Reblogged – Your Fault, Dutton, Not Advocates


[Meme by lynettag of a still from Q&A with captions & speech-bubbles added. It reads: you know a government is morally bankrupt when its NSW mental health minister says she doesn’t have an opinion about the crisis happening in our detention centres…
Tony Jones speech-bubble – ‘What is your opinion on asylum seekers?’; NSW Mental Health Minister speech-bubbles – ‘I don’t have an opinion’ ‘I don’t know the facts’ ‘It’s not an issue I follow closely’]


Neglect by government.

How the hell do Dutton and the rest of the government (not to mention the Opposition) sleep at night? I honestly can’t fathom the kind of dissonance they possess. In Dutton’s case (and Morrison’s), it seems to me that they’re able to sleep by being heartless b–tards. I really hope they are turfed out in the coming election. I don’t like hating people.

I have one message for politicians who don’t support this abhorrence. Cross the floor!
By voting with them on these issues, even as you speak out against them, you become become complicit – and I (& others!) can’t vote for you.

Placard seen at the recent protests in Melbourne:
(Reads: “I would vote ALP if ALP would #BringThemHere”)

You know how I was talking about knowing your ‘voting issues’ and ‘deal-breakers’ on Monday? As many of you would probably know by now, the humane treatment of asylum seekers is one of mine. Indeed, it’s my main one.

The current situation sickens me. Many on both sides of politics are complicit in it and I will NOT be voting for them.

Last Thursday I spent some time outside the Melbourne Immigration Office (opposite Parliament station on Lonsdale St) supporting the protest/vigil the Refugee Action Collective were holding there, in support of asylum seekers and in memory of Omid.


Omid is the third man (I believe) to die from injuries directly caused by government neglect.

Hasn’t it gone on long enough?

The below article from Guardian Australia says more about the despair of people imprisoned on Manus and Nauru. Go here for the full article. As I warned at the top of this post, be aware that there are discussions of self-harm and suicide, mental health issues and sheer desperation in it.

Refugees don’t self-harm because of me, Peter Dutton, they self-harm because of you

Refugee advocates work day and night trying to prevent asylum seekers harming themselves – it is our greatest fear. To be blamed for it is devastating

Immigration minister Peter Dutton
‘We cannot sleep, Peter Dutton. We can close our eyes, but the horrors we are witnessing don’t go away.’ Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

Peter Dutton, what do you do between the hours of midnight and 5am? Do you sleep? If so, I really must ask – how can you?

Dozens of Australians sit up all night, every single night, comforting asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru. You don’t have to, therefore the task falls to the advocates.

Let me tell you what this entails, since your statement blaming advocates for suicide attempts – of actually encouraging self-harm – suggests you are clearly unaware.

It is mind-blowingly hot on Manus and Nauru during the day, so our friends there try to sleep. We, safely onshore, sit tensely in the evenings, watching for the little green light that signals people have come online. When someone doesn’t show up, there is a flurry of frantic calls between advocates; when did you last hear from them? What did they say? Are they in danger of self-harm? Who do you know in the same compound? The result of these calls can be anything from relief upon locating our friend, safe and sound, or that which is becoming more common – they’ve harmed themselves and are in International Health and Medical Services, or have been beaten by guards and thrown into solitary confinement.

We cannot sleep, Mr Dutton. We can close our eyes, but the horrors we are witnessing don’t go away. And on the rare occasions we actually do get to sleep, we know there are no guarantees that our loved ones will be unharmed when we wake.

I will never forget the last night I actually slept for eight hours – it was in September last year, and I woke to discover one of my dearest friends on Manus had stabbed


#ClearTheSky – Create A No-Fly Zone Over Syria

Why do we selectively choose to forget some things, while focusing too much on others?

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Paraphrased from the Planet Syria team:

Two years ago, the Syrian regime used the chemical agent sarin to gas hundreds of civilians in Ghouta. Entire families foamed at the mouth after the dawn attack, shaking in shock, and hundreds died. … The pictures from Ghouta shocked and angered people all over the world. Bashar al-Assad had joined the only two leaders in 90 years to have used chemical weapons against their own people: Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler. Barack Obama said a red line had been crossed and a threat of force by the US led Assad to agree to destroy his chemical stockpiles.

