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Australian Refugee Policy Sinks To New Lows


refugees-keep-outHerald Sun headline

by James O’Neill*

Last weekend the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton announced an intention to introduce legislation that would forever bar the refugees currently held on Manus Island and Nauru from entering Australia.  They would not come as refugees, but also as future citizens of a third country, regardless of the purpose of their visit.

The announcement marked a new low in Australia’s attitude to asylum seekers, but it should not have come as a surprise.  Rather, it reflected and extended a profound hypocrisy that has characterized Australian attitudes to anyone who did not fit the model of the desired migrant.  That model was invariably white, preferably British, and willing to adopt without question what are referred to, without irony, as Australian values.

That hypocrisy enabled Australia to claim authorship (with other white nations) of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  That Declaration includes Article 14 that states:

“Everyone has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”

No mention in that Article that the right is qualified, for example, not applying if you try and reach Australia by refugee boat.

Australia was also one of the original signatories to the Refugee Convention of 1951.  The same was true of our ratification of the later Protocol, designed to update the original Convention, which grew out of the desperate situation created by World War 2 and its aftermath.

One of the unaccredited ironies of the present refugee situation is that the bulk of the refugees come from countries torn apart by wars that Australia had no small part in precipitating.

One of the key elements of the Refugee Convention and later Protocol was a prohibition on “refoulment.”  This meant that no person could be returned to a territory where they held a well-founded fear of threats to their lives or welfare.

But in the same year, 1948, that Australia ratified the Universal Declaration of Human rights, the Labor Minister Arthur Calwell published a pamphlet justifying the White Australia policy.  The following year Calwell introduced legislation designed to remove “aliens” and “war time refugees” from Australia.

An SBS documentary on post-war assisted migration made the point that the government ensured that the first boatload of refugees to be resettled in the post-war period came from the Baltics.  The news cameras of the day thus recorded all white passengers with blonde hair.  Only after the film crews had gone did the boats carrying Italians, Greeks and other “darker” skinned people come into the docks and disgorge their human cargo.

There were brief glimpses of compassion and enlightenment as when the Fraser government settled tens of thousands of Vietnamese refugees (again victims of an Australian war).  Many of these refugees were the now demonized “boat people”.  One of their number is the current Governor of South Australia.

In an attack in the Sydney Morning Herald (2 November 2016) former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd accused the Abbott and Turnbull governments of misrepresenting his government’s policies with regard to Manus and Nauru.  Rudd’s critique is well founded.  If only that were their greatest crime.

As a number of reports from reputable international agencies have made clear in recent years, Australian policy is in breach not only of the aforementioned Declaration on Human Rights and the Refugee Convention and Protocol, but that our policies violate a whole raft of other international commitments.

These include, but are not limited to, the Convention Against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

As recently as September this year, Australia was a signatory to the New York Declaration.  This Declaration, accounts of which are almost totally absent from the Australian media included commitments to:

  • Protecting the rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of status;
  • Preventing and responding to sexual and gender based violence;
  • Strongly condemning xenophobia against refugees and migrants.

There were many other commitments entered into, but the above examples illustrate the point that the word and signature of the Australian Government is not worth the paper it is written on.  The ink on the Declaration was barely dry when Turnbull and Dutton announced their legislative plans.

In May this year the PNG Supreme Court ruled that the detention of refugees on Manus not only breached the PNG Constitution, it also breached the Criminal Code.  They required forthwith details of how the camps could be dismantled and alternative arrangements made for their occupants.

If the Australian Government took any notice of that ruling, it is not immediately apparent from their public pronouncements.  More likely, their arrogant and contumelious disregard for the international legal rights of the inhabitants of the Manus detention camp is consistent with a wider disregard for international law that characterizes successive Australian governments of recent years.

One suspects that the real reason for the Turnbull/Dutton announcement is political rather than legal.  The implications have clearly not been thought through.  One political motive is to attract the votes of One Nation supporters.  Another motive would be to try and wedge the Labor Party.  The latter, for the most part, have been desperate to shout “me too” as our international reputation was progressively further trashed.

One knows that new lows have been set when treaties, Conventions, and even common decency are subsumed in the pursuit of political advantage.  In the light of our history it should come as no surprise.  That does not make it any the less depressing.

*Barrister at Law.  He may be contacted at joneill@qldbar.asn.au


  1. With or without irony, James, what are “Australian values”?

    How would we know what other people in this land are thinking? I’d like to believe that the values often cited here at Gumshoe are Australia’s values, but we are a self-selected group (I believe the phrase is “pissing in each other’s pockets”).

    I simply do not know what “Australians” hold dear or would fight for. The “voice of Australia” most heard is the voice of the newspapers and TV.

