POST 1: Creating a data set using secondary sources

by Jessica Avelina Horo

ARTICLE 1 | Asylum seekers and refugees: what are the facts? – Parliament of Australia

The author for “Asylum seekers and refugees: what are the facts?” is Jane Phillips from Social Policy Section. I believe she’s writing for Parliament of Australia to inform and explain about misconceptions about refugees in Australia. The article was written in 2014 but edited again on 2 March 2015. The author’s position in this journal is very neutral, without taking any sides. It is an official journal for government, published for people to read freely. I figured that is why this report has to be as neutral as possible. Phillips talked about how Australian should look and acknowledge refugee and asylum seekers as. For example, she bring the topic about whether the boat arrival is going to be a threat to the national security. Unauthorised boat arrivals have always undergone comprehensive security and health checks. In the datas provided by annual publication from DIBP, we can see the top 5 countries that grants visa for final protection for the refugees. The top 5 countries are Afghanistan, Iran, Srilanka and Iraq.

Upon examining this article and dissecting them carefully, I began to understand what’s with the refugee issues in Australia and how the government explained the situations. The information  and reasoning behind this article is quite reliable – as researchers and experts within their fields have presented relatable datas from official sources.

ARTICLE 2 | Mythbusters Archives – Refugee Council of Australia

This articles were sourced from Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA); a non-profit, non-government organisation, the national umbrella body for refugees and the organisations and individuals who support them. RCOA’s own work is centred around five key areas: policy, support for refugees, support for its members, community education and administration (2013). They provided their own annual report for the organisation, explaining what are they doing, and fix a lot of misguided myth with facts. On the page that explain facts about refugees and asylum seeker, they didn’t provide the author’s name, even though they put the date and year to make it seems up to date. They do belong to a professional body though, as RCOA is a really big organisation trying to raise awareness and support refugees. However, not knowing the author’s name is a bit problematic. If the facts there are not professionally written, it could misguided a lot of readers. I do appreciate they quote some information from scholarly articles so that they are more creditable and trustworthy. I probably classified this article as quite biased, because they are an organisation supporting refugees, they won’t giving you information about what the disadvantages of having refugees. They will only provide trustworthy information from one side. I do agree with how the authors informs us about the whole situation about refugee in Australia and how they support them, however I recommend to read more scholarly resources to get a broader understanding of this issue.

ARTICLE 3 | Australia increasingly out of step on refugees. Is it time to change? – Anthony Sharwood

The writer of this article is a Walkley-award winner and author, Anthony Sharwood, who has worked in magazines, papers and digital. He wrote this for, Australia’s number one site which already reaches over 5.5m Australians delivering extensive breaking news and national interest stories. I think Anthony wrote this article in response to give a different view to the readers to refugee issues in Australia. He started first by comparing Australia to Germany in response to the refugee issues, how did Australia became totally hostile, and examining our assumptions about the issue. I found that this article gives Anthony’s view to the world, not to keep looking refugees badly, but he also based them with researches. I agree with the author as there’s no criminal wants to cross the border by using leaking boats that usually end up nowhere. Anthony’s point of view is not common in Australia, as people still blinded by the media that trying to give a bad image to refugees. In the end of the article, Anthony tried to convince us if we still reject those who seeks help from Australia is the wrong thing. These words in the article are supported by factual opinion by important people in Australia, they make the readers to reconsider their opinions again towards this issue.

ARTICLE 4 | Self-immolation: desperate protests against Australia’s detention regime – Ben Doherty

Ben Doherty, the writer of this article, shows us factual news about Australia’s detention centre in Nauru. It is in a terrible condition and the massive camps are sealed off from external scrutiny. The entire nation of Nauru is essentially off-limits to foreign journalists. But information has leaked out, detailing a litany of abuses, sexual assaults and deprivations in Australia’s island camps. The writer writes this post on 3rd of May, 2016 which means it is not long ago these accidents happened. Ben Doherty is journalist/foreign correspondent on The Guardian in Australia. He showed us what happened in those detention centre, facts that people not knowing about and the government tried to hide. This is a factual news right from Nauru’s detention centre, where self harms and suicide attempts happened daily there. I don’t think there’s a particular bias in the articles, as they only tried to provide us facts from reliable sources. They also provide images to give a bit of image what’s happening now, whom is he talking about and how’s the response from the protester’s side. This article is great as it is not just showing general facts and other people’s opinion about the issue, but it was also providing stories from the refugees itself right from Nauru’s detention centre. So that we can see clearly the brutal reality of Australia’s offshore detention regime.

ARTICLE 5 | A life in limbo: the refugees who fled torture only to end up trapped indefinitely on Manus – Ben Doherty

Another article written by Ben Doherty on 5th September, 2015 about refugee’s life in Manus Detention Centre, Papua New Guinea. Ben Doherty is a reporter for Guardian Australia. He is a former foreign correspondent for the Guardian, covering south-east Asia, and for the Sydney Morning Herald, reporting across south Asia. He is twice a Walkley award winner for his foreign reporting. Not only just factual research and opinions from the writer himself, but the article also provides Manus Island refugees telling their stories in a video. The author has written about this issue before for a couple of times, focusing on refugees condition in detention centre. I believe I can classify this article as a well-written article based on primary research. They mentioned that over a week on Manus island, Guardian Australia meets nearly a dozen refugees. Some come confidently: anxious to speak publicly about their lives, in particular, about the Groundhog Day of their detention in the “transit centre” from where there is no transit. So that these stories are based on real stories directly from the victim in this issue. The author clearly disagree with how the government treat the refugees, by putting them in detention centre until no time limit and they are just wandering and caged in an island. I also agree with how the author describing this tragedy.


Reference List:

Asylum seekers and refugees: what are the facts?, Parliament of Australia. viewed 5 August 2016, <;.

Doherty, B. 2015, A life in limbo: the refugees who fled torture only to end up trapped indefinitely on Manus, the Guardian. viewed 4 August 2016, <;.

Doherty, B. 2016, Self-immolation: desperate protests against Australia’s detention regime, the Guardian. viewed 5 August 2016, <;.

Mythbusters Archives – Refugee Council of Australia n.d., Refugee Council of Australia. viewed 5 August 2016, <;.

Sharwood, A. 2015, Is it time for Australia to change its hard-line stance on asylum seekers?, NewsComAu. viewed 3 August 2016, .


Refugee equals terrorism?

Blog 1

Giving Asylum Seekers a Fair Go

The article How Australia should deal with asylum seekers (2016) by Eva Orner and Steve Glass is a thorough research presenting the statistics on Australia’s participation on providing new homes and protection toward refugees. Judging by their profiles, both writers are actively engage with refugees and have a passion to stand for the right of asylum seekers. Orner is an Academy & Emmy award Australian film maker and her recent film ‘Chasing Asylum‘ is screening in cinema now while Glass is a partner in a law firm who also has a huge role in The Asylum Seeker Centre in Sydney.

This article reveals how Australian has made the asylum seeker resettlement a big problem to the country, yet Australia only welcomes 3% of the total global asylum seekers. The idea of boat people invading Australian is only manufactured by politicians.

Australia doesn’t feature anywhere near the top 10, or even the top 30 most generous countries – not even when you repeat the calculation on a per capita or per dollar basis. 

Eva aims to bring new hope and spirit for refugees that have been neglected and mistreated in Nauru Island and at the same time inspires us to take an action as an individual to battle the prejudice toward asylum seekers.  The facts and thorough information presented in this article have successfully convinced me to take side on her view. Glass also underlined that the government failed to fulfil the promise to increase the refugee intake. I agree that Australian Government should practice more humane policy to asylum seekers by giving them a fair go.


Turning Away Refugees Won’t Fight Terrorism

My next article titled Turning away refugees won’t fight terrorism, and might make it worse (2016) is written by Nick Stockton who is a regular contributor for WIRED magazine. Looking at his past articles, Stockton’s writing explores various ideas on how technology can shape many aspects in politics, social and environment. The title itself is quite provoking and Nick further extends it by questioning the American’s response to Paris’s bomb attack that involved Syrian refugees. Syrian passport holders are now officially blocked to enter American border. Nick challenges the to practically think about whether such action will stop terrorism.

The article is  supported with well conducted research and observation on recent world situations He has conducted several interviews with researchers and psychologists that have a great deal of experience in refugees.

Judging by the choice of the wording, Nick heavily downplays on American bureaucracy. I agree that not all refugees are criminal and dangerous, the mindset and response each individual has toward a certain situation, in this case asylum seeker is very unique and beyond human control. However, Stockton successfully brought this matter into light and opened a new perspective on how we should perceive asylum seekers.


Who Is to Blame?

