Monday, 17 October 2016

Backpacker murder exposes immigration laws promoting exploitation



We know how Australia treats refugees and people arriving informally by boat. But their backpacker visa scheme is equally xeonophobic and almost as barbaric – as the tragic murder of a young British backpacker has exposed.

Mia Ayliffe-Chung [from Derbyshire, England[ was murdered in a remote Australian backpacker hostel in August 2016 … along with another Briton, Tom Jackson, 30, who courageously tried to save her.

The “remote Australian backpacker hostel” is not part of any resort. The one in which Mia was killed by another ‘inmate’ was in backblocks Queensland next to a field of nothing but rocks, snakes and sugar cane, a place Mia told her Mum, Rosie,was "like a prison.” It is part of a network of virtual slave-labour camps into young travellers are thrown while working out the 88 days the Australian government demands to extend their tourist visa.

Young travellers who want to extend their one-year working holiday visa in Australia are obliged to carry out 88 days of work on farms or in construction, carrying out unpopular, often extremely arduous labour.
    To accommodate them, a network of grim hostels has sprung up - such as the one where Mia died in Home Hill, Queensland - which act as employment agencies as well as offering bed and board in sparse dormitories.
    The flow of work day by day is often sporadic and backpackers are at the mercy of sometimes exploitative hostel owners and employers.
"It's modern-day slavery," says [Mia’s mum] Rosie.
    "The work is back-breaking. Sometimes the hostel owner takes passports away from the young people if they owe them money for rent.
    "There's quite a bit of sexual harassment too in some places. No one wants to blow the whistle, they all just want their visas… In the hostels there's a tense, febrile atmosphere, with drink and drugs."

By stripping the right to free movement from these young adventurers experimenting with life in a new land, the government has given almost total power over their young lives, work and welfare to what amounts to plantation owners and their overseers. The wretched young folk housed cheek-by-jowl in this hostel were woken every day to clear rocks from the fields, at pay rates well under minimum wage. To whom was there to complain ? Certainly not the government, whose job it should be to protect rights. And precious few Australians, to whom keeping people out of their big, broad land has become almost obsessive.

If those outposts on Nauru and Manus and Christmas Islands can be called concentration camps, then these are like the quarters reluctantly doled out to plantation slaves.

Since her murder, Mia’s mother Rosie has begun a campaign to highlight the exploitation of young backpayers by a system that simply invites inhumanity.

"Closure for me would be to see this campaign get off the ground. I hope that I can get the message out to other young people and their parents that there are dangers out there which they may not have anticipated."
    Rosie says: "Through this campaign we could save lives. Mia is not the first person to die in that situation - how many girls have been sexually harassed on the farms, leaving life-long scars?"
    Paul Broadbent, chief executive of the UK-based Gangmasters Licensing Authority, has met Rosie and backs the campaign. He says: "Rosie's campaigning is courageous and admirable and, as an organisation that exists to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable workers, we fully support her endeavours."

You simply cannot discuss immigration without addressing all the effects of limiting the right to free movement. Including how it places those left out at the mercy of those who exploit the limits to exploit the lives of others.

If you’re a left-winger struggling to find a reason to opposed closing borders, then just think of the power imbalance that creates, and what it makes inevitable …

[Pic from the Herald article]



  1. What a load of absolute fffing twaddle.

    "The wretched young folk housed cheek-by-jowl in this hostel were woken every day to clear rocks from the fields, at pay rates well under minimum wage. To whom was there to complain ? Certainly not the government, whose job it should be to protect rights. And precious few Australians, to whom keeping people out of their big, broad land has become almost obsessive."

    I've been living here for nearly 6 years now, and Australians are very welcoming and friendly. Backpackers are not forced into anything. They freely choose where they go and where they work. And what's with wanting the government to enforce a minimum wage? That isn't libertarian at all. She wasn't murdered because of some rule the government made, but because of some crazed Frenchman who apparently was yelling Allahu Akbar as he did it, and ranting that he wanted to kill everyone.

    1. It's not complex, Richard. Their choices are limited by the state limiting their right to free movement. If Backpackers wish to extend their one-year working holiday visa in Australia, they are obliged to carry out 88 days of work in the workplace of someone sucking off the state tit, who can pay them whatever the fuck they like.
      This places every backpacker in the company of people with whom they would otherwise not associate, some of whom are (or are made) dangerous.

    2. I don't support the laws, Peter, but the use of her murder to push a Libertarian agenda is unconscionable. Her mother is intensely emotionally involved, so she's going to go through all the ifs, or if only's until she's numb with it. It's a part of dealing with the grief. But since we are blaming laws, here's one to throw at you. If there was a ban on Islamic immigration Mia would still be alive today. Here's another. Even if those laws didn't exist this nut job Muslim would still be in the country and would still be likely to murder someone, maybe another Mia, only perhaps in Melbourne or Sydney rather than somewhere rural.

