Tuesday 22nd of September 2020

the hollowman .....

the hollowman .....

Church leaders, health and charity groups have joined the federal government in condemning claims that conditions for asylum seekers living in flats and houses as part of community detention are ''luxurious''.


Media reports of the provision of lounges, plasma televisions, whitegoods and food prompted the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, to claim yesterday ''the red carpet is being rolled out'' and the household items were a ''luxury'' which acted as a ''welcome mat'' encouraging people smugglers.


A former Australian of the Year, Patrick McGorry, said community detention was much better for people in terms of avoiding the damage that long-term detention causes.


''This has been a positive move and I am not sure why it is being painted this way,'' he said.


Michael Raper of the Red Cross, which organises houses for unaccompanied teenagers, torture victims and families with young children, said the community program was begun by the Howard government and the same basic household items continued to be supplied.


Mr Raper said he did not know of any plasma television sets being issued: ''The one thing we get most complaints about is the 21-inch TVs.''


Pamela Curr of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said the reality was many televisions were second-hand, crockery was sourced from opportunity shops, and there were often no cupboards in bedrooms.


The Foundation House director and former Howard government detention adviser, Paris Aristotle, said 3285 people have moved through community detention since Labor expanded the program in 2011.


''This program has saved the taxpayer money and also honoured Australia's obligation to vulnerable children,'' Mr Aristotle said.


Father Frank Brennan said putting asylum seeker families on the street without habitable accommodation when they are prohibited from working would ''create a criminal underclass''. ''In terms of cost and morality, you can't call it a 'red carpet','' Father Brennan said.


The Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, said the ''very basic essential items'' are provided and are ''not a handout'' because they stayed in each house for use by the next family of asylum seekers awaiting visa processing.


Mr Bowen attacked Mr Abbott's comments as ''shrill'' and ''inappropriate'' for an opposition leader, and called for the Coalition to ''stop playing negative politics and work with the government to re-establish offshore processing and provide a real deterrent to dangerous boat journeys''.


Two boats carrying 134 asylum seekers were intercepted near Christmas Island overnight on Thursday, bringing the total to four boats this week.


Naji Nawavi, 18, says he lived in a convent with six other boys in Ballarat watching a ''normal'' television, with no computer or internet access, while in community detention.


When the Afghan teenager received a refugee visa recently, he was issued a bed and moved into a shared rental house in Dandenong with four other refugees, furnished with a sofa they found abandoned in the backyard.


''It is an old house and the Immigration Department didn't give us anything,'' he said. He has since found a job as a panel beater in Perth and is looking forward to supporting himself.


Supporters Dismiss Claim Of Red Carpet For Refugees


meanwhile ….

Not a peep out of hollowman’s mentor, Cardinal Pell, about this wicked wasting of taxpayers’ money on these wealthy foreigners; no doubt too busy looking after conditions for weary catholic travellers at his new multi-million dollar pilgrim centre in Rome, known as ‘Domus Australia’.

With its 32 hotel rooms, Domus is a "home away from home" for Catholic Australians, says Pell. Close to the Vatican on Via Cernaia, Pell’s pensione offers Aussie breakfasts & an Australian take on Catholicism, with a 2-meter high portrait of the Virgin Mary, entitled Our Lady of the Southern Cross. It also houses a number of Aussie relics, including bones belonging to Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop & Saint Peter Chanel, "Priest and Protocol-Martyr of Oceania", a Marist missionary who was killed in the South Pacific in 1841.

Pell's new pilgrim centre is a former monastery, used by Australia's Marist Fathers as a student hostel until the 1950s. Father Bob of the Marists in Sydney said it was "cold & depressing" in those days, & "needed a lot doing to it" when the Catholic Church bought it in September 2008. But with renovations complete, it now looks a million dollars: the imposing stone facade has been returned to a beautiful honey colour. The inside looks like a Roman church should, with marble, murals & gold leaf, which has been lovingly restored.

So how much did it all cost? And who exactly is paying?

Whilst Katrina Lee, Director of Catholic Communications, wouldn’t offer a precise answer, Cardinal Pell's biographer, Tess Livingstone, has suggested the bill was close to $30 million, with the archdioceses of Sydney, Melbourne & Perth, & the diocese of Lismore bearing most of the load. Other sources have suggested that $85 million may be closer, but Lee says this is "way off the mark".

Cardinal Pell said the project has been funded by church money, donations & loans that will need to be repaid. Last week he confessed he would be shocked if Domus did not pay its way. "I once said in a moment of rashness that Blind Freddy could make a bob out of this & I think we will be able to". 

Of course, hollowman & his fellow catholics are entitled to ask if this money could have been better spent …. perhaps St Vinnies or many catholic schools could have used it?

In the meantime, there have been no complaints about the plasmas, of course …..


pell's nightmare....

pell�s bete noire...