Jay Fletcher

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited Australia over March 9-11. Unsurprisingly, the issue of asylum seekers was the leading concern for the federal Labor government, the corporate media and refugee advocates alike.
The Australian government continues to ignore the almost 250 Tamil refugees holding out on a boat in the port of Merak, West Java. But the conditions onboard grow more severe each day.
Three Afghan refugees in Australia face possible charges over the explosion onboard a fishing boat off Ashmore Reef last April. Five were killed in the explosion and many more injured.
The Indonesian foreign affairs department was expecting a visit from an Australian “people smuggling envoy” when three refugee rights activists were apprehended and detained at Port Merak.
On January 25, newly announced Australian of the Year and youth mental health expert Patrick McGorry said refugee detention centres were “factories for producing mental illness”.
To give blood in Australia, it is first necessary to answer a lot of questions. Some make sense. They range from recent illness to cholesterol. Some are invasive and confronting. One question asks: “Within the past 12 months have you had male to male sex?”
The coronial inquest into the fatal explosion onboard a boat carrying Afghan asylum seekers in April 2009 began on January 25. Five people died and many were injured.
A global temperature rise of 2° Celsius — the target set at the United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen in December — is a death sentence for Tuvalu.
Eleven men detained in the Christmas Island detention centre have been charged and appeared in court on January 20 over a fight that broke out among 150 asylum seekers on November 21. They were remanded until a later date.
Australian governments, both Liberal and Labor, have had a policy of treating refugees as enemies for at least 20 years. Probably the most infamous occasion was the Coalition’s November 2001 federal election victory, where the major parties adopted a joint policy of turning back 438 refugees who had been saved from drowning by the Norwegian freighter the MV Tampa.
A total lockdown was imposed on the Christmas Island detention centre for three days after fighting broke out on November 21.
The brutal nature of the Rudd Labor government’s “Indonesian solution” to deal with asylum seekers was revealed on November 15 when the Indonesian coastguard fired upon a boat carrying 61 Afghan asylum seekers headed towards Australia. Two of the passengers were shot and injured.
The NSW state government wants to jail people as young as 13 for carrying a can of spray paint. Anyone with a spray can and no “legitimate reason” could face up to six months in prison
The University of Wollongong Environment Collective (EC) has gone from strength to strength this year. Its meetings are now averaging more than 20 people each week and the list of its campaign achievements is growing.
The Rudd government plans to double the capacity of Christmas Island detention centre to maintain its of policy mandatory detention of all refugees that arrive by boat. Plans are under way to expand the prison-like facility to house up to 2300, the Age said on October 31. Already, the government has installed an extra 200 bunks. It has also transported cramped and unsafe shipping containers to the island to house new arrivals.

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