Published in Herald Sun Melbourne my next article Muslim migration in France opens door to terror has a totally opposite view from the previous article that heavily takes side on refugees. This article is written by Andrew Bolt, who has been a permanent writer, journalist and editor for quite a long time. Bolt emphasises that the roots of terrorism are due to the openness of European countries when it comes to welcoming Muslim refugees from Middle East countries. He provides a statistic of a huge population of Muslims In France and Greece due to the growing intake of refugees. This action, by his judgement, has led the European countries’ safety into jeopardy and calls for reconsidering their immigration policy.

This article is quite biased because he links the attack happened in Australia involving Muslim refugees with general Muslims residing in Europe. He directly blames Muslims as the main cause of terrorism, even though he mentioned that not all Muslims are dangerous in some part of his overwhelming response toward terrorism in Europe. His harsh tone has worsened the stigma toward Muslims This Islam-phobia means the journey for Muslim refugees seeking protection will be a lot harder than it is now.


Welcome Refugees

The next article falls into editorial by Kon Karapanagiotios, the founder and chief executive of The Asylum Seeker Centre in Australia. Titled Time to embrace the potential refugee offers Australia tells a story of his struggle as a migrant who did not speak  a single word of English. His story is a wake up call which reminds us that refugees are just normal people like us and deserves to be treated respectfully and with dignity. The article is a true story, leaving quite a biased tone from Kon on how he views Australia Government and its treatment toward refugees.

‘I Came By Boat’ campaign to support refugees and migrants.

Kon aims to correct the misperception of refugees coming to Australia to seek prosperity when they actually risk prosecution in their home country. He underlined the fear of invasion from boat people has no base. The fact that Australian Government did not give refugees an access to school and work raise a question how they can steal jobs.  His article has sad and desperate tone, however Kon encourages us to view refugees and multiculturalism from a positive angle. Even though the rejection of refugees is still high, I believe there is so much potential and contribution they could offer when the opportunity is given.


Security Issue

This article Folly of treating all refugees as would-be terrorists solves neither problem (2016) demonstrating the connection between Muslim refugees and the fear of terrorism that follows. Refugees at the moment is one of the biggest concern throughout the world especially with the war in the Middle East countries which seems to reach no end. This journal is written by Michael Humpley, a professor of Sociology and Social Policy from the University of Sydney. Looking at his previous researches, Humpley has done numerous articles on social change in specificly refugees, multiculturalism, law and human rights. His article explores Muslim cultural identity and past terrorism attack by ISIS that has lead to reluctant behaviour of many countries to welcome Muslim refugees.

In his opinion, Australia’s strategy to complicate asylum seeker requirements to enter this country is not the solution to stop terrorism and highlights that refugees matter and counter terrorism should fall in the same space.

By offering only temporary residence and making Australia a less attractive destination, it makes deterrence the aim of the entire refugee program.

This article provides a very detailed information where Humpleyl links his argument to relevant international news and his research on ‘Islam in West’. His tone is quite subtle yet his stance argument on defending refugees has bring this issue to light. Whilst I agree the prejudice against refugees should reconcile with the bitter stigmatisation of Muslim to create a possibly more opens policy, it appears that the tough asylum seeker policy is unlikely to change.


Flooded with controversial views on refugees that I originally knew nothing about, has now motivated me to dig deeper into this matter. The problem of unbalance number of global refugees and the resettlement place has hit the roof and I believe this is not something that a country should deal alone, whether it is happening in Australia or Europe. Our world is connected deeply, what happen in the other side of the border will resonates here. We are facing a serious international problem and should unite to continue to tackle this from every angle.



Glass, E. 2016, How Australia should deal with asylum seekers and refugees, The Sydney Morning Herald. viewed 5 August 2016, <;

Stockton, N. 2016, Closing US borders to Syrian refugees probably won’t keep terrorists out, and might breed new ones, WIRED. viewed 5 August 2016, <;

Bolt, A. 2016, Muslim migration lets in terror 2016, viewed 5 August 2016, <;

Karapanagiotidis, K. 2016, Time to embrace the potential refugees offer Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald. viewed 5 August 2016, <;

Humpley, M. 2016, Folly of treating all refugees as would-be terrorists solves neither problem, The Conversation. viewed 5 August 2016, <;


Post 2: On Australians’ attitudes to asylum seekers and the nature of evil

by Erland Howden

Following my news media research into the issue of asylum seekers and refugees, two themes emerged that I wanted to pursue in more depth with a review of scholarly articles.

First, public attitudes toward refugees and asylum seekers, looking at what drives people to develop their views and what might be contributing to the dehumanisation of people fleeing war and persecution. Second, I wanted to pick up the thread of the discussion around ethics and personal responsibility that McLoughlin (2016) touched on in his New Matilda article, The Banality of Peter Dutton.

Not all negative: Macro justice principles predict positive attitudes towards asylum seekers in Australia, Anderson J., Stuart A. and Rossen I. – Australian Journal of Psychology, 2015

Anderson, Stuart and Rossen (2015) published an article in the Australian Journal of Psychology that unpacks the first issue in a very interesting way. In my research I discovered a number of articles (eg. Trounson et al, 2015) that dealt with the psychological drivers of negative attitudes toward asylum seekers, but Anderson, et al (2015) was the first I could find that took an alternative approach and sought to find what could be a predictor of positive attitudes toward asylum seekers.

What is pertinent to highlight in the first place is that the authors declare in their conclusion a specific intent for their research to contribute to the “development of communication designed to reduce prejudice towards asylum seekers.” As a visual communication designer with an interest in changing Australia’s negative attitudes and treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, this highlighted for me that I was potentially a key part of the intended audience for the research.

The more widely published psychological research around attitudes toward asylum seekers, as discussed by the authors, centres around suggesting

“that prejudice is derived from threat- and competition-based dual processes, which relate to authoritarianism and traditionalism (i.e., right-wing authoritarianism, RWA; Altemeyer, 1981), and hierarchy and inequality (i.e., social dominance orientation, SDO; Sidanius & Pratto, 1999), respectively.” (Anderson et al, 2015)

However, the authors of this study have identified that macro justice principles – in other words, “the belief in equal distribution of resources across a society” are potentially a stronger predictor of positive attitudes toward asylum seekers than SDO or RWA are of negative attitudes. The caveat to this conclusion, aside from some common considerations such as sample size, is that the study sample was undergraduate psychology students from an Australian university. Given the conclusions, it bears considering this research with a sample more representative of the broader Australian population, but in the context of Visual Communication and Emergent Practices with its focus on a youth audience, this research provides an excellent starting point for consideration of design and communication interventions that could have a positive impact on Australian attitudes toward asylum seekers and refugees.

Are Arendt’s Reflections on Evil Still Relevant?, Bernstein, R. – The Review of Politics, 2008

On the second theme that emerged from my news media review of this issue – ethical consideration of the nature of Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers and refugees – I uncovered a discussion of Hannah Arendt’s reflections on evil in the recent context of large refugee and stateless persons populations by Richard Bernstein (2008) in The Review of Politics. To first contextualise this paper, it assumes a basic knowledge of Hannah Arendt and her writing – Arendt was the New York Times journalist who coined the phrase “the banality of evil” in describing the character and actions of Adolf Eichmann, from her observations at his trial as a Nazi war criminal in Jerusalem in 1961 and subsequently wrote at length on the nature of evil, genocide and human rights. What is particularly relevant about Arendt’s writing to today’s context, as Bernstein (2008) points out, is that she discussed “the emergence of masses of refugees” as “one of the most intractable problems of the twentieth century.”

This paper brings into sharp relief two aspects of the refugee and asylum seeker issue in the Australian context that I found highly compelling.

First, that asylum seekers are uniquely vulnerable, sometimes as stateless people, not just to the horrors of their initial persecution or the perils of their journey to seek asylum but vulnerable also to abuse, mistreatment and the denial of dignity through their lack of belonging to a “political community that will protect and guarantee one’s rights as a citizen.”

“This is the condition where one becomes superfluous – a situation that is at once precarious and extremely dangerous. This is why Arendt argued that the most fundamental right is “the right to have rights”…” (Bernstein, 2008)

Second, the foundation of decisions and responsibility of political decision-makers that have overseen the torture, abuse, mistreatment and arguably internationally unlawful internment of asylum seekers, particularly in Australia’s offshore detention centres. Indeed, to extend the question, considering why the conditions themselves or the subsequent categorisation by a UN body of Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers as torture, did not result in, for example, mass resignations from the Department of Immigration and the cancellation of contracts to manage the detention facilities by private contractors. Here, I think it bears quoting Bernstein (2008) directly in one of his concluding paragraphs:

“This is the primary lesson of the banality of evil. One does not have to be a monster, a sadist, or a vicious person to commit horrendously evil deeds. Normal people in their everyday lives, “decent citizens,” even respectable political leaders, who are convinced of the righteousness of their cause, can commit monstrous deeds. The bureaucratic and technological conditions of modernity make this phenomenon a much more likely and dangerous possibility. But, as Arendt emphasizes, this does not mitigate the accountability and responsibility of those who commit such deeds. Arendt wants us to confront honestly the “paradox” that even though normal persons may commit horrendous deeds without deliberate intention, they are, nevertheless, fully responsible for these deeds and must be held accountable.” (Bernstein, 2008)

McLoughlin, L. 2016, ‘The Banality Of Peter Dutton’, New Matilda, 25 May, viewed 30 July 2016, <>.

