Chasing Asylum

Australia, my home, has lost its way.

If I were to ask myself the question – ” What good has Australia done in the world in recent times?” or “What has been Australia’s greatest achievement?” – the only honest answer I can come up with is we “stopped the boats”.

‘Stop The Boats’ is one of the three word slogans that have dominated Aussie politics since the early years of this century, adopted by one side of the political sphere and since migrated to also become policy on the other side. And we did it. More or less. We ‘stopped the boats’. This of course refers to the boatloads of hopeful asylum seekers aiming for our long and beckoning shores from regions of a world that has also lost its way in a maelstrom of pretence, denial, fear, greed, propagation of lies and conflict that has produced widespread unrest and unprecedented people movement all looking for somewhere safe and peaceful to continue their lives.

But what does this “we stopped the boats” message say about the Australian people?

Australia, which I just realised has been my home now for a little more than half my life so far, has never historically (since European settlement began) been a very open society. In fact it developed into a very narrow-minded, closed-minded and inwards looking society, and remained so even after the mainly European migratory intakes following world war 2, only loosening its strings a little after the end of the Viet Nam conflict as an awakening of social conscience resulting from our own part in the dreadful upheaval of people that action caused.

It was partly that fragile blooming into more openness that attracted me to think about resettling there (as well as the problems that an overcrowded UK was facing in the decades ahead). Space to breathe, and a brighter future, I thought. Nevertheless, I was a little taken aback at how unmodern that ‘modern’ Australia still was, back in the early ’80s. Most of that has changed now. Australia has emerged, in spite of its still minute population, to be very recognisable everywhere on the world stage. Yet it has not advanced in every aspect. Governments in particular still cling to early 20th century colonialist ideals and false, Christian leaning, moral positions of even earlier centuries. They have also succumbed to the neo-conservative and/or neo-liberal ideas that have and are impoverishing the many and enriching the few in all Western nations. I think it is largely due to this that the always deeply held nationalistic views for some time buried as a suppressed undertone to society are now creeping more to the surface in increasing demonstrations of hatred to different ‘others’. And also to a more ‘closed-door’ attitude towards multiculturalism. How else can one explain the continued election in supposedly democratic societies of ‘closed-minded’ governments with a mandate to offer ‘closed-door’ policies?

Anyway, enough introduction. I really want you to watch this film ‘Chasing Asylum’ from, which was kindly made known to me thanks to Caren Black of ‘Titanic Lifeboat Academy’. The film documents the shameful record of Australian abuse of legitimate asylum seekers over the last couple of decades up to 2016, which has earned the condemnation of the UN and sullied our national reputation across the world.

Things have changed a little in the last couple of years. Many of the detainees in our asylum concentration camps have elected to go home or elsewhere. I offer these Key Points as being the current situation – from the Refugee Council of Australia – No matter how you paint this, it is not a pretty picture.

Offshore processing statistics – Key points

  • Since 13 August 2012, 4,177 people have been sent to Nauru or PNG as part of offshore processing arrangements (of which 3,127 were sent since 19 July 2013, when the then Prime Minister announced that they would no longer be resettled in Australia).
  • As of 30 September 2019, there were 562 people left in Nauru and in PNG, and another 47 detained by PNG. As of 21 October 2019, there were men left on Manus Island.
  • As of 30 September 2019, 632 people had departed for the US.
  • Since the Medevac Bill was passed (as at 21 October 2019), 135 people have been transferred under its provisions, and another 39 have been approved and are awaiting transfer (although 10 are being detained by PNG).
  • In total, 1,117 people have been transferred to Australia for medical or other reasons up until 30 September 2019.
  • Re-opening and then closing Christmas Island has been budgeted at $185.2 million over two years. So far, $26.8 million has been spent, with over 100 staff on the island. Only four people (including two children) are being detained there.

I should, in closing, say that the four people currently on Christmas Island – a small tropical island, under Australian control, which is closer to Indonesia than it is to Australia – are a family (two of them children under six years of age – both of them born in Australia) that was allowed to live for four years in a small Queensland community while their asylum claim was processed – becoming firmly embedded in that community – and recently brutally deported by the government, a move that was temporarily stopped in flight by the High Court for a further investigation. Their eventual fate is as yet unknown.

There are days, many of them, when I am ashamed to be an Australian.

Having for the last several months refrained from ‘tagging’ my posts, I have chosen this post to now start using tags once again in an effort to reach a wider audience – not for prestige reasons but because it is time to get serious on being alert to the whole human condition.

