The true illegals don’t come by boat

A lot of disrespect is paid to Australia by the true illegals,white people who don’t stand out, who overstay their visitors’ permits. They are here illegally. They are the uncontrolled stream… But they are rich enough to fly in a plane. They are the ones taking jobs… But we don’t imprison them!

By comparison, the small number of people who escape death and persecution, who risk their lives ( and some do die) are NOT illegal..they are refugees, coming from countries that do not have embassies where they can apply for admission.
Unfortunately they are brown and black and stand out. They dress a little differently, they speak differently, and maybe even worship differently.
Our political “leaders” in their race to the bottom treat these people like criminals, pandering to those who want everything to be exactly as it was in some mythical “white Australia”, that never existed except in the fevered brains of the John Howards of this country.

99 per cent of this generation of boat people are eventually considered as true refugees and allowed to stay, soon becoming Australians …making a home in a country where all those except the indigenous are immigrants or descendants of immigrants.
Of those that are sent back, some have been executed…. Their terror not a mirage but reality,

For the majority of us who are immigrants or descendants of immigrants (boat people from the First Fleet, or 10 pound Poms, or Pre or post war refugees, or Vietnamese or all the other variations)…how can we say enough? How can we turn our backs and say because we and ours are OK, everyone else must stay away.

Yes, some of our ancestors fought in WW1 and WW2…not to keep anyone out but to try to ensure we could all live in peace.

Over the recent history of Australia, since the first gold rush in the 1850s, each new group has arrived, settled in and changed this corner of the world. Since we are here to stay each change is to be enjoyed and gloried in, for by this we are richer not poorer.

Common Myths about Refugees Refugee Council of Australia

Some Great Australians… Who Happened To Be Refugees Kochie Blog

A Poem I wrote 10 years ago… who would believe the situation is worsening, for now we are hiding the shame “off shore”

Christmas Island seascape
The beautiful Christmas Island where refugees are held out of sight from mainland Australia Photo taken Rosemary Spark December 2009

No Flowers

All I can see are fences
No flowers in this country.
All I can hear are shouts
No songs in this country.
All I can smell is fear
No flowers in this country.
All I can taste is dust
Wrong bread in this country.
All I can touch are wires
No flowers in this country.

In this country
Why didn’t God make flowers?
Where is the love?
Where are the hugs?
Where are the flowers?

Rosemary Spark August 2002

As for the shameful and blatantly false claim refugees are to blame for our security problems that is the worst kind of politicking!
Our security problems are the largely the result of the dispossessed poor watching the rich get richer while jobs, housing, education and health are increasingly out of reach. Governments continue to reneg on the “social contract” and allow big business to strip Australia bare.
Any foreign terrorist will calmly come by plane business class, not risk his life in a leaky boat on the off chance of finding the kindness of strangers on the Australian coast.



I’m on holiday. I’ve gone away. To Broome, as it happens. A very long way away. Well over 2300 kilometres. On the plane it took 2½ hours to fly from Perth. This a journey within one state and not even from one extremity to the other. Like I said, a long way away.

Why do we do this? Why travel great distances to some other place from where we normally live? Many reasons. Often more than one applies to a particular situation. As it does this time. I’ve come away to have some respite, a change from the usual. To relax without the burden of the everyday urgency of living which always seems so present in our normal biding. In addition, spending time with loved relations, my brother-in-law and his wife. So, definitely a complexity of reasons.

Being away implies some notion of a base, somewhere that isn’t away. Although I’ve spent around two thirds of my life mostly in various locations around the city of Perth, it doesn’t yet feel like my home. But if you ask me where that would be, I would still be hard up for an answer.  Most people unhesitatingly ascribe a city, a town, a suburb, as their home. Not me. I was born in Sydney. I lived in the city for the first three years of my life and then the next eleven within a radius of less than 100 kms. That was a long time ago.  Since then I’ve only visited the city for brief periods. Those early years and the collection of short subsequent visits are not enough for Sydney to qualify as my home. And if that doesn’t count, nowhere else is going to fare any better.