Anderson, J.R., Stuart, A. & Rossen, I. 2015, ‘Not all negative: Macro justice principles predict positive attitudes towards asylum seekers in Australia’, Australian Journal of Psychology, vol. 67, no. 4, pp. 207-213.

Trounson, J.S., Critchley, C. & Pfeifer, J.E. 2015, ‘Australian attitudes toward asylum seekers: roles of dehumanization and social dominance theory’, Social Behavior and Personality, vol. 43, no. 10, pp. 1641-1655.

Bernstein, R.J. 2008, ‘Are Arendt’s Reflections on Evil Still Relevant?’, The Review of Politics, vol. 70, no. 1, pp. 64-D.

Post 1: asylum seekers and refugees – a humanitarian issue

by Erland Howden

The Banality Of Peter Dutton, Liam McLoughlin – New Matilda

Writing in New Matilda, McLoughlin (2016) is positioned with a strongly negative view of current Australian government policies toward asylum seekers and refugees. New Matilda has a history of reporting on refugee issues with a perspective anchored on the ‘left’ of progressive liberal media. Additionally, this article in particular makes explicit reference to an opinion piece published some days before in the same publication by David Berger (2016) concerning the “case for comparing elements of Australian asylum seeker policy with aspects of Nazi Germany.” Liam McLoughlin extends this line of thought to an analysis of Hannah Arendt’s reflections on evil as they apply to the foundation of decisions and responsibility of political decision-makers that have overseen Australia’s offshore detention regime. The crux of the discussion is the idea of thoughtless evil – the inability, or unwillingness, of decision-makers to think critically about the actual human impact, and suffering, of their actions. This then extends to the responsibility of the population that supports or ‘allows’ these conditions to persist,

“in the Australian context, barring notable exceptions like the refugee movement and the Greens, these crimes are “accepted, routinised and implemented without moral revulsion and political indignation and resistance”.” McLoughlin (2016)

Australians want boat arrivals treated more harshly: poll, Philip Dorling – The Age

McLoughlin (2016), discussed above, in discussion about the Australian population’s support of the monstrous treatment of asylum seekers, references an opinion poll from January 2014, which suggested Australians wanted some asylum seekers treated even more harshly than they were at the time. Philip Dorling (2014) covered this poll for The Age newspaper and broke down additional findings of the poll which give insight into why these views might be held and by whom. This article is much more like a list of facts than some of the other pieces I considered, but what is obscured by the straight-forward reporting is who commissioned, as opposed to conducted, the polling as well as the position served by the selection, ordering and positioning of information within the article and its place in the newspaper.

The key findings of the opinion poll being reported by this article were that “A strong majority of Australians, 60 per cent, also want the Abbott government to “increase the severity of the treatment of asylum seekers,” and that “59 per cent of people think most boat arrivals are not genuine refugees.”

There are two issues to unpack here.

First, bearing in mind offshore detention centres and their attendant abusive conditions were in full operation in January 2014, with Scott Morrison as Immigration Minister, this constitutes an indication, at the very least, that if asked in a certain way, most people in Australia condoned punitive treatment of individuals who have not been convicted of any crime.

Second, that these views can be very likely linked to false perceptions that people arriving by boat seeking asylum are not genuine refugees – the article goes on to state that “between 70 per cent and 97 per cent of asylum seekers arriving by boat at different times have been found to be genuine refugees.”

The worst I’ve seen – trauma expert lifts lid on ‘atrocity’ of Australia’s detention regime, Ben Doherty and David Marr – The Guardian

“In my entire career of 43 years I have never seen more atrocity than I have seen in the incarcerated situations of Manus Island and Nauru.”

This extended report (Doherty & Marr 2016), detailing the account of Manus Island and Nauru immigration detention centres by Paul Stevenson, a trauma expert, gets to the heart of the conditions Australia imposes on asylum seekers detained in offshore facilities by exposing the practical details of the abusive conditions and the mental state of detainees. It also goes to the question of how staff at these facilities can oversee this abusive operation on a daily basis, providing insight into the dehumanising working conditions they are employed under which contributes to a culture where neglect and abusive can thrive.

Importantly, The Guardian details up front in this report the bias and position of the source of this report, as well as the professional expertise that enables him to provide the information. Paul Stevenson is documented in the article as president of a branch of political party, the Australian Democrats, and it is acknowledged that the context in which Stevenson decided to come forward was during an election campaign in which he was a candidate.

“The impact that it has over time on the asylum seeker is … a kind of demoralisation syndrome… they have no control over their lives, so people relinquish control, and they vegetate, they start to get into this dissociative vegetative state that we know is very common with trauma, and then everything suffers.” – Paul Stevenson (Doherty & Marr 2016)

UN lashes Australian ‘contempt and hostility’ toward asylum seekers, Michael Gordon – The Sydney Morning Herald

This article by Michael Gordon (2015) in the Sydney Morning Herald details the comments by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the precipitating report by Amnesty International that both condemn in strong terms the Australian treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.

In referencing this article, it is worth considering the history of the Sydney Morning Herald’s coverage of this issue, which I would characterise as chequered insofar as they have editorialised against some of the most egregious examples of treatment of asylum seekers, but supported the government’s policies, or propaganda, at other points.

The significance of the comments reported in this article should not be understated. As a signatory of the Charter of the United Nations, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Refugee Convention, Australia has specific international responsibilities which it stands accused of neglecting, even as it neglects individual asylum seekers.

“The comments by Mr Zeid follow his accusation that Australia has committed a “chain of human rights violations” in its treatment of asylum seekers when he became the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights last September. They come after Australia was singled out for stinging criticism in a report by Amnesty International proposing a “paradigm shift” in the response of world leaders to “the worst refugee crisis of our era”.” (Gordon 2015)

Fleeing through the eye of a needle, Bülent Kiliç – AFP Correspondent

The final news item I’m looking at here, from AFP Correspondent, is a photo essay from June 2015 documenting one point in the exodus of people fleeing Syria at the Turkish border. Kiliç (2015) describes his first-hand observations at a point on the border that was closed near the Syrian town of Tal Abyad.

“Things started to take a dramatic turn on Saturday, June 13. We were driving near the border searching for refugees, when we heard that a lot of people had appeared near the crossing in Akcakale. We headed there to see a huge crowd massing in a field in the scorching heat – with Turkish forces using water jets and firing shots in the air to keep them from the fence.”

This article is a useful counterpoint to the other perspectives here because it provides the context of a view from the point where people are fleeing. Kiliç (2015) goes on to document the appearance of ISIS fighters who tried to corral people back to the closest Syrian town and how people “came flocking right back” once they had left. The flashpoint of the photoessay is when people finally start breaking through the border fence and people on the Turkish side rush to their aid, documented through the dramatic images showing children being passed through fences and people crushing through and over barbed and razor wire barriers.


Featured image: Kiliç, B. 2015, Fleeing through the eye of a needle, AFP Correspondent, viewed 1 Aug 2016, <;.

McLoughlin, L. 2016, ‘The Banality Of Peter Dutton’, New Matilda, 25 May, viewed 30 July 2016, <>.

Berger, D. 2016, ‘It’s Okay To Compare Australia In 2016 With Nazi Germany, And Here’s Why’, New Matilda, 22 May, viewed 30 July 2016, <>.

Dorling, P. 2014, ‘Australians want boat arrivals treated more harshly: poll’, The Age, 8 Jan, viewed 29 July 2016, < more-harshly-poll-20140108-30g97.html>.

Doherty, B. & Marr, D. 2016, ‘The worst I’ve seen – trauma expert lifts lid on ‘atrocity’ of Australia’s detention regime’, The Guardian, 20 Jun, viewed 29 July 2016, <>.

Gordon, M. 2015, ‘UN lashes Australian ‘contempt and hostility’ toward asylum seekers’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 Jun, viewed 28 July 2016, <>.

Kiliç, B. 2015, ‘Fleeing through the eye of a needle’, AFP Correspondent, 15 Jun, viewed 1 Aug 2016, <>.

Post 2 – Scholarly Secondary Sources

Professor Gillian Triggs is the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission and prior to this she had several other roles including Dean of the Faculty of Law, Challis Professor of International Law at University of Sydney (2007-12), Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (2005-07), Barrister with Seven Wentworth Chambers and a Governor of the College of Law. In this article she focuses on the concerns about Australia’s mandatory immigration detention system, conveying the Human Rights Commission into this matter and the stance taken.