Follow The Arrows To Find Gold

Who fights who in Syria?

Image credit:  Not sure who owns this.  I got it from the TAE Facebook page


What do you see there?  Hmmmm…

So, what’s this thing between ISIS and the Israeli Air Force?

It seems that ISIS is fighting everybody except the Israeli Air Force.

It seems that everybody is fighting ISIS except the Israeli Air Force.

What sort of scam have they got going on between them?

And… Have you noticed?

It seems that the US-led Anti-ISIS Coalition (of which Australia is part), is only fighting ISIS, and the only party interested in fighting the US-led Anti-ISIS Coalition is ISIS itself.  In fairness to ISIS, I think the US-led Anti-ISIS Coalition should just go home and tend to their own business.  There are already more than enough parties involved in this little shindig.

Also… Have you noticed?

The Israeli Air Force should just go home because they are not really part of the whole thing, just acting out their own side-show affair against their everyday, common or garden, foes.

With those two parties removed, that would even things up a bit, make the conflict a little less complex, and it might just get somewhere.

By the way.  Did you spot the deliberate mistake?  There is an arrow which purports that Turkey is fighting ISIS, when nothing could be further from the truth.  They are business partners, in the oil trade 🙂

On second thoughts…  Nah!  Leave the arrow there.  Removing it would negate one of my earlier statements.  Let everybody keep thinking that Turkey is just one of the Team.

Thinking Local

France is introducing laws “requiring all of the nation’s “collective restaurants” (school cafeterias, hospital cafeterias, senior living communities, prisons and other state institutions) to source at least 40 percent of their food locally”.

“In addition to being locally sourced, the food served must be in season, organically grown and certified ecologically sustainable”.

This post inspired by: New Law Could Change France’s Food System for the Better

france_emPhoto: A new law requiring state institutions to source 40 percent of their food locally could revitalize rural French economies.  Credit: Ownership unknown

The French of course are working with a different definition of ‘local’ to what a spread-out nation such as Australia would at first glance imagine to be needful.  France is looking at distances of 30Km (19 miles) to 100Km (63 miles) for food sourcing depending on the type of food.

This is not just something ‘nice to have’.  It is an element that will be, in years to come, essential for the wellbeing of the French people.  The movement of goods around the world is already slowing, as I reported a few days ago.  Eventually it will cease altogether.  The global economy will cease to exist.  At that time, or more correctly from that time, we (that is anybody anywhere) will only have access to locally grown food.  Those who have no such access will simply starve to death.  That is why it is more than a ‘nice to have’.  We in Australia should be pressing our government to enact something similar.

We may also need, in fact I think it will be essential, to rethink our own definition of what can be considered to be ‘local’.  With the loss if international traffic, including petrol imports, our national transport system will become useless, except for maybe camel trains and bullock carts (finally a use for all those feral water buffalo up north?).  So, interstate sourcing of food will be minimal to non-existent, if only from a time (spoilage) perspective.  The same goes for intrastate transport, on a lower scale.  There will be no large scale agriculture at that time anyway, simply because the resources, which are intensely oil dependent, will have dried up.  No big farms.  No mass production.  No need for heavy duty transport anyway.

What will be needed is for a multitude of small scale growers to start up literally everywhere.  Such that we can adopt the rules (not that rules will be needed then) similar to what the French are looking to use, of truly ‘local’ produce sourcing.

The alternative is for most of us to starve to death.  Hadn’t we ought to be thinking about that now, before the situation overtakes us?  Anyone who is not growing at least some of their own food right now, will be behind the eight-ball when this arrives.  And that could prove to be fatal.  And it could develop quickly.  And soon.

There may well be little time to adjust to a new reality.

Oh, and for the French, only a 40% of food required to be local?  Well, yes.  That seems to be a quite adequate and sensible rule to me.  We (the world, that is) need only about a third of the food that we currently consume (eat and waste).  So, if we can only source 40% of current consumption, that will be fine.  And we all will be a lot healthier.

Betting On The House

The Future for Australia is bright?  Only if you are wearing rose tinted spectacles.

Australia never really felt the GFC, and we were really smug about that, weren’t we?  Well, now maybe it is our turn to feel the pain, and it could be this year.

