Day to Day Politics: Shame, my country, shame on you.
Sunday 18 June 2017
By John Lord and Martin Appleby
Shame, my country, shame on you that you would allow such evil to take place. Shame on the politicians who perpetuated it, knowingly and for so long. Shame on the Government who deliberately put aside our duty of care to those seeking asylum to allow our wrongdoing to be a deterrent to others. Shame, shame shame, for the deliberate abuse of our right to know what was being executed in our name.
“No defence” is a confession that this evil took place and rather than utter words of remorse, of sincere apology, Peter Dutton has sought to blame others. That is not unusual for this Government. Their cruelty goes back a long way.
Rather than defend their actions, which for the duration of the court proceedings would have caused considerable embarrassment for the government they chose, for 100 million dollars, to hide their atrocities from public view. An act of political cowardice unequaled in Australia’s history.
The demonisation of asylum seekers started with John Howard’s and Peter Reith’s lie of “children overboard”, Philip Ruddick’s “illegals” and Tony Abbott’s “stop the boats”.
On this day in 2016 I coincidentally wrote this following Bill Shortens interview with Tony Jones on Q&A:
Answering a question about our right to be informed about conditions on Nauru and Manus, after Morrison had said:
”Nauru and Papua New Guinea are sovereign governments, they’re the ones who actually ultimately decide what happens.”
”If I was prime minister it would have to be an amazing set of circumstances where we’re not prepared to tell you what’s going on.”
”As a general rule this nation operates best if you treat people as smart and intelligent and tell them what’s going on, full stop.”
The decision by the Government not to defend the litigation has been portrayed in various ways. Peter Gordon writing for Fairfax described it as:
”A powerful statement about the cruelty inflicted on vulnerable people who sought protection in Australia – and who is responsible for it.”
Tony Abbott reckons it:
”Looks like a windfall for people who unfairly took advantage of our nation’s generosity.”
”We’ve got a judiciary that takes the side of the so-called victim rather than the side of common sense.”
Remember it was he that was so unbending in his attitude. If he could use people’s lives to the Government’s advantage he never hesitated. He refused to countenance Gillard’s Malaysia solution and when dumped as PM admitted he should have done so. He successfully manoeuvred Labor and Bill Shorten into a bi-partisan position where one was as guilty as the other of the crimes and atrocities committed against innocent people. The only purpose being that they would act as an example to others wishing to come by boat.
The indefensible act of incarcerating people indefinitely when innocent must surely be an act of the lowest definable human trait.
Ben Doherty of The Guardian wrote about the consequences of the bipartisan policy of offshore detention:
”All of it has been laid bare: the children accidentally sent to adult men’s only detention where they were abused, suffered systemic sexual assault, the violence by guards against detainees, the repeated suicide attempts, the mass hunger strikes, the seriously ill neglected until it was too late and they died, the public servants who ignored the pleas of doctors to move patients because it was “policy” refugees stayed in detention, so again, they died.”
Now let’s look at the protagonists in the dreadful chapter in Australia’s history.
John Howard knew that the pictures of children in the water was not a result of kids being thrown overboard but elected to take the lie with him into the 2001 election because their misery would be helpful to his re election.
Peter Reith was complicit in the lie.
Philip Ruddick when immigration Minister demonized asylum seekers and invented the term “illegals” even when he knew that it was not illegal to seek asylum.
Scott Morrison, the Christian Minister for Immigration showed anything but a Christian attitude. He was a constant portrayer of those seeking a better life as the worst of humankind.
Tony Abbott whose tenure as Prime Minister can only be described as total farce will be remembered for the invention of the phrase “stop the boats,” a mantra that appealed to the worst characteristics of Australian society. No one has done more to incite hatred, racism and mistrust of others than Abbott.
Peter Dutton, a man of no redeeming features has continued with the Abbott dogma. Even when admitting guilt he, astonishingly condemns the decision and those who sought compensation. The reason they settled was to avoid the scrutiny of a six-month trial in which dozens of refugees were due to give evidence, along with doctors, security guards and other staff, about conditions inside the secretive detention centres.
Malcolm Turnbull is also complicit because he condoned it.
Bill Shorten is also complicit because he condoned it.
