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Merlin Luck's protest at the Big Brother TV Show
2004 was also the year where one of Channel Nine's Big Brother TV show's participants catapulted himself and the issue into the spotlight with a gagged protest on live television. Merlin Luck taped up his mouth and refused to budge when producers in a panic tried to persuade him "to act normal" and stop embarrassing the show.

Archived pages 2004

During the year 2004 what was now established as a "national movement", the refugee movement matured, established itself as a powerful lobby group and it extended itself and more people embraced the work done around Australia.

It was also the year where one of Channel Nine's Big Brother TV show's participants catapulted himself and the issue into the spotlight with a gagged protest on live television. Merlin Luck taped up his mouth and refused to budge when producers in a panic tried to persuade him "to act normal" and stop embarrassing the show.

Below are the pages we added to the website during the calendar year 2004; they are divided into a section on refugee issues and issues related to the wider debate about Howard's Australia and Australia's invovement with the conservative US Bush administration.


Royal Commission

The call for a Royal Commission into detention and the treatment of refugees, asylum seekers and immigration detainees has always been relevant, especially since the 2001 Tampa stand-off. With Downloadable Petition Form!

Blog archives

18 October 2006: The Project SafeCom Blog Archives - This is the page that brings together all entries from our Blog. They are manually entered, so please accept apologies if sudden and new entries are not posted to this page immediately.

2004 pages

1. Refugee issues, policies

lip stitching5-25 December 2004: The hunger strike of the Iranians at the Baxter detention centre - In the excruciating desparation of being locked up for up to five years, the Iranians started a hunger strike in December 2004. Up to 27 men were involved, and Project SafeCom's office was operational during the entire period, while we kept in touch with the supporters' network around the men, and briefed reporters to keep the issue in the news. We wrote seven reports.

10 December 2004: Human Rights Day in Australia leaves much to be desired - Project SafeCom's 2004 Human Rights Day statement: the situation in Australia leaves much to be desired, mainly but not only as a result of Australia's detention policies, and not only in factual terms but also in how the government 'flowers up' in statements to the public about what's going on in Australia.

28 October 2004: Procter: From 'temporary' to permanent' Protection Visas - Nicholas Procter argues that It's Much More Than a Quick Political Fix. "If TPV holders already disoriented by trauma, sometimes years of detention and then the relentless insecurity of temporary status in Australia, find that once again they are facing mixed messages, it will be disastrous. Trust is a fundamental requirement for mental stability..."

24 October 2004: A Canberra Rally: Stand up for Refugees - The re-election of the Coalition Government poses an enormous challenge for refugee activists. Yet it is one we must rise to meet. A page about a rally in Canberra on Tuesday 16 November 2004, the first sitting day of the new Parliament.

30 November 2004: Stand up for Refugees Canberra: the photos - Twenty-four photos of the Stand up for Refugees Rally on Parliament House on November 16, 2004, the opening day of the new Parliament. Project SafeCom was there, and we showed we want to be counted!

23 October 2004: Tahir Cambis & Helen Newman: ANTHEM - "This film will incite indignation, shame, anger and sadness. It will also nurture compassion, caring, and hopefully a conscience for those who would benefit from finding one. ANTHEM doesn't just shake the fence, it completely destroys it."

30 September 2004: Bucking the Obligations: avoiding ICC Statute implementation - The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the 20th century's most important creation in the struggle against impunity for the worst crimes known to humanity. However, as it starts operating, Party States are failing to implement the ICC's Rome Statute and produce flawed legislation, and they're not ratifying and implementing the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities. Including Australia.

29 September 2004: Member for Chisholm Anna Burke contradicts refugee policy - ALP backbencher Anna Burke has contradicted her party's policies on refugees, saying that asylum-seekers should be released from immigration detention after health checks. Ms Burke also said that asylum-seekers should be entitled to work in the community and to receive Medicare, while awaiting the outcome of their claim for refugee status.

16 September 2004: J Winston BSM, I stopped the boats: My Place Is Now Assured - When the inevitable statues will be built, all over the boundless plains of this Island Continent, they will surely have these immortal words on each base - "He stopped the Boats!"

