'Tis the silly season in Australia, and detained asylum seekers,
determined not to miss out on the festivities, have been throwing parties
again. And what more appropriate place than Christmas Island? Many of the center's
guests, after being told that their appeals for refugee status had been
denied, decided to demonstrate to the people of their host nation just how well
integrated they could become, and join in the spirit of Christmas.
There seemed to be some cultural confusion though, as the the recent party
featured a big bonfire in some of center's buildings, which were totally gutted,
and will require rebuilding. They must be confused with the bonfire night on the
There was no mass break-out this time, because Christmas Island (being a small
island) offers limited options for unauthorized arrivals - being some 1000
miles from the Australian mainland, and having a population of just several
Other options are narrowing too, with the immigration excision policy meaning that
the detainees have no ability to appeal through the normal court system.
Jumping to their defense however was maveric ALP member Dr Carmen
Lawrence, who blamed the government for the detainee's party getting a bit out
of hand. She was quoted on your ABC as saying "If you hold people for very long
periods of time and you smash their hope then while I don't justify it, it's
expected that it would break out in this form."
Apparently she feels if people ask you for something persistently enough, then
it's your fault if they don't get it. Presumably though, Carmen's parliamentary
pension is excised from that principle.
Calling them detainees is a bit of misnomer of course - they can leave
whenever they choose (they just can't go to Australia). Considering
their new enthusiasm for Western culture, and the time of year,
maybe they'll adopt that prophetic Western saying - "home by Christmas!"