Incredibly, Dutton dumped it all on Labor saying their inaction on managing Australia’s borders had led to the record payout. Now it is true to say that Labor was responsible for reopening Manus (on the advice of an expert panel) but the Coalition, who has imprisoned these people for over four years, violating their human rights in the process.
Labor did not force the Coalition to mistreat refugees.
Tony Abbott said radio station 2GB the decision to compensate those held in detention ”Looks like a windfall for people who unfairly took advantage of our nation’s generosity.”
”I don’t think this is the sort of case that should have even got to court, let alone resulted in this kind of a settlement.”
Only someone with an unhinged mind could deduce that those who have endured unbelievable hardship, systematic physical, sexual assaults, inadequate medical care leading to deaths, high rates of suicide, self-harm, and regular outbreaks of violence, at the hands of a deliberately cruel government could say that they ‘’took advantage of our generosity.’’
One has to conclude that if Peter Dutton were so confident about the legality of its treatment of Asylum Seekers then it would have defended their cause to the bitter end. Instead they couldn’t settle quickly enough.
As David Manne puts it:
“This payout points to the government seeking to avoid public airing of a strong body of evidence documenting systematic mistreatment and neglect.”
The settlement of this class action gives Malcolm Turnbull the opportunity to do a number of things. Given he has the guts to do so he should apologise to those who have needlessly suffered at the hands our brutality.
He should then have Dutton and Morrison do the same before sacking them. And before our countries reputation is damaged any further he should have all those incarcerated on Manus and Nauru returned to Australia where they should rightly be. Then he could begin to restore our reputation as a friendly welcoming country. The one I love so much.
A chance meeting.
On 1 June I received a Facebook message:
“OMG … did you play at my old club? Heidelberg Football Club.” (It is a suburban football club where I spent the final years of my career).
”Yes I did,” I replied.
Once we picked up the threads, a discussion ensued and I found that we had much in common and he was a regular reader of my work.
In the course of our conversation he revealed to me that he had spent time on Manus Island as a Security Officer. He also explained that he was due to give evidence in the Supreme Court this month in a case against the Government. The first security officer to do so.
We didn’t get around to talking much football. Instead he directed me to two pieces written for the guardian. The first titled “Why I chose to become a security officer on Manus Island’“. The second was titled “Scott Morrison visit sent Manus tension soaring, says G4S whistleblower’“.
It is not my intention to place them in this piece, nor do I intend to comment on them suffice to say that you should read them both, particularly his letter about servitude which is very moving and you gain a first hand knowledge of the intrinsic dangers for those seeking asylum and the inherent perils in working on Manus. A place where mans inhumanity to man, found a place to thrive and the truth went to die.
By way of introduction, my name is Martin Vincent Appleby.
I am the Security officer that John refers to in his piece. My first job in the security area was as a prison and escort officer for Corrections Victoria, at the Metropolitan Remand Centre. In order to undertake that role, I had training in firearms, defence tactics, baton tactics as well as occupational health and safety and medical training. After 2-3 years of on the job training, I obtained my Certificate III in Correction.
I crossed over to start working for G4S Australia in around 2009. I was employed to give them training in how to deal with prisoners.
People ask me how survived such a change in environment seeing I had previously worked in Hospitality culmination in working with them at SOCOG delivering the Food Program.
G4S were looking for staff to work the Manus Island detention Centre, It was well-paid – $110,000 p/a position. I had never worked outside of Australia and thought it would be a bit of an adventure. I transferred up to the MIRPC along with several others from the G4S in August 2013.
When I arrived at the MIRPC, we left on the Tarmac for some hours and thought, well this is great start, I was later informed they had forgot to come get us, the worst was yet to come.
I estimate that there would have been about 500 transferees held there when I arrived, I was quite taken aback, as the accommodation set-up for them was much more primitive than I had imagined, particularly by Australian standards. Most were just in tents or old-World War II huts that were made of tin with tightly packed double-bunk beds in them, 120 bunks in all which means 240 me.
Even at that point they were cramped and things got worse later on as the number of transferees rose significantly over the period I was there.
The Safety Security Officers (or SSOs) were made up of both ex-pats and local PNG guards. Around 96% of the ex-pats were ex-army personnel from either the Australian or New Zealand defence forces. The remaining 4% were from the police or security. To my knowledge I was the only one with training in corrections defensive tactics, so I was given more senior responsibilities. The local PNG G4S guards, although they made up the majority of the SSOs, had virtually no experience in security of any sort. Most had previously been farmers, students or were unemployed.
