Julian Burnside: The failings of super-minister Dutton

Julian Burnside is a barrister who specialises in commercial litigation and human rights.

The failings of super-minister Dutton:

This article by Julian Burnside was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Apr 28, 2018 as “A silk terse at a sow’s ear”. 

Here are a few extracts from that article:

“. . .  When Dutton took over the immigration portfolio from Scott Morrison in December 2014, he adopted Morrison’s misleading characterisation of boat people as “illegal”. Morrison had decreed that the people referred to in the Migration Act as “Unauthorised Maritime Arrivals” should in future be called “Illegal Maritime Arrivals”. Dutton has picked up the idea, even though it is a lie.

Dutton shamelessly uses the “illegal” tag.

At the very least, this shows ignorance of some basic facts; at worst, it shows dishonesty. Boat people do not commit any offence by arriving in Australia without a visa, without an invitation, seeking to be protected from persecution. On the contrary, they are exercising a right acknowledged in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 14 of the Universal Declaration starts this way: “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”

Australia made a significant contribution to the creation of the Universal Declaration, and it was Doc Evatt, an Australian, who presided over the General Assembly of the United Nations when it was adopted on December 10, 1948. More than half a century later, on July 27, 2017, Dutton wrote an opinion piece about Operation Sovereign Borders, which included these words:

“It’s now been three years since a people-smuggler’s boat loaded with Illegal Maritime Arrivals (IMAs) reached Australia …

“Had the Coalition not mounted OSB – the boats and illegal arrivals would still be coming.”

“. . . .  Dutton told the public these refugees had received “an enormous amount of support” from Australian taxpayers for a long time, saying: “there is a very different scenario up on Nauru and Manus than people want you to believe”. Taxes cover the absurd cost of maintaining offshore processing arrangements. It costs about $570,000 per refugee per year to keep the men and women on Manus or Nauru. So in that sense, refugees receive support from taxpayers. . . . ”

“On April 7, 2018, Dutton called for “like-minded” countries to come together and review the relevance of the 1951 Refugee Convention.

So, here it is: Australia’s most powerful minister is wilfully mistreating innocent people at vast public expense. He is waging a propaganda war against refugees and against the people who try to help them. And he is trying to persuade other countries to back away from international human rights protection.

He tries to make it seem tolerable by hiding it all away in other countries, so that we can’t see the facts for ourselves.

Dutton has often expressed concern about people drowning in their attempt to get to Australia. But his concern about people drowning is a lie. If he were genuinely concerned about people drowning, he might treat survivors decently. Instead, if they don’t drown, he punishes them: he puts them in offshore detention for years. He does this in order to deter others from trying to seek safety in Australia.

Perhaps the most worrying thing about Dutton is not his dishonesty, but his propaganda war, which already has led the Australian people to accept things that would have been unthinkable even 10 or 20 years ago. He has blinded us to the fact that we are now deliberately harming innocent men, women and children, in ways that are completely inconsistent with our view of ourselves. After all, aren’t we the nation that believes in a fair go for everyone?

By small degrees Dutton is inducing Australians to tolerate the intolerable. His campaign to make cruelty acceptable has the potential to lead Australia to very dark places. Invested in him is great power to do so, more power than any minister has had before.”

ABC Roundtable Debates Melania Trump’s “I DON’T CARE, DO U?” Jacket: What Did She Mean?

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/06/24/abc_roundtable_debates_melania_trumps_i_dont_care_do_u_jacket.html

Ihis is what the president writes  in Twitter:

“I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” written on the back of Melania’s jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!

I say good on her if she truly no longer cares what the Fake News Media writes. The question should be whether she cares about the children!

I think about this all the time. Do we for instance truly care about the children on Manus Island and Nauru? If we all wore jackets with some writing on the back: “We really care about the children on Manus Island and Nauru” – That would be utterly false, wouldn’t it? So what should we write on our jackets? Just ” WE REALLY DONT CARE” or what?

Melania Trump, CNN and other members of the media were at a facility with children aged 12-17.

Last Sunday of June 2018

We are in the midst of winter. We find the days and nights very cold at this time of the year. Apart from the winter cold we had a lot of changes in the weather during the past few weeks: A lot of rain, followed by a lot of wind, then off and on more rain. Hardly any sun, or when there was a bit of sun there was also a lot of wind. For quite a few days I had been suffering from a bad cold.

Today, on this last Sunday of the month, we finally have a lot of sun with not much wind. In the shade it is only 17C. However, it means, this is a beautiful winter day and a wonderful day to go out into the sun a bit. I suggested we drive to Kiama for an early fish and chips lunch at the harbour. Peter too likes the perch that is being sold at the fish and chips shop at Kiama Harbour. From experience we know it is good to arrive there early before the big midday rush. We managed to arrive in Kiama at 11,20 and did not have to wait long to be served our fish and chips.

On the way back home we stopped in Dapto at the Pie Shop and  got an apple pie to eat at home later this afternoon. And when we arrived home just now we indulged in some desert: Vanilla ice-cream with loganberries and some whipped cream. Delicious!

 

17th of June 2018

https://www.visitberlin.de/en/memorial-17-june-1953-uprising

Tante Mietze was born on the 17th of June 1873. On the day of the Uprising in East Berlin she turned 80. She was an aunt of Peter’s mother. Peter’s mum was a working mother. So it was great to have Tante Mietze around at all times. Peter  and his sisters remember Tante Mietze fondly. She lived with them and cared for the family all the time. Peter remembers that his father had not liked Tante Mietze living with them. He would have preferred his wife staying at home and giving up her job.

Every year on the 17th of June Peter remembers Tante Mietze, setting up a picture of her with some flowers and a candle. This year he also baked a cake in memory of her. He reckons it is the sort of cake Tante Mietze often did bake for the family.

This year the 17th of June was a Sunday and some of our family came to visit. Some family is soon going on an overseas trip, and some others are about to go on a cruise. Peter and I would have loved to join them on the cruise. However we did not want to book it because Peter off and on still needed some treatment at the hospital.

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Pictures from today

Today Monika came to see us with little Carter. Since Monika wanted to take Carter to a playground, I suggested the new playground near the lake. It was a beautiful, sunny winter afternoon. Luckily there was not much of a breeze. The air was rather cool, but it did not feel too cold. It was after school closing time and lots of children were enjoying the park. I think little Carter also enjoyed the outing very much.

I took lots of pictures, but I seem to have lost some. Maybe I can try and find the lost ones some other day. Here now are some of the pictures from today:

 

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This bird came close to me while I was sitting here:

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Monika says her little grandson loves to be surrounded by garden beds.

 

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The playground where we were is at the Koonawarra Bay Reserve:

https://toiletmap.gov.au/Toilet/8626