But I’m not stateless. I’m still in the country in which I was born. I have an unequivocal right to go on  living here, in Australia. Whether I can specify somewhere in the country as my home town or not is irrelevant to the political fact that Australia counts officially as my home. I have somewhere to live. I’m not threatened by anything more than politicians who want me to believe they’re always acting in my best interests, and business people who assure me “your call is important to us”.

According to an item on SBS News this evening, there are 15 million refugees in the world right now. People who are away. People who are not at home. People who no longer have a home. Or if they can identify a place which they call home, they cannot live there, cannot go back there. These are people who are away not from choice but because they’ve been driven from their homes by war, murder, rape, torture, starvation, terrorism, or some other hideous provocation from a long list of possibilities.

In the meantime I live in a country in which I can freely choose to go away. I also live in a country whose politicians — there’s no distinction in this case between government and opposition members — pretend that we are somehow seriously threatened by a few hundred refugees , virtually all of them bona fide, who arrive on our shores, or at least in our territories, by boat. These illegal immigrants, so-called boat people, who have come away in order to save their lives, are apparently a dire danger whereas the thousands who come by air and overstay their visitor visas pose no problem.

I would like to extend the hospitality of my home, my country Australia, to these homeless people, these people who have come away from their forbidding homelands . But my government, those politicians elected to represent my wishes and to act on them, has chosen to ignore me and deny any welcome to this particular category of refugees. And I cannot get away from this despicable policy and its inhumane application. Even if I go away from the country, which, as I’ve already said,  I can freely choose to do, I cannot get away from the shame. There is nowhere away from this.




The boat rides on, over the harbour,

Pushing beyond the headland,

Soon it will sail over the horizon;

Soon it will lie beyond memory.


I came here on that vagrant boat,

Though I would as gladly come

On the back of a great bird in the sky,

Or carried in a chariot of the gods.


On this voyage there was no fantasy,

Only a mundane and miserable passage,

Dragged across wilful currents and tides;

I should not have hoped for more.


Yet I dreamt of a different journey,

And for a time the dream was real,

Fragments remain, vaguely calling me;

I still hope, long for them to be true.


The boat rides on, over the harbour,

Pushing beyond the headland,

Soon it will sail over the horizon;

But I have come to stay.

Ruari Jack Hughes


There hasn’t been much activity here for a few weeks. For very good reason. The writing effort has been directed full-time to finishing the novel. A few days ago the last chapter was written. Not actually the last chapter of the novel but the final one created. Yesterday , after a few formatting issues, the manuscript went off to reviewers. Now I sit and wait for their raves or their condemnations. Seriously hoping for the former.

Because when I say ‘Finished!’, it doesn’t really mean finished, does it? What writer, what artist in any field, ever truly feels that the work is finished, that it cannot be made better, that they have achieved perfection, a final statement that cannot in any way be added to or improved?

We’re accustomed to the idea that new editions of non-fictional writing will most likely have revisions and updates, but I wonder how many readers are aware that fictional works are also frequently revised in new editions? Some writers can’t resist tinkering with their work. Joseph Conrad was notorious for making changes in every new printing of his novels. We have multiple versions of Shakespeare’s plays. Hollywood is forever remaking successful movies. Was there really a need to redo “The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo”?

Beyond the realm of writing and other artistic endeavour there are perhaps more profound indications that no creative artist is ever finally satisfied with their work. We’ve all heard the joke about how God made Eve because he wasn’t quite happy with the first model, Adam. More significantly, He must have felt something was wrong with His creation that it needed Him to send Jesus to fix it up.

Finished? No, I don’t think so. Only for certain values of the word. But not ultimately. There must come a point where we arrive and say enough is enough, already. Some moment when we stop and decide that this is as good as it gets — in my world at least.


Enough for the Day

His hand opened.

In it he discovered

Patterns of lines,

Description of what he could make,

Image of himself.

