This Paradigm Shift (4ZZZ fm102.1 Fridays at noon) tells the story of the cruel detention and deportation of a Tamil family who had already been settled in the country town of Queensland called Biloela.
It shows the lengths to which the Australian government will go to make it difficult for those fleeing persecution in another country and who arrive by boat in Australia.
Ian interviews Pamela Curr who has spent the last 20 years visiting asylum seekers in detention in Australia.
These are the questions put to a refugee advocate recently awarded an Order of Australian Medal for her work with refugees. Pamela expresses her views on the deportation of a Tamil family from a country town in Australia.
- What is cruelty?
- Regarding the deportation of the Biloela refugee family from Tamil Nadu, the Australian National anthem states: ““For those who’ve come across the seas, We’ve boundless plains to share; With courage let us all combine, To Advance Australia Fair.” Is the deportation of this family Australian?
- Biloela resident Laraine Webster called for the Tamil family currently on Christmas Island to be returned to the Queensland community of Biloela where they were living before they lost their asylum bid.
- Is the cruel stance taken by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton an expression of the popular will?
- Both sides of parliament support laws resulting in the family’s deportation, so how do people who do not support those cruel laws, have their views respected by our countrymen and women?
- A succession of courts, including the High Court, have previously found the parents and the eldest child are not refugees and do not qualify for Australia’s protection. Are you able to briefly explain why?
- Despite being Australian-born, Tharunicaa has been deemed an “unauthorised maritime arrival” under the Migration Act, which stipulates children of asylum seekers who arrive in the country by boat cannot apply for a visa. Do you have any explanation for that law?
- The father Nades fears his links to Hindu Tamil Tigers insurgents, who battled Sri Lanka’s majority Buddhist government during the civil war, means he could face persecution if he goes back. According to Article 1 of the 1951 UN Convention, as modified by the 1967 Protocol, a refugee is defined as a person who ‘owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his (or her) nationality … so why is the Tamil family not regarded as being refugees?
- What can people of good will do to reverse the situation for refugees in Australia?
- Under Australian law, the Tamil family’s claims for asylum have never been strong yet the #Let Them Stay movement have put a lot of time, money and effort into their case. Given that there are thousands of more cases, many of them stronger, have we done the right thing by focussing of this particular family?
- The Labor Party singles out this case as being different from other claims. Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the government should intervene on the basis that Nades worked at the Biloela meatworks – a business that couldn’t source enough local workers to operate. Do you agree with him and if so why? Should refugees be graded for their protentional economic value to Australia?
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