GLOMO Blog: Immigration Law, Australian Visa Tips & Advice
Oct 01

Global Mobility Immigration Lawyers Scholarship Submission: by College of Law student Karen Bromham

By admin | scholarship

Please note,  the views and opinions expressed in this scholarship entry (and all other scholarship entries) are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Global Mobility Immigration Lawyers

Immigration lawyers acting for asylum seekers are “unAustralian”.

I

I am the daughter of the son of the son of the son of a man who traveled to Australia from England by boat, some time in the mid 1800s.  He settled in the very guts of NSW: on Gobbagombalin Station, on the northern side of Wagga Wagga.

In 6 generations those carrying my family name have migrated a total of 8 kms: from Gobbagombalin, to Gumly Gumly, to Wagga Wagga, where my mother and brother still live, and my father did until he died 6 years ago.

From England to Australia to a standstill.

They were farm hands and boundary riders, and later plasterers (like my father), builders and farmers.

When someone applies the modifier ‘Aussie’, or says something is ‘Australian’, my family and people like us are historically what they mean. Fair-skinned and working class, from generations of fair-skinned, working class people.  Australian in the elemental sense of the word.

II

I am the eldest of four children. My mother fell pregnant at 16, had me when she was 17, and told my unsuspecting, somewhat gormless dad on his 21st birthday that I was coming, ready or not.

The age of my mother when I was born, and her complete surrendering of her own ambition, forms a large part of my story and how I found my way to immigration law. Her sacrifice gnawed at her and manifested in a sometimes single-focused ambition for me, my brother and my sisters.

It takes a trauma to create a fissure in the hardest and most set piece of earth.  My mother was that trauma.

I was the first person in my family, on both my mother and my father’s side, to enroll in University.  I am certainly the first person to go on and study law. Outside of my pop (my maternal grandfather), who fought in the Australian army in France in WWII, I was apparently the first person on both sides of my family to apply for a passport.

With the exception of my mother, my ambition to look up and out into the world from our well-worn patch of Australia drew suspicion and unease from my family.  My choice to go into immigration law even more so.

This suspicion and unease, towards the world and things unknown is, in my experience, a quintessential part of the Australian psyche and what it means to be Australian.

III

Around 55,000 people live in Wagga, and in the 2016 census 84% of them were born in Australia[1].

As a kid my world was overwhelmingly white: there was a Greek family who ran the fish and chip shop (and still does), and a Chinese family who ran the Chinese restaurant.  Any descendents of the original inhabitants, the Wiradjuri people, were few and far between and certainly not in my circle of experience.

Anyone else quite clearly not from here was treated with curiosity at best.  And at worst, well. Worst could be bad.

IV

When you’re growing, particularly in a place like Wagga, it never occurs to you that something outside of your own life experience can be truth.  And if you insulate yourself via stagnation in the literal and metaphorical sense, generation after generation, you can avoid anything that might ever challenge that truth.

Since leaving Wagga I’ve grappled, as I guess we all do, with my own sense of identity.  In particular I have thought about my family and their firmly-planted feet and wondered: is the lack of movement a fear of the unknown, a lack of ambition, or a genuine satisfaction that simple life based around things you know is the best life?

V

If you google ‘what does it mean to be Australian’ you will find innumerous essays and articles harping on ideas of mateship, a fair go, and specific foods like Vegemite: as if a yeast-based spread the colour of nightmares is an illustration of the true sense of our identity.

This is uncontroversial and the path of least resistance.  The truth is a lot more complicated and much less palatable.

It is easy to point to the concept of mateship and make correlations to helping asylum seekers. To say that lawyers helping those asylum seekers are Australian in the way we understand the concept. Of course it is in our culture to look after those seeking a life free of persecution – our community is made up of descendants of those either ostracised from their old community or seeking a better life.  Of course we are an open, multicultural society – we believe in a fair go for everyone, provided they put in the work.

But the idea that Australia is fair-minded to all comers is aspirational at best.

Identity is not formed around words and platitudes and looking inward. If we’re being honest we need to also look from the outside in.  Our Australian identity is not just what we choose to push out into the world – it is our actions, writ large.

VI

I’ve had mixed feedback from friends my age in relation to what they learned of Aboriginal Australia and European settlement at school.  In Year 7 at Wagga Wagga High I had a history teacher, Mr Wright, who posed to us a question:

Aliens have landed in Australia.  They are stronger and better armed than we are and want to colonise – what do we do?

