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Morning folks,
For those of you who are intending to use my suggestion for using the
current situation as an in-context research process (and it would appear
from my mail there are many) there have been some new developments which
give some new perspectives that might prove useful investigations.

Firstly, we have a well-respected weekly television current affairs program
called 'Sunday' and the Minister for Immigration has just been interviewed
by Laurie Oakes who is recognised as being one of the best political
reporters in the country.  He asked some straight questions and got some
straight answers about the why and the what and the transcript of this
interview is online at http://news.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/

It would provide an excellent resource for your students to understand the
Australian government's position. I am not sure if it forms a primary source
altho given that it is a transcript of the person's words it could be.  It
would therefore offer an opportunity to compare it to how it is interpreted
in the media.

Secondly, there has been an agreement reached whereby those on board the
boat (and who are being called 'asylum seekers' rather than 'illegal
immigrants' or 'refugees' because their claims of being such have not yet
been authenticated) will go to either Nauru or New Zealand for processing
according to the laws and standards and methods of the UNHCR.  Their future
will depend on the results of that processing.  That would open up
opportunities for your students to explore the concept of 'refugee' and how
one becomes one.  They might also like to examine how their lives would be
changed if they found themselves in the circumstances of such people.

It could also lead to discussions about a country's sovereign rights, and
perhaps whether there should even be any barriers to immigration to any
country - the depoliticisation of the planet, perhaps.  If you want to move
to Outer Woop Woop then you should be able to just back your bags and go
without any hindrance, which, in turn, might lead to investigations about
why there are barriers to such free travel.

Thirdly, the Victorian Council for Civil Liberties (membership numbers,
political affiliations unknown) have taken the case to the Federal Court
seeking and winning an injunction to the solution until the matter is heard
in full today (Sunday).  The VCCL contends that "the asylum-seekers are now
subject to Australian law and should be brought to shore so they can lodge
applications for refugee status in Australia".  Perhaps students could be
asked to put on the hat of a Federal Court judge and examine all the issues
to determine what decision they would make.

It might also lead to an investigation about the sort of redress to the
courts that those in the students' own country might have, and offer an
insight into how their judicial system works.  It could even demonstrate
that there is more than one system in the world and some are more liberal
than others. Then perhaps the students could look at the pros and cons of
the systems and try to develop a perfect model or suggest changes that need
to be made to the one under which they live.

I have deliberately worded this with mights. shoulds and coulds so that it
is interpreted as a lesson suggestion not a political statement of the
situation or any indication of my own personal views.  As yesterday, I am
NOT putting the issue up for discussion, just offering a way that it might
be used to further develop the critical literacies of those who might find
themselves in positions of decision in a few years.

Kia ora

Barbara Braxton
Teacher Librarian
Palmerston District Primary School

T. 02 6205 7241
F. 02 6205 7242
E. barbara@austarmetro.com.au
W. http://www.palmdps.act.edu.au

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