Fast forward two years later to today, and Syrians are still being gassed. Barrel bombs are being filled with chlorine and dropped onto family homes, turning them into gas chambers. Yet it’s not the chemicals killing most Syrians – it’s the bombs themselves. There were nearly 7,000 airstrikes by the Syrian regime in July alone.

This time the silence from the world is deafening. A few days ago a market in the besieged town of Douma outside Damascus was bombed from the sky. More than 100 people were killed and 500 were injured. It’s in the same area – Ghouta – that was gassed two years ago. Editors kept the news off their front pages and diplomats’ empty condemnations were toothless. So the same site was bombed 24 hours later.

This will go on and on unless the world is prepared to stop it. We have countless UN resolutions and statements from countries and organisations around the world. But words alone will not protect these innocent civilians.

We need your help to break the silence now and show support for a no-fly zone that will clear our skies of the bombs. 

Right now countries are debating deeper military involvement in Syria. Whether in Australia or the UK, politicians and publics are talking about increasing strikes against Isis. But nobody is talking about the fact that the Syrian regime is killing seven times more civilians than Isis. The public needs to know the core truths, otherwise we will see more failed Middle East policies and more innocent lives lost.

To break the silence and spread the truth we are asking people around the world to join or organise a #ClearTheSky action on the anniversary of the Ghouta attack. 

Go outside and take a picture of yourself looking up at the sky. Then change your profile picture to it and spread the word. Please reblog – I’m a bit late on posting my picture, but better late than never. The civilians are the forgotten victims in this conflict.

5 things everyone should know about what is happening in Syria today.

1 – The Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad is killing at least 7 times more civilians than Isis.

2 – More than 11,000 barrel bombs made of scrap metal and high explosives have been rolled out of regime helicopters onto hospitals, homes and schools since the UN banned them. These aerial attacks are the biggest killer of civilians. They drive extremism.

3 – These barrel bombs are the leading cause of displacement, forcing refugees to cross the Mediterranean and other borders.

4 – Many of the barrel bombs are dropped on areas under siege. More than half a million people in Syria live in areas with no access to food, water or medicine since 2013, including the areas of Ghouta that were targeted by the sarin gas attacks in the same year.

5 – The international anti-Isis coalition is flying in the same airspace where many of these barrel bombs are dropped, choosing to look the other way

There is no military solution to the fighting in Syria. But like in Bosnia, a no-fly zone can help protect civilians from the worst of the violence and encourage the fighting parties to come to the negotiating table.

Too many Syrians spend their days looking up at the sky, wondering when the next barrel bomb will drop and what it will hit. Today we are asking you to look up in solidarity with all those who continue on and join the call to #clearthesky.

Join hundreds of non-violent Syrian groups in asking for the international community to enforce the UN ban on barrel bombs with a Bosnia-style no-fly zone.

Hello -Rally for Refugees

Hi everyone. I’ve been really quiet this week because it’s exam time right now at uni. I have an exam tomorrow, one next Friday and an essay due for my third subject in-between.

When things have calmed down a bit I’ll begin posting properly again – I have so much to say, like how I’m nearly at 70,000 words for Lily’s story and my views on the Marriage Equality ‘debate’ and climate change stuff and more. But study comes first.

In the meantime however, if anyone isn’t busy and is in the Bendigo area:

Damn, They’re Doing it Again…. Aren’t We Supposed to PROTECT Asylum Seekers??

Two things threatening my blood pressure this week regarding asylum seekers:

#1. This petition:

“To Peter Dutton, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection,

This petition expresses Australia’s unequivocal objection to a 5-year old child suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) being sent back to indefinite detention in Nauru.

Australian mental health professionals and doctors have confirmed that this decision would only result in further physical and psychological harm to the child.

We urge you to allow the child and her family to stay in community detention while their claims for asylum are processed. Failing that, we ask that the child be allowed to stay with her uncle, who already resides in Australia.

You have options before you that better reflect the obligations placed upon us both by law and by basic human decency.

By law, we are bound to act in the best interests of the child. Our ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention against Torture, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights demand as much. Our own domestic laws denounce the negligent failure to protect a child from significant risk of harm.

As Australians, we believe in the fair and compassionate treatment of those who seek our protection. We refuse to be a nation that stoops to facilitating the further abuse of children in our care.