Our ultimate solution derived from our 12-year-old wisdom was to bargain with them and just give them Tasmania.

After the discussion, he flipped the script and said – this was the exact situation put upon indigenous Australians when European settlers arrived.  My mind was blown.

He also taught us about the Myall Creek Massacre.  Almost 30 Aboriginal women, children and old men were murdered by European settlers near Moree in NSW[2]. Of all the massacres of Aboriginal people in Australia, this one was not the largest by far, but was notable because seven of the white perpetrators were tried, found guilty of murder and hanged.

These were the first pieces of information that broke open my truth about Australia and what it means to be Australian. That break allowed room for me to question other things, and seek out other truths.

I wonder now: how much this small experience led me to the law, and immigration law in particular.  A feeling that if this was what it meant to be Australian, I needed to find another way.

VII

You don’t have to dig deep to comprehend Australia’s fraught history with migrants post-European settlement.

The White Australia policy was borne of a fear of migrants from Asia and a changing cultural landscape. It is again inexplicably relevant given rhetoric from politicians such as Fraser Anning in the context of Muslim Australians.

The Cronulla riots in 2005 were a boiling-over of under-the-surface tensions in a part of Sydney that is historically white and working class.

The rise and fall and rise again of Pauline Hanson and One Nation is telling of a strong undercurrent of cultural fear and racism.

And what of our treatment of asylum seekers?

Tampa. Children overboard. The use of the term ‘illegal’ by government to describe those seeking asylum, even though the act of seeking asylum itself is not illegal.  Temporary Protection Visas.  The promise to ‘stop the boats’. The Pacific Solution and the opening and use of offshore processing centres.  Facebook memes about refugees and government handouts. Pauline Hanson wearing a burqa in Parliament.  Fear mongering about African ‘gangs’ in Melbourne.

Willful defiance in the face of a 12-year-old girl on Nauru making repeated attempts at suicide because ‘it is better being dead than being here.[3]

This is Australia in the current global news cycle.  This is ‘Australian’ content in the UN.  This is the conversation I have with my friends in California when they ask about my home.

This is the current iteration of ‘Australian’. Any action on the part of lawyers in the face of this, to assist asylum seekers, is by definition un-Australian. And it’s hard to reconcile the sadness I feel when I say that.

VIII

To say Australian values distil to a ‘fair go’ and a vague idea of mateship, and to extrapolate this out to the assistance of asylum seekers, is to ignore so much of what has occurred since European settlement.

Our actions speak louder than any platitudes about our dry sense of humour, or billboards of beaches and meat pies and wrinkled men wearing Akubras, squinting into the sun.

Under our egalitarian surface is easily drawn upon fear and suspicion of the unknown, borne from generations of bedding down and looking inward.

From England to Australia to a standstill.

IX

Going home to Wagga can be culturally jarring.  Having moved to Sydney after finishing my first degree in 1998, I now live in the liberal bubble of inner west Newtown.  Ironically, the pride some of my family feel due to the very lack of geographical migration I have described, I have myself because I found a way to leave.

Education lifted me out. My mother’s projected ambition lifted me out.  Music and art opened up a way for me to seek another truth.

And I don’t think it’s wrong to be hopeful.  We should hold on to that aspirational idea that being Australian has room for those fleeing persecution, and a more global view of itself.  To the hope that those seeking to help people seeking asylum will be Australian in every sense of the word.

But we are not there yet.

 

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). “Wagga Wagga” http://quickstats.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/1034

[2] Department of Environment and Energy “Myall Creek Massacre Memorial Site” http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/places/national/myall-creek

[3] The Guardian “Suicidal 12-year-old refugee on Nauru will die if not removed” doctors say” (12 September 2018) https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/sep/12/suicidal-12-year-old-refugee-on-nauru-will-die-if-not-removed-doctors-say

Oct 01

Global Mobility Immigration Lawyers Scholarship Submission: by University of Melbourne Master of Law student Jessica Bayley

By admin | scholarship

Please note,  the views and opinions expressed in this scholarship entry (and all other scholarship entries) are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Global Mobility Immigration Lawyers

Immigration lawyers acting for asylum seekers are “unAustralian”.

