ethical advocacy
Refugee Policy 
... dead in the water                                        25 June 2012  Vol 7, Issue 8
In This Issue
Bits and Pieces
Scoring your Goals
The Media Ooh Aah Bird
Campaign Workshop
Asylum Seekers - where is the compassion?

"Bound" Volumes


All issues of Advocacy Update have now been bookmarked and aggregated into their calendar year volumes.


You may read or download them through the links below. They provide a quirky and personal record of federal politics over this tumultouous period.


Volume 1 2006

Bits and Pieces


Has anyone noticed that when a journalist is implicated in a "scandal" eg the Slipper affair, whilst other players are "named" whereas the journalist is referred to as "the journalist"!


In another example, Chris Uhlmkann came out in defence of "the journalist" only to reveal that the two of them have collaborated on a book "The Marmalade Files" currently at the printers!!


Apparently there are 1.5 million eligible voters who aren't on the Electoral Roll! Most are young people and there is an assumption their enrollment would favour Labor. Interesting article here at The Drum.



Recently, before her job disappeared, Kathy Jackson addressed the HR Nicholls Society (right wing think tank) on how to reform unions! Check out her address here at Miranda Devine's Blog.



Last week as the PM jetted off to Rio, Tony Burke, Environment Minister was forced to delay his departure because the Opposition would not give him a "pair" until Tuesday afternoon. Opposition spokeperson Greg Hunt said "We have been very generous in giving both of them a pair.'



'The government can quibble about not having an extra day sitting on the beach at Rio - that's a matter for Mr Burke to justify,' Mr Hunt said.


Wow - I hope the opposition realises what it is sowing here with these precedents. 

Scoring your Goals


A couple of months ago I flew from Canberra to Hobart to attend a friend's birthday celebrations. Thanks to a thick Melbourne fog and subsequently-missed connections to Hobart, after arriving at Canberra airport at 0530 I landed in Hobart at 9.15 pm. A trip of nearly 16 hours. I could have been on my second leg to Europe!!
However my long confinement at Tullamarine led me to discover an amazing book "The Decision Book" - fifty models for strategic thinking published in England by Profile Books Ltd.
The book distills into a slim volume the fifty best decision-making models used in MBAs. Each model is described then illustrated by example. You can obtain more information at the website,
I guess one thing which drew me to it is that it describes a number of models I use in my consultancy - but takes them a bit further. For instance I have long used a mindmap to summarise strategy planning. The starting point of establishing your goals is crucial. In the extract below, the black goals are those I originally included in the model. The red ones are those added by Krogerus and Tschappeler in their excellent book. 
scoring goals
Scoring Goals
So - you need to "score" 15 goals before you process into the nitty gritty of any strategic mapping.
The Media Ooh Aah Bird


Over the past week we have witnessed the media running around in ever-decreasing circles before finally disappearing up its own orifice. The week had all the hallmarks of a soapey drama - tilts at Board seats, ownership wrangling, mass sackings and restructuring, valedictories for quality journalism - the list goes on and on and on (as Tony might say).


Hey get over it - there are plenty of jobs in Gina's other enterprises.

Campaign Workshop


It seems to me that we have become so mesmerised by the political shenanigans in Canberra that we have taken our eyes off the ball of our own constituency's interests.


Whether it's the cobra about to strike - or the python slowly squeezing the life out we seem oblivious to presenting our own agenda of issues in an effective manner.


Truth is - because the Parliament is so finely balanced - we should be ready and prepared with our own campaign plans.


I offer a one-day Campaign Workshop structured as in the diagram below. The numbers on the labels refer to the time schedule for the Workshop.


workshop agenda 

The Workshop - aimed at Senior Management and Board Members costs $2500 including peparations, delivery and Report, plus any necessary travel costs.

Asylum Seekers - where is the compassion?


Two people for whom I have great respect, Julian Burnside and John Hewson have made timely interventions in the refugee debate post last week's tragedy at sea. In an article today in The Drum, Hewson asks "Where is the morality in our asylum seeker policy?".


Hewson asserts that "The situation with asylum seekers who arrive by boat is a national disgrace.


"We have seen our nation's enviable humanitarian record in refugee settlement, built up over many decades, squandered for short-term political opportunism and perceived populism, over just the last couple of years.


"The politics has been played out, in its most terrifying and base form, as a race to the bottom, with our political leaders exploiting the issue to score cheap political points on each other, rather than working constructively to achieve an effective solution."


Julian Burnside's article "Death at Sea" attacks both the Government  and Opposition over the blame game and gives the Australian's Greg Sheridan a good clip on the way through. Burnside attempts to look at the problem through a reverse telescope.


"A question for Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard and Greg Sheridan: what would you do in those circumstances?


"My guess is that most Australians would do exactly as the boat people do.  It is not easy to see why Australians are willing to criticize or punish boat people for doing exactly what we would do in the same circumstances."


Refugee Statistics - The Facts

The map below shows worldwide movements in refugees. The orange circles are receiving countries and the purple circles are originating countries. A larger version may be viewed here.


The small orange dot at the bottom right of the bubbles is Australia. What are we all getting so worked up about??


Deaths at Sea - The Facts


Since 2000 there have been at least 1600 lives lost at sea from those seeking asylum in Australia. The true figure may be much higher but we will never know. What is clear however is that even the threat of loss of life does not deter people from attempting the hazardous voyage. How then could we possibly think that "offshore processing" is a greater deterrent. There is some muddleheaded thinking behind that proposition.


The Howard border protection regime

Under the relaxed and comfortable (but wait didn't this morph into "Alert but not alarmed"?) regime of the Howard Government, our borders were protected by a three pronged approach:

  • border protection and turning boats back;
  • offshore processing in places like Nauru (then not a signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees) and Manus Island (a tropical paradise where I served some of my time in the Navy); and
  • Temporary Protection Visas

How many boats were turned back is an unknown quantity - or what happened once they were turned back - but hey - not our problem then! It is fact that Nauru processing resulted in most cases being approved as refugees with settlement in Australia and New Zealand. Howard introduced "TPVs" in 1999 with the government claiming it was a necessary response to the misuse of the asylum process by unauthorised arrivals.


Following the election of the Rudd Government, TPVs were abolished in August 2008.


With arrivals again growing, the Gillard Government sought an arrangement with Malaysia in which the next 800 asylum seeker arrivals would be shipped off to Malaysia for processing. In exchange, Australia would take 4000 approved refuges as immigrants. The intention of this policy was to stop the beats as no one would wish to be in the first 800 arrivals.


The deal was never tested due to lack of Opposition and greens support and because of the success in the High Court by David Manne succeeding in a permanent injunction.


The High Court decision has had wide ramifications. First it stopped the Malaysian deal from proceeding because of concerns over human rights standards under S198a of the Construction.. Second It appears from the judgement that no asylum seeker can be shipped offshore before their claims have been determined. Third an unaccompanied minor cannot be deported unless the minister gives written consent. In effect these rulings would prevent the reopening of Nauru under current law.


The Government and Opposition - to their shame - both support "offshore processing" - similar to live beef exports to Indonesia. If offshore processing were to be reintroduced it would be necessary to make legislative change to lower the threshold in relation to human rights.


The Opposition says it would reopen Nauru immediately in office. Impossible. The place is derelict. Second the HC ruling would prevent it.


So, unless both sides agree on the threshold lowering of human rights values, neither will prevail - and a good thing too.

Well - there's never a shortage of news to pad out the columns of this little newsletter. I hope my articles make you think - even challenge your assumptions.

As always - feedback is most welcome. 

Cheers for now
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