So why not?

Let me make a being,

A life to inhabit a world,

Someone like me,

But not me.

The grid lines in his palm

Sorted into a man.

But it was not enough,

Not all there could be.

He closed his fist.

Then, opening it again,

He found what he needed.

Now he had both,

A man and a woman.

It was enough.

What he had

Was enough.


Ruari Jack Hughes



Elm Tree Dance Continues…

After the choir at St Pauls’ Beaconsfield sings the postlude at our Sunday service, those who wish to join in “The Elm Dance”. They gather in the circle dance area outside the church before going up to coffee in the hall. This practice has continued at St Pauls for near twenty years

Around the planet, as people gather to work together for the healing of our world, a simple, beautiful practice is spreading. To celebrate their commitment to life and solidarity with activists the world over, they join hands in a circle dance.
Set to the haunting strains of a Latvian song by Ieva Akuratere, and choreographed by Anastasia Geng, the Elm Dance took form in Germany in the 1980s. In 1992, having learned it from my friend Hannelore, I took the Elm Dance with me to workshops I was leading with a Russian-speaking team in areas poisoned by the Chernobyl disaster. There, and especially in Novozybkov, the most contaminated of inhabited cities, the dance became an expression of their will to live. It was here the dance evolved a distinctive form with the raising and swaying of arms, evoking their connection with the trees they so loved.

A Dance of Inspiration and Solidarity Joanna Macy

Musings on Meaning

We at St Pauls join in a circle dance, to pray the prayers of our hearts but especially for peace.

I thought what a great metaphor for our Christian community the Elm Dance Dancing the Elm Tree Prayeris.

Firstly the dance, the slow measured step where we dance together to the same tune, guided by those who know it better, helped by those who know the steps and the sequence, and supporting each other when feet stumble out of step, or wander in a different direction.

Around us is God’s beautiful sky and warming light, the fragrance of rosemary, the delighted joyful music of the birds mingling with loving music composed by His children.

Wonderful too is the ever-widening circle as more and more join, effortlessly welcomed into the dance. Existing members are strong enough in loving support to let go and welcome in; new ones are brave enough to step forward and take the offered hands.

For those on the outside looking in, there is delight in watching the pattern and wholeness of the dance.

Our prayers seek to bless those from Novozybkov, that most contaminated of cities after Chernobyl and the spoken and unspoken prayers: the homeless down the street, the patient people of Zimbabwe and those with broken relationships around us; and the dance helps us bring the answers into being.

As we are swaying – Let’s Give Peace a Dance


Download the music Elm Dance mp3

The Elm Dance Latvian words translated into English originally from Elm Dance Introduction Joanna Macy

The Elm Dance Translated

Ko man dosi mamulite, par muzigu dzivošanu
What will you give to me mother dear, for eternal life
Ko man dosi mamulite, par muzigu dzivošanu
What will you give to me mother dear, for eternal life
Izplaukst zelta abelite un ka rita migla skan
The little golden apple tree blooms, and rings out like morning mist
Izplaukst zelta abelite un ka rita migla skan
The little golden apple tree blooms, and rings out like morning mist
Ko tas dos tev mamulite, ka tavs delinš nenomirst
What does it give to you mother dear, that your little son doesn’t die
Ko tas dos tev mamulite, ka tavs delinš nenomirst
What does it give to you mother dear, that your little son doesn’t die
Atbildes nav
There is no reply

Tikai veja notric ozolišu birzs
Only the grove of oak trees trembles in the wind
Veja notric ozolišu birze
The grove of oak trees trembles in the wind
Tikai koki savikšas uz rudeni
Only the trees put on their autumn leaves
Koki savikšas uz rudeni
The trees put on their autumn leaves
Atbildes nav
There is no reply

Izškid visi mani joki, Visi joki gludeni
All my humour dissolves, All jokes fall flat
Izškid visi mani joki, Visi joki gludeni
All my humour dissolves, All jokes fall flat
Atbildes nav
There is no reply