2 September 2004: Betty Cuthbert and the Vietnamese Refugees - Olympic legend Betty Cuthbert 'stands up and runs with' The Hao Kiet Vietnamese Refugees: another high profile Australian has started barracking for refugees, and the statement by Project SafeCom stirs up residents on Christmas Island.

Merlin the Magician at work11 September 2004:  MOVIE: Letters to Ali with Merlin Luck, the Big Brother Spoiler! - With Big Brother protester Merlin in Perth for just one day, our movie matinee where we screened Clara Law's Letters to Ali, snapping up Merlin Luck as the keynote speaker, became the only chance for people in WA to meet the refugee advocate who had rapidly become a national human rights defender while it also became the biggest screening of the movie's season for Luna On Essex in Fremantle.

Peter Qasim9 September 2004:  Australia's National Shame: Peter Qasim - Today will see a dismal anniversary marked across Australia, with the passing of six years in detention for a 30-year-old man from Indian Kashmir, Peter Qasim. Peter remains the longest detained asylum seeker in immigration detention, and following the recent Full High Court decision, there are no guarantees that he will not eventually die of old age in the future: he may remain in detention for the rest of his life.

31 August 2004: Dark Horses: Surprise candidates for the 2004 Federal Election - This page was created in order to list unexpected candidates for the 2004 Federal election, who may well become surprises, influencing the final outcome. Independent candidate for Gwydir, Bruce Haigh, is just one of those. Below is his press release announcing his candidature.

29 August 2004: Cork vs ACM: Operation Long Haul, a Forced Deportation - Sometimes reports of forced deportations appear at unlikely places, in this case a transcript of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission of an unfair dismissal claim against Australasian Correctional Management (ACM) after a deportation of 31 immigration 'removees' from Australia.

26 August 2004: Tampa Day 2004 in Perth - A page, detailing four events taking place on 26 August 2004 in Perth, organised by several groups and organisations.

15 August 2004: Craig Emerson MP: confronting wedge politics head-on - "Ultimately [John Howard's strategy] comes down to this: splitting the nation in two and picking up the bigger half. These are the tactics the Liberals imported into Australia in the lead-up to the 2001 election. Now they're at it again, casting around for a racially or socially divisive issue."

15 August 2004: About Ruth Cruz: Sue Mackay, Labor Senator for Tasmania - "The matter that I want to bring before the Senate tonight is the plight of a young Tasmanian woman, Ruth Cruz. It is not strictly true to call Ruth a Tasmanian because, to date, she has not been officially granted that status. Officially she has not been, but certainly unofficially, by the people of Tasmania, she has."

15 August 2004: Labor's Lindsay Tanner, Member for Melbourne - "Labor's support for the Howard Government's brutal approach to asylum seekers in the 2001 election was the most traumatic experience of my political career. Labor's capitulation to the tactics of group vilification and racial discrimination in 2001 may be forgiven, but should not be forgotten. That battle can't be fought again, but Labor can learn from this terrible episode. Labor must never again allow itself to be forced to jettison fundamental values in pursuit of political survival."

15 August 2004: Tanya Plibersek: A contribution to Politics in the Pub - "Perhaps the most racist local campaign I saw in the last federal election was in the Tweed, Larry Anthony's seat. Larry Anthony's campaign literature said: 'Labor has a secret plan to release refugees from detention centres. They will be looking for low-cost accommodation and will be housed in the caravan parks of the Tweed'."

Merlin the Magician at work14 August 2004:  Merlin Luck, the Magician - It was exactly the boost the refugee movement in Australia needed. On prime time, a young Australian was making a political statement. You could hear the sounds of tinnies dropping to the floor across the nation. The television broadcast was watched by more than 1.8 million people on that unforgettable Sunday evening.

9 August 2004: Sara Strong, A personal reflection on refugees and asylum seekers in Australia - "The people who come to Australia, risking their life in a leaky boat, often without food or adequate water, don't come because they like our climate and our scenery...."

Tony Kevin, A Certain Maritime Incident5 August 2004: Tony Kevin's SIEV X book: A Certain Maritime Incident - With impressive courage and determination, Tony Kevin has unearthed the grim and deeply moving story he recounts in this remarkable book, an "always powerfully contested story" and one of "durable national significance" that has "crept into the hearts and consciences of many Australians" and must find its way to the hearts and consciences of many others...

