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26  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Nobody Wants To Host The 2022 Olympics on: July 14, 2014, 12:44:34 am
No frickin way.

If cities aren't prepared to host the summer Olympics, Melbourne can and will. The only venue that would need to be built is rowing/canoe/kayak, along with the Athlete's village.
27  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: FIFA 2014 World Cup - Official Discussion Thread on: July 14, 2014, 12:18:41 am
Uggghhhhh I managed to seep through my alarm and woke up at 3pm...missing a doctor's appointment. Thanks FIFA Sad
28  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: FIFA 2014 World Cup - Official Discussion Thread on: July 13, 2014, 03:53:24 pm
Well, neither side is looking very much like World Cup champions... but this game is significantly better than the 2010 final.
29  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: FIFA 2014 World Cup - Official Discussion Thread on: July 13, 2014, 03:36:52 pm
About time Higuain was benched
30  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: FIFA 2014 World Cup - Official Discussion Thread on: July 13, 2014, 03:25:11 pm
Because the umpiring is incompetent. Both sides have suffered from it a bit but that was possibly the most ridiculous so far.
31  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: FIFA 2014 World Cup - Official Discussion Thread on: July 13, 2014, 03:17:40 pm
Higuain diving aside... what the F was that, ref? Christ almighty that was a stinker of a decision.
32  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: FIFA 2014 World Cup - Official Discussion Thread on: July 13, 2014, 02:02:16 pm
I can't believe I forgot to pull people up on Italy being the only nation with 4 stars before, but anyway...



Anyway, kickoff! It's 5am here, and I have a cup of team and a warm blanket. Hoping for a good match Smiley
33  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: FIFA 2014 World Cup - Official Discussion Thread on: July 13, 2014, 08:26:03 am
Most Argentians I actually met were very welcoming, including yourself Edu. More about the incidental friendliness, like at a shop or whatever. In Chile, if my Spanish was off, I'd get a friendly laugh; in Uruguay, I'd get an attempt to help... in Argentina I was usually seen as a nuisance Tongue

There were exceptions to the rule, of course, but that was the general difference, and was particularly the case in Buenos Aires, where I suppose tourists are less of an oddity. That said, Corrientes is hardly a touristic city and was full of scowls, Gualeguaychu even less so, and even less friendly... I do love Argentina, and I can't wait to return, but if it came to living in South America I'd head for Chile or Uruguay, and I'm still vaguely disappointed they're not in the final Wink

34  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: FIFA 2014 World Cup - Official Discussion Thread on: July 12, 2014, 02:45:26 am
...that's because the Germans play in the much better Bundesliga.

Anyhoo, cheering on the Netherlands tonight (I need more Brazilian tears) and Argentina in the final. I have a complex view of Argentina and Argentineans, but ultimately I have spent about half a year there all up and it'd be wrong to support anyone else.

When I was in Argentina during the 2006 world cup, I was in a bus terminal in Cordoba (I think, maybe Rosario) along with a couple of hundred Argentineans. The Australia v Japan game was on the TV and absolutely nobody was paying attention besides me. We were down 1-0 around about the 80th minute, and scored, and I went kinda sorta nuts and got a few very odd looks. The we went up 2-1, I went mad again and a few people were laughing and saying "vamo' Australia!", but then we got the third... and the whole place erupted.

Argentines tend to be a relatively unfriendly people (sorry Edu), especially in comparison to the Uruguayans, but that was a great memory. Another top one was being in Cordoba when Argentina won against Cote d'Ivoire in the group stage, and there was essentially a riot.

I'm sure the game means a lot to Germany, and I tend to think anything that boosts nationalism in Argentina is a very bad thing - moreso than in most countries - but ultimately if a few hundred Argentines waiting for busses can embrace the socceroos thanks to some random 18 year old Aussie, it's the least I can do to cheer on the Albiceleste Smiley
35  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Australia General Discussion on: July 11, 2014, 05:59:29 pm
Every few years I get reminded that this exists:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAOSo8XetNo
36  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: The FIFA World Cup tipping competition on: July 11, 2014, 05:51:54 am
I'm going to miss having you back, Lewis :/

Brazil 1-1 Netherlands (if they go for a winner, Netherlands)

Germany 3-1 Argentina
37  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Australia General Discussion on: July 09, 2014, 10:32:25 pm
He also pledged he'd refuse to work with the crossbenchers in the Senate, but that was never going to be upheld and was incredibly dumb from the outset.