Triggs’ article recounts personal experiences of visiting these detention centres, giving vivid detail on the prison like state of many facilities. She seeks to remind us of who asylum seekers are, and how these facilities can have a great impact on the physically and mentally. However her ongoing association with the Human Rights Commission, how they’ve have ‘raised concerns over many years’ and ‘work to promote and protect the human rights of people held in detention through a number of functions’ conveyed this tone that they are doing all that they can. Whilst I agree that the Human Rights Commission serves an important role, I feel that they hold a great deal of power in regards tot his issue cane canon simply keep accusing the government. In a sense i simplify the issue to be along that lines of ‘we want to do something and believe that we should but can’t’. 

Linda Leung, Cath Finney Lamb and Liz Emrys article also explores the living conditions within mandatory detention centres but hones in on the aspect of technology. Unlike many scholarly articles around this issue, this article is very specific in its focus and thus unveils detailed insights into the role of technology in marginalised communities.

They highlight the role of technology across the three settings of displacement, detention and settlement as a means of keeping in contact with family and loved ones. Conversely through personal refugee stories they show how the lack of access to technology can act as a deterrent to maintaining well being, and often causes emotional distress through uncertainty and isolation. This article stands as a factual piece exploring the laws, policies and use of technology. However through the personal tone, the authors are able to raise this need to challenge the existing system and provide access to technology for communication. Critically looking at the existing detention centre, they identify the mistreatment of refugees and asylum seekers, much like Triggs’ articles. However their exploration of the role of communication in the journey of a refugee is articulate well, presenting all sides to develop a cohesive argument.


Triggs, G. 2013, Why we need an end to mandatory detention, Refugee and Asylum Seekers: Finding a better way, pp.38-41.

Leung, L. Lamb, C. &  Emrys, L. 2009,The use of technology by Asylum Seekers and Refugees, Technology’s Refugee, pp.1-43.

Blog Post 2: The Causation between the Australian Media, Government and our ‘Refugee Crisis’.

Wallman, S. (2014)

Refugee Council of Australia, October 2015

This discussion paper by the Refugee Council of Australia highlights the discriminatory behaviors of the Australian immigration department. The council is an independent non-for profit organization that works as an umbrella body for refugees and the organizations and individuals who support them. The paper pulls apart flaws within the immigration department’s bureaucratic system, designed to stall the completion of citizenship applications of eligible refugees indefinitely. Through extensive case studies, RCOA understand these delays disproportionally affect those who arrived in Australia by boat and raise concern over the psychological, economic and social impact of being in this state of limbo. The paper concludes with a number of recommendations, namely clarification of any policy changes in regards to citizenship applications, urging the minister for immigration to process these applications and to grant rightful citizenship to stateless refugee children who were born in Australia.


Leach, M. “Disturbing practices”

Michael Leach is a Professor in Politics and International Relations and on the Chair of the Department of Educational and Social Sciences at the Swinburne Institute for Social Research in Melbourne.

This academic paper reflects on the federal campaign of 2001 as one of the defining moment that shaped the current political climate. Leach suggests that during the campaign, the Australian media and government dehumanised refugees as ‘political problems’ and used racialised rhetoric to depict them as people so disconnected from  ‘Australian values’  that they were unworthy of our protection.  Leach reflects on how these misrepresentations were paralleled by the introduction of the Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) in Australia (October 1999), a policy that excluded refugees from permanent protection in Australia. It led to insecurity and isolation through the denial of access to Commonwealth Government settlement services – such as English classes, housing assistance and migrant resource centre resource schemes. In the last two decades, issues of refugees and immigration have significantly shaped the political climate of Australia. This paper brings to light the manner in which racism is institutionalised not only within our society and government but also within our laws.

At times in the article it’s difficult to assess whether Leach has approached this a biased manner, because although grounded in case studies and references, data can be shaped in order to give substance to an argument. Through this ambiguity I realised that as  a researcher,  it’s of the upmost importance to critique any source or information on its authenticity and accuracy.

Article One: Refugee Council of Australia,. Delays In Citizenship Applications For Permanent Refugee Visa Holders. Sydney: N.p., 2015. Print.

Article Two: Leach, M. ” Disturbing practices”: dehumanising asylum seekers in the refugee” crisis” in Australia, 2001-2002.” Refuge 21, no. 3 (2003): 25-33.

Image: Wallman, S. 2014, Overland Journal, Issue 2016.


Blog Post 1: The Power of the Media

Wallman, S. (2016)

Media Representations and Public Perceptions of Asylum Seekers and Refugees.

The purpose of the media is to inform and shape public opinions. The Australian media and government has played a pivotal role in the shaping the current political climate in relation to refugee and asylum seekers.  This blog post explores some of the different attitudes and perspectives of various media sources.


Article One:  Decline in press freedom prevents reporters from joining Chris Kenny on Nauru by Paul Farrell (The Guardian)

The Guardian is a left leaning publication which is openly anti-detention centers. The author, Paul Farrell has written numerous articles on the politics of refugees and asylum seekers and co-founded the Detention Logs website which publishes data, documents and investigations within the conditions of Australia’s immigration detention centres.

In this opinion article, Farrell presents the idea that in a democratic country, the government should be transparent about its policies and political structures, and criticizes the governments policy to prevent media access to the refugee camps.  He discusses how the government has made the camps ‘virtual media blackouts’, noting that Chris Kenny, a journalist infamous for his conservative views on immigration, was the only journalist who had been allowed access at the date the article was written. It outlines the implications of restricting media access to detention centres. Not only do they allow governments and organisations to hide the true conditions of these camps, but they further contribute to the dehumanisations of refugees and perpetuate complacency within the Australian public.

Farrell’s position on media blackouts in detention centres is relatively commonly held among progressive media outlets in Australia, which usually oppose the culture of secrecy around detention centres and refugee policy.


Article Two: Inside Nauru’s Detention Centre (A Current Affair, Channel 9)

A Current Affair is a tabloid television program that’s aired on Channel 9, infamous for its voyeuristic tabloid stories. Tabloid media programs are motivated by a desire to entertain viewers, often producing stories that contain limited original journalism, often appealing to the public’s morbid curiosity.

Although this was the first time a camera crew has ever been permitted to enter Nauru, the program doesn’t break any news. At times it attempts to presents refugees as ‘well looked after’, and presents the view of Nauruan government officials that echo this perspective. At other times, however, the program shows the squalid living conditions of asylum seekers who live in tents within the camp, supporting the view that intention of the show as voyeuristic. The program seems to be poorly planned and lacks a coherent structure, which is emphasised by random shots of furniture inside refugees’ houses juxtaposed with women talking about their experiences of sexual abuse.

Although it isn’t overtly biased in its approach – the message of the program is unclear and contradictory – ACA take a soft approach to reporting on the detention centres, and don’t seek to expose any new information. Their position would seem to support the government’s position and perhaps this explains why they were the only media crew permitted access to Nauru.


Article Three: Crisis Point by Waleed Aly (The Project, Network Ten)

 The Project is an Australian news-current affairs television panel program which airs on Network Ten. The reporter of this particular segment is Waleed Aly, an Australian media presenter and co-hosts the show. In addition to his role in the program, Aly is a staff member and lecturer at Monash University and works in the Global Terrorism Research Centre. As a host of the program, he frequently presents a segment which covers topics that are considered progressive, however it does not make him an expert on the subject of refugees.

Though the show airs on Network Ten the format of Aly’s reporting – which presents an editorial perspective on topical issues in the news – lends itself to sharing on social media. As a result, much of the engagement with the show occurs online and it therefore attracts a younger audience.

The report, Crises Point aired after two asylum seekers self-immolated on Nauru. It focused particularly on Peter Dutton’s comments that these actions were unrelated to the conditions within the immigration detention centres and were merely an attempt to manipulate the Australian Government policy on allowing asylum seekers to gain entry to Australia.

Aly points out the absurdity of Dutton’s claim, saying:

‘does anyone really think that any country is that great that it’s worth setting yourself on fire for… people only do this when they reach a point of complete desperation’. Stressing that ‘pushing asylum seekers to the point of desperation is part of the game plan… whatever these people are fleeing we must offer them something worse, it’s the very logic of the policy’.


Article Four: Sonia Kruger wrong on Muslims, but has right to express herself’ by Sharri Markson (The Australian)

Sharri Markson is a senior writer at the newspaper ‘The Australian’. Her opinion piece on Sonia Kruger’s recent comments regarding Muslim immigration reflects a current trend in a lot of Australian media which tries to link our refugee policies with acts of terrorism. The Australian is a conservative newspaper and has consistently contributed to the narrative that treats refugees as a security threat. Markson has no history of writing comprehensive articles on refugees and thus this seems like more of an opinion piece rather than one based on factual information.

Markson’s article attempts to legitimise this perspective by referring to recent acts of terrorism committed by Islamic extremists in France, Bali and the US, and link these attacks to immigration, specifically refugees.