    By the way, the fact that the headline says KEEP OUT in such large print makes me think the new piece of legislation is just another cooked-up distraction.

  2. Can you see clearly the globalists interference in all of our countries? It’s not just the U.S. It’s Canada, New Zealand, South America, Asia, etc., etc., etc. They’ve got their minions at work everywhere trying to micromanage our lives. Apparently, there’s no one to stop them because no one will enforce the agreements, treaties, and declarations, or even the laws of the land when it comes to removing these people from their “government” positions or their positions over the “governments.”

    I watched this video yesterday and I think it may have some relevance if you watch the whole thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1RItCsUF8k

    Of course, he’s mostly speaking about the U.S., but if you give him the 20 minutes you may find it worthwhile.

  3. The refugee case in Australia is a national and international shame .In a generous country where all inhabitants apart from the aboriginal people came here seeking refugee status for one reason or another and now we have become so racist

    • Robert, surely the inhabitants of a country can choose who to allow into their home. Just because someone shows up on the doorstep shouldn’t be the sole criteria for admission. The Europeans are now dealing with a horrible mess with their ‘open borders’ immigration. We should not repeat such insanity.

      Education, health, criminal history, skills – all of these things should enter into the equation of a viable migrant. However, since you are the one that used the word ‘racist’, here is a short video that examines the issue of IQ.

      There are many more videos and articles that explore this IQ issue, some of which explicitly discuss the immigration issue, second generation immigrants, etc. Whereas East Asians have a higher average IQ than whites, other racial groups can fair far lower.

      Should we restrict immigration based upon race, of course not. However, if we tested an immigrant for their IQ, would that be ‘racist’? – No, it would not. Would some groups score more poorly, yes, but that is not ‘racism’. – It would be a method to help determine if the migrant had a reasonable chance of success in the society.

  4. Surely no surprise the government signing The Declaration at New York is business as usual that is what the government says, states or signs has all become a matter of expedience and will not be brought up on ABC breakfast by Virginia or Rowland as this becomes too much for the constitution of ABCs viewers? it is a family program for light entertainment of a Australian stomach that is soooo delicate that we must not upset the viewers before going to work who have to be soothed by Rowland’s puns for light frivolity, now in its 8ths year having this morning a birthday cake, and most important Virginia and Rowland’s weekly salary of some excess of more than four and half thousand dollars a week? that is including approximately half their time out from work having a good time buying property for their port folio.
    I suggest in answer to Mary and her serious question on who is Australian and what are their values is top of the list money and close second frivolity and fun? here we must ask the question why not? now decided God no longer exists and certainly looking at Gods handiwork we now look at a act of God such as the earthquake in Italy and other calamities attributed to God? seems as if the deity if brought to court would be punished as a serious offender and sentenced to life? if we now look at chaos theory it would seem that if God existed would have to have in part a chaotic system that to Man would appear as if it is a bizarre universe beyond the comprehension of man?
    It is no surprise Turnbull having most likely involved with twilight activities in New York in a dubious banking system coming home with a couple of hundred million dollars would be a signature to a declaration having little meaning other than a posturing and meaningless act of a ritual?

  5. Wow! Thought I’d been re-directed to ABC/SBS for a moment with all the virtue signaling going on in this article!
    I have no problem whatsoever with our government’s proposed policy. Sorry to burst the bubble but the so called “refugee crises” of recent times are not as they appear in MSM and are, in fact, well-conceived social engineering by the global elite.
    One has only to look at the Coudenhove Kalergi Plan being realized in Europe as we speak to also notice that the very same plan is being inflicted on all countries founded by western Europeans.
    As for being guilted to take in so called “refugees” because of “wars that Australia had no small part in precipitating” – it is clear to anyone with a brain and access to the internet that the entire refugee industry is contrived, funded and profited from by globalists like George Soros and others. Using NGO’s/western intelligence services (interchangeable) and social media to incite fake “green revolutions”, they de-stabilize and cause regime change while contemporaneously enticing so-called refugees with promises of welfare/housing. They extort as much filthy lucre from them as possible, pirate and dump them in the west. MSM, university cultivated white-guilt, cultural masochism and Marxist government social workers do the rest.
    All pretensions toward some utopian notion of “multiculturalism” and “diversity” are totally disingenuous and the goal is to replace western Europeans in our own countries with diverse others – where identity politics can thereafter be used to divide and conquer them with Soros funded organizations like BLM.
    Clearly, this forced, replacement level migration being inflicted on western countries is in contravention of UN General Assembly Resolution 260A (III) Article 2, (particularly sub-section [c]) against Genocide. Where is the outcry like there was with Tibet?
    Am I wrong? Well tell me, are China being urged to take in so called “refugees”? Japan? UAE? Indonesia? Israel? South Korea? Qatar? India? Saudi Arabia? Brazil, Uruguay? No. It is only Europe and western countries founded by Europeans who are being guilted into taking so-called refugees by virtue of our pathological altruism – or should that be ethnic autism?
    It is also curious that virtually all western countries were guilted at the same time (1965) into abandoning preference for European immigrants after sustained and aggressive lobbying by intellectuals of a particular religious group whose recently established country forbids any outside immigrants whatsoever.
    But it feels weirdly good to feel bad about yourself doesn’t it?