1 August 2004: Nicholas Procter: Paper plates and throwaway cutlery - Working with some of the most marginalised of mental health consumers - asylum seekers released from immigration detention centres and living in rural South Australia - Nicholas Procter makes a cogent case for a return to practical strategies in this paper, subtitled "Aspects of generating trust during mental health initiatives with asylum seekers released from Immigration Detention Centres."

28 July 2004: What exactly is the Mujahedin-e Khalq? - The Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK or MKO) was founded in the 1960s by a group of college-educated Iranian leftists opposed to the country's pro-Western ruler, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Although the group took part in the 1979 Islamic revolution that replaced the shah with a Shiite Islamist regime, MEK's ideology, a blend of Marxism and Islamism, put it at odds with...

17 July 2004: "Jack's long-range w.w.war", The West Australian Weekend Extra West Australian Newspapers' Norman Aisbitt reports on the activities at 'the lions den' in Narrogin, the office of Project SafeCom, and the home of Jack Smit, our coordinator.

15 July 2004: Senator Kate Lundy addresses Labor for Refugees - "During the 2001 election campaign Labor, we have to admit this now, was caught flat-footed and fell into a trap. We couldn't believe that any leader could be so malicious, so destructive, so fundamentally wicked as to be willing to go to such lengths. At the time we didn't see the putrid core of Howard's agenda. We learnt this when we heard what they were saying inside their war rooms."

10 July 2004: 2004 Election: Welcome noises from some Labor MP's - This page, like several other pages in this series constructed in the lead-up to the 2004 Federal Election, lists some communication from Labor candidates and MP's in relation to our election platform. There are statements from Eden-Monaro's candidate Kel Watt, the Member for Grayndler Anthony Albanese, Nicola Roxon, the Member for Gellibrand, and a news item relating to the Hon Kim Beazley, the Member for Brand.

9 July 2004: Children in Detention: A Parliamentary E-Brief - "The mandatory detention of all asylum seekers who arrive unauthorised in Australia -- a measure introduced in 1992 -- has attracted a great deal of attention and debate over the last few years..."

8 July 2004: Between Anguish and Hope: A World of Refugees - Mark Raper SJ delivers the 2003 Rerum Novarum Lecture. "...our country has dramatically changed its core foreign policy directions. Australia has recently intervened military in other sovereign states. Australia has broken with time honoured international conventions for the protection of refugees and the preservation of human rights."

7 July 2004: ABC RN Background Briefing: The Detention Industry - "This is a lucrative business, we're talking here about detaining men, women and children in prison-like conditions, as a business. And so certainly from the perspective of companies that are engaged in this kind of work, they would be looking to you and saying, Well we can expand into this market."

1 July 2004: Greens in the House of Reps: Michael Organ for Cunningham - Michael Organ MP was the Australian Greens Federal Member for Cunningham between 19 October 2002 - 8 October 2004. "Compassionate treatment of asylum seekers - who are now rather coldly termed illegal non-citizens - has gone out the window, and all the forces of the federal government - administrative and legal - are being railed against them."

1 July 2004: An Activist in Parliament: Kerry Nettle of The Greens - Kerry Nettle is The Greens' Senator for New South Wales. Senator Nettle has been instrumental in developing The Greens response to the Howard government's anti-terrorism, 'security', and War-related legislation - and has been working relentlessly in her diverse portfolio, not afraid to oppose the major parties when it needed to be done. This is her politician's page on our website.

19 June 2004: World Refugee Day: Forcing the Deportation Issue - A short introduction to the movie documentary at the Fremantle Film and TV Institute by Project SafeCom's Jack H Smit on the World Refugee Day 2004 weekend.

12 June 2004: The Curious Ambivalence of Australia's Immigration Policy - The 2001 Alfred Deakin Lecture, delivered by Marion Lê OAM, who is the 2003 Human Rights Medal winner, a winner of the Austcare Paul Cullen Award, and was presented with the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1990.

12 June 2004: You're welcome, if we're interested - an article by Klaus Neumann, author of Refuge Australia: Australia's Humanitarian Record. "Will the winner of this coming election pursue a more compassionate policy once the immediate risk of forfeiting votes has passed?"