The article deflects allegations of racism/islamophobia against Kruger and states that ‘the television presenter should not be howled down for expressing a view that is not entirely without basis’. This is a clever rhetorical device, often used by conservative media, to close down debates regarding Australia’s refugee policies or institutionalised racism, and instead transform the debate into one about free speech. The article makes a number of unsubstantiated claims like, ‘There is a clear link between immigration and terrorism’ and ‘a record number of Jewish citizens are fleeing [France]’, without providing any statistical (or other) evidence for these.


Article Five: Hazara refugees take Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to Federal Court over citizenship application delays (Lateline)

Lateline is one of ABC’s flagship current affairs shows. This short report focuses on the struggles of a Hazara refugee to obtain citizenship after having been granted refugee status, settled in Australia, and passed the Australian citizenship test. The ABC is a government funded media outlet that often runs credible and well-researched news reports and updates on refugees.

The report presents the legal obstacles faced by refugees living outside detention centres. The interviews in the report suggest that these delays have increased substantially since policy changes under the Rudd government in 2013. According to the Department of Immigrations, the delays are supposedly due to lengthy background checks being performed on refugees prior to granting their citizenship, reflecting the treatment of refugees as a security threat.

The piece is a human interest-based story that provides a factual account of refugees’ experiences and  legal difficulties in order to the position taken by Lateline that there has unjust treatment of these individuals by the immigration department and the legal system.



Article 1: Farrell, P. 2016. 
Decline in press freedom prevents reporters from joining Chris Kenny on Nauru. The Guardian, 26th October 2015.

Article 2: A Current Affair, “Inside Nauru’s Detention Centre”, Channel Nine, aired June 20, 2016.

Article 3: The Project, “Crises Point Written by Waleed Aly, Network Ten, aired May 5, 2016.

Article 4: Markson, S. ‘Sonia Kruger wrong on Muslims, but has right to express herself’. The Australian, 18th July, 2016.

Article 5: Lateline, “Hazara refugees take Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to Federal Court over citizenship application delays” Written by Jason Om, Directed by the Australian Broadcasting Centre, Aired July 6 2016.

Image: Wallman, S 2015, Refugee Action Collective Victoria, Viewed 27 August, 2016 <flyer>

Refugee and Asylum Seekers in Australia (Post 2)

The first article “Refugee and Humanitarian Issues” was published by department of immigration and citizenship which belong to Australia government. It is a public government organization, they are can be trustworthy.

屏幕快照 2016-08-16 1.06.22 AMThis scholarly article was written for celebrate 55 years since Australia signed the Refugee Convention, Australia is the sixth country to sign the Refugee Convention, Since then, Australia have made a major contributions around the world for refugees. After World War II, refugees are living in Australia about seven million people. The purpose of this article is important in order to strengthen relationship between the UNHCR and Australia, share expertise, this article also describes the role of Australia in the international protection and humanitarian programs. This article also has addressed adjusting to a new life in Australia – assistance for humanitarian visa holders, Australia government keep help refugees and asylum seekers life after they are arriving this island. For humanitarian program, the article points two important functions which are protection to people already in Australia who are found to be refugees according to the Refugees Convention, and resettlement in Australia for people overseas who are in the greatest need of humanitarian assistance.

The second article is “A New Approach. Breaking the Stalemate Refugees and Asylum Seekers”, It was written by John Menadue. Arja Keski-Nummi and Kate Gauthier. The main points of this article is describe refugees and asylum who are arriving Australia after the second world war, Australia’s has been helped them. Authors are outline five principles for refugee and asylum seeker policy, which are restructuring the debate on national security and asylum, engaging fully within the region, refocusing Australia’s offshore humanitarian program, creating a new approach to asylum policy in Australia and reallocating funds to the initial settlement needs of refugees. Authors also using graph to support their ideas of an international issue about refugee situation in global, those graph are showing how many refugees in the world and where are they come from, most refugees are from Asia Pacific to Australia, because Australia has signed the Refugee Convention in region. The humanitarian program also play an important role in this article, they think Australia should have more strategic about how resettlement refugee. In this article, authors has give many helpful recommendations for how to solve and help refugee and asylum seeker in Australia.


Australia’s Response, 2009, ‘Refugee and Humanitarian Issues’

Menadu, J. Keski-Nummi, 2011, A & Gauthier, K. 2011, ‘A New Approach. Breaking the Stalemate on Refugees and Asylum Seekers’ Occasional Paper 13 ISSN 1835-0135

Refugees and Asylum Seekers (Post 1)

The news ‘Refugees struggling to find suitable housing in Newcastle call for better support’ was posted on ABC news by Robert Virtue, this news has describe refugees want have better support of suitable housing in Newcastle.

The motivation of this news is refugees calling assistance, with the high prices of housing, many Australia people are save money to buy a housing, not only refugees. Refugees think that they are very difficult to find a good job, because English are not their first language, then, depend on this situation they can get loan for bank. Author also point that these refugees are come from Congolese which is located in Africa. Jerome Rugaruza said everyone want buy a housing, because in the Congolese culture, everyone has their own housing. However, this is very difficult to achieve in Newcastle. Virtue also gives some statement from government, which is aware of the lack of adequate and affordable housing for refugees in Newcastle.

This news is a fact, author written this news depend on two parts which are interview refugees and include official of government statement. Author think that government should help refugees get house in Australia, I am agree with his opinion.


“Asylum seeker children bullied in Nauru schools, save the children consultant says” was written by Elizabeth Jackson posted on ABC news, the motivation of this news is asylum seeker children who do not want to go to school, because they are being suffering subjected to racial vilification in local schools on Nauru. Some of local students are calling refugees and asylum seeker children as ‘terrorists’, and ask them “go back to your own country, you don’t be here, go back and make your bombs.

For refugees and asylum seeker children education in Nauru, Australia government’s immigration department responds that “ education serves is belong to Nauru government, but Australia government still provides assistance though quality education program to Nauru government”. Mr Ross, who has working in Nauru, Ross was told to reporter many children are don’t go to school, they are study base knowledge in the home, they think school is not safe for them, that a main reason for they are no go to school. I agree with this news, government should pay more attention on refugee children education.



“ Alphonse Mulumba urges media to drop ‘refugee’ label for ‘new Australia’” was written by Carol Raabus posted on ABC news, which is an Australia’s state-owned and funded national public broadcaster. This news point that Alphonse Muluma has lived in Australia from 2008, after 4 years of 2008, he became an Australian citizen. However, he is usually labeled refugee by reports, he do not want people think he still is a refugee, he said this can not made sense. “when my two feet stepped on Australia, I am not a refugee” he told Ryk Goddard on 936 ABC Hobart. Author addressed Alphonse want people call him new migrants, he said “if people think the migration is not important to Australia, they will always calling people refugee.

The author written this news all about Alphonse Mulumba opinion, he do not point him opinion, I think this news may like an interview. Alphonse Mulumba think media should stopped using “illegal migrants” and state humanitarian entrants as refugees, and public voice could change for the better. I am agree with his opinion, media will affect judgment of people, and guide people views on the issue, so if the media start using positive way, people will believe them, also Alphonse Mulumba want people referred to him as “ new Australia” when author asked he what he prefer people calling them.


The news (Dark past: so little has changed in Australia’s posture towards asylum seekers) was written by Antony Loewenstein posted on the Guardian, the Guardian is a comment free news website. The Guardian is belong to Guardian Media Group (GMG), which is controlled by the Scott Trust Limited, the aim of limited company is ensure the editorial independence of the publications and Web Sites of GMG.

The motivated of author is recently released Nauru files. This files is point that the descriptions of sexual abuse, rape, violence and psychological breakdown of refugees. In 2014, the author was interviewed Sisalem who is the last remaining refugee trapped on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Sisalem sad “he need to belong to a country, which can protect he and where can give he a normal and productive life’’. The author often think of this interview, he think Australia just has a little changes in posture toward asylums seekers.

I think this news is an opinion article, it is belong to author own voice. He think that government should give refugees more protect policy and support. He appeal tourism Australia design a new advertisements to attract people come to Australia by plane not easy than by boat, these people who are white, anti-immigration activists from other countries.

I agree with author opinion, Australia was will ahead of global in its treatment of refugees.


“German far-right leader draws on Australian border policies in ‘two islands’ plan” was published on the Sydney morning herald. This reporter has refer to a German far-right leader says Berlin should rejected refugee and asylum seeker to other two island without Europe”, she didn’t point the name of these two island. The reporter thinks that she says this comment had influenced by Australia asylum seeker policy. German media had explained Ms Petry said the detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, where Australia funds facilities to hold asylum seekers and refugees. Ms Petry opinion that she called German police uses firearms against illegal migrants, she added she propose the Federal Official transfer to Migration and Refugees for emigration, which ensures that all illegal migrants can not come to German. About she’ opinion, I think she is very extremes, refugees and asylum seekers they ware faced persecution, they may don’t have ability arriving island by normal way, there are illegal migrants, but they are still refugees or asylum seekers, I think government should have a policy to help and protect these part refugees and asylum seekers.



