Not In My Name

Hmph. Well, the High Court have decided to find in favour of the Australian government. But this isn’t over yet – not by a long shot.

We must keep showing the government that we care about refugees and asylum seekers. We want them to stay. Reminder for fellow Australians that there are protests happening across Australia over the next few days – see my previous post for more info, I’ll stick it to the blog dashboard.

I’m really angry, though I have to say I’m not that surprised. The situation in Australian regarding asylum seeker rights has become so bad that I’m always expecting the worst but hoping for the best.

I said all I could say this morning. Here is a screenshot of the Anglican Parish of Gosford’s post earlier today. Father Rod makes a very, very pertinent point.






See more here for the ABC’s take on it. Quoting from the online article:

High Court throws out challenge to Nauru offshore immigration detention

Updated about an hour ago

The High Court has thrown out a challenge to the Australian Government’s immigration detention centre on Nauru.

Key points:

  • Majority of court’s bench found current Government arrangements valid under Constitution
  • Advocates back calls to allow dozens of children currently in Australia to remain
  • Sarah Hanson-Young says “sending 90 children to dangers of Nauru is child abuse”

The case was launched by a Bangladeshi detainee on Nauru who was brought to Australia for treatment after she experienced health issues during pregnancy.

She gave birth to her daughter in Brisbane, and brought the challenge to avoid being returned to the detention centre.

Lawyers for the woman argued that it was illegal for the Australian Government to fund and operate detention centres in a third country.

During the case the Government changed the law to close a loophole in the funding arrangements, which it feared could be undermined by the challenge.

Today a majority of the court’s bench found the current government arrangements were valid under the constitution.

Justice Michelle Gordon, the most recent appointment to the bench, issued the lone dissenting judgment that the laws rushed through in June were invalid.

Before the decision, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton flagged his intention to send a group of 160 adults, 37 babies and 54 children currently in Australia back to Nauru, should the Government win.

One of the children facing return to Nauru is a five-year-old boy allegedly raped at the detention centre, but Mr Dutton has said he will take concerns from doctors about the boy’s welfare into consideration.

The boy’s alleged attacker remains at the centre.

The lawyer leading the case against the Government, Daniel Webb from the Human Rights Law Centre, has criticised the Government for changing the law while the challenge was underway.

Mr Webb said they “shifted the goalposts”.

“Right now, I’m sure in the Immigration Minister’s office it’s high fives all round,” he said.

“They won in the High Court, but let me tell you, around the country right now there are 267 incredibly vulnerable people who will be terrified.”

Mr Webb urged the Government to allow the detainees to remain in Australia.

“Our government retains both legal and moral responsibility for what happens to innocent people in our care,” he said.

“The stroke of a pen is all that it would take for the Prime Minister or our Immigration Minister to do the decent thing and let these families stay.”

Read more by clicking on the link above.


Let Them Stay, All of Them

Front page of The Age, and other Fairfax papers, 02/02/16. Read the article here and sign GetUp’s petition to let them stay.

I’m really cross about this, but also tired, in a sense. Will the government ever start having a shred of decency or are we as Australians going to continue to be pariahs? Today, possibly as you read this blog post, the High Court will be determining whether or not the government has the right to send about 250 people – 37 babies, 160 adults and 50-odd other children (to quote the article above) – back to Nauru.

The article I’ve linked to above (the url under the picture) explains things very clearly.
If the government wins the case, then they’ll be able to move the people to Nauru and hopefully, they think, out of sight and mind (fat chance!). They’ll also be then able to claim that they’ve “reduced the numbers” of children in immigration (mainland) detention, as that’s where many of these kids are coming from. It’s duplicitous and unfair. Nauru is not a place for children, given the uncomfortable heat, lack of adequate medical care, and reports of brutality by guards and resentment from locals. Last night on 7:30, a report detailed some of the horrors these children have experienced and why they’re scared to go back. The situation is so bad that a group of teenagers on Nauru have composed a video and petition, asking to be released to Australia – asking for help.

On the other hand, if the refugee advocates win the case, then it is highly likely the group will instead be flown off to Christmas Island. Reports have surfaced of the government building a new “family detention facility” there. That is still detention.

It sickens me. The government just don’t care about anything other than being “tough on border security” it seems, heedless of those whose dignity they trample on in the process. (An article on has more regarding how and why this situation became the way it is.)

Not to mention the plight of people in community and other detention who have had their refugee claims dismissed and are facing deportation back to the countries they fled from, without being told their case particulars. They are living in limbo too.

There was a very good article in The Saturday Age on the weekend (30/01/16). In it, Michael Gordon discussed the situation and the current options for the government. I encourage you to read it. It is suggested that there are three options (with words in quotes taken from the article):

  1. Deliberately narrow option proposed by academic Robert Manne. “It would see the Nauru and Manus caseloads gradually and quietly settled in Australia, roughly according to how desperate their situations have become, with the other blunt edges of Australia’s policy, like turnbacks to Indonesia, remaining. Once the centres were empty, they would be mothballed, but retained as a weapon to deter future arrivals.” (Similar to the Howard government approach.)
  2. A small group of Coalition MPs have been “quietly urging Turnbull to act and focusing their attention on the potential to collaborate more closely with Indonesia, with turnbacks on the table. The reformers are acutely aware of the dynamics within the Turnbull government, knowing that supporters of the deposed Tony Abbott will exploit any perceived policy retreats. As a consequence, they are opting for discretion and caution.”
  3. The most long-term and ambitious approach, with “more than 30 experts, advocates, academics and government and non-government officials from Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar [working] together”. They aim to develop “a regional approach to mass people movements that would render unnecessary dangerous boats trips and the cruel policies Australia has developed to deter them.” (It is an ongoing discussion; the second of six planned meetings over three years was held recently.)

The right thing to do, here, requires political bravery. We can but hope that the right people have the courage to step forward and make the change, as some are doing in the third option above. Until then, we’ll just have to keep reminding them that we are better than this and can do better than the current situation.

Let them stay, drat it!!

To that end, there have been snap protests called…see if there’s one near you. If you’re in Canberra, there is a major protest going on at 11:15 tomorrow, after the verdict has been handed down, in front of High Court. If you can, come out and show the government that people care!