Also dumb, he praised the honour of the Japanese in WW2. The Chinese are far from happy about that one, and so should be most Australians.
38  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Australia General Discussion on: July 09, 2014, 10:30:48 pm
There IS a trigger with the carbon tax repeal bills, at least according to Latika Bourke.

And even though Abbott vowed to pull the trigger if the Senate didn't pass the repeal, obviously he won't. Partly because he'd lose the election pretty convincingly, but mainly because they'll pass next week after the House amends the bill to meet with Palmer's demands.
39  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Australia General Discussion on: July 09, 2014, 10:25:04 pm
Actually, they have a trigger, and Abbott has vowed to pull it in the past, so...

...is it too much to dream of a 9 month government?
40  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Australia General Discussion on: July 09, 2014, 09:57:47 pm
The committee report was bythe committee set up by the old senate, in which the numbers were less coalition friendly.

That said, clearly this one isn't friendly either. I'm feeling better about being basically the only person on earth to defend Ricky Muir now Smiley
41  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Australia General Discussion on: July 09, 2014, 12:24:26 pm
http://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=195335.0
42  General Politics / Political Essays & Deliberation / On stopping the boats, refoulement, and Australia, in anger. on: July 09, 2014, 12:23:40 pm
OK, so immigration and asylum laws are complex, and policy is too. My own view is rather nuanced, and I tend to think anyone who is too absolute in the area is kidding themselves and heartless in different ways.

There is one thing that's pretty much absolute, though, and it's called 'Non-Refoulement'.

Basically, it is the core of refugee law and policy, and it has a few different little bits and pieces associated with, but at the core of this core point is this:

YOU CANNOT RETURN PEOPLE TO A PLACE FROM WHICH THEY FLEEWITHOUT ENSURING THAT THEY ARE NOT AT RISK OF PERSECUTION, THE DENIAL OF FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS, OR DEATH, BASED ON RELIGIOUS, ETHNIC, POLITICAL, OR SOCIAL IDENTITY, UNLESS THEY POSE AN UNACCEPTABLE RISK TO THE WELLBEING OF THE COUNTRY TO WHICH THEY FLEE.

...and even then, efforts should be made to send them to a third party state ideally, but nobody really ever bothers with that.

Not everyone who seeks asylum is at risk of persecution. But everyone who seeks asylum has the right to have their claim investigated.

On the one hand, these people did not actually arrive in Australia, although they did enter our area of control (the 'migration zone' is a farce, and in general we should ignore it - if we exercise power over a claimed ocean territory, it comes with being part of the migration zone obviously - but let's accept that it is not), and so it is slightly murkier than if they crossed a land border. Many also originally went to India before embarking en route to Australia, and an argument could be made that India was the first point of refuge, and therefore Australia has no obligation to do anything but return them to India.

Let's be generous to the government, and assume they all went to India first and that was the first point of refuge for all of them, and ignore questions over whether it is a true point of refuge if India hasn't signed the Refugee Convention. So, we're going to be returning them to India, yes?

Problem is, India won't take them. Sure, we could find a way to drop them off there, but the diplomatic repercussions would be exceptional. India's already dealing with a significant number of refugees from pretty much every country in the region, from Burma to Tibet to Afghanistan, alongside Sri Lankan refugees, so I can understand their reticence.

I think everyone agrees we can give the forcing-them-on-India option a pass, so we're left with two options.

1. You process them in your own facilities. My own view is that this should be a reasonably quick process in detention in Australia, but let's accept for a minute that years and years in territories other than those in which they intended to seek asylum is without problems. At the end of the day, Nauru might not be paradise, and it might not be safe, but it is a point of refuge of a sort. Even if it's essentially prison and the denial of rights and freedoms without having committed a crime and with an indefinite period of processing... even if they're children who are self-harming and losing all hope after months and years growing up inside cages...

2. You return them to the country from which they were originally fleeing without adequately processing them.

In essence, we've chosen the second, and attempted to call four questions asked by phone while desperate people were on a ship of war surrounded by people in uniform in the middle of the ocean adequate.

This is an insult to law as much as to morality. But let's even accept that it was adequate (I know, hard to do, but try).

Anyway, Australia chooses to return them to the country from which they are fleeing after we *cough*in-*cough* adequately processed them.

