Compassionate Bastard

Compassionate Bastard Politicians outdo each other with tough measures to deal with asylum seekers and illegal immigrants But someone has to look people in the eye and do the questioning the arresting the detaining and t

  • Title: Compassionate Bastard
  • Author: Peter Mitchell
  • ISBN: 9780143566229
  • Page: 141
  • Format: Paperback
  • Politicians outdo each other with tough measures to deal with asylum seekers and illegal immigrants But someone has to look people in the eye and do the questioning, the arresting, the detaining and the deporting For a time, that someone was Peter Mitchell.Hoping for a quiet public service job, Mitchell walked into the Department of Immigration in 1990 and quickly foundPoliticians outdo each other with tough measures to deal with asylum seekers and illegal immigrants But someone has to look people in the eye and do the questioning, the arresting, the detaining and the deporting For a time, that someone was Peter Mitchell.Hoping for a quiet public service job, Mitchell walked into the Department of Immigration in 1990 and quickly found himself on the frontline of one of the nation s most divisive issues.With the wry humour shared by those in uniform, Mitchell describes his early years collaring illegal workers and visa overstayers But things became a lost challenging when he was appointed manager of the infamous Villawood Detention Centre, and later of Operation Safe Haven, ministering to the desperate flood of refugees from Kosovo and East Timor How do you reconcile your sense of compassion with the demands of fair and proper procedure For the first time, COMPASSIONATE BASTARD takes us behind the razor wire to reveal the sometimes difficult, sometimes farcical processes our public servants are duty bound to implement while dealing with people in traumatic circumstances.

    One thought on “Compassionate Bastard”

    1. ‘My first day on the job was over. I’d been intimidated, excited, frightened, morally challenged, ashamed, out of my depth and shocked to the core.’Peter Mitchell was 30 years old when he joined the Australian Department of Immigration in Sydney in 1990. He was assigned to the compliance section, the section responsible for tracking down and detaining ‘unlawful non-citizens’ – people who had entered Australia illegally, had overstayed their visas, or had otherwise breached the Migrat [...]

    2. No nation can afford not to exercise rational control of its borders. The sort of work this book describes may be distasteful to many, but it is better that it be done by people who are humane and sensible than that good people wash their hands of it and leave it to the less scrupulous. Peter Mitchell describes his work as a "compliance officer" with what I will call the Dept of Immigration (its name changes from time to time) with humour and clarity. This was a library book that my wife had jus [...]

    3. An amazing true story; Peter Mitchell passes a public servant exam, hoping for a cushy government office job, and within days, with no other qualifications, finds himself working for the Department of Immigration's "compliance" area as a Blade Runner-esque quasi-cop hunting down and detaining illegal immigrants, often in the middle of the night. He develops an addiction to the chase and finds himself climbing the ladder until he's the manager of the infamous Villawood detention centre. I couldn' [...]

    4. Australian elections over the last decade have often been affected by debates on asylum seeker policy, and yet the Australian public is very poorly informed about these policies, the people affected and its Immigration Department. This book does a good job of starting to fill the huge gaps in knowledge. Although it isn't extraordinary, it is very interesting and is presented well in an easy to read manner. I enjoyed the insights into the Immigration department and into the politicians that shape [...]

    5. I can't say there was a lot of compassion in this book, but I don't think any truly compassionate person would last a decade at Immigration. Then again, there wasn't much of anything in this book. For someone who quit his job to pursue writing, this book is pretty pedestrian. A few terrible and tragic events are mentioned in apathetic and detached ways, and mostly a lot of tedious people are described. So it's a pretty apt description of the public service then.

    6. An engaging collection of anecdotes about Peter Mitchell's time with the Department of Immigration. I was perhaps disappointed that it wasn't a little more substantial, instead focusing more on the humorous or dramatic incidents of his career. I think the cover and blurb probably didn't manage my expectations well. Having said that, it was certainly an interesting and enjoyable read.

    7. I'm kind of surprised this book isn't more well-known. A true insiders' account of what remains a contentious issue in Australian politics, and how broadly well-meaning bureaucrats struggle and often fail to make the best of a bad situation. Five years later, it's still fascinating.

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