Do you have mortgage debt?  Do you think that is covered by the value of your asset?  If you suddenly lost your job, could you cover your mortgage from savings?  For how long?  What if you faced the prospects of not ever finding similar work again?  You may need to rethink your position.

This article provides a few pertinent facts and outlines a scenario that may effect all of us.

For instance, Australia now holds second place for the highest household debt to GDP ratio in the world and is working towards taking over top spot from Denmark.

Yet our housing market is looking very shaky.  What’s worse, our overall economy is even shakier still, with the prospects of massive job losses in the near future.  No job – can’t pay mortgage – lose house – out on the street.  A kind of replay of what went down in US and the EU back in 2008.  The US in particular has never recovered from that, despite its fairy tale economic data manufactured purely for Wall St.

Still, you rolls your dice and you takes your chance.  May the odds be ever in your favour.  But don’t crack it if you find yourself in District 12.

The Hunger Games: The Official Illustrated Movie Companionphoto: District 12 from the hunger games is for sale

This Is Your Final Wake Up Call

Canada seems to be waking up.

Photo courtesy of Alana Phillips on Facebook

…and here’s another similar viewpoint from Diane Rizun on Facebook

So, I repeat, Canada appears to be waking up.

Meanwhile, here in Australia, all I can hear is the sound of zzzzzzz’s.

Our final opportunity, maybe, to wake ourselves up (before we slide into the pit of obscurity at the bottom of our own open-cut coal mines or are perhaps forcefully taken over for our own good, à la ‘Tomorrow When The War Began‘ story), is likely coming before the federal elections next year.  At the moment, I see no sign that anything will change.  No bright stars are shining for, within, or over, us.  Or is it that the fog of our own complacency is simply obscuring them.

The Australia Option

This post inspired by: Canada to Withdraw Jets From ISIS War

“Canada to Withdraw Jets From ISIS War”?  OKaaaay.  Well, how about us (Australia) then, Mr Turnbull (new Aussie PM)?  Are you listening?

We have no more interest in being there than Canada has, so there’s no excuse, is there?

If those trigger-happy Yanks want to go on playing their pretend wars, then let them.  We don’t need to be involved.  We are not achieving anything constructive there in any case, in spite of all the government issue platitudes and assurances to the contrary.  I am sure you understand that, deep down, don’t you?  So, how about it Mr Turnbull?

Famine And War, An Uncertain Future

News of the Day

I want to feature an article that came to my attention this morning courtesy of (not usually one of my regular or recommended news sources, but we all have our good days) via AFSA, the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance.  The AFSA comment on this is:

A fairly alarmist NewsCorp story but it brings into focus why food sovereignty – for all countries of our region and globally – is a much better way to go than food dependency, which is what ‘free trade’ is creating.

There are two things to which I want to give expression here.

First Thing

The article itself.

This article, under the title ‘World food production report has serious implications for Australia’s security‘, I deem to be one of the most important I have read in recent times even though its source may be less than impeccable, coming from the NewsCorp stable of Rupert Murdoch.

Because news has such a short life cycle and this article is likely to disappear within a short time, for posterity I will try to summarise and provide links to supporting papers quoted in the article.

The world is beginning to struggle to feed itself both because of falling agricultural yields around the world and a rapidly increasing population.  For those interested in scientific data, the following report is referenced:  Yield Trends Are Insufficient to Double Global Crop Production by 2050.

Unrest, to say the least, is forecast for our region, where tensions are already growing and there is some likelihood of local wars erupting in the coming decades.

Retired Major General John Harley is quoted as saying to The Australian earlier this week: “There is the potential for significant food shortages in our region by 2025,”.  It is also noted that Australia is facing the concept of becoming a net food importer, something that we have never before needed to contemplate.

Here are some quotes from the article, which may be taken as NewsCorp alarmism but which I take very seriously:

“Shortages and rising prices may create a double whammy: Average families struggling to put food on the table, while at the same time government is forced to cut back on social welfare programs,” Dr Ganguly said.

“Growing anger may spill over onto our streets, leading to law and order problems. In the worst case scenario, food riots may break out, undermining Australian internal security and domestic stability.

“We need to focus our attention on increasing food production; in short, domestic food production simply must keep pace with the food requirements of a growing population.”

I personally think that we should not ignore or dismiss these things lightly.

Second Thing

The article includes a publicity photo for the remarkable Australian book based film of 2010 ‘Tomorrow When The War Began‘.  This movie was in my view, while ostensibly being merely a teen-flick, a much underrated highly prescient, predictive and, it has to be said, very enjoyable work of entertainment.  Even for a senior citizen like myself.

