In 1951, Australia was an important contributor to the introduction of the UN Refugee Convention which established that it was not illegal to enter a country to seek refuge from persecution.
After the Second World War we settled thousands of refugees and displaced people most of whom made a great contribution to our society. In the 1970s, Malcolm Fraser provided the leadership that allowed 70,000 refugees from Indo China to come to Australia. Hawke allowed 50,000 Chinese students to remain in Australia in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Keating introduced the policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers arriving by boat. Howard implemented an offshore detention processing arrangement for asylum seekers arriving by boat. Rudd abolished the policy before reintroducing it in 2012. The Abbott-Turnbull Governments are incarcerating over 2,000 men, women and children in offshore camps on Manus and Nauru. Asylum seekers and even those found to be refugees are being driven mad, suiciding, self-harming and daily becoming more desperate.
First published Al-Moharer www.al-moharer.net/moh164/tomlinson164.htm People keep coming to my country. The First Peoples arrived first. Then soldiers and sailors thieves and blackmailers. Next we let into our fold Yanks and Chinks who came for gold. After World War II we imported Dagos, Wogs odds and sods ten quid Poms, pimps and toms. Off we went […]
Treasurer Costello’s 2002-3 offering has been portrayed as a Khaki Budget. Because of his stated emphasis on increasing surveillance at home and killing abroad. A more realistic appreciation would lead to its portrayal as a tatty cacky attempt to cover-up the excrement into which Australia is sinking. Certainly we are going to quadruple the expenditure on […]
I thought I saw a shaft of light come into Australian peoples’ sight and hoped it’d lift the shadow of shame as we refuse to let them use our name when they try to apportion blame to asylum seekers and refugees Written 2003
We’ll sell them all to hell and damnation, we’ll follow the true path of One Nation; though Pauline’s come and gone we haven’t moved along because, we lack imagination. We don’t think it’s fair that they come over here chasing blonds and prawns and beer, they’ll get a flea in their ear as we follow […]
First published in New Community Quarterly, Vol 12 No 1, 2014 I visited a land of broken dreams someone said “all’s not well it seems the country’s splitting at the seams. Asylum seekers on boats are pouring in and we can’t find any room for them.” I went to the national capital and spoke with […]
Written circa 2000 Blood drenched dreams dangling from the spikes of the razor wire – so close to freedom. Wild fearful eyes stare into our collective consciousness and sear our indifference. Batonned discipline enforced by Wackenhut guards – Capitalism’s storm troopers. Shayan Bedraie starves himself in a vain attempt to communicate his family’s need for […]
Published in Union Songs http://unionsong.com/u365.html also published in Al-Moharer 30/5/2006 Vol. 243 http://www.al-moharer.net/mohhtm/tomlinson243.htm also published in Green Left 21/6/2006 p.21 also published in New Community Quarterly Vol.4 No.2 Winter 2006 Refugee, asylum seeker who’s the listener, who’s the speaker? Are you ventriloquist or faker who’s the giver, who’s the taker? Compassion now, or racist pride […]
I saw the pricks pricking balloons I saw them seizing kites they were protecting ignorance for the sake of all uptights. They all wore coppers’ uniforms they all had coppers’ minds, barely a brain cell between them, these are John Howard’s times. When refugees are criminals when we cannot see their face fascism is ever […]
ON LINE opinion – Australia’s e-journal of social and political debate Posted Wednesday, 16 March 2005 The Howard Government has set out on an extraordinary adventure which has the potential to tear apart the social fabric of this nation. Howard and his leading ministers have waged a clever and at times subtle campaign in the […]
As part of a briefing for CHOGM Buckingham Palace staff advised the Queen that the Howard Government had, under changes to its Migration Act, excluded a number of islands from Australian territory for the purposes of that Act. Her Majesty enquired as to which islands had been removed. She was advised they included Ashmore, Cocos […]
I stare through the dust and flies at the remnants of the lies they told about Woomera: and about why they needed Baxter and why they must keep Manus open and how Nauru is saving us. Written in 2004 but not published.
You reckon you’re efficient. Why then did it take you three years to drive that child you’ve held in your detention centre Insane? Written in 2005 not published
In my country asylum seekers are incarcerated by F….ing Global Solutions, on the orders of our F….ing Government. What does the F stand for? It could be Fighting. It could be Fudging. It could be Frightening. Oh, when the Fuck will you get it? Written in 2004 not published Global Solutions was the name of […]
First published on Union Songs website 29/1/2006 http://unionsong.com/u341.html also published Al-Moharer Vol. 239 6/2/2006 http://al-moharer.net/mohhtm/j_tomlinson239.tml and also The Word 2006. and also New Community Quarterly Vol.4, No1 Autumn 2006 p.83 Angels dancing on my conscience devils playing with my mind, fanciful ideas: daydreaming nonsense, portentous thoughts defined. Authority’s extended licence, pleading hands and deeply lined, […]
Written in 2001 This is the land of the fair go. Ah, were it so. We promise refugees a fair go but only if they go somewhere else. Now you can’t say fairer than that.