I have heard the word “inhumane” used about the conditions in which the transferees were expected to live at the MIRPC and I think that’s probably the best description for them, especially for those living in the old-World War II sheds like the P-Dorm. Expecting people to live packed like sardines into tin sheds in 35-40-degree heat with only four fans to cool the place down just shouldn’t be allowed. It’s just ridiculous. There was virtually no shade in any of the compounds and despite the intense heat the guys weren’t given any hats and very limited sunscreen. Most of the guys were just given thongs in the way of shoes and there weren’t enough to go around. There was limited running water at the facility, plus the bottled water, it was always hot because the bottles were just left out on pallets in the sun.
The toilets got filthy and weren’t cleaned often enough. Most of the detainees weren’t used to Western-style toilets, so that didn’t help matters. Sewage was pumped out by small pumps either into the ocean but more often than not into the local Flora were the unsuspecting trudged through it, you only walked that route once.
To combat this problem, unbelievably, the Men were given 4 – 6 pieces of toilet paper to clean them-selves, which I found really demeaning and embarrassing. I’ve never seen anything like that – they were treated as less than children.
The quality of the food at the facility was also shocking and cases of diarrhoea and food poisoning were rampant. Personally, I refused to eat any of the hot food out of the bain-marie and just lived on salads.
In the Oscar compound for instance, there were around 400 transferees who had to queue for food, so often the line was 200 metres long and people had to queue for hours to get each meal. Breakfast was served every day from 7:30 to 9:30 and the catering staff would then switch the food off. So, if the transferees didn’t make it during that time, they didn’t get breakfast.
I saw a lot of illness among the transferee population. The problems ranged from rampant diarrhea, to fever and skin problems.
The entire island is made of coral, no attempt was made to clear the ground of the facility to make it safer. So, the transferees would regularly cut themselves on it, and the cuts would then get infections. We know that one Asylum Seeker died due this occurring, The 24-year-old Iranian, Hamid Khazaei.
I would say the worst health problems I witnessed though were psychological. I regularly saw guys openly sobbing and having Incidents of self-harm were virtually a daily occurrence.
These ranged from more minor hunger strikes (generally lasting several days) to guys cutting themselves with razors or taking their shirts off and sliding along the sharp coral on the ground.
On one occasion I had to physically slide in and under a male hanging him-self off a bunk, two officers who followed me in, laughed and joked to let him hang, one less Refugee to deal with they yelled, I was able to save him, with their help.
The incidents of self-harm seemed to have ripple effect in that when one person started having a breakdown it seemed to push other detainees over the edge as well.
Asylum Seekers deliberately cut themselves just to get access to a doctor, because it was often difficult for the transferees to get to see a medical officer.
They always had to put in the request to the G4S staff member on duty and often individual G4S SSOs were making the call as to whether they would forward that request on to IHMS or not.
I challenged other G4S guys about this a couple of times, as I didn’t think we were qualified to make the call as to whether someone was sick enough to see a doctor or not.
I was aware of a number of incidents of sexual assault between detainees while I was at the MIRPC. I personally dealt with one guy who had been sexually assaulted in the Foxtrot compound.
As a security officer, one of the things I found most frustrating about the management of the MIRPC by G4S was the lack of proper procedure and practice in the way security at the facility was managed.
We also didn’t have enough hand-held radios for all of the staff, and there was only one battery provided per radio so they were constantly running out of battery life. This meant that the G4S officers for their own safety had to operate within line of sight of each other.
There were also no proper fire or evacuation procedures.
MIRPC when the violence broke out in February 2014, in which the murder of Reza Barati resulted.
The PNG SSOs, as I have mentioned, had very little experience and were given inadequate training. The ex-pat staff, by contrast, were made up of past army, correctional and police personnel who would have been much more capable of dealing with a volatile situation such as the one that arose on the nights of 16 and 17 February 2014
The first major mistake I believe was transferring people to Manus before the infrastructure was in place to support them. The second major issue was overcrowding. Between the time I arrived at the facility and when I left, the numbers of transferees had gone from approx 500 – 600 hundred to over a thousand. This massively impacted on every aspect of the transferees’ daily lives, overt hostility between the local G4S guards and the transferees, I did witness ex-pat G4S staff verbally abusing detainees, particularly when they thought they couldn’t speak English.