Tomorrow When The War Began

I have even bought and downloaded the movie to my computer so that I may watch it whenever or show it privately to others.  This story is from the first of a series of young teen books by Australian writer John Marsden. Note to self: Must buy the books or read for free online.

A brief synopsis of the story could go like this, which is entirely my own words:

A group of seven Australian teenagers arrange a weekend of camping in a remote area.  While there they see a huge number of unknown aircraft flying overhead. Curious, they head for home only to discover that the nation has been invaded and largely taken over, with little in the way of resistance, by an unnamed foreign power which turns out to be of vaguely asian origin (you don’t actually see much of their appearance, just the face of one very young dead soldier, because they are helmeted and goggled as active military tend to be these days and could really have been of any nationality).  The rest of the movie consists of their exploits to rescue one of their number who is trapped and in danger of being captured by the enemy followed by their brave mission to blow up a key bridge to slow down the movements of the foreign troops.

The reason that I found this movie so captivating was that I had realised for some time that such a scenario is entirely possible and even likely to eventuate at some stage in the type of world situation that we are living through today.

Does it not make sense that foreign investors in our land, when situations become desperate, such as the food shortages predicted by the article referenced above, that they will want to claim access to their vested interests here as security of resources for their own people.  In reality there is little that we could do, notwithstanding our famed military skills, to prevent such a well planned and executed invasion of our shores by any of our neighbouring nations or even by our current allies.

A scary thought.

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid. Five Eyes Is Watching You Through The Prism

It happens every time

It happens every time I say that I am not going to be able to do something for some reason, something else comes up that makes it impossible not to do that thing.

Yesterday, in the previous post, I said I would probably not be posting here for a while due to work I am doing on my other blog site, Meanderings.  Well, I just can’t pass this new opportunity up, can I?

Who or what is the Five Eyes?

Ever heard of it/them?  Don’t worry if you haven’t.  I only came across the details today through my research activity.  It appears that the Five Eyes is a spy network, up to no good and involved in dirty, spooky intrusive surveillance, probably illegally as most spy networks are, and keeping their beady eyes on you and me.  For what purpose?  They would probably say it is for your and my safety because of all those nasty terrorists and untrustworthy foreign governments out there in the big bad world, whose only wish is to do us harm.  Hah! What a joke.  What they are really doing is keeping tabs on us and collecting all sorts of ‘private’ information about us whilst preparing for the imposition of a totalitarian police state or some sort of world government at some point in the future.  They want stuff that they can hold over us to keep us docile and compliant in their future new world order.  At least that is one interpretation of their motives and it is probably not too far from the truth.

The Five Eyes is an Alliance of nations secret surveillance agencies. So, who is in this alliance?  Would you be surprised if I told you that it emerged from a data sharing agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States after the end of World War 2.  Some time around 1960 that alliance  was expanded to include Canada and Australia.  More recently, sometime around 1980 I understand, the fifth ‘eye’ joined the group of four and that was New Zealand.

Notice anything about this group?  They are the only Anglophile nations on the planet and the only set of countries whose governments share the same or similar set of interests and goals.

Have they joined hands to operate outside the broader networks of NATO which is really now an alliance without an opposing enemy to guard against since the disintegration of the USSR, and the United Nations which has over time become a mostly irrelevant and toothlessly impotent force in world affairs?

The Five Eyes agreement of co-operation was a very secret one.  It appears that Australian Prime Ministers were not even made aware of its existence until 1973.

Maybe there was at one time a reason for legally applied covert intelligence gathering but we live in a different and closely connected world now.  That is not to say that we need a world government.  Not at all.  And no way do we need, whether for our own protection or for any other reason, our government agencies spying on their own citizens as has recently been revealed by that modern day hero Edward Snowden.

Be afraid.  Be very afraid.  The use of Prism software is a concern whether your activities are legitimate or not.  They could result in the sort of indefensible government activity as shown below in New Zealand around Kim Dotcom and his Megaupload business.  Where all of his assets and documents were violently and illegally stolen in a paramilitary police raid on his residence.  Shameful.  The same could happen to you, or me.



Personally I think that these governments are very afraid of their own people turning on them through insurrection and revolution over their intractable and corrupt policies that are leading the world to ruin and collapse.  They very likely need to be afraid.  The boiling point is not very far off.