Respond.

Australians let us all rejoice
Immigration lawyers uphold the law
With frank and fearless legal advice
They assist people seeking safety at our shore
They provide an escape from persecution
To those who have so much to contribute and share
In the spirit of giving someone a fair go, they
Advance Australia Fair

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
Immigration lawyers work tirelessly every day
In assisting those most vulnerable
To make an asylum claim to stay
Embodying the Australian Values Statement
They fight for what is compassionate and fair
In the spirit of egalitarianism and equality, they
Advance Australia Fair

Oct 01

Global Mobility Immigration Lawyers Scholarship Submission: by University of Technology Sydney student Tarren Sohier

By admin | scholarship

Please note,  the views and opinions expressed in this scholarship entry (and all other scholarship entries) are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Global Mobility Immigration Lawyers.

Title: Australian Immigration Lawyer

Material: Oil on wood

Size: 20” x 20”

The work focuses on genetic diversity by mapping the DNA profile of a future Australian immigration lawyer. The title “Australian Immigration Lawyer” responds to the topic, “Immigration lawyers acting for asylum seekers are ‘unAustralian’” by highlighting the genetic diversity of all Australians. Its simple representation eliminates the focus on nationality and refocuses on the roots of humanity, with the intent of challenging discriminatory behavior.

Sep 26

Global Mobility Immigration Lawyers Scholarship Submission: by Curtin University computing student Bhushan Oza

By admin | scholarship

Please note,  the views and opinions expressed in this scholarship entry (and all other scholarship entries) are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Global Mobility Immigration Lawyers.

Immigration lawyers acting for

asylum seekers are “unAustralian”

The truth said by Peter Dutton

Lawyers representing asylum seekers trying to stay in the country are “un-Australian”, former Immigration Minister Peter Dutton had declared last year. Without a shadow of doubt, he was absolutely correct.

Australia is a unique country for its multiculturalism. For example, when I first came to Australia, I was amazed at how the first question of others when they met someone for the first time was, where do you come from? This clearly evidences how diverse the Australian culture is as it is embedded in people’s mind that Australians come from a variety of ethnicities. People have accepted this, but they should still exercise caution, as not all come legally or with a good intent, especially in the current climate of terrorism.

It is very easy for a terrorist, do disguise himself or herself as an asylum seeker, come into Australia, and possibly commit crimes. The primary reason for this would be the unavailability of identity documents of the person who seeks asylum. Now, due to this, when the Immigration Department takes longer times to process these applications, people start complaining! It is only for our safety that this happens. Hence I can’t find any reason why the lawyers want to support these claims and therefore I believe they may be “unAustralian”.

Another issue is money. The Australian Government pays for everything that asylum seekers use or do, including basic necessities’ fees. Where does this money come from? It comes from hard-working and honest tax payers who have come legally, usually on merit, after much struggle in their life. Surely, they wouldn’t want their tax money to be used here. It also piles on loads of money on the ever-increasing debt of Australia, which is worth billions, in fact, it’s annual interest is more than a billion dollars. Thus, who would want such a system? The lawyers who defend possible unscrupulous people, even though not intentionally, could be considered nothing but “unAustralian”.

How can the asylum seekers ‘demand’ asylum? How can the lawyers defend such ‘demands’? After all, they can only ‘request’ refuge in a foreign country. It depends on the country how to deal with them. Such demanding nature of asylum seekers only encourages me to think in one way- that something wrong is happening as otherwise there is no reason to do so. There is no excuse for lawyers trying to act for such fast-tracking and queue jumping demands. They may be considered “unAustralian” if they do so because this could potentially hurt legal migrants applying on merit who wait for long times to process their own Visa applications.

All in all, there is absolutely no reason for asylum seekers to be concerned about anything, as the Australian government is more than capable to help real needy people. If they revolt against the government, how can the government be sure they are good people? How can they trust them to not revolt against the government in the future? Therefore, without a shadow of doubt, lawyers supporting these claims and demands may be capable of being described by only one word- “unAustralian”. They may unconsciously damage lives of lawful Australian residents if their clients turn out to be terrorists. Furthermore, in the rarest of rare circumstances, legal actions maybe required on the lawyers themselves as they may turn out to be brainwashed themselves, as we have already witnessed, in Europe, how their own people were brainwashed by terrorist organisations such as ISIS and all of these led to calamities.

