Alex O'Brien reviews 'A Country Too Far: Writings on Asylum Seekers' edited by Rosie Scott and Tom Keneally

Writings on Asylum Seekers

Alex O'Brien reviews 'A Country Too Far: Writings on Asylum Seekers' edited by Rosie Scott and Tom Keneally

A Country Too Far: Writings on Asylum Seekers

edited by Rosie Scott and Tom Keneally

Viking, $29.99 pb, 260 pp, 9780670077465

Australia is a country that will not be intimidated by its own decency. On 28 August 2001, as a detail of Special Air Services soldiers was dispatched to MV Tampa, Prime Minister John Howard spoke about the 438 people – mostly Afghan Hazaras – who languished aboard the freighter. ‘We are humane people,’ he told Mike Munro. ‘[B]ut on the other hand, I have to worry and my colleagues have to worry about the flow of people coming into this country. Now we have decided in relation to this particular vessel to take a stand.’ There is a blunt art to Canberra’s politics on immigration: it consists of assuring voters that asylum seekers’ detention and removal from our shores are the exception to the ‘national character’ – unfortunate, yes, invidious even – but essential in preserving this lone island as our own.

Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month.

We offer a range of subscription options, including print, which can be found by clicking here. If you are already a subscriber, enter your username and password in the ‘Log In’ section in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

If you require assistance, contact us or consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Published in March 2014 no. 359
Alex O'Brien

Alex O'Brien

Alex O’Brien is a Melbourne reviewer.

More in this issue « Outcrop Heterodox peas »

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.