Detaining large numbers of young men for long periods of time in sub-standard conditions in a poor country where people have many problems of their own is a flawed project and one that is bound to lead to tensions and violence.
If offshore processing is to continue, then a completely new centre with proper infrastructure would be needed. But to my mind, offshore processing itself is inherently flawed. When you start involving other countries with different laws and ways of operating, it all becomes a mess and no-one takes responsibility for ensuring things are done properly.
I think the MIRPC is not a safe or decent place to hold people and it should be shut down and the people there transferred to a facility in Australia.
Ex-Manus training and security officer.
My thought for the day.
“Telling the truth should not be delayed simply because we are not sure how people might react to it.”
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The difference between the Labor policy on Manus and Nauru was that these centres were designed to be temporary processing centres pending resettlement of those found to be refugees, in a third country and those without a refugee claim to be returned to their home country.
The Coalition on coming to power sought political advantage in holding these people indefinitely, allowing abuse in the detention centres, lying to the Australian public and making no real attempt to resettle genuine refugees ; even spurning attempts by New Zealand who offered to break the political deadlock by taking 150 people as a gesture of goodwill.
That our parliament is even considering a giving Dutton powers to overrule the Administrative Appeals Tribunal is a breach of the separation of powers upon which our democracy is founded : if Dutton doesn’t like a decision of the AAT he can go to the Federal Court and argue his case like the rest of us.
Why are there guards?
Thanks, Lord, for ending with a giggle. Great thought telling the truth should not be delayed till you have it seems to fit dutton.
Great summary, Terry2
Sadly two processed a day would have cleared the camps and lost the political advantage. QED.
With specific regards to the Manus refugees payout, I want an answer as to “WHY” the governmcent paid out $70million, if the government did nothing wrong!
That was, as THEY are fond of saying, “tax payers money”, and I am a tax payer, therefore I want to know “why” they gave away my money!
If there is no credable explanation, (apart from protecting the ineptitude of Dutton) could I also add, that I have done nothing wrong, (lately), so can I please have my $35,000 sooner, rather than later?
Shame, indeed! Thank you John. I find it incredible that the Dutton et al attitude is held strongly by so many Aussies – what has happened to our humanity?
Thank you John for the post.
I guess that we have to keep in mind the this and the previous governments are elected by the people. They are not dictators.
Shorten said: ”As a general rule this nation operates best if you treat people as smart and intelligent and tell them what’s going on, full stop.”
Yes Bill, and in cases like this I do not agree with people that blame on the media, the Australian people know very well that the politicians in the coalition are racists and have no second thought in commit crimes against humanity, therefore they are accomplices of these terrible acts.
Yes, Labor/Greens encouraged 50,000 chancers to fly in to Indonesia, pay $10,000 – $20,000 for passage to Christmas Island, conveniently ditch their IDs/travel documents… and hit the Centrelink Jackpot after John Howard had solved the problem of circumventing our Immigration System via boat arrival. Labor ditched TPVs and declared that they would be “more humane”. As Yudhoyono succinctly described Labor’s wilful sabotage of our immigration system: “sugar on the table”.
Please make this an election issue.
I think we should be very kind and humane to Dutton and Morrison and let them have a year long holiday on Manus and another one on Nauru. Let’s see how them come out of it. I don’t think our government is giving the asylum seekers enough compensation.
Thanks JL. and Martin.
Dutton ought to be tried in a criminal court. His contempt for human rights has left an indelible stain on him and the nation. He and his sick colleagues deserve the contempt of the nation – they certainly have mine.
I’d wager a majority of adult Australians would be either well aware, or at the very least highly suspicious of crimes committed in their names to asylum seekers on these Pacific islands. Now the shroud has been removed and an ugly face of the Australian electorate is bared to world view.
Too many have chosen to slink behind Dutton and his ilk by wilfully adopting the malicious narrative of the government and it’s Newscorp partners toward asylum seekers. Much the same could be said of the colonial and contemporary attitudes and treatment of indigenous Australians.
And, as has become an habitual national practice, yet another human tragedy is to be swept under the Australian forgotten history carpet.
Your little narrative hardly strikes at the truth. Full of spin.