Tikai kajas drošak savu zemi min
Only our feet all the more surely trample our earth
Kajas drošak savu zemi min
Our feet all the more surely trample our earth
Tapec draugi ka man klajas
Therefore, friends, how I am feeling
Itneviens lai neuzzin
let no-one know
Tapec draugi ka man klajas
Therefore, friends, how I am feeling
Itneviens lai neuzzin
let no-one know

Notes on Interpretation

Latvian is a language that was only written down when German missionaries spread the Christian faith in the 1700’s, being the last place in North Western Europe to maintain a pagan animistic worship of the land, the seasons and forces of nature. Hence many words in the song multiple meanings and connotations. This trend towards double meaning was accentuated during the years of Stalinist Soviet rule, where to be too explicit about things could land you in trouble. People became very good at saying one thing and meaning another.

The song uses double lines. This is because in the oral tradition, the singer would sing the first line, and the audience sings the second, as there was no way of writing down songs until comparatively recently. Latvia’s rich oral culture was kept alive in this fashion for centuries if not millennia. There are many examples of double meaning in the song.

* “mamulite” – means “Mother Dear”, but has other meanings also. It here seems to be referring to Mother Nature, or Mother Earth – to Gaia herself.

* “muzigu dzivošanu” – means “eternal life” or “to live forever”. It could be referring to either the Earth as a whole or to Humanity on the Earth, as there is no differentiation between subject and object within the lyrics, making the meaning even more cryptic.

* “zelta abelite” – means “golden little apple tree”. The apple-tree was considered to be the tree of life, in the Garden of Eden. Pagan Latvians also had a belief in the sacred tree of life. Using this image of the tree of life in this context may lead one to think that this is the answer to the question of Mother Earth about eternal life.

* “migla skan” – is a strange image. It means literally “how mist sounds” or rings out like the sound of a bell, ringing out over a valley shrouded in mist. It is as if the essence of the Tree of Life has become hidden in the sound of the morning mist. “Ask not for whom the bell tolls” – the mist has its own sound as the season shifts towards autumn and the mist enshrouds the Earth.

* “delinš” – means “little son”. In this conext the “ltittle son” of “Mother Earth” is humanity itself. The question thus seems to indicate “What does it give to the earth that humanity persists”.

* “Atbildes nav” – means literally, “there is no return image”, but in this context it can be that there is no reply or answer to the question the singer is asking of Mother Earth. The Earth is remaining silent about whether or not humanity will persist. Rather than answering the answer, the trees tremble in the wind (with the way nature becomes aprehensive) and moving towards the autumn can mean approaching an “end” of the year in the season of winter. In the conext of the song, this may be the response that “Mother Earth” is giving to the singer’s questions.

* “Izškid” – means to “dissolve”, in the Latvian dictionary, like “salt in water”

* “joki” – literally means “joke”, but in this sense it means a “sense of humour, of fun and joy”. It is as if the persons joy in life is dissolving as a result of the shift towards autumn and the end of the year.

* “gludeni” – means smooth or flat, like a road or a flat surface. The jokes falling flat means that the “punch line” is not working. It is like a joke that no-one laughs at, a joke for which there is no reply.

* “Kajas drošak savu zemi min” – our feet more surely trample our earth is a result of the persistence of humanity, earth’s young child, becoming ever more numerous.

* “ka man klajas” – means “how does your life go for you”, implying health as well as general wellbeing. In the sense of the song it seems to be asking how the singer feels about this strange enigmatic silence of the earth and the answers she is giving the singer. The implication is that as the answers of the earth are enigmatic, the humanity listening to the song cannot know exactly what the earth moving towards autumn and trees trembling in the wind really means.

* “Itneviens lai neuzzin” – means no one can discover, or the idea of permission – letting no one discover what the Earth and the singer really feels. There is no difference here between subject and object so it is not clear whether the Earth, the little son, or the singer herself is being referred to here.