Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Can anybody help?

A mate of mine, Trevor Cook, has passed on a message from his colleague, Keith Jackson. The message is asking for help with the case of Tasminnie. My father is a graduate of the ASOPA class of 1948, and would definitely support this cause.


I'd ask you to spare a couple of minutes to read this. My old PNG teacher mate, Brian White, from Meringandan up Toowoomba way in Queensland, has written to me as follows.....

Keith, I'm worried about the situation with our orphan niece in PNG. We had her with us, with great immigration difficulties, for two years until the end of 2004, when she was refused further visas so had to go back to PNG and a rather unstable family situation.

We have tried all this year to bring her back, but with no luck: even to talk to her or get letters through is almost impossible, though we did manage to get a phone call through last night.

The Holy Name School in Toowoomba is leading a rally of support this week to try and push the issue further, and Nammie and I have been interviewed by our local Toowoomba Chronicle and featured on the front page this morning (29/08/05).

I wonder if my former colleagues from ASOPA and other people could lend us some support now by signing the web site petition. This would be a great help and we would appreciate the assistance.

Could you publicise this for me please, Keith? We have a wide coverage here but to go back 40 plus years to former PNG teachers would be a definite advantage.

Tas's mother was a teacher of repute in Milne Bay and other areas. I actually taught her at some stage of her primary schooling and we supported her through a lot of her tertiary education which, as you remember, was difficult to obtain in those days.

Tas wants to be a teacher too. She is quite a sophisticated girl, not a 'village girl' in any sense of the word, and has always had her sights set on a good education and being a teacher like her Mum.

We feel that if she cannot come to live permanently with us, she will be denied these opportunities and her future will be very limited. If you could lend your weight, it would be a big help.

So, please, all you Asopians, support my wife and myself in this venture. We are feeling quite desperate.

I'd urge you to go to the website at and sign the petition. I've let Brian and Nammie know that we all applaud their efforts on behalf of Tas.

In addition, I've asked Immigration Minister Senator Amanda Vanstone, Liberal backbencher Petro Georgiou, ALP Shadow Immigration Minister Tony Burke and my colleagues Grahame Morris and Michael Baume for their support and to intervene where they can.

I hope these efforts will yield positive results. In the meantime, the least we can do is to sign the petition and give our mate Brian some much-needed support.

Here's today's article from the 'Toowoomba Chronicle'…..

PNG orphan wants to stay in Australia
By Peter Hardwick

PAPUA New Guinean orphan Tasminnie Tavari wants to live with family in Toowoomba. It was the wish of her late mother Tatupu Tavari, who died giving birth in 2002, that Tasminnie live with her Toowoomba-based aunt Nammie White (Tatupu's sister) and her husband Brian who have been granted custody of the 13-year-old by the PNG Court.

Tasminnie's extended family in PNG agree, and Mr and Mrs White are desperate to have her here with them. So what is stopping that from happening? Australia's immigration laws, that's what!

And, so far, exhaustive efforts to have Amanda Vanstone's department clear the way for this young girl to be with family and grow in a stable and loving environment have been fruitless.

Meanwhile, Tasminnie languishes in PNG, passed from one relative to another, her future literally in peril.

"Education is not compulsory in Papua New Guinea and it is difficult to get a place in high school," Mrs White explained. "If Tasminnie does not get into high school, her family will marry her off.

"She is not a village girl. Her mother was a teacher and so she was brought up around the school. Tasminnie wants to be a teacher like her mother."

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Tim Costello slams Howard

Tim Costello, brother of Treasurer Peter Costello, has attacked John Howard for lacking statemanship on Australia's record of overseas aid, which is among the least-generous of the world's 22 richest nations, despite the $1billion aid package for the Boxing Day tsunamis...Australia's tough stance on border protection and asylum-seekers, which has seen children born in detention and citizens wrongly deported, has gained the country international notoriety," Mr Costello said.

"But what is not as well-known is our pitiful performance in the funding of overseas aid. It is so bad we are at risk of becoming an international embarrassment."

Monday, August 22, 2005

How disgusting...

The award to Howard of the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service is another propaganda sham cooked up by the Bush administration to fool us into perceiving we have a leader that stands up for decency and honesty in public service.

Howard's government has degraded the high standards that once characterised the Australian Public Service. The most common cause of early retirement in the APS today is depression and other psychological disorders, brought on by bullying management and the trashing of these high standards.

The performance of DIMIA is illustrative but by no means unique.

Leunig in The Age. Public servants also know this feeling.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Our own Guantanamo?

THE controversial detention centre development on Christmas Island has been labelled "Australia's Guantanamo Bay" by locals, concerned the facility resembles a military base. Read Nicolette Burke's article in the Herald Sun.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Up is down and black is white and I'm Amanda

Nobody who reads this blog will be surprised that Amanda Vanstone has defended locking up almost 100 people as illegal immigrants despite the fact they were all legally in Australia. Read the story in the SMH.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

the Abbott chronicles

Asked if detaining people seeking refuge in Australia sat comfortably with Christian principles, Mr Abbott said "traditional moral teaching" accepted that under certain circumstances "you are entitled to do things which are not the things you would ordinarily say should happen to people".

Read Abbott's verbal gymnastics in rationalising his views on abortion and mandatory detention to Melbourne school students.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

more hubris on display

The Senate hearing examining Ms Solon's deportation has heard that immigration officers ridiculed Ms Solon's ex-husband, Robert Young, after he contacted the department in search of her.

In an email tendered to the inquiry, an immigration officer refers to Mr Young as being like "Anthony Hopkins from the film Silence of the Lambs".

Public servants appear to have taken a 'cue' that it is acceptable to make value judgements about clients and to take official actions on that basis- I wonder where they got that notion from?

Monday, August 01, 2005

all singing, all dancing...

Moir in the SMH

playing the fear card again…

“Australia's border protection policies and the detaining of asylum seekers had helped it avoid the problems Britain faced following the terrorist bomb-ings in London, according to Attorney-General Philip Ruddock.

His comments have angered refugee advocates, the Democrats and the Opposition, who say terrorists are more likely to arrive in Australia in first-class aircraft seats than on leaky boats.”

Read the full article in The Age


Demonised: Labor says the Government has allowed detainees to be viewed as less than human. (ABC TV).