One point you need to look at is that Howard secretly allowed “illegals” to come into the country. There was a huge outcry when this was discovered.
So Rudd, in his second fling to become PM, suggested that those coming by boat never be allowed to come to Oz.
This gave Abbott just the kind of policy he enjoyed – and he strengthened it with the use of the navy vs little boats.
50 000 refugees over 5 years? At that rate, it would have taken 10 years to fill the MCG. Oooooooooh, be afraid, be very afraid!
As for visas and passports, where do people fleeing their country get such papers? Meanwhile, people with money fly in by the hundreds.
We have been through all this for years. But the Government has refused to let the truth come out by employing a pay-out. It reminds me of how Slipper was denied legal action when the case was not pursued by his accuser.
Well done John and Martin.
Whenever Dutton rises in question time to respond to a Dorothy Dixer, he lays the blame for the detention centres on Labor and attacks Shorten in a very personal way.
Is Labor so vulnerable on this subject that it cannot fight back? Surely the court settlement gives them enough ammunition to go after Dutton who gets away with far too much. It is beyond time that a concerted effort be made to bring Dutton to account and show him as the despicable character that he is.
shame indeed, I am heartbroken reading the guard’s story.
Of course the government is at fault, in fact the entire parliament is at fault. This sounds exactly like Nazi camp guards who were just following orders – do we then absolve them of 6 million deaths ?
I am disappointed that the Labor party is so much a part of this debacle, they could have been a light in the darkness if they had followed the right road.
There is no end in sight for any of these poor wretches – what use is money to them when they are homeless, stateless, forlorn and forgotten.
Thank you for reporting this John and Martin! I doubt that the Australian Government has heard the last of this. This example is on a par with concentration camps in Nazi Germany. The only difference is the inmates are not being worked to death. I wonder how long the inmates will be held there? Perhaps the current policy is to keep them there until they are all exterminated? As franchise holder for the Australian Government (Inc), the LNP collectively could be held accountable for the implementation of their policies. It would be an interesting Constitutional issue if a class action was brought against the LNP for Crimes Against Humanity in the World Court…
It’s an interesting comparison, to raise “Nazi-level” hyperbole. These 50,000 bogus refugees that flew into Indonesia, and paid handsomely for passage to CI and the Centrelink Jackpot, despite knowing quite clearly before they started their journey that, aside from Labor/Greens and associated nitwits – the vast bulk of the racist, bigoted taxpaying Australians DO NOT WANT THEM. Imagine Jews demanding to be let into Hitler’s Germany at the height of the Holocaust, despite knowing what was occurring at the time.
FOR ONCE JOHN LORD IS ON THE BALL this article is not his normal mass media Bullshit. We have to demand full exposure of the Concentration Camps off Shore and at Curtin Air Base. The Government settlement out of Court is to stop the Truth being exposed in Court.
I did not have a clue on how bad things were at Curtin Airbase until I heard an interview on Community Radio (which Turnbull wants to shut down like he has with Community TV Channel 44) The Interview was with an Iraqi Doctor who arrived as a boat person and he talked about his trip to Australia what they had to go through. He covered his arrival in Indonesia and dealing with the people smugglers, arrival at Christmas Island and time there and transfer to Curtin Airbase where they were dehumanized. He talked about the difference in treatment of Boat People and Aeroplane People. This Iraqi doctor is now specializing in artificial limbs where he has made great advancements and it’s not surprising him being from Iraq and this is the area of medicine he is working in as since Australia assisted the USA & UK in the attack on Iraq there is a great demand for artificial Limbs and some of those needing artificial Limbs are some of the Refugees that have arrived in Australia. But what we should be seeing is these refuges being treated as Humans and a demand for the War Criminals that created the problem being dragged before court for acts against Humanity these war Criminals Bush, Blair, Chaney, & Howard. If this had happened soon after they committed their crimes there is the strong possibility that attacks on Afghanistan, Libya, Syria would never have happened and Saudi Arabia & the British would have been exposed and taken to task for financing 9/11 .
I have a friend and associate in Melbourne, who arrived from Iraq as a refuge but he is not a Muslim he is a Christian and receives the same abuse as the Muslims. But then it is Pure Racism but you get the Racist trying to hide behind it is about religion which these arseholes know nothing about. It was the same when we had Vietnamese Refugees arriving people from another country we attacked. Now we have fools in Government that talk about attacking China.
True Activist, have you changed your name to come back and start insulting the site authors again.
Move on, w do not need here people like you.
havanaliedown a keyboard warrior spewing out his misinformation and venom, showing us how dumb he is and he is not the type of person we would be better of swapping people like him for Middle East Refugees but when it all boils down no country wants arseholes like HAVANALIEDOWN (a real Turd)
Freethinker you are defiantly not a freethinker and I am just being honest and Giving Credit where credit is due and commenting about misinformation where I see fit and people like you like to rob others of freedom of speech.
I have been using the nick name True Activist for many years in Facebook and Blogs
Freethinker, you keep on “defiantly” not being a freethinker if you like. I’d just like to know who you’re defying!
True Activist, I do not rob others their freedom of speech, I believe that we can debate, exchange opinions and learn for each other without put down the authors of the articles by saying bullshit.
If I got it wrong, then please accept my apologies.
I think ‘havanaliedown’ may have also switched off his brain to evidence – it’s also having a Lie-down. lol
Have you ever heard of cognitive dissonance havanaliedown?
Did you not want to inform your self about Geopolitic’s and the actual reasons people seek asylum or become refugee’s? Did you forget to look at the association of war and conflict (wars, Australia was involved in) regarding the creation of refugee’s. I am rightly or wrongly going to assume you are an Islamophobe; so no doubt it would be very hard for you to empathise with persecution and why people may seek asylum.
Are you projecting? – Is it that you (havanaliedown) rip off the system or would like to rig the system? So of course everyone else must be ripping off the system….
If your comment weas slightly more eloquent I may have thought you a LNP troll. 🙂
Let’s reflect on your comments.
“Yes, Labor/Greens encouraged 50,000 chancers to fly in to Indonesia, pay $10,000 – $20,000 for passage to Christmas Island, conveniently ditch their IDs/travel documents… and hit the Centrelink Jackpot after John Howard had solved the problem of circumventing our Immigration System via boat arrival. Labor ditched TPVs and declared that they would be “more humane”. As Yudhoyono succinctly described Labor’s wilful sabotage of our immigration system: “sugar on the table”.
Please make this an election issue.”
Just how did Labor and the Greens encourage 50,000 “chancers” (sic) to fly to Indonesia? Did they place adverts? Oh, I hear you say – it was due to their policies. So may I ask how people in warn-torn countries or suffering environmental disasters had such intimate knowledge of Australia’s domestic policies? Case in point – your knowledge of the world outside Australia is obviously limited – No doubt News Limited.
You seem intimately aware of the cost to get a place on a boat a from Indonesia and Christmas Island. May I know where you go this information? Was that Australian dollars? Which year was this rate from? Do you think the price has gone up since?
May I ask why you think ditching your passports and id’s would be a good move, as when processing a refuge’s or asylum seekers claims, identification dramatically speeds up the process? Obviously the asylum seekers and refugee’s knew this though as they apparently have an intimate knowledge of Australian laws and policies. Surely there could not be any other possible explanation…..???
Now I know you are drinking the Kool-aid – swallowing the propaganda – “..and hit the Centrelink Jackpot”. LOL – this old chestnut – “Immigrants get thousands of dollars more than ‘everyday, white’ Australians”. Disproven, time and time again. A simple fact check reveals your delusion. Do you really think a LNP government would pay refugee’s and asylum seekers more? lol
Good ol’ War criminal Johnny saved the day – made Australia safe. So not reporting on boat arrivals or lying about certain boat arrivals solves the problem? How many arrived by plane? ~90% Your evidence that boat arrivals are treated differently to plane arrivals?
What is more humane, a temporary protection visa or a permanent protection visa? I am really starting to get worried about you now “havinaliedown”. Can you please rationalise to me how temporary is more humane than permanent? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temporary_protection_visa)
So I checked your quote regarding Yudhoyono!
” “We are resolved together united to tackle this problem and to beat it, on land and at sea, and at the borders of our countries.”
Abbott campaigned hard prior to his election on the promise that he could stop the flow of asylum seeker boats, but his policies to meet this pledge have been the subject of criticism and derision by Indonesian politicians.
