Welcome to Australia

Here’s how the Australian government addresses you if you’re rich and have time on your hands.

Here’s how it addresses you if you’re poor and desperate.

It gets worse. The clip below, from the same series, directly addresses Tamils, warning them that Australia has decided that their situation has improved and they’re not likely to receive asylum.

Here’s what Amnesty International says on that subject:

Amnesty International has warned that Sri Lanka remains a region of great insecurity and danger for many people and that there are no grounds for a blanket suspension on claims for asylum by people fleeing persecution in that country.

Amnesty International is calling on the Australian Government to return to the usual process of assessing each claim for asylum on its merits, as thousands of people continue to face a real risk of persecution and abuse in Sri Lanka.


More than 10,000 people, detained for suspected links to the LTTE, remain in detention without charge. As recently as 24 May hundreds of people demonstrated in Vavuniya, demanding that the Sri Lankan government make public the names of detained people and do more to help families trace missing relatives, many of whom, their families claim, were either arrested or abducted.

Amnesty International continues to receive reports that LTTE suspects are being held in secret places of detention and tortured in those facilities. Killings in custody are also alleged. The police and the military have retained their extraordinary powers to arrest and detain individuals for lengthy periods without trial. Torture in detention remains common and enforced disappearances continue to be reported.

If you thought that the asylum debate couldn’t sink any lower, think again. There’s no depths that won’t be plumbed.

Jeff Sparrow

Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley Award-winning writer, broadcaster and former editor of Overland.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Related articles & Essays

Contribute to the conversation

  1. Brought to you by the very same government who gets their information on who is/isn’t a refugee and who is/isn’t a security threat from the Sri Lankan government!

    So I guess I’ll inform my boyfriend’s (Tamil) mother that she imagined all those things she witnessed when she visited her relatives there last year. Or Premakumar Gunaratnam that he imagined being disappeared a mere couple of months ago.

    A plague on both the Labor and Liberal houses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *