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Location : Publications : Tampering
  

Frank Brennan's
Tampering with Asylum
, UQP, ISBN 0702234168

"Father Brennan’s book provides different perspectives and thoughtful and compassionate insights into this difficult area."
Kirsty Ruddock, NSW Law Society Journal


"Stringently policy-focused and unemotional."
Sylvia Lawson, Australian Book Review

"Brennan's methodology puts the Government to shame. He treats asylum seekers as individual persons who share our humanity."
Tony Smith, JAS Review of Books

With the Howard Government's revelation that 90% of the unauthorised boat arrivals in recent years have been proved to be refugees, it is timely to reassess the harsh measures instituted to process these people who were labelled as unlawful queue jumpers. Father Frank Brennan, Jesuit lawyer and human rights advocate does so in his new book, Tampering with Asylum: A Universal Humanitarian Problem. The book compares Australia’s dramatic over-reaction in closing its national borders to the Tampa’s human cargo with the response of the United States and Europe, and offers a practical blueprint for countries wanting to humanely protect asylum seekers.

“Now is the time to scrutinise government's rationale for treating boat people in such a discriminatory way, in the name of national security.”

Father Brennan said, “It is no surprise that Willie Virgile Brigitte, the Al Qaeda operative, came by plane with a tourist visa. He was never eligible for upstream disruption or mandatory detention. No terrorist has come by boat with wife and children and without a visa. Now is the time to scrutinise government's rationale for treating boat people in such a discriminatory way, in the name of national security.”

Tampering with Asylum is a primer for more informed public discussion about the morality of Australia's asylum policy. It moves beyond the point scoring of political parties.

“In the past Prime Minister Howard has boasted that Australia was a warm-hearted, decent international citizen. By comparing Australia's policy with the US, UK and Europe, the reader can appreciate the shortcomings in Australia's approach. Now that the boats have largely stopped coming it is time to put the 2001 election campaign tactics behind us and work towards more rational, cost-effective and fair ways of treating those groups who are most likely to be refugees, while maintaining the integrity of our borders,” Frank Brennan said.

This book shows that both these objectives can be achieved by politicians of good will.

Frank Brennan regularly visits detention centres in Woomera, Port Hedland and Baxter. After visiting Baxter in early November, he said that the situation was getting “more desperate”. Father Brennan has just returned from a study tour which took him to meetings with UN and international NGO refugee officials in Europe and North America. In Geneva, he attended the Executive Meeting of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Reviews

 Kirsty Ruddock
A rational look at asylum seekers

March 2004, NSW Law Society Journal

"Have you ever thought that Australia's recent policies on asylum seekers are wrong, but don’t quite have the statistics to back up your views? Or perhaps you are just seeking some thoughtful insights into the stories of asylum seekers in order to understand their plight? Maybe you want to understand further the Government’s dilemma of how to determine who is in the most need of its protection under the Refugee Convention? If you are interested in any of these issues, Father Brennan’s book provides different perspectives and thoughtful and compassionate insights into this difficult area."
Full review

 Tony Smith
Reviewed by Tony Smith, University of Sydney
Jas Review of Books, Issue 21, February 2004

"Tampering with Asylum explains and exposes the shameful euphemisms and unwarranted innuendo that form the jargon in this policy area. Regardless of their political persuasions, readers will be better informed about mandatory detention, interdiction at sea, refoulement, queue jumpers, suspensive appeals and upstream disruption. They should feel more confident that they understand the bureaucratic processes involved in determining refugee status and that they appreciate both sides of the argument surrounding the appropriateness of judicial review of decisions."
Full review

 Sylvia Lawson
From Geneva to Zero
Australian Book Review, February 2004

"[Frank Brennan's] book is stringently policy-focused and unemotional. He concedes the government's concern for border protection, and understands post-September 11 insecurities; he doesn't underrate the problems of dealing with 13,000 asylum appli-cations a year. He reviews few individual stories, though those he includes are unforgettable. He contests the unreasonable conditions of TPVs; once accepted as a refugee, the asylum seeker should be allowed residency and the right to family reunion."
Full review

 Karen Ashford
Human rights and wrongs
Adelaide Review, January 2004

"Frank Brennan wears the label “meddling priest” as something of a badge of honour. His most recent book, Tampering with Asylum (launched in Adelaide by dedicated supporter of asylum seekers, Lowitja O’Donoghue), will reaffirm his label among those in government who would prefer less scrutiny of their actions. The book is a probing, articulate assessment of what he describes as Australia’s massive overreaction to the fourth wave – but surely not the last wave - of boat people to these shores. Put simply, Brennan believes Australians have allowed themselves to be easily spooked, a view reinforced by John von Doussa."
Full review

 

For more information, please contact Uniya on (02) 9356 3888 or info@uniya.org.

Tampering Order Form

Order Tampering with Asylum from Uniya.
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Full text of addresses

text Colin McDonald Launching Tampering with Asylum
Colin McDonald, Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, 17/12/2003

text Darwin Launch of Tampering with Asylum
In response to Colin McDonald QC and the Honourable Bob Collins, Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, 17/12/2003

text Brisbane Launch of Tampering with Asylum
Frank Brennan's address at City Hall, Brisbane, 25/11/2003

text Adelaide Launch of Tampering with Asylum
Lowitja O'Donoghue's address at Imprints Bookshop, Adelaide, 20/11/2003

text Melboune Launch of Tampering with Asylum
Frank Brennan's address at Readers Feast, Melbourne, 19/11/2003

text Time to Stop Tampering with Asylum, Address at the National Press Club
Frank Brennan's address at the launch of Tampering with Asylum, NPC, Canberra, 5/11/03

text Responses to Frank Devine's critique
The Australian, 8/1/2004
 See also Frank Brennan, "Honesty and the Issues", The Sydney Institute, 11/2/04

 

 

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