10 June 2004: Our own custom-made Evin Prison at Baxter - In Australia we have our own "Evin Prison", where we keep, for the rest of their lives if need be, a considerable number of Iranians. An article by Jack Smit, Project SafeCom's Coordinator.

30 May 2004: Catching Illegals Down-Under Part Two - This is the second page about the use of the term "illegals" in the Australian print press. In May 2004 a complaint was lodged by refugee advocates against the Sydney Morning Herald's use of the word "illegals" in a headline on April 30. This page is about that complaint.

Flag of Japan  25 May 2004: Japanese magazine interview with Project SafeCom - The Japanese Magazine 'Realiser' recently established a new online subsection on its website about refugee and asylum seekers, Migration Research Media. Yoko Iino interviewed Project SafeCom's Coordinator Jack Smit. This is the full version - in English.

17 May 2004: Children in Detention: I'm sorry, We Failed to Protect you - This article was written by The Romero Centre's Freddie Steen on the day the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission report into Children in Immigration Detention was released. The Report suggested the release of all children within four weeks, and roundly condemned the Australian government for its damaging asylum seeker policies.

8 May 2004: Cheap, savvy, effective: Virtual communities safeguarding human rights - "The internet enabled activists who have never met before to unite under a common issue, to rapidly set up support groups, to plan public action and to target media attention by using a keyboard, as they formed virtual communities. Activists made available online information about allegations of human rights abuses from inaccessible detention centres behind razor wire and electric fences, often within minutes of being reported." A paper by Barbara Rogalla.

4 May 2004: The Ethics of Nursing in a Detention Centre - "The whole reason we have detention centres is political, it would be naïve to think otherwise. The real paradox for health professionals is that Australian detention centres actually cause ill-health to asylum seekers. This has been clearly established by the work of many clinicians...."

Burnside Speech booklet
25 April 2004: Burnside versus Vanstone, Ruddock, Howard - Recently Julian Burnside QC spoke at a Rotary Breakfast in Melbourne. In the presence of Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone, he accused her, Philip Ruddock, and PM John Howard, of committing 'crimes against humanity' for its "Pacific Solution". We edited his Melbourne Rotary speech into a handy, printable booklet of about 25 pages. Download it, print it, copy it and include it at your stall!

20 April 2004: Afghani Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the Republic of Indonesia - Hassan Ghulam, who went to Indonesian holding camps such as the one on Lombok, states that UNHCR needs to consider revising its approach and methods, to bring them into line with contemporary expectations and technology.

20 April 2004: The Missing refugees: did they embark from Indonesia? - Recently we received a request from friends in Indonesia, who asked our help to find out what happened to six refugees who were with them in Indonesia, but who have been missing since December 1999.

12 April 2004: Chilout's Young Ambassadors: a delegation to Parliament - "Port Augusta schoolgirl Bonne Martinot visited Canberra for the first time in March 2004 to personally plead for the release of her Middle Eastern friends from immigration detention."

11 April 2004: The Flotilla of HOPE, a journey of compassion to Nauru - On Saturday May 15 2004, the Flagship 'Eureka' of Flotilla of Hope set sail for Nauru, leaving Australia from Sydney Harbour after the goodbyes at Pyrmont Point, sailing via other places such as Brisbane, and then on its way to Nauru. The Flotilla reached Nauru on World Refugee Day 2004, but the boats were repelled by the authorities. Here are the stories of its voyage.

7 April 2004: Supporting TPV Holders: Partnering Mental Health and Migration Law - Nicholas Procter calls for the structure of individual mental health support to be built around the processes of seeking asylum and coping with rejections and setbacks during the processes attendant upon applications for refugee status.

4 April 2004: Australia and "the queue", a Project SafeCom study - Because most boats attempting to reach Australia's migration zone sail from Indonesian ports, many of them embarking from an Indonesian refugee camp, Australia's failure to fully address the refugee load jointly with Indonesia and its Jakarta UNHCR office, is partly responsible for creating "the boat people problem".

1 April 2004: Australians Welcome Refugees, The Untold Story - A report compiled by Margaret Reynolds, to the 60th session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, April 2004, highlighting the extensive work of Australians supporting refugees. The "Untold Story" contains personal testimonies of many Australians who have rejected official detention policy to offer friendship and practical support to people in detention.

