was one day that we both needed to relax and enjoy the day.
From the beach, it was home again for a mud-mask (yes, working at Garnier has changed me!). We both applied a mask, turned up the tunes and poured a Bourbon. Before we knew it, the cars had arrived! I was still walking around in little more than a towel, so it was clearly time to get dressed!

We had two of the best GT Falcons I have seen in a long time, courtesy of my old design buddy Lee and his Brother Ricky. We took a cruise via the beach for some fresh air, before arriving at the church about 30 minutes early.

After greeting some friends and family, it was time for everything to begin.

The music began with “Kate Miller-Heidke – Starlings” which had people take their seats, in waiting for the arrival of the Bride. As planned, “Starlings” led into “George Harrison – Something”; The perfect love song, and such a fitting song for my gorgeous bride to walk down the aisle.

 

 

About half-way into the song, I turned to witness the most beautiful bride I have ever seen in my life; and she was walking toward me!

Catherine looked stunning! her dress was simply gorgeous, I couldn’t take my eyes off my bride-to-be. She was more beautiful at that moment than I have ever seen her before, in all of our years together.

The ceremony went as planned, no one passed out, tripped, caused embarrassment or any other horror stories that usually make their way to YouTube.

We left the church to “Squirrel Nut Zippers – The Suits Are Picking Up The Bill”; a great dixieland-esque track that we thought fitting for a celebration.

From the church, it was off for 3 hours of photography.
Photos started at the Williamstown Gardens, with some amazing locations within the grounds, including the main wrought-iron gate, which makes such an amazing backdrop for photography! From the Gardens, it was off to the spot where I proposed to Catherine, way back on May 22nd, 2012. It was a little strange being so dressed-up at hte local beach on a day as warm as it was.

Swimsuits and board-shorts were all around us, yet we were dressed to the nines in our finest outfits.

We had some more shots along the waterfront in Williamstown, overlooking the city, as well as at the Timeball Tower.
Before we knew it, it was time to head to the reception.

Seeing so many of our friends and family, some who had travelled from interstate simply to attend our special day was such a surreal moment, but knowing that tonight, we were the guests of honour; that was a true mind-bender! I for one am not used to being the centre of attention, much less applauded for entering a venue with my stunning bride.

There was much laughing, conversation and festivity. The music was well-received, with some interesting dancing on the dance floor.

The room looked amazing! Our wonderful Florist did an amazing job with the flowers for the tables, setting everything up and making the room look simply amazing. All of this, on top of the Bridal Bouquet, Buttonholes for the guys, and a corsage for each of the Mothers… simply an amazing Woman! Thank you Sue-Ellen!

Everyone had a great evening of delicious food, copious drinking, laughter, dancing, wonderful views across the bay to the city skyline, a perfect sunset and some excellent music from our resident DJ, Owen Mitchell.

All too soon, however, the evening was winding up to a close!
We managed to squeeze in the required speeches, including the Father of The Bride, Matron of Honour, Best Man (Including a musical number – video to follow!), as well as our speeches to thank everyone for all of their work, efforts and friendship over the years.

The bouquet and garter throws were next, with our friends Nicole and Shaun catching them. Their wedding will be in 5 weeks, so they didn’t waste any time! 😉

The car arrived to sweep us away, with the Theme from Love Boat played to see us off. We said our final farewells and jumped into the car, before taking the scenic route along the waterfront, en route to the honeymoon suite at “The Captain’s Retreat” in Williamstown.

What an amazing day! in some parts, it seemed like it flew by, but in others, it was such an emotional, fun-filled, action-packed day; and one that neither of us will forget any time soon.
Married!

 

The below was in response to an American Citizen on a bulletin board, stating that “Americans have the right to bear arms, and buy even bigger guns, for protection and safety reasons”.
This 2nd Ammendment that the US of A believe in so much has got to change. we are in a different time, with guns more powerful and accessible than ever.

In Australia, we had, until recently, the ability to purchase automatic and semi-automatic weapons. after a few horrible shootings, including the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996, which saw the deaths of 36 innocent tourists at the hands of a complete Nutter, our Government banned all semi-auto and automatic weapons, with a ‘no-questions-asked’ buyback scheme.

Since this has happened, we have had no major shootings, no massacres

Another major point is, we cannot purchase firearms at Pawn Shops! we can only purchase them from a firearms store, after a thorough check and registration against a firearms license (issued by the state police).

If the US could do similar, it is not denying the ‘right to bear arms’, but it is restricting the sale and access of these firearms to people with mental illness, or restricted conditions.

in Australia, a person who has been convicted of a crime and served prison time may not possess a firearm of any type.
A firearms license involves a written test, as well as demonstrated ability to operate the firearm in a shooting gallery. failing either or both parts of the test deny the person a license. until these are successfully completed, no firearms can be purchased.

if the firearm is not stored safely and securely (firearm locked in a safe, magazine and ammunition stored in a separate lockbox, and if applicable (rifles etc) firing pin stored in a third lockbox (all lockboxes must be secured to the structure of the house, in an approved, fireproof receptacle) then the firearm may be seized by police, and the owners firearm license can be revoked.

It’s not denying the ‘right to own shiny toys’, simply the sensible storage, access and use of a firearm.

You argue that cars kill more people than guns in America, but you forget Cigarettes, Fatty Foods and idiots.

Also, I believe last years death-toll in the US due to guns was in the ball-park of 22,500 people killed on the streets.
In Australia, our toll was closer to 11. Not 11,000… just 11 people. this is still too high.

School kids or not, a person is a person. they have a life, and deserve to live it. This includes criminals, ordinary civilians, politicians, and most definitely children who are trying to get an education.

In Australia, we are one step closer to banning cigarettes. Plain packaging was introduced, so all cigarettes are now sold in a ‘pukey green’ box, with a 1/3-size health warning and generic type to depict the brands. no logos, colours or other design is allowed. the companies hate it, but it is now law here.

Governments CAN make a change, if the death toll warrants it. Our health systems are flooded with lung-cancers, obesity and in the case of America, the victims of idiots with easy access to firearms they claim ‘they had the right to own’…