Borderline: Australia's Treatment of Refugees and Asylum by Peter Mares

By Peter Mares

Borderline was once first released in April 2001, and instantly acquired frequent popularity of its authority, its humanity, its ardour and its primary honesty. the second one version comprises a lot new testimony from execs who've labored within Australia’s immigration detention procedure and who now think forced to talk out approximately their stories.

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Additional resources for Borderline: Australia's Treatment of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the Wake of the Tampa (Reportage (Sydney, N.S.W.).)

Sample text

Khalil is grateful to the people-smugglers. ‘They saved my life,’ he says simply. Khalil is a tall, good-looking young man with a fair complexion and a round face. He does not match the stereotype of the swarthy, bearded Afghan so frequently presented on our television screens. Afghanistan is at the cross-roads of Asia, and Khalil’s features show influences flowing from the East rather than the West. He is a member of the minority Hazara tribe, descendants of Genghiz Khan’s army. I met Khalil in Dandenong, one of Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, in a flat which he shared with two other men, also Afghans.

Government policy has ensured that Khalil’s integration with this society will be protracted and painful. Khalil’s boat has been allowed behind the breakwater to shelter from a wild sea, but he still has no place to drop anchor. He has been granted physical safety in Australia, but no emotional mooring. In August 1998 Michael Wooldridge (federal minister for Health until November 2001) launched a GP’s manual on refugee health. In his speech he noted that ‘creating uncertainty and insecurity … is one of the most dangerous ways to add to the harm that torturers do’.

Khalil’s response to the queue-jumper argument is more fundamental. ‘But there isn’t any queue,’ he says to me, again and again. He is right. The selection of refugees for resettlement is more like a lottery than an orderly process. That’s 500 fewer than in 1990, and down from an annual 20,000 at the beginning of the 1980s. In the 2000–2001 •Border2002 6/9/02 11:49 AM Page 19 7+( 1(: 3(5,/  financial year, 4000 of the 12,000 places in the migration program were nominally set aside for Convention refugees, who are mostly referred to Australian offices by the UNHCR.

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