Jackson, E. & staff, ‘Asylum seeker children bullied in Nauru schools, Save The Children consultant says’, Sydney, viewed 1 August 2016, <>

Loewenstein, A. ‘Dark past: so little has changed in Australia’s posture towards asylum seekers’, Sydney, viewed 12 August 2016, <>

Rääbus, C. ‘Alphonse Mulumba urges media to drop ‘refugee’ label for ‘new Australian’’, Sydney, viewed 29 July 2016, <>

The Sydney morning herald, ‘Refugees should be sent to islands outside Europe, says German far-right leader’ , Sydney, viewed 14 August 2016, <>

Virtue, V. ‘Refugees struggling to find suitable housing in Newcastle call for better support’, Sydney, viewed 28 July 2016, <>.



Post 2: Scholarly Secondary Sources

Dealing with asylum seekers has been a long and challenging process in Australia’s history. In both scholarly articles, the authors confirm the idea that perceptions of refugees and asylum seekers have been constructed artificially by the media in Australia, as a response to perceived threats as well as by politicians who use such threats for their own political advantage.


In the editorial, ‘Australia and Asylum Seekers’, Jane McAdams, Scientia Professor at UNSW attempts to raise awareness to Australia’s history of bad treatment and perspective of refugees and asylum seekers. As an expert in this field, McAdams has written extensively on the issue of immigration policy and how asylum seekers have become a political pawn for the major parties. In contrast, the article ‘It Would be Okay If They Came through the Proper Channels’: Community Perceptions and Attitudes toward Asylum Seekers in Australia’, focuses on a national survey conducted by Monash University, which highlights the differing opinions of the Australian individual as well as how communities differ by a range of factors including state, age and education.


Both articles encourage the need for change in Australia’s perception of refugees. In particular McAdams argues the ongoing disadvantages and discrimination both potential and current refugees will face in aspects such as government support, psychological impacts and community perceptions. Monash University’s study upholds this view, where the Australian people presented opinions of about refugees/asylum seekers that were misinformed by the media or simply misconstrued by the political parties.


In my opinion, I believe that McAdams and Monash University hold strong beliefs. I believe that the misdirected fear and hate for asylum seekers and refugees has mostly derived from the media and major political parties who place bias and fear into the community. I think change needs to happen, where a more welcoming Australian community needs to be built upon further as a multicultural society and allow the refugees the opportunity to reclaim their lives.


McAdam, J. 2013, ‘Australia and Asylum Seekers**’, International Journal Of Refugee Law, 25, 3, pp. 435-448, Political Science Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 2nd August 2016.

McKay, F., Thomas, S., & Kneebone, S. 2012, ”It Would be Okay If They Came through the Proper Channels’: Community Perceptions and Attitudes toward Asylum Seekers in Australia’, Journal Of Refugee Studies, 25, 1, pp. 113-133, SocINDEX with Full Text, EBSCOhost, viewed 2nd August 2016.

Post 1: Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Article 1: ‘What’s next for asylum seekers under a re-elected Turnbull government?’

This article was written by Maria O’Sullivan, who is the senior lecturer for the Faculty of Law at Monash University. She depicts the possibilities that can occur based on the Turnbull government’s actions in her article which was published in The Conversation.

The Conversation, as a media platform, prides itself on academic referencing, which can be seen throughout the article, as all factual claims by the author are referenced, and as such, their accuracy cannot be disputed. However, the article remains an opinion piece, with the author using well-researched facts in an attempt to suggest views that she is in line with. This can be seen due to her research and publication history, where she has published four articles slamming Australia’s treatment of refugees in the last three years, though this is common in academic circles.

This is further evident when you consider that the author is part of the Castan Centre for Human Rights, a research body of Monash University which publishes many pieces similar to this. On the bright side, her qualifications and immersion with these ideas make her highly qualified to write about these issues and, as stated above, while her articles all lean in the same direction, their factuality is beyond dispute. Personally, I agree with O’Sullivan’s views in addressing the global refugee situation as well as resolving the issue with sustainable solutions such as Canada’s response in private sponsorship.

Article 2: ‘Meet the asylum seekers who fled a bloody conflict and started a whole new life in Australia’

This article is written by International Affairs Reporter Allan Clarke, an Aboriginal Australian, who specialises in Indigenous Issues for Buzzfeed News Australia. In this editorial, he showcases the stories of multiple refugees who have assimilated into Australian society.

Buzzfeed is generally considered to be a click-bait website however this article is one of substance. This can be seen because it is unusually long and text-based for a Buzzfeed article, as well as the fact that he has interviewed many different refugees, along with taking a photographer. This process is lengthy and the time spent on it is evident in the article.

Clarke has written extensively about these issues previously, as it is part of his domain as Indigenous Affairs Reporter. His previous roles were at SBS Current Affairs and ABC News. He is active on social media, as well as his regular contributions to Buzzfeed. However, the article in question is not cited, though not many factual claims are made, so it may not be necessary in this case. It is hard to determine whether the article itself is incorrect, because it is mostly a account in the first person, so there is nothing to verify it with. I personally agree with Clarke’s article, which advocates for allowing assimilated refugees a platform to change the negative perceptions of asylum seekers, as well as showcasing the possibilities inherent in welcoming them into Australian society.

Article 3: ‘Manus Island detention: Asylum seekers offered ‘huge amounts of money’ to go home, activist says’

This article was written by journalist Matt Watson for ABC News. His article reports claims made by the Refugee Action Coalition Committee where the federal government is coercing refugees on Manus Island to return back to their home country.

ABC News is generally considered to be a neutral news source, and in this investigative article, it is apparent that there is some truth to this piece where Watson considers both sides of the issue by questioning spokespersons from both the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the RAC Committee. He is able to give both sides an opportunity to state their opinions and allow the reader to form their own opinion.

Whilst Watson has over ten years experience working for ABC News, he doesn’t have a specialisation in Refugees and Asylum Seeker issues, and rather covers a range of topics from Environmental Issues to Sports. However, it is evident that he is linking previous ABC content as he includes references to it in the article. In my opinion, I think the government’s offer is a waste of time and does not resolve the issue at hand on Manus Island. Instead, I think the government should re-evaluate their procedures with asylum seekers and seek to find a more long-term and humane resolution.

Article 4: You are terrorists, you make bombs’: racist taunts help keep Nauru refugee kids out of school’

This article is written by Nicole Hasham, who is the Federal Politics reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. In this piece, Hasham reports the bullying and harassment of refugee children by locals on Nauru island as a result of a schooling program by Save the Children Australia being shut down by the federal government.

The Sydney Morning Herald is generally considered to be a left-wing publication, and this can be seen by the article’s focus on the abuse that the detainees received. Hasham has a wide range of experience in the journalism industry, as she has written extensively for both News Limited and Fairfax Media. Her articles mainly focus on federal government issues due to her current position at Fairfax Media, so she doesn’t specialise in this issue.

However, because of her experience in the industry, it can be relied on that she is reporting accurately. I believe she effectively communicates the refugee crisis and the reported discrimination against refugees by local children. This also highlights how out of hand the refugee issue has gotten, to the extent where children begin to discriminate against each other.

Article 5: Meeting the people from around the world protesting our treatment of refugees’

This article is written by Shami Sivasubramanian, who is the Social News Reporter at SBS Australia. This article highlights the work of the International Alliance Against Mandatory Detention, a network of activists around the world protesting against Australia’s current system of detention. She can be considered trustworthy because of the reputation of SBS and the fact that she is the Social News Reporter.

Sivasubramanian has had a vast array of experience inside, and without, the journalism industry, including having worked in India and at the Buzzfeed News offices. She probably wrote this article in line with SBS’s view that global news is just as important as local. SBS’s has a reputation of trying to keep multiple viewpoints in their articles, where in contrast this article is one-sided in favour for compassion of refugees. Whilst factually accurate, Sivasubramanian tends to sway to a more left-wing approach and this is evident also in her previous works for Vertigo magazine and The Gruen Transfer – where she focuses on the issue of refugees.

In my opinion, the International Alliance Against Mandatory Detention is a great initiative to highlight how the current refugee system falls short of it’s goals.

After undertaking this secondary research, three possibilities that I may undertake further investigations include the differing perceptions between refugees and the local community, national refugee policies and effective particular countries are in in comparison to others as well as further research into how current refugees are received whilst integrating into Australian society.