As human beings, we believe in the inherent right of every child to grow up in an environment which fosters their health and dignity. We refuseto forget that respect for our common humanity is what makes us strong.

I and many other Australians are only too aware that a society is judged by what it does for its children. For this reason, we respectfully ask that you make the one decision becoming of a country which prides itself on its sense of compassion and a fair go: Stop this child’s deportation to Nauru.

There are kids still on Christmas Island, despite the Govt saying they’d be “out by Christmas” last year. Not that I believed that ‘promise’. There are kids on Nauru too, subject to such cruel conditions, when they’ve already had to go through so much.

Which leads me to the second point.

#2. The Maintaining Good Order in Immigration Detention Facilities Bill is currently before Parliament. It is an atrocious bill that gives unprecedented powers to detention centre guards. GetUp are fighting against it of course:

“The Migration Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2015 seeks to give broad powers to security guards that will allow them to use force against asylum seekers being held in detention centres.

Examples of when force could be used against an asylum seeker in detention:2

  • to protect a person from harm, self-harm or the threat of harm
  • to prevent an asylum seeker from escaping detention
  • to prevent property damage
  • to physically move an asylum seeker
  • to prevent action that endangers life, health or security
  • to prevent action that disturbs good order, peace or security

The bill lacks appropriate safeguards and oversight to ensure prevent abuse of power, despite clear examples of detention centre staff abusing powers in detention:

    • In February 2014 23 year-old Iranian asylum seeker, Reza Barati, was killed inside the Manus Island detention centre. An investigation into his death found he was beaten to death by detention centre staff.
  • In March 2015, the Moss Inquiry revealed multiple allegations of sexual abuse against women and children inside the Nauru detention centre, including incidents where guards forced women to expose themselves in exchange for access to the showers and other facilities.

[2] The Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law and the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at UNSW submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2015

It’s dangerous, especially in light of Reza Berati and the Moss Review’s allegations. I’m annoyed and just so sick of this bunch of wankers.

Please, no.

Please consider signing the petition and (Aussies) use GetUp’s tool to email your senator.

Is ANYTHING Worth the Death Penalty?

Short answer: NO.

I’m writing this Sunday night, after hearing on the news today that the 72-hour-notice has been given for the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Their executions could be anytime from Tuesday onwards.

I just think… Why? It seems to me that President “Jokowi” is talking tough on drugs, so he paints all with the same brush (no pun intended), regardless of rehabilitation, repentance, youthful stupidity grown into wiser maturity.


The death penalty is wrong, regardless of the crime. I say this because it is too final a punishment, too terrible.

From Amnesty International (

The problem

Why the Death Penalty is wrong

Denial of human rights. Sentencing someone to death denies them the right to life – enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Not irreversible and mistakes happen. Execution is the ultimate, irrevocable punishment: the risk of executing an innocent person can never be eliminated. Since 1973, for example, 150 US prisoners sent to death row have later been exonerated. Others have been executed despite serious doubts about their guilt.

Does not deter crime. Countries who execute commonly cite the death penalty as a way to deter people from committing crime. This claim has been repeatedly discredited, and there is no evidence that the death penalty is any more effective in reducing crime than imprisonment.

The death penalty is a symptom of a culture of violence, not a solution to it.

Often used within skewed justice systems. Some of the countries executing the most people have deeply unfair legal systems. The ‘top’ three executing countries – China, Iran and Iraq – have issued death sentences after unfair trials. Many death sentences are issued after ‘confessions’ that have been obtained through torture.

Discriminatory. You are more likely to be sentenced to death if you are poor or belong to a racial, ethnic or religious minority because of discrimination in the justice system. Also, poor and marginalised groups have less access to the legal resources needed to defend themselves.

Used as a political tool. The authorities in some countries, for example Iran and Sudan, use the death penalty to punish political opponents.


In the case of these two, it’s clear they are guilty. But it’s been ten years since their crime – they’ve changed. Why now?

All this puts me in mind of a song I heard last year by Eric Bogle. It’s about apartheid in South Africa, with symbolic links to Good Friday. I think its words are quite appropriate here, when I think of those two men and the other nine prisoners destined for the firing squad so soon. : Singing the Spirit Home.