Under the so-called Operation Sovereign Borders, Abbott has proposed turning asylum seeker boats around “when safe to do so”, as well as buying boats from Indonesian fishermen and offering them financial incentives for key information about people-smuggling operations.
The Indonesian foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa, had been reported as saying he rejected Abbott’s plans. However, after Monday’s meeting, Natalegawa was diplomatic about future co-operation.
Saying the leaked transcript of his conversation with the Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, last week was “behind us”, Natalegawa said that mutual respect for sovereignty would underscore any future agreements on asylum seekers.
Greeted by an Indonesian marching band performing a brassy rendition of the Australian anthem on the palace lawn, Abbott emerged from his meeting with Yudhoyono championing a unified front to combat people smuggling.
“We are determined to end this scourge, which is not just an affront to our two countries but which has so often become a humanitarian disaster in our seas between our two countries,” he said.
Touching on the issue of asylum seekers, President Yudhoyono said that Australia and Indonesia were both “victims” of people smugglers, and that asylum seekers were both an economic and social burden.
Each year thousands of asylum seekers fleeing from countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Myanmar transit through Indonesia, where they pay people smugglers to ferry them to Australian territory.
Discussing other aspects of the bilateral relationship, Yudhoyono noted that trade between the two countries increased 700% from 2011-2012, and the countries have targeted bilateral trade to hit $15bn in the near future.
Abbott who is accompanied by Bishop, his trade and investment minister, Andrew Robb, and a delegation of Australian businessmen, also stressed the need for greater trade and investment ties.
Abbott praised Indonesia’s democratic transition and thriving economy, noting that in the past Australia had made economic policy mistakes. In an apparent reference to a Labor decision to end live cattle exports he said Australia should “never again take actions that would jeopardise the food supply”.
He continued to apologise for Labor policies at an official dinner in Jakarta later on. He said: “There have been times, I’m sorry to say, when Australia must have tried your patience, when we ‘put the sugar on the table’ for people smugglers, or cancelled the live cattle trade in panic at a TV programme.”
LO_AND_BEHOLD – it was Tony Abbott who said ‘put sugar on the table’, NOT Yudhoyono – Oh my “havinaliedown”, are you okay?
The first step to recovery is recognising you have a problem (https://mhaustralia.org/need-help).
Hey buddy I know it hard, but I promise you will get the help you need, once the budget for mental health
has been rectified, which will mean waiting until the LNP lose power. 🙂
Free tinker – response to TrueActivist – What insult to the Authors? looks like high praise of the article.
you ask why the government paid out $70m for the refugees harmed on Manus (with Nauru still to come?) and there were $20m legal fees! Continuing the trial would have cost much much more for a payout and much much more for legal fees.
Besides that, so much would have been revealed in a full trial – things the Government does not want revealed.
I likened this to Ashby not pursuing his accusations against Slipper because too much would have been revealed in a case which one legal person described as a plot to bring down the government. At least one book has been written about this.
Getting off the topic a little, we have heard Ashby recorded as he discussed ways to profit from election publicity materials for One nation which he says was just a “bad choice of words” and was not implemented, but it reveals to us, the taxpayers, that there are people making a large amount of money and political capital from views we might regard as racist.
with regard to “sugar on the table”, the real enticement occurred when Howard brought refugees into Oz. But beyond that, the metaphor of a refuge for refugees is like “sugar” is a wicked slur on the experience of those people who are fleeing for their lives.
For a start it does not reflect the reality of their predicament. Those critics who demonise refugees for all kinds of bogus reasons, such as not having visas or passports, have no idea about impossible conditions in parts of the world – political, religious and food/water problems… “People smugglers” provided the paper work and transport at a cost.
The choice was to stay in Indonesia for many years in a crowded camp or pay the smugglers. I am not sure people smuggling was a crime in Indonesia at first., but corrupt people, including officials, were willing to send the refugees on their way.
So there are questions we can ask about the legality of so much which has been done with regard to refugees and asylum. The whole matter has been fraught with difficulties – and so much propaganda, misinformation, outright lies and secrecy that it is going to take some considerable time to get things sorted. Perhaps this latest decision is a beginning.
It seems odd to note this brings the number of ‘secretive’ settlements to over twenty in recent years. Our government really doesn’t want their barbaric behaviour getting any scrutiny at all. There are currently more than fifteen cases pending.