1 April 2004: Snippets about asylum policy: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly - Some short election campaign 'evidence snippets' relating to asylum seekers by Australia's Conservative politicians as well as some pretty decent small-l Liberals and the Independent for Calare, Mr Peter Andren MP. The statements and snippets were all collected in the lead-up to the 2004 Federal Election.

1 April 2004: The 2004 ALP Conference, Lindsay Tanner and Refugee policy - "I am proud to second the Labor for Refugees amendments because I don't just want to see an end to the Pacific Solution and kids growing up behind barbed wire. I want to see an end to innocent people being locked up in the middle of nowhere and I want to see an end to our discriminatory refugee processing system...."

30 March 2004: One Man's Decision: a story about The Refugee Review Tribunal - What if a one bureaucrat's decision determined whether your family will cliff-hang indefinitely in legal limbo not knowing if eventually you are going to be able to enjoy life and freedom or be condemned to harassment, trauma and maybe death?

23 March 2004: Mental Illness? What Mental Illness? - asks Carmen Lawrence - "It is imperative that we ask ourselves how we would feel in similar circumstances, if our freedom were taken away. To imagine how humiliated we would be if we were forced to be strip-searched at regular intervals; how hurtful it would be to be treated as liars and cheats."

20 March 2004: Tony Kevin still says: SIEV X: Lies, lies and more lies - We will keep on talking publicly about SIEV X and asking questions about it. In that way, the truth will out, new whistleblowers will come forward over time, and the guilty will finally be held to account. This is a major story that is a long way from over.

20 March 2004: TPV Service provision by State shows disappointment for WA - Western Australia is on the record as the worst service provider for refugees on Temporary Protection Visas, comparable with the other States: WA only provides one out of eight identified services, Rental Bond Loans, shows a table provided by Senator Kerry Nettle.

18 March 2004: Force Feeding Hunger striking asylum seekers - An academic paper by Mary-Anne Kenny, Derrick Silove & Zachary Steel: Legal and ethical implications of medically enforced feeding of detained asylum seekers on hunger strike. If called upon to treat hunger strikers, [Australian] medical practitioners should be aware of their ethical and legal responsibilities, and that they should act independently of government or institutional interests.

16 March 2004: The Rules: Nursing in a Detention Centre - DIMIA and ACM are now acutely paranoid about human rights and refuge advocacy groups and their influence. Let me illustrate this point. A disabled child arrived one December and I was told by both an immigration and ACM manager to do nothing for him other than what I would do for any able-bodied child as he would probably be released soon.

15 March 2004: The Democrats and refugees, 1977-2002 - "For twenty-five years the Australian Democrats have adhered to our core principles of social justice and human rights. We have fought for human rights on many levels including working on individual asylum seeker cases, opposing cutbacks to the rights of refugees and fighting for legislation, which would ensure a fair outcome..."

15 March 2004: Senator Jacinta Collins and A Certain Maritime Incident - With the tabling in the Senate of the Report of the Senate Select Committee on A Certain Maritime Incident (23 Oct 2002), Senator Collins contributed with two important speeches. "The pattern of behaviour record that this government refers to, was provided to the government on request by the government in a fashion designed by the government to suit the government."

15 March 2004: Concluding Statements, A Certain Maritime Incident - The reality of the inquiry into the children overboard affair is that at best there are inconsistencies and contradictions in the evidence given before the Senate Inquiry by the most senior of Defence and PMC officials. At worst there are fundamental omittances, half-truths, untruths and cover-ups.

There is No Place Like Home10 March 2004: There is No Place Like Home: the 2004 Refugee Story Competition - The 2004 Refugee Story Competition has just been launched by Australians Against Racism. This is an Australia-wide competition. Many schools and individuals will take part. You are invited to submit your essay for judging, and for possible publication!

28 February 2004: Backbenchers: slow lessons in Welcoming the Stranger - It's January 2004, the year of the next Federal election after John Howard's 2001 Tampa 'dark victory', and slowly, hesitantly, a quiet chorus of Liberal and National backbenchers are whispering that refugees are good for Australia, good for the economy, and good for many things: John Forrest, Petro Georgiou and Patrick Secker, while Kay Hull also joins the fray.

