Blogs are great for bitching and moaning, aren't they? Well, if you're tired of that, here's your chance to cross the line to that strange realm of 'doing something about it.' And you don't even have to take your hand off the mouse.
As promised in - yikes - April, I've prepared and attached under the 'play audio' button at the top and bottom of this post, a Word document that people can use as a template submission for the Immigration Act Review. Which I've bitched and moaned about once before on Public Address, three times in the Sunday Star Times, and - Jesus - even once in iBall! I must be really, really angry.
I've looked through the online submission form for the Immigration Act Review. Scroll down slightly and it's a pretty straightforward set-up for registering your email, then accessing a submission form. My only quibble is that there is only one 'comment' box per page, rather than per question (where ticking 'comment' is an option - it just doesn't give you anywhere to comment). Judicious coding is therefore required if you want to make a whole lot of comments online. (Update) and yes, you can email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After some general comments at the beginning, my document follows the same format as the online submission form, listing all the key questions in the discussion paper in order and responding to them. The 'Yes/No' tick boxes are kind of fun - like voting.
The deadline for submissions is now 1 July, and lot of the draft submissions being prepared by various organisations will not be ready until the end of the month. So I thought it would be useful to collect a lot of the ideas floating around into one document. The template is a collation of a variety of opinions which were not so readily insertable into the online format, including the Human Rights Commission submission, the draft Human Rights Foundation submission, the draft Asia:NZ Foundation submission, idiot/savant's collected comments, and my own perspectives.
As a whole, I've taken a fairly hardline rejectionist stance - hey, someone has to - and in a couple of circumstances have voted 'no' on minor-scale proposals because of their parcelling within a broader objectionable package. My document is an unprotected Word document, so you are free to fiddle, replace, or reverse any of the sentiments within it. Ultimately, if you think I'm full of crap, you can delete all my suggested answers in the right hand columns, but still use this document to help you make a comprehensive submission. It isolates all the questions that need to be answered in the same format as the online submission form. It's fairly time consuming to go through the full discussion paper searching for the important parts you need to actually answer, and while the summary document lists the proposals couched in terms of how great they're going to be, it doesn't actually provide a list of the specific questions asked.
There are also some gaps where I have not included a direct answer or any comment. In these cases I either have not formed an opinion, haven't the expertise to comment, and/or am waiting for a more informed party to complete their submission and make it available. These include Section 8 and some of Section 14, which will be most definitively answered by the refugee law geeks of the Human Rights Foundation, and Section 13 on Third Parties, which immigration consultants and actual migrant community advocates can and should answer with more authority.
Hot-button Sections for the whitish liberal crowd that most Public Address readers undoubtedly are:
Section 9 - use of classified information that can neither be revealed nor challenged;
Section 10, which proposes increased powers of search, entry and detention for immigration officials;
Section 11 on gathering biometric information and;
Section 12 on detention (basic thrust: let's detain more people for longer!)
Sections which should be of serious concern to migrant and refugee communities include all the above and... well... basically all the rest:
Section 5 on immigration decision-making which proposes the use of withholding prejudicial information for offshore applicants, the use of secret classified information, and extending the decision-making powers of immigration officials
Section 6 on exclusion and expulsion, including proposed insertion of health and character requirements into legislation, using wording such as "glorification" of terrorism
Section 7 on reducing avenues for review and appeal
Section 13 on the role of third parties in - basically - catching and snitching, such as service providers and employers
Sections that people in specific industries should definitely submit on, and undoubtedly are submitting on, are:
Section 8 for Immigration consultants/lawyers and Refugee lawyers
Section 13 for immigration consultants and employers who employ a lot of migrant workers
Sheesh! Wasn't that incredibly boring/important? If you're in need of inspiration, go read David Haywood's interview on Speaker with Iranian intellectual and refugee Shahzad Ghahreman to hype yo'self up to submit to the Man.