It must be noted that, Australia, although a very capable country, has its limits. Even if all the asylum seekers are genuine and need urgent refuge, if Australia doesn’t have enough resources, it can’t possibly help them. So I believe that both, lawyers and their clients, need to be patient and accept the decisions of the Australian government, although they may appear to be harsh.

Sep 25

Global Mobility Immigration Lawyers Scholarship Submission: by University of Technology Sydney student Naomi McKeown

By admin | scholarship

Please note,  the views and opinions expressed in this scholarship entry (and all other scholarship entries) are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Global Mobility Immigration Lawyers.

Un-UnAustralians

Gratitude gives way to hard work
Optimism paves the way to building a home
Our country is richer beyond culture
Literature
Politics
Science
Law
Sport
Gratitude is ours

1943
Jews in fear of broken glass
Solace found in the most remote land
Inspires a child to write books to inspire

A richer Australia

1977
Running from the Communist north
Risking life in a leaky boat and is saved
Rises to represent the Queen

A richer Australia

1989
A tigress escapes the nightmare of war
Her cyanide pill is destroyed
Girls captivated by her passion for science

A richer Australia

1995
Escaping civil war in Bosnia
A family seeking a future finds light
Using the law to help others to share in the joy

A richer Australia

2002
Abandoning a Kenyan camp of malaria, dust and death
A mother and her sons re-start life
Cheer, cheer the red and white

A richer Australia

Comment

Until the 1960s, to be Australian meant being Anglo, eating white bread and
listening to Mozart. But – thankfully – we have outgrown our teenage belligerence
and are now mature and worldly. Our identity is one created by each of us. And
there’s mutual gratitude for those who sought and found asylum here.

Australia is proof that the whole is better than the sum of its parts. Different
cultures and geographies and skills and dreams are what makes our country so
coveted.

There is example upon example of people who have escaped death and not only
stayed alive but created for themselves phenomenal success.

We are the recipients of their success.

We work so hard to defend Australia’s identity of A Fair Go. How better to
illustrate it.

Who then is unAustralian?

Sep 12

Global Mobility Immigration Lawyers Scholarship Submission: by University of Dubrovnik public relations student Vedran Radic

By admin | scholarship

Please note,  the views and opinions expressed in this scholarship entry (and all other scholarship entries) are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Global Mobility Immigration Lawyers. 

Immigration lawyers acting for asylum seekers are “unAustralian“

If you are a right wing nationalist you probably look at immigrants with despise, but if you are a left wing humanitarian and socialist, immigrants are then just a people in need of help. If you are an immigration lawyer you are then just doing your job – you are doing it for money.

In the ancient Greece Plato didn’t charged for his lectures because he thought that was unethical. People who did were sophist – he despised them. Eventually he was sentenced to death because, for among other things, his behavior to them.

From the ethical point of view the lawyers doing seems most unethical and more egoistic than of the all three examples mentioned before. Are they then “unAustralian”? On the list that you are asking yourself when you are taking a job probably the first one is the money – your paycheck. In today materialistic world somewhere on the list stands a loyalty to your nation – for majority of lawyer that is probably on the bottom part of their list. Calling them “unAustralian” seems fair and just.

We can make an analogy with immigration lawyers and immigration smugglers. Yes, the difference is that the first one is legal and the other is not, but from the ethical point of view they both are helping immigrants and they take the money for doing it. They are both humanitarians. Of course, we cannot judge everyone this way and there are immigration lawyers who act so they could help these people, they feel for them – they are not “unAustralian”.

Unfortunately, today you can’t live by helping others. People, in these case immigrants have become just a means to an end – a number, a salary a one step further in lawyer’s career. For those type of lawyers “unAustralian” is twelve letter word written and pronounced without an intrinsic meaning. The only intrinsic meaning that they understand is the documentation that they have and where is stated that they have an Australian citizenship.

They say that “money makes the world go around” and in this case money makes Australian immigration lawyer an “unAustralian”. Most of them are indifferent to their country and saying that they help immigrants because they want to ruin it would be wrong. Demonstrations against immigration in the whole world have become a normal thing, but one thing should be kept in mind – if those protestors were in the shoes of immigration lawyers they would probably to the same thing they do now, because the money makes…

1 2 3