28 February 2004: Stephen Smith MP, The International Refugee Crisis - Presentation to the UNYA Conference in Perth by Stephen Smith MP, Shadow Minister for Immigration. "Australia should comply with the letter and the spirit of the obligations Australia has voluntarily assumed by signing the Refugee Convention and other relevant international instruments..."

28 February 2004: Mark Raper SJ: To Build Peace and Bring Hope - Mark Raper SJ delivers the Jesuit 2004 Lenten Lecture. "Each of us carries the responsibility of upholding the principles of justice and common decency - it falls on ... ordinary people ... It is the cumulative effect of their sustained effort and steady endurance which will change a nation where reason and conscience are warped by fear into one where legal rules exist to promote our desire for harmony and justice".

28 February 2004: No Liability: Tragic Results from Australia's Deportations - Reports of death, disappearance, imprisonment and torture, of fear-filled lives spent in hiding, privation and despair have filtered back to Australia about some people Australia has removed after disallowing their claims for protection...

Dark Dreams, the book cover23 February 2004: Dark Dreams: Australian Refugee Stories - With editors Sonja Dechian, Heather Millar and Eva Sallis, this is another remarkable book published under auspices of Australians Against Racism. The book is the result of many refugee stories that were submitted for the Australia Is Refugees Essay Competition for young writers in 2003 in primary and secondary schools around Australia.

21 February 2004: Tom Mann: Australia's Culture of Despair for Children in Detention - "The symptoms of the failure of the detention system are obvious by now. I know, from my experiences at Woomera, that if we are going to have a system of mandatory detention, three months is the limit. Otherwise we will irreparably damage children's lives."

20 February 2004: The SIEV X National Memorial Project - The SIEV X National Memorial Project is an Australia-wide Young People's Art Collaboration, to design and build a memorial to the people of SIEV X, on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra, the national capital.

19 February 2004: Julian Burnside vs Amanda Vanstone - It was a full house when Julian Burnside QC, one of the most vigorous opponents of mandatory detention, went face to face against Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone at a Rotary breakfast held at the RACV Club in Melbourne, and directly accused her of crimes against humanity.

16 February 2004: Frederika Steen: Through the Nauru Looking Glass - "A significant and growing number of ordinary Australians are appalled. They act - individually and in small groups, from places around Australia, to show compassion and to compensate for what they perceive as official sadism and inhumanity. From the grassroots of Australian society we continue to challenge a Government that has eroded our international reputation for fairness and decency and called into question our values as a society."

The Field of Hearts Project14 February 2004: The Field of Hearts project, the brainchild of Andrew Hall - Andrew Hall of Public Servants for Refugees in Canberra conceived it, and the momentum of this important project is building in preparation for World Refugee Day 2004, and the planned convergence on Canberra prior to the 2004 Federal Election. At Project SafeCom we're part of the action!

11 February 2004: Robert Sparrow: What are Borders? - For many in the movement opposing mandatory detention they are simply expressions of the State. Yet this position cannot give us a coherent and critical politics. Rethinking 'Borders' is essential to the project of a genuinely democratic society.

25 January 2004: Melville Island Kurds: Another 'truth overboard'? - "The Howard Government's handling of the boatload of Kurdish asylum seekers who landed on Melville Island 11 days ago has all the elements of the "children overboard" affair of the 2001 election campaign," writes Michael Gordon in The Age, while Tony Abbott tries to justify John Howard's asylum strategies and gets a serve for it by Burnside QC.

14 January 2004: Catching Illegals Down-Under Part One - A new, and seriously important opportunity has developed to "nail down" journalists and writers in Australia who engage in forms of distorting the facts in relation to refugees and asylum seekers.

12 January 2004: Hazara Es, and stuck on Lombok - Hunger strikers and refugees stuck on Lombok are all refugees "pushed back" from Ashmore Reef by the Royal Australian NAVY in October 2001, the lead-up to the last Federal Election.

11 January 2004: Signing up for Death: the hunger strike on Nauru - The hunger strike has slowly fizzled out after more than four weeks. But if those 'unlucky ones' who are not 'selected' for re-determination stay behind on the Island, there will be another disaster in the future. Only if they receive an offer of protection status in Australia ... further disaster can be averted.

