The smiling architect of the horrors of Nauru and Manus, Scott Morrison, made Malcolm Turnbull Australia’s new Prime Minister. I don’t often write about politics. It is a too depressing subject. He gave his support to Turnbull for which in return he was made treasurer. A Machiavellian turn of events. It was Scott Morrison whose ‘creative bend’ conjured up the evil of what will eventually be seen as one of the worst acts against refugees.
During the Abbott’s regime the boats who did make it anywhere near Australia’s coastline were intercepted by Australia’s defence force. A clamp on all news about boat arrivals were put in place as secret ‘operational matters’. All questions about refugees were left unanswered by simply referring them to ‘operational matters’ and people were referred to as ‘illegal maritime arrivals’.
Those refugees that did make it were shipped over in secret to the islands of Nauru and Manus island and put into detention. It was with great fanfare and drum-rolls that ‘the boats had been stopped’ and from then it became a mantra repeated over and over again by a glowing Tony Abbott. He would face the camera, and after due licking of lips, would announce ‘we have stopped the boats’.
While the Manus and Nauru centres were set up well before Abbott’s and Morrison’s collaboration. The suicides, sewing of lips together, and crimes of rape,and sexual abuse by guards that have finally been coming to the attention should have ensured their immediate closure. There was never a clamp down on journalists trying to find out the fate of thousands of refugees locked up in indefinite detention during the days of ALP Prime ministerships.
The following from Wikipedia:
Australian immigration detention facilities comprise a number of different facilities throughout Australia (including one on the Australian territory of Christmas Island). They are currently used to imprison people who are detained under Australia’s policy of mandatory detention, and previously under the now defunct Pacific Solution. The facilities are currently operated by Serco, and were previously run under G4S who used to be named Global Solutions Limited (GSL), under contract from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).
Pacific Solution facilities
- Manus Island Regional Processing Centre, Papua New Guinea closed during in February 2008, reopened on 22 November 2012.
- Nauru closed during in February 2008, reopened in 2012.
The facilities have been a source of much controversy during their time of operation. There have been a number of riots and escapes, as well as accusations of human rights abuses from organisations such as refugee advocates, Amnesty International, the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations.
On January 2014, the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens accused the government of a cover-up over a violent clash on 18 October 2013 at the Manus Island facility between the Papua New Guinea army and the Papua New Guinea police mobile squad hired for the facility’s security, leading to Australian expatriate staff being evacuated, while local staff and asylum seekers remained. On 5 May 2014, it was reported that several Salvation Army staffers had alleged that refugees were regularly subjected to beatings, racist slurs, and sexual assaults within the facility.
In March 2002, Irene Khan, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, said:
It is obvious that the prolonged periods of detention, characterised by frustration and insecurity, are doing further damage to individuals who have fled grave human rights abuses. The detention policy has failed as a deterrent and succeeded only as punishment.
How much longer will children and their families be punished for seeking safety from persecution?