It seems odd to note that the settlement was made on the 14th June. World Refugee Week is from 18th -24th June. The ASRC are conducting a telethon on the 20th June, World Refugee Day.
“….these amazing Australians who will be on the phones taking your donations from 6am to midnight on Tuesday – World Refugee Day. Call 1300 692 772 on the day or donate online now at asrc.org.au/telethon “
It seems odd to note that ‘Mums 4 Refugees’ has launched yet another petition for the sacking of Dutton, using a quote from Fr Rod Bower.
“If the protecting of our borders requires the incarceration of babies, the sexual abuse of children, the rape of women and the murder of men, then we are of all nations the most depraved.”
It seems odd to note that Vanessa Redgrave is currently in Australia promoting her first directorial incursion, ‘Sea Sorrow’, and she is not holding back on what she thinks of our government.
As an aside, I worked with her father in the 70’s. Boy did that apple fall a long way from the tree.
It seems odd to note that those seeking nothing more than asylum in mainland Australia have been given an arbitrary ‘use by’ date in October. The hoops they have to go through are daunting and agencies such as ASRC and RAC are stretched beyond breaking point. Back in 2016, several church leaders offered to test the ‘law of sanctuary’ when people were threatened with return to our gulags. I can only hope our church leaders will test that law in the event that those seeking asylum have been unable to complete the documentation.
It seems odd to note that those incarcerated, without charge or crime, in our gulags, have only one hope. The resettlement deal with the US, which is reported as likely to be announced in the next fortnight.
The ‘Welcome to Australia’ celebrations are not scheduled until the 21st October.
It saddens me to say the prospect of Dutton and his ilk ever being brought to account seems unlikely. To him, and his ilk, this a political opportunity. Not a political problem. To me, and my ilk, this is a humanitarian problem. I no longer give a shite what happens to that miserable piece of excrement.
Time is, however, running out for those who sought nothing other than asylum.
Thank you Messrs Lord and Appleby. A powerful dissertation, yet a sad reflection. Shame is not one of the emotions I’m experiencing. Take care
Excellent piece. Thanks John and Martin and thank you for reporting so accurately your experience of the horrors of Manus Martin.You made so many important points, particularly the lack of training of the guards brings home why this cruelty has been so easy to enforce.
Terry 2 I understand there is much guilt from Labor supporters who want to make the ALP sound more humane that the incredibly cruel and vicious LNP. There is no doubt Dutton, Scomo and others in the party took the camps to a whole new paradigm of vicious, punishing torturous and deliberate punitive, targeted cruelty. As the article says Shorten is complicit, as is Marles and Neumann and the party for not making a stand against it. has it ever occurred to the ALP that if their party truly cared about drownings at sea they would have arranged safe passage from Indonesia with safe craft or plane not started the dreadful camps- set up so dreadfully as documented in the article here. That ALP supported Border force Act and that it remains silent despite the horror and did NOT support Nick McKim and The Greens constant calls and parliamentary bill to close the camps and brings them here. Total cowardice and complicity. This situation has no doubt a fascist enemy the LNP running the show but the ALP show the same complicity that ordinary Germans gave to the annihilation of the Jews under Hitler. Dutton and the LNP may be the equivalent of the SS, but it could not happen with out the ordinary citizens of Germany, same with manus and the ALP. All mandatory detention breaches human rights. Offshore was always going to be out of sight open to abuses of any system.
Again a terrific Piece John and Martin, thank you for continuing to get the truth of the horror that is Manus (and Nauru) – out there.
We have just mean nasty horrible and lying pollies.Cause sadly the majority of the public are like this,plus stupid too.
This country sadly is full of appallingly selfish and cruel people.
Finally,the people that need to read an article like this,never will.
Remember your words reveal your heart. Including our dictatorship. One could start enquires with
The Hague for instruction.
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The ASRC had their ‘telethon’ yesterday, with a stated goal of $300,000. At the close of the telethon, they had $660,000 on the board.
One can always hope that there are more people of good will and intent than there are the likes of dutton.
Thank you John and Martin, kudos for an excellent article. Thanks to (most of) the commenters as well for their contribution; similar thoughts, better expressed. On this topic, you might be interested in this article as well: https://independentaustralia.net/australia/australia-display/for-tony-abbott-a-guide-to-generosity-for-the-morally-bankrupt,10405