Saturday, September 27, 2014


Cambodia, a materially impoverished nation; Australia, a morally impoverished nation. Propping up the Hun Sen dictatorship in with close to $100 million in aid each year was bad policy, even before the idea of sending asylum seekers to Cambodia was made public. Letters #1, #2 and #3  to Julie Bishop speak for themselves. The more embers of the Australian media that can bear witness to this the better.

Scott Morrison and Julie Bishop will be counting on the Australian public forgetting about the fate of ‘our asylum seekers’ in Cambodia as the months and years roll by.

Lest we forget, lets as many of us in the media as possible hold our government accountable.

The process whereby ‘our asylum seekers’ are integrated into the wider Cambodian community needs, I believe, to be documented – by filmmakers, photographers, journalists and others in the media.

A Media Pass costs $5

Once ‘our asylum seekers’ arrive here in numbers such a project will be too big for one filmmaker. Too big for half a dozen filmmakers!

THE CAMBODIA PROJECT (tentative title) to be crowd-funded initially.


(1) Let ‘our asylum seekers’ know that there are a lot of Australians who care about their fate and who do not agree with the government’s rendition policy.

(2) Keep interested and concerned Australians informed about the progress being made by ‘our asylum seekers’

(3) Through social media, the news and current affairs, stories arising from such comprehensive coverage could educate those who believe that Australia’s ‘rendition’ programme is a sound and humane policy.

(4) Make it impossible for the government to convince the Australian public that our rendition policy is working just fine thank you very much and we can all just relax now.

(5) Educate the Australian public about  the kinds of problems confronting third world countries such as Cambodia – particularly those run by corrupt dictatorships and propped by up donor nations such as Australia.

All this can and should be done through the telling of the stories of ‘our asylum seekers’. This not about an issue but about men, women and children like us who just happen to have been born in countries like….like Cambodia!

If this germinal idea grows as I think it could perhaps SBS or the ABC would consider funding a real Reality TV series along the lines of “GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM.”

Media people, please feel free to pick my brains. I have 19 years experience with Cambodia now. I am quite happy to share any and everything I know with anyone who asks or who turns up in Cambodia whilst I am here.

Anyone media person interested, hop of a plane, come to Cambodia and see for yourself and write, take photos or make films about what you discover.

For all its problems (and they are legion) you will fall in love with the people and with the country.

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