The Prime Minister, reflecting on his treatment of asylum seekers, constantly claims that Australia is a humane and compassionate society. He claims the turning away of over crowded refugee boats from Australian territorial waters is justified because these would be asylum seekers are presuming on our compassion. Given the apparent widespread acceptance of such policies […]
The United States’ Deputy Sheriff in the region was disappointed to find the asylum seekers were not Mexicans. Mr. Howard felt he would have had much more support from President Bush had he been able to turn back sombrero wearers. Written in 2001
First published Al-Moharer Issue 175, 5/4/2004 http://www.al-moharer.net/mohhtm/jtomlinson174htm also published in Union Songs 29/4/2004 http://crixa.com/muse/unionsong/u229.html If I could sing, I’d sing a song about the need to right the wrong, defend the weak, resist the strong and ask you all to come along. They escaped from lands afar had to do things quite bizarre in the […]
First published in Al-Moharer Issue 187, 6/8/2004 http://www.al-moharer.net/mohhtm/tomlinson-187 also published in Green Left Weekly No.600 29th September 2004 also in New Community Quarterly Vol.2 No.3 Spring 2004 p.46 Won’t you come back MS Tampa, won’t you come back to our shore. Bring us the old and the hungry, your crippled and troubled what’s more. Please scan the high seas for […]
to the tune of “I know where I’m Going.” We know that he’s lying, and we know he’s causing misery. Refugees get nothing for he is so bloody miserly. The rich have stocks and shares, and a mansion for every weather, jags of every hue and a jewel for every finger. He locks up refugees […]
I asked Malcolm, “Can the 267 asylum seekers stay?” “We must not do anything to encourage people smugglers,” he replied. “But Malcolm we don’t need people smugglers – the people are already here,” I noted. “They are watching everything we do,” was his firm rebuke. I asked if he had previously experienced paranoid delusions. “Peter […]
A young asylum seeker secreted behind the shafts of razor wire at Woomera asks “Why are there no flowers in Australia?” What can I tell her that would make sense in such a desert landscape? Will the Wackenhut guards who confine would-be refugees be displeased with my answer? If I told her that there are […]
When it comes to asylum seekers I don’t want to talk to people who hear. I really want to speak to the deaf. I don’t want to point the way for those who see. I want to sign for the blind. As a country we’ve lost it. As a people we’ve blown it. Humanity is […]
If I could I surely would: release the children, release the children! Release the husbands and their wives try to help them make new lives. Then I’d release the single men and help them make a start again. The single women I’d free too and help them make a life anew. Release the children, release […]
For nearly 20 years I was a member of the ALP, resigning when Paul Keating signed a secret security pact with Indonesia. For some years, probably out of a misguided sense of loyalty, I continued to vote Labor. In recent times, I have voted Greens 1 but have ensured my preferences went to Labor. At […]
The Republic of Deagon. Embargoed until 9.00am yesterday. President John Tomlinson announced today he had signed the deed of exclusion separating Australia from Deagon for tax and migration purposes. President Tomlinson declared that he was willing to allow the Australian Government to continue to pay social security and provide medicare benefits to Deagonites. “We did […]
Election blinder can’t be kinder lip sewing children throwing people smuggling country juggling compassion presuming time consuming queue jumping people dumping razor wire cells on fire leaky ships politicians’ slips Tampa pampering rather hampering Pacific travelling it’s all unravelling. Written in 2002.
I’m running away from yesterday I’m running fast and free I’m running from the mountains down to a darkened sea. I’m fleeing persecution I’m escaping tyranny I’ve put my trust in freedom and in your humanity. I’ve put my trust in others in the hope we’ll all be free. But you say that you’ll decide […]
Well gather round people wherever you’re from and I’ll tell you a story with depth and aplomb. Refugees are wandering – they don’t have a home we should try to help them – not leave them alone. Their countries exploded – their families are shattered those they relied on are maimed, evicted and scattered. Militias […]
We all will seek asylum at some stage in our life some from the travails of every day some from war and civil strife . We are all asylum seekers. We are all refugees. Some of us may not know it as we placate and please. Some think we have made it. Some just strut […]
by Jocelyn Lock, Malia Quenault and John Tomlinson CPACS Occasional Paper No. 02/1, First published in March 2002 by the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. In an ideal world people would be as free as capital to move in and out of countries without restrictions. Australia incarcerates individuals who […]
The Abbott Government is loudly proclaiming that it is acting lawfully on the high seas. How would anyone know if what they are doing is lawful. They are doing everything they possibly can to prevent journalists from observing what they are doing. They are making it virtually impossible to get to Nauru and Manus to […]
We’ll decide which family members come to this country. We’ll decide the manner in which they come. We’ll decide who is a refugee And who’ll be sent home to face the gun. Written in 2005 not published.
First published in Al-Moharer 24/8/2004. http://www.al-moharer.net/moh190.htm It sounds so reassuring to talk about the Pacific solution. Images of peaceful coral atolls and sun-drenched beaches with dugout canoes which children paddle on still blue waters, and coconut trees sway in gentle breezes whilst island women dance. Yet we recoil in horror at the mention of “the […]
I want to tell a story, want to share with you the mail about a group of people whose struggle mustn’t fail. They were seeking asylum from civil strife and war. They came in overcrowded boats and were knocking on our door. But we put them in detention in Australia’s great outback and searched for […]
On Saturday the 27th August 2016 I was standing outside the Sydney Town Hall at a rally in support of closing the internment camps on Manus and Nauru and bringing the asylum seekers and refugees to Australia. I listened intently as speaker after speaker denounced the various Australian government policies enforced upon asylum seekers this […]
Written 2011 in response to the Gillard Labor Government’s attempts to get Malaysia to accept asylum seekers who had travelled to Australia. Not published It’s a sleazy deal we can reveal – not a treaty or agreement – just an aspirational document. Without justice, a slippery slope betrayal, connivance and false hope. Our dignity betrayed […]
One hundred and eighteen children in detention in Australian concentration camps. Eighty-seven children in detention on the hell-hole of Nauru. This highlight’s Australia’s humanity because these kids have committed no crime, they didn’t ask to have to risk their lives in leaky boats on raging seas. It was not their fault their parents had to […]
What are we to do with the refugees when we have racists to appease? What we needed was a specific resolution but had to make do with the Pacific solution. Just across from the Long White Cloud in the land of the John White Howard lived a people who once were proud. Now the province […]
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