Clarke, A. 2015, ‘Meet the asylum seekers who fled a bloody conflict and started a whole new life in Australia’, Buzzfeed, 24 November, viewed 28th July 2016, <;

Hasham, N. 2016, ‘You are terrorists, you make bombs’: racist taunts help keep Nauru refugee kids out of school’, Sydney Morning Herald, 29 July, viewed 1st August 2016, <;

O’Sullivan, M. 2016, ‘What’s next for asylum seekers under a re-elected Turnbull government?’, The Conversation, 18 July, viewed 28th July 2016, <;

Sivasubramanian, S. 2016, ‘Meeting the people from around the world protesting our treatment of refugees’, SBS, 27 June, viewed 28th July 2016, <;

Watson, M. 2016, ‘Manus Island detention: Asylum seekers offered ‘huge amounts of money’ to go home, activist says’, ABC News, 30 July, viewed 1st August 2016, <;

Post 1 – Asylum seekers and Refugees


How Australians should deal with asylum seekers and refugees

‘How Australians should deal with asylum seekers and refugees’ is a rebuke by Eva Orner and Steven Glass for the The Sydney Morning Herald. Whilst The Sydney Morning Herald has its roots as a conservative newspaper seeking to not endorse any political alignment, the authors of this piece question and probe the government’s stance on its refugee and asylum seeker policies.

Not being regular contributors or even writers, it’s interesting to highlight both author’s professions. Orner is an Academy and Emmy Award winning Australian filmmaker, who most recently produced the ‘Chasing Asylum’ documentary, known for revealing the behind the scenes of Australias’ asylum seekers and refugees processing. Glass on the other hand is a partner at the law firm Gilbert + Tobin as well as a board member of the Asylum Seekers Centre Sydney, where he seeks to educate and support refugees by making them aware and helping them navigate through Australian law. Thus both authors’ initatives in their careers are visibly concurrent with the strong stance they’ve taken. In the article, Orner and Glass ongoingly question the governemnt, at times being very direct as seen in ‘Why did you, Mr Dutton, falsely accuse refugees (who must be plane arrivals, since you’ve told us boats have stopped) of threatening the jobs and security of Australians?’

Whilst presenting statistical insights into Australia’s policies in comparison to the global context, I consider this article to be quite opinion based. It has been influenced by the authors outrage towards these ‘cruel policies’ and ‘false’ accusations of refugees.


Politics of Asylum Seekers has poisoned the policy

Similar to Orner and Glass, author Peter Brent criticises the way Australian politicians look at the issue of asylum seekers and refugees. However Brent sits on the fence, neither supporting an all out refugee intake nor the current boat policies at play. Brent is a regular contributing writer for ABC was well as an adjunct fellow at Swinburne University. Being a political commentator the topic of discussion is understandable, but rather than criticising and forming an opinion, he seeks to analyse the issue. Thus this article looks at a brief history of politicians’ changing stances towards asylum seekers and refugees and the agenda behind it.

Throughout the article there is a strong undertone that the approach towards this complex problem is more of a political game. Hence whilst he never blatantly questions or says what the government needs to do, he raises the wrongs on both sides.


Revealed: Immigration officers allowed to hack phones

Mark Townsend is a Home Affairs Editor of the Observer hence he covers a wide range of issues pertaining to the international context. In this article he writes about the revelation of immigration officials treatment of detainees. Referencing many sources, from different perspectives, both those who implement legislation and those who are against it, this article is more factual and informative. In contrast to the previous articles, this one looks at the asylum seekers and refugees in the context of detention centres particularly in Britain, rather thank Australia’s Political policies. Furthermore it provides insight on their treatment and rights and raises topical points. Since it is more factual, its not a matter of whether I agree or don’t but rather I find that the issues raised are important, and one than needs to be heard and addressed. 


Friday Essay: worth a thousand words -how photos shape attitudes towards refugees

Jane Lydon is a Wesfarmers Chair of Australian History at the University of Western Australia. Having written books on photography and Australian History her article explores the photographical documentation and representation of refugees. Furthermore the ‘The Conversation’ provides a platform for academics to write and provide insight on their area of expertise. Hence this article is factual as it delves into Australia’s history of refugee and how media has either represented the issues or been oppressed. It goes on further to look into particular events on an international scale. Lydon raises ideas on how photography can give voice to the oppressed, can convey political agendas, and start controversial discussions. This article definitely challenges the value and understanding we have of photographs. In saying that I found that photography through media representation can be on either ends of the spectrum in conveying truth, but regardless the motivation behind it tells a very important story that needs to be highlighted.


Comment: The Australian Solution

Waleed Aly, a regular host on the current affair program ‘The Project’ often voices strong thoughts on the global and Australian context, particularly focusing the government. Being a media presenter, lawyer, academic and writer, he comments on the issue of asylums seekers and refugees quite often and is well versed on the topic. However it is undeniable that there is bias in his writing as seen in this Article for The Monthly, a seemingly ‘left wing’ magazine.

In this article he explores the previous solutions posed by the Australian government, only to criticise its’ most recent attempt as well. Through clever rhetoric and direct statements he conveys his opposition of present policies. Furthermore, delving into each parties stance, he dissects the qualities that differentiate these parties to instead highlight the one similarity they hold, their selfishness. Hence by referencing the tone of politicians themselves, Waleed uses satire to suggest the comedic and questionable nature of the government. I find his written style entertaining and informative, however the extreme use of rhetoric highlight the very obvious personal bias, making this an opinion piece.

Further Investigation

Exploring the above articles revealed a number of perspectives, controversies and insights surrounding the refugee and asylum seeker context. Whilst there were many varied questions raised, I believe that it is valuable to delve into the following three areas:

  1. The political motives behind Australia’s stance on the refugee and asylum seekers situation.
  2. The representation of asylum seekers and refugees in media.
  3.  The rights and context of asylum seekers and refugees in detention centres, understanding their rights, the policies to play, what’s being portrayed and what is hidden.
It’s notable that there are overlapping and interconnected areas, but that itself highlights the complexity of this problem. Overtime have developed an opinion in regards to this situation, but merely reading several articles revealed the lack of depth n my understanding. Therefore I find that investigating these three areas will provide a holistic understanding, but even more so challenge me to explore difficult areas. Consequently, I hope to become more well informed in this topic, one that I feel is incredibly relevant at the present moment.


Glass, S. & Orner, E. 2016,  How Australians should deal with asylum seekers and refugees, The Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 28 July 2016, <>.

Brent, P. 2016, Politics of Asylum Seekers has poisoned the policy, ABC News, viewed 5 August 2016, <>.

Townsend, M. 2016, Revealed: Immigration officers allowed to hack phones, The Guardian, viewed 4 August 2016, <>.

Lydon, J. 2016, Friday Essay: worth a thousand words -how photos shape attitudes towards refugees, The Conversation, viewed 5 August 2016, <>.

Aly, W. 2010, Comment: The Australian Solution, viewed 28 July 2016, <>.

Post 2: Adding scholarly sources to my knowledge base

Molly Grover

In order to deepen my understanding of the issue of refugees and asylum seekers, I identified two scholarly sources to add to my archive of research. Analysing these two pieces allowed me to reach past the often surface level opinions presented in popular media and gain insight into the more substantial and factual perspectives of peer-reviewed authors.

Source 1.
Europe, don’t copy Australia
Keeya-Lee Ayre for the Forced Migration Review

Source 2.
Letter to the Prime Minister
Father Malcolm P. Fyfe for Compass

For my scholarly research, I decided to focus on discussion surrounding Australia’s current Asylum Seekers’ Policy, particularly from those who have chosen to position themselves as activists for its reform. Keeya-Lee Ayre, a writer, researcher and Masters student of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development, highlights the pitfalls of Australia’s current policy of turning away asylum seekers in her piece titled Europe, don’t copy Australia.

Affiliated with the Australian National University, Keeya writes for the Forced Migration Review, bringing with her a background in international development, humanitarianism, multimedia journalism and social enterprise.

Writing regularly about issues of social impact, Ayre uses this piece to question the morality of Australian anti asylum-seeker rhetoric, by dismantling the politically constructed distinction between good and bad refugees that lies behind the current policy of turning back the boats. Highlighting this as a contravention of international law, she deplores the government’s evil portrayal of those seeking protection, and demands that the human rights of these individuals be respected.

Father Malcolm P. Fyfe’s Letter to the Prime Minister echoes a number of Ayre’s sentiments. The Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese Darwin, Fyfe is not a regular contributor to any journals, nor has he written substantially about refugee issues before.

He does, however, write from his own first-hand encounters and conversations with detainees, as a ministering Priest. Furthering Ayre’s questioning of the government’s portrayal of asylum seekers, Fyfe expresses his frustration regarding the demonisation and inhumane treatment of ‘our fellow human beings’ (Fyfe 2016).

Requesting the closure of offshore detention centres, the Vicar General’s point of view is one that is becoming increasingly common among the public. I agree with both Ayre and Fyfe in their appeals for the government’s recognition of Australia’s moral and international obligations as a signatory of the Refugee Convention.


Ayre, K.L. 2016, ‘Europe, don’t copy Australia’, Forced Migration Review, vol. 51, viewed 8 August 2016, <>.

Fyfe, M. 2016, ‘Letter to the Prime Minister’, Compass, vol. 50.1, viewed 8 August 2016, <>.

 The Huffington Post 2016, Keeya-Lee Ayre, viewed 8 August 2016, <>.

Post 1: Building a data set of news media

Molly Grover

Upon choosing to investigate the issue of asylum seekers and refugees, I spent some time each day over the course of a week collecting a number of secondary sources, in order to develop my understanding of the issue. After collecting 25 sources in the forms of newspaper articles, online news sources, visual narratives and videos, I then chose 5 to analyse closely, in order to gain an understanding of the perspectives and opinions informing the information presented in each source.

From this, it became clear that the issue of refugees and asylum seekers is incredibly polarizing, bringing with it a diverse and passionate set of opinions, influenced by the personal context and experiences of each author.

Source 1.
At work inside our detention centres: A guard’s story
Sam Wallman (illustrator) for The Global Mail

The first frame of the illustrated narrative (Wallman 2014)

This visual narrative has been illustrated based on the first-hand experiences of a former Serco employee, working within an Australian detention centre. Arguably with the intention of speaking out against the injustice of the detention system and the treatment of detainees, the employee shared his experiences with The Global Mail, remaining anonymous due to the story’s breaches of confidentiality agreements made with the Serco corporation.

The first-hand nature of his experience arguably makes him a trustworthy source as to the living conditions of the refugees within the centres and the behaviours of the other employees and officials with whom he interacted. Speaking of his initial desire to help and instigate change and hope from the inside out, the author relates his gradual descent into disillusionment, depression, personal relational strain and even self-harm as he is faced with the true bleakness experienced by the detainees on a daily basis.

Representing a very marginal position, the author speaks with the bias of someone who has been allowed access to the inside of the camps, and has witnessed the negative realities that are hidden from the majority of the public.

The article thus straddles the line between factual and opinion-based, as it is believed to be based on the real-life experiences of the author, yet cannot be verified due to both his anonymity, and the media’s lack of access inside detention centres.

Source 2.
The most troubling thing about Pauline Hanson’s view of Muslims? The facts no longer matter
Susan Carland for The Guardian

Pauline Hanson speaking to the media (Peled 2016)

This article is written by Susan Carland, an Australian Muslim academic. With a PhD in Muslim feminism in Australian and North American communities, Carland can be considered a trustworthy and expert source.

Writing for fellow Muslims who feel alienated, threatened, unsafe and unwelcome in the current Australian political climate, Carland aims to highlight the depth of hypocrisy and obstinacy present in the condemnation and persecution of Muslims in Australian government and media.

Using the example of Pauline Hanson’s comments about the unwillingness of the Grand Mufti to condemn terrorism, Carland points to several cases in which the Grand Mufti has in fact done just that. Her article is rigorously well-researched, using evidence to make clear the bigoted obstinacy displayed by many Australians towards the Muslim community, most especially expressed in their blatant disregard for facts.

As a practising Muslim herself, Carland undoubtedly writes with a bias, however this is arguably justifiable. Expressing her frustration, exhaustion, anger and fear regarding the dehumanizing and immoral treatment of the very community to which she belongs, Carland sadly holds a marginal position in the immigration debate. Based on the evidence presented, I agree and empathise with the position she takes in the article.

Source 3.
What’s next for asylum seekers under a re-elected Turnbull government?
Maria O’Sullivan for The Conversation

Asylum seekers detained on Manus Island (Blackwell 2016)

A senior lecturer for the Monash University faculty of Laws, Maria O’Sullivan writes this piece for The Conversation with the dual intention of highlighting the moral and legal complexities of managing refugee flows in Australia, and suggesting priorities and courses of action in the future quest for a sophisticated solution.

Belonging to Monash University, O’Sullivan’s opinions can be considered to be both trustworthy and well-founded, due to her specialization in the area of Human Rights Law.

Factual and well-researched, her position is one of concern at the Australian government’s current border policies, and the need for these to change based on the current ‘great international need for resettlement’ (O’Sullivan 2016). Coming from a standpoint of morality and global responsibility, O’Sullivan implores the re-elected Turnbull government to increase the resettlement quota via creative means, in order to make a more substantial contribution to the international crisis.

In a calm and measured fashion, O’Sullivan also highlights the importance of resettling those who are currently detained, and revising policies which have left room for poor standards of detention. I cannot help but agree with her unbiased, well-researched explanations and opinions regarding the future of our immigration policies.

Source 4.
The real cost of welcoming refugees to Australia
Paige Taylor for The Australian

Olympian athlete Mangar Makur-Chuot (Nichols 2016)

As a journalist and frequent contributor to The Australian, Paige Taylor can be credited with a small amount of expertise on the subject of refugees and immigration policy, however would be greatly outweighed by the likes of lawyers and researchers, including the author of the previous source.

Factual and seemingly well-researched, Taylor’s article presents, without bias, and even without strong opinion, a sampling of positive and negative economic and social costs of resettling refugees in Australia. Beginning with an exposition of the negative financial and service-related costs incurred during the re-settlement process, she then switches to an illustration of the positive social contributions made by refugees, using the sporting successes of South Sudanese refugee Mangar Makur-Chuot as an example.

Focusing next on the personal costs to the refugees themselves, especially the long-lasting emotional trauma associated with being uprooted and having to build a new life in a new country, Taylor once again changes tack, finishing with a positive depiction of the Australian public’s ever-increasingly altruistic response to the task of refugee resettlement.

Seeming to lack a strong conclusion or definitive stance, I am left unsure about where Taylor stands in the spectrum of opinions towards refugee resettlement, as the breadth and objectivity of her reporting makes the point of her argument unclear.

Source 5.
Doctors seek to stop gag laws
Nicole Hasham for The Sydney Morning Herald

Protesters gathered in Sydney against the Border Force Act (Morris 2015)

Contributing regularly as an immigration correspondent, Nicole Hasham’s writings for The Sydney Morning Herald are well-informed and trustworthy. Reporting on the impending High Court challenge involving Doctors for Refugees, Hasham begins presenting the story with factual language, in a seemingly objective manner. Neutral phrases including, ‘She said’, ‘Dr Phatarfod said’, and ‘The government says’ (Hasham 2016), reinforce her initially diplomatic position.

However, as the article draws to a close, one key phrase reveals the personal bias of the author: ‘It (the government) insists’ (Hasham 2016). This choice of words inspires a lack of trust in the government’s case. When presenting the Doctors for Refugees’ argument, Hasham gives voice to Dr Barri Phatarfod, the convenor of the doctors, including multiple quotes to support the group’s argument. Conversely, when presenting the opposing case of the government, Hasham chooses not to include any specific names, quotes or evidence.

To the audience, this gives the impression of a less legitimate, or ill-founded argument, due to the lack of supporting testimony. From this, we can see that despite her mostly diplomatic use of language, Hasham takes the side of the doctors, giving them a stronger voice and larger platform in her piece.

In spite of this bias, I still agree with the perspective of the Doctors for Refugees, most especially on the fundamental right of the doctors to express their concerns. However, I would still like to see some evidence which confirms that federal laws do not in fact allow this freedom, as claimed in the article.

Opportunities for Further Investigation

From these sources, I have identified the existence of a number of polarising positions surrounding the issues of immigration and asylum. Moving forward, I believe it is worth investigating the following three:

  1. Those who support the closure of offshore detention centres and the re-settlement of asylum seekers in Australia.
  2. Those who support an increase in Australia’s humanitarian intake of Syrian refugees.
  3. Those who do not support the intake or re–settlement of asylum seekers (notably Muslims) in Australia.

Each of these three positions are controversial and unique, yet all possess a passionate following. As an Australian, I feel that I have a responsibility to be informed about this issue, and thus feel that the investigation of these three positions will provide me with the insight necessary to form my own opinion.


Blackwell, E. 2016, The government’s first priority should be to improve conditions in offshore detention centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea, The Conversation, viewed 27 July 2016, <>.

Carland, S. 2016, ‘The most troubling thing about Pauline Hanson’s view of Muslims? The facts no longer matter’, The Guardian, 19 July, viewed 26 July 2016, <>.

Hasham, N. 2016, ‘Doctors seek to stop gag laws’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 July, p. 5.

Morris, F. 2015, Doctors and health professionals at a Sydney protest last year, The Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 15 August 2016, <>.

Nichols, C. 2016, Olympic Athlete Mangar Makur-Chuot, ABC, viewed 15 August 2016, <>.

O’Sullivan, M. 2016, ‘What’s next for asylum seekers under a re-elected Turnbull government?’, The Conversation, 18 July, viewed 27 July 2016, <>.

Peled, D. 2016, Pauline Hanson fronts the media, The Guardian, viewed 26 July 2016, <>.

Taylor, P. 2016, ‘The real cost of welcoming refugees to Australia’, The Australian, 20 May, viewed 27 July 2016, <>.

Wallman, S. 2014, ‘At Work Inside Our Detention Centres: A Guard’s Story’, The Global Mail, 11 February, viewed 26 July 2016, <>.

Wallman, S. 2014, I always understood that indefinite detention did terrible things to people, The Global Mail, viewed 26 July 2016, <>.