10 January 2004: Albury-Wodonga: The Second Annual RAR Conference - Rural Australians for Refugees getting together at Charles Sturt University in Albury-Wodonga. To help our contacts, we put up the program schedule on the website, and we're leaving it here...

5 January 2004: 'Boat People are Queue Jumpers' and other statements rebuffed - These are really "John Howard's Myths", keenly peddled by Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock, the front bench as well as many backbenchers from the 2001 election onwards. Here they are rebuffed by the Edmund Rice Centre.

2. Opinion, democracy and peace

31 December 2004: US Election 2004: What went wrong in Ohio? - Status Report of the House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff, titled Preserving Democracy - what went wrong in Ohio. The US committee reviewed claims of a rigging of the US elections, and has tabled and published its report. This page brings together a multitude of claimants' groups statements.

27 November 2004: Deep lying Rights: A Constitutional Conversation Continues - The Hon Justice Michael Kirby AC CMG, the 2004 Robin Cooke Lecture, delivered on Thursday 25 November 2004 at Victoria University of Wellington.

23 October 2004: Doing Advocacy: Dissent, Dissonance or Dilly-Dally? - Queensland Public Advocate Ian Boardman speaks at the UnitingCare Centre for Social Justice: "...advocacy has been under fairly sustained attack in recent years and because even when it is not under attack, it is rarely appreciated by those to whom the advocacy is addressed..."

16 October 2004: The Blog Feeds for Newsreaders - Our Blog Feeds are capable of being read by the Firefox' Live Bookmarks. This page displays the most recent Blog entries, and links to all Blog items just below that. It also explains some things about the techno-side of News Syndication using RSS Feeds.

7 October 2004: Baghdad Year Zero: Pillaging Iraq in pursuit of a neocon utopia - Journalist Naomi Klein: The fact that the boom never came and Iraq continues to tremble under explosions of a very different sort should never be blamed on the absence of a plan. Rather, the blame rests with the plan itself, and the extraordinarily violent ideology upon which it is based.

29 September 2004: The Shape of the Argument: The 3rd Overland Lecture - David Marr delivers the lecture: "After nearly a decade of sustained bullying from government [...] the media is in a quandary, has lost its edge. Not everyone, not everywhere. But it has happened. What I am exploring here is how that loss of confidence has come to shape public debate..."

2 August 2004: George Monbiot, An Activists' Guide to Exploiting the Media - Every battle we fight is a battle for the hearts and minds of other people. The only chance we have of reaching people who haven't yet heard what we've got to say is through the media.

3 July 2004: Tony Fitzgerald QC launches Margo Kingston's Not Happy, John! - This book launch at Gleebooks in Sydney has created a true storm in the teacup of the Howard administration. Retired judge Tony Fitzgerald QC, in launching the book delivered a blistering attack on both sides of politics and attracted the wrath and ire of Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone.

17 March 2004: Reflections on the Global Justice Movement after Mumbai - An article by Marco Hewitt, Perth WA upon returning from the Mumbai World Social Forum. "George Monbiot believes we may be on the verge of a new 'metaphysical mutation', a rare moment in history which sweeps away old systems and revolutionises the way people think, the world over."

14 March 2004: Assoc Prof Chris Nash: Freedom of the Press in Australia - "The Australian constitutional framework for freedom of the press is weaker than in other liberal democracies, the commercial pressures are strong and the legislative and financial impact of recent national governments on public media alternatives has been detrimental."

News Overboard12 March 2004: Iain Lygo's speech at the launch of his 'News Overboard' - "Five years ago, if someone had told me the government would send asylum seekers to bankrupt Pacific states to be imprisoned beyond the scrutiny of Australian courts and the world's media, I would have told them they were crazy. In John Howard's Australia, this basic denial of human rights not only goes unquestioned by much of the media, it is celebrated by the tabloid press and numerous shock jocks on commercial radio."

12 March 2004: News Overboard: The Tabloid Media, Race Politics, and Islam - Iain Lygo's book 'News Overboard' examines media and government manipulation of news relating to Muslims and refugees. "This book is a stinging left hook to far right columnists and shock jocks who are powerful political players masquerading as journalists."

14 January 2004: Carmen Lawrence: Ideas to save our withering democracy - a manifesto to protect and enhance our democracy: Despite the otherwise general equality in voting power, many are suspicious that not all citizens are equally able to influence their representatives; the health of our democracy requires greater involvement and participation from party members and the community at large.

Media Releases 2004

30 December 2004 Bakhtiari family enroute to Pakistan
29 December 2004 Bakhtiari family to be deported within the hour
28 December 2004 Sri Lankan refugees received Christmas Eve removal letters
27 December 2004 Earthquake Foreign Aid starts at home, in Baxter
21 December 2004 Vanstone should read Bakhtiari files and issue full apology to family
19 December 2004 Refugee advocates welcome Ferguson's Baxter visit
18 December 2004 Advocates express shock and horror about children's 'snatching in Gestapo style'
13 December 2004 Medical Care Standards for Hunger strikers seriously breached
8 December 2004 (blog entry) Acts of extreme distress spread amongst Iranians in Baxter IDC
7 December 2004 Refugee advocates condemn ALP's Joe Ludwig's Senate motion
6 December 2004 Hungerstrikes, naked roof protests: evidence of "Woomera-Baxter" status
2 December 2004 Amanda Vanstone should stop telling Orwellian truths about Iraqis
24 November 2004 Baxter Detention Centre reaches boiling point
12 November 2004 Massive refugee advocates' contingent to converge on Parliament
11 November 2004 High Court remains unprotected by Australian Prime Minister
10 November 2004 "Refused" Iraqi refugees' home bombed to pulp, but no word from Nauru
27 October 2004 ALP's Shadow Immigration Minister welcomed with caution
14 October 2004 New Howard Term, but 'Mandate to Kill' continues for Iranians
7 October 2004 High Court Decision shows need for Bill of Rights
28 September 2004 Govt should come clear over DIMIA Taliban links
21 September 2004 People smuggler's conviction: Australia would lock up Von Trapp family Priest
20 September 2004 DIMIA targets much-loved former US Intel Officer in rural WA
6 September 2004 National action planned for longest detained asylum seeker
2 September 2004 Betty Cuthbert, running with Hao Kiet refugees
30 August 2004 Furious refugee advocates start campaigning over DIMIA broken promises
24 August 2004 Visa Changes attempt to expel traumatised refugees
9 August 2004 ALP should 'pork barrel' human rights to win 100,000 refugee votes
6 August 2004 'Lock 'm up forever laws' constitute 'evil' establishment in Australia
16 July 2004 JohnHowardLies website traffic explodes
13 July 2004 Opportunism rampant as TVP's become permanent
12 July 2004 Refugee group backs call for Baxter probe
5 July 2004 Vanstone's detention releases are all election spin and smokescreen
4 July 2004 Online Anti-Howard campaign heats up
13 June 2004 Channel Ten's "Big Brother" TV Show in turmoil over refugees
13 May 2004 HREOC "Child Abuse Report" tabled in silence and sneakiness
13 May 2004 Flotillas of Hope may sail into troubled waters
6 May 2004 $23,000 per day, medical services not included
29 April 2004 High Court Ruling does not undo Children's Rights breaches
22 April 2004 Afghani refugee chief releases extremely damning report
10 April 2004 Kirribilli refugee protest building, police reacts with overkill
7 April 2004 Iranian Baxter detainee missing, feared being deported
24 March 2004 Increased refugee quota does not undo systemic child abuse
23 March 2004 Refugee advocates lobby UNHCR Chief for Manus asylum seeker
20 March 2004 Harmony Week a farce for refugees
16 March 2004 Wackenhut, repackaged and "innocently disguised" attempts comeback
21 February 2004 Julian Burnside QC: Howard, Ruddock and Vanstone accused as guilty of crimes against humanity
17 February 2004 17 Perth detainees start hunger strike over cancellation of work
26 January 2004 Refugee Advocates launch 2004 Election Strategy
12 January 2004 Lombok hunger strikers are "pushed-back" Australian asylum seekers
10 January 2004 Non-existing Refugee 'cattle prods' surface on Manus Island
9 January 2004 Government must send AMA independents to Nauru
6 January 2004 Nauru Finance minister attacks Vanstone over MOU
2 January 2004 Vanstone's Christmas Eve Nauru offer should be applauded