Where they were immediately arrested and put in gaol. Thumbs up!

BUT, of course, they weren't put in gaol for their religious, ethnic, political, or social identity, of course! They were locked up for leaving Sri Lanka through unapproved means! This is totally not about anything else!

So, we've accepted a few things here.

We also haven't dealt with whether or not they pose a significant threat to the wellbeing of Australia, but that'd add another 500 or so words and nobody fully understand these people's particular circumstances or risks, so let's just assume that they may well be threats.

Here's what we've accepted so far:

1. They all left from India.
2. India was the first point of refuge.
3. They did not enter Australia's area of responsibility (even though we exercise power over the area).
4. Even so, we took it upon ourselves to assess their claims.
5. Some, even all, of them may be risks to the wellbeing of Australia.
6. Indefinite offshore detention is a-ok.
7. Even for children.
8. Even for children who are self-harming.
9. We can't just force India to take them.
10. We processed them adequately by asking them four questions on a boat in the middle of the ocean after telling them we would never be offering them asylum in Australia, no matter what.
11. There is no reason to believe that they are at significant risk of persecution in Sri Lanka. Hell, most of them were Sinhalese anyway!
12. When we handed them over to Sri Lanka and they were immediately imprisoned, it was irrelevant to their asylum claims.

Hard to accept a lot of that, but I hope you're still with me.


It's still illegal.


Immoral bordering on evil too, but let's accept that morality has nothing to do with this issue and keep it strictly law.


Under international law, we are required to return a boat in distress to the nearest port, or one of our own ports, or the port from which they departed. I'll admit this isn't an area of expertise for me, but that's the crux of it.

If it wasn't a boat in distress, we boarded a boat with force, against the wishes of the operator of the vessel, and are pirates.



Couldn't resist.

Anyway, basically, even if you turn off your heart and accept a lot of really questionable things, we're still acting illegally. But are we still in breach of our obligation of non-refoulement?

Depends who you ask. If you ask 53 legal scholars from 17 Australian universities, we are. If you ask Scott Morrison, we aren't.

If you believe, as the scholars do, that "Holding asylum seekers on boats in this manner also amounts to incommunicado detention without judicial scrutiny", then yep.

But let's even accept that that's wrong, and we've cleared the legal hurdles.

Here's the Minister:

"This is how you stop the boats. This is how it has to be done because this is what works".

So, the government has stopped the boats. Other than the other one that they're going through all this with at the moment.

Strayya.
43  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Australia General Discussion on: July 09, 2014, 11:16:25 am
There are still people who don't have the troll on ignore?

---------------

To more important matters.

Australia is now returning asylum seekers to the country from which they flee after asking four questions by phone to a boat in the middle of the ocean.

This is a great country, in many ways, but this is making me ashamed of Australia. Immigration and asylum laws are complex, and my own views are very nuanced.

But one thing is absolute - this criminal, immoral, murderous, and deeply, deeply offensive action is not something any Australian should tolerate, and it's not something the rest of the world should, either. Our name should be dragged through the mud and our reputation torn to pieces. Because this action is, unequivocally, evil.
44  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: What AP classes/tests have you taken? on: July 08, 2014, 11:46:54 pm
I took VCE Psychology, English, English Language, International Studies, Politics, and Legal Studies.
45  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: The FIFA World Cup tipping competition on: July 06, 2014, 07:36:28 pm
Brazil 3-1 Germany
Netherlands 1-1 Argentina, Netherlands wins
46  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: The FIFA World Cup tipping competition on: July 05, 2014, 01:20:37 am
Argentina 3-1 Belgium
Netherlands 1-0 Costa Rica
47  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: The FIFA World Cup tipping competition on: July 04, 2014, 03:35:34 am
Germany 1-1 France (Germany advances)
Brazil 2-1 Colombia
48  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: FIFA 2014 World Cup - Official Discussion Thread on: July 01, 2014, 02:28:38 pm
I don't like bringing politics into sport.

BACK TO BACK WORLD WAR CHAMPS

And late to both Roll Eyes
49  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: The FIFA World Cup tipping competition on: June 30, 2014, 11:14:03 pm
Argentina 1-0 Switzerland

Belgium 1-2 USA
50  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: The FIFA World Cup tipping competition on: June 30, 2014, 03:32:54 am
I'm doing better Shocked

France 3-1 Nigeria

Germany 2-0 Algeria
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