      And the rhetoric such as "slavery" and "no choice" and "concentration camp" is just not true. Everyone knows the deal before they enter the country, so they can choose to accept the deal or not before hand. Having done a reasonable amount of seasonal horticultural work myself, I know that it is not for everyone. It involves bunking with strangers, and conditions outside of what most enjoy at home, and the work is hard, which is too much for some to handle. Others, though, take to it like ducks to water, and they have a ball.

    3. So now we need to decide who is dangerous and limit their choices of were to go and who they may associate so they cannot associate with people who don't want to associate with them even if they have done nothing stupid beyond being a Muslim whom we generally must welcome because its racist not to. Its quite possible this murderer was going to kill someone, sometime, somewhere no matter what. On that basis this link between stupid rules and bad outcomes is flimsy.


    4. I can appreciate how you two manage to carefully step around the effect that immigration laws has on would-be migrants - especially how it puts others in a position of legalised authority over them.
      I can appreciate it, but I don't have to like it. Or endorse it.

    5. I haven't sidestepped anything. The laws should be abolished. By all means, attack the laws. I'm in 100% agreement. It was the rhetoric and the using of her murder that I found offensive.

    6. Good. We're on the same page on that then.
      And so too, is her mother, whom I quote, who invites us to use her murder to highlight the foul conditions in which her daughter was placed by those laws.
      So don't give me that 'offensive' bullshit as if you've been 'triggered.' Doesn't wash.

  2. Thumbs up to Richards comment above.
    Nobody is forced to work if they don't want to in Australia and certainly not cheek by jowl,clearing rocks LOL
    But seriously PC wtf, Are you for real?
    The first time I looked at your blog for a while (a follower in the past) and a mighty giant WTF...Twaddle indeed.
    This tragedy has nothing to do with the (one eyed) picture you paint against Australias border control policy.
    I see your post as extremely offensive against Mia's name and her family would surely be quite offended as well.
    She was murdered in cold blood for no good reason by a piece of ship loser of a 'man'.
    Full stop.
    You used to be quite a clever thinker and writer. But mate you sink to the bottom publishing this.
    Whats next? Are you going to defend Smail as a 'victim' of a country that attempts to protect its modern way of life?
    ps. How would you feel if that was your daughter or son taken out like that?
    A rather twisted, offensive post if you ask me buddy.

    1. Thumbs down to your comment.

      Offensive to Mia? Offensive to her family? Can you even read? It's her mother, Rosie, who has *started* the campaign to highlight the exploitation of young backpayers by a system that simply invites inhumanity. It's her that I quote.


  3. A quote comes to mind:

    "A businessman cannot force you to work for him or to accept the wages he offers; you are free to seek employment elsewhere and to accept a better offer, if you can find it. (Remember, in this context, that jobs do not exist “in nature,” that they do not grow on trees, that someone has to create the job you need, and that that someone, the businessman, will go out of business if he pays you more than the market permits him to pay you.) A bureaucrat can force you to work for him [or his cronies], when he achieves the totalitarian power he seeks; he can force you to accept any payment he offers—or none, as witness the forced labour camps in the countries of full statism.

    "The businessman’s tool is values; the bureaucrat’s tool is fear."

    From "America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business," from the book 'Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal,' by Ayn Rand

    1. Right because workers had it so much better in the 19th/early 20th century before evil bureaucrats started passing labour laws.

      Next time quote someone who is cognizant of history. Not an ignorant moron like Ayn Rand.

    2. True. Work conditions a century ago were poor. Two centuries ago, they were dreadful. But for every century before that, they were hideous. Capitalism didn't *invent* poverty, it *inherited* it -- and now, after three centuries and many billions more people, with fewer than 10% of the planet now in absolute poverty for the first time ever in history, it has almost abolished it.
      Not by writing laws banning it, but by producing the goods that are demanded.
      Don't believe that? So ask yourself, as you're promoting the virtues of your bureaucrats and unionists, after six months alone washed up on a desert island, who is most likely to have transformed it: an island with a cotery of bureaucrats and unionists passing labour laws, or an island with businessmen, entrepreneurs and capitalists?
      Short story: my island's better than your island.
      PS: next time, perhaps reference someone who's sole schtick is not moronic class analysis.

    3. Absolute poverty of less than $2 a day is a conveniently dishonest metric often used by politicians. Going from $1.90 to $2 per day is hardly something anyone would celebrate.

      A more relevant statistic is the fact you need to make just $32k in USD PA to be in the top 1 percent in the world by income.

      Human economic history is far too complicated to be expressed by a couple of 6 month old desert islands. You need capitalism, but you also need bureaucrats if you want to avoid Dickensian exploitation. You can thank evil bureaucrats for every time you've been granted a 15 minute coffee break by an employer.


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