    • Thank you for your disquisition, Richard.

      For the record, GA Reso # 260, Article II is as follows:

      In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

      a. Killing members of the group;
      b. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
      c. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;…

      I agree that transmigrasei is culturocidal.

      • Oops, talk about irony. I have no regard for UN “law,” so I googled to see if Oz has its own law agaisnt genocide. So i get to an Aboriginal site:


        which complains that Oz needs sovereignty, and then it says :

        “So we urge the UN Human Rights group to recommend to Australia that it incorporte the Genocide convention into domestic law.”

        Puh-leeze. THERE IS NO “UN.” There is no INTERNATIONAL LAW.

        James, if you got persecuted in Oz and ran away, seeking asylum, do you think any nation anywhere would let you in out of a sense of international obligation to the Refugee Convention?

        • The UN was established to the express purpose of perpetuating a lie re the cause of W wars 1 & 2. The nature of the Charter is akin to Neville Chamberlain’s piece of paper. If there was no liability there’d be no need for any Declaration about anything.

  6. James your article is stating truth of fact, but I do not go along with allowing any Tom, Dick and Harry who is supposed to be a refugee into our country. Yes, politicians are criminals in signing treaties they have no intention of upholding.

    They are also criminals in involving our service men and woman in politically motivated wars on behalf of international bankers

    It has been proven during past history that people’s of different cultures and religions can not and will not mix when they are part of a large minority group thrust into a local population.

    The United Nations is and has always been, as was the League of Nations, a tool for international criminals to control every being on this planet. Australia as a sovereign (?) nation should abandon the U.N. then we could really have control of our lives, and destiny.

    Certain people will scream if we do that we will not be able to trade. I say bunkum. Our main trading partners are outside the controlled Western World. In any case, we could then get back to where we were, in the 50’s and 60’s and produce everything that we require. We can become self sufficient if required.

    Australia has every mineral required for the manufacturing industry, has a climate that can produce every food product, a knowledge base of science and know-how, with a work force that would be required.

    Admittedly, there would need to be changes in the trade union movement and work ethics, with worker- management loyalties to each other being more acceptable forms.

    • Personally I find it hard to stomach the refugee situation. I believe we should try help anyone in real need and not torture them when they seek to escape a situation that is putting their families in danger.
      But—It took a 1000 years of conflict for Europe to find balance and now with millions of refugees flooding in, the possibility of balanced inclusion is almost impossible.
      My problem is that those that caused much of the problem are retired presidents, prime ministers etc and they are sitting pretty on lush green pastures (feeling “embarrassed”). They should be tried for atrocities and war crimes. You cannot decimate nations and expect no blow back.
      The problem of people seeking greener pastures also stems from banking and geopolitical maneuvering over centuries where powerful groups divide and deprive nations and their people of their value by stealth and force. Or when Western nations go and kill leaders like Patrice Lumumba — what do you expect.
      We’re stuck with a screwed up world.

      I have NO solution. Locking up war mongers would help.

      Another issue is that Canberra’s “open for business” policy has put Australia up for “sale” to those that have access to the money printing machines. You try buy a piece of land in Sri Lanka for example.
      Helping people and allowing a “take over” of sovereignty and culture are two different baskets.

  7. People think Australia is rich and ripe for ‘plucking’.
    Tell that to the deminishing number of tax payers (workers with less home grown industries) who are forking out 40 million a day in interest to the international bankers.
    Someone should remind the Senate; who pays them when they run out of our money?
    Our politicians have even been plucking us since the early 60’s as running dogs of the NWO.
    There is a old saying; charity belongs at home. (Stuff the UN ‘fascist corporate one world government no sovereign countrys’ globalist agenda)
    Just look up what the Soros gang is doing to Europe for their NWO planned; ‘you shall be assimilated” agenda.

    • Ps. If we were not bombing the crap out of the Middle East, would there be anyone there who wished to be a refugee?
      Thanks, John Winston Howard and our lying globalist msm with our paid for ABC and SBS.

      • As the current system needs a ready supply cheap labour, medical personnel etc the Feds are happy to let just about anybody in. Anybody, that is, who doesn’t have any real political or religious conviction and risking your life on the high seas does tend to point in that direction.

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