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Farhad Bandesh gets the letter

By Jane Salmon

This sadistic letter (see letter at the bottom of this article) is doing the rounds of Medevac survivors on Bridging Visas. It shows that Labor have yet to end the abuse meted out to those held offshore since 2013. This outrageous immigration stance reduces Labor to the low moral level of Dutton, Morrison and Abbott who used refugees as mere deterrents. Labor’s position is an electoral bonus for the Greens and Teal Independents.

My response:

Going to NZ is brutal for people such as Farhad Bandesh who has long standing friendships, business partnerships and started to build a life here. His cohort has already been bullied with iron bars on Manus at Australia’s behest, made sick, been held in hotel detention and pushed from pillar to post by Australia. We have yet to heal or compensate them adequately. Enough is enough. Farhad has a business here. NZ is splendid, though smaller and less diverse.

It is legal under the Geneva Convention to seek asylum by any means.

The so called “Sovereign Borders” doctrine is rubbish. “Push” factors outweigh any “pull” factors. People only resort to boats if there are no other options. Naval interception happens.

If the Labor Federal Government can create an orderly and efficient visa process and boats will be less attractive. They have so far baulked at this challenge.

Australia has yet to sort out regional processing pathways and processes. Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan remain unstable and unsafe as do Myanmar, Uyghur China and Sri Lanka, parts of Africa. The fact that Bangladesh, Turkey and Pakistan are drawing the majority of refugees speaks for itself.

Why is it that Shorten can start overhauling the NDIS in days … but Giles and O’Neill are still listening to and being stymied by the old guard?

We have a workforce shortage exacerbated by short-sighted racist policies.

Farhad is contributing to industry, commerce, tax and culture. What’s not to love? Ditto Moz, Thanush and their friends.

Labor will be judged by their deeds, not their rhetoric. Their actions have not significantly separated them from racist bigoted (thug) leaders like Dutton, Abbott, Morrison or Molan to date.

The culture of Home Affairs, ABF, Immigration and their contractors is unacceptable. There seems to be no capacity for change. Pezullo should not be retained.

Ongoing displacement and abuse of this cohort is intolerable. They need to heal. Healing from trauma takes peace, consistency and security.

People like Farhad, Moz and Thanush are contributors not takers. They are forgiving, resilient and capable. Their departure to the NZ or US would be our loss. That they can tolerate Australians after the abuse they have suffered at our hands is remarkable.

As an Australian citizen of 66 years, I (like others) are being denied the opportunity to maintain and develop established friendships with them.

I can promise Albo that if he behaves like Morrison he will be treated like Morrison.

Refugee advocates don’t discriminate.

Albanese needs to show moral courage.

Ending the abuse of the Bilo family was great.

But it is now overdue for Labor to prove it wasn’t a shallow gesture. End all the ongoing abuse and repair the damage.

The refugee sector will judge Labor by its acts. They end the suffering or we will help turn every marginal Teal and Green.

They get on with it or can expect a world of pain.

On the other hand, we will be very grateful for acts that substantively differentiate the current Immigration regime from that administered by Dutton, Tudge, Andrews, Morrison.

Albo, O’Neill, Giles may expect the political fate of Keneally if they further harm our refugee friends. These people are as much victims of Labor’s moral cowardice as of (bogan racist security nuts on the conservative side of politics) LNP.

Talk is cheap. Action is what matters.

As someone who has spent years trying to provide 24/7 mental health support to traumatised victims of sovereign borders policy these letters seems incredibly destructive of any hard won equanimity. It is violent to maintain this abuse. I resent the vicarious distress.

We have not yet offered reparation or fully addressed the mental and physical harm of offshore.

Pamela Curr can describe the birth trauma of women on Nauru in great detail.

These men deserve our love and care. They deserve a fair go within Australia.

Anything less is intolerable.

Jimmy Barnes, Jim Moginie of Midnight Oil, Miss Higgins, Mark Seymour, Simon Holmes a Court, artists, Angus McDonald, Craig Foster and the independent political bloc or Teals, the Bilo campaign, Gillian Triggs AND many rural Australians have demonstrated their care. Many want to share Australia with Farhad, Thanush, Moz and their cohort.

Finally the signatories to these letters are shameless and obsessively vindictive. They have already abused these men in detention using Australian taxpayer money for 9 years, opposed them in court and then demanded costs.

On the other hand, we’ll celebrate every good thing Labor does. It’s up to them. We are a very cohesive community, either way.

*(Some lawyers, Human Rights Watch and others like RCOA might have suggested that these letters carry very little legal weight but that the government will ramp up the harassment.)


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  1. New England Cocky

    There is an inherent racism among public servants by either necessity or personal choice. Until the cleaners are put through the senior ranks of Immigration Department there will be no change of policy or worse, a continuation of the inhumane anti-boats policy initiated by LABOR and applied by the COALition. Meanwhile, North Asian ”immigrants” arrive in Australia by air and vanish into the crowd to purchase metropolitan real estate that offers assistance applying for Australian citizenship after four (4) years.

  2. Baby Jewels

    Disgusted, sickened and sad. What is it about Australian politicians and cruelty? When is enough, enough? Neither of the major parties will ever get my vote again.

  3. Harry Lime

    It seems our temporary euphoria at the trouncing of the hideous Morrison and his flotsam of fools was misplaced.Some of us wondered aloud at the time whether it would be a serious watershed in our politics, or simply a change of personnel,albeit less insulting.Let’s face it,ANY change would have to be better.Albo &Co have done a few good things…but where’s the vision we so badly need?..The wrongs to be righted? you have rightly pointed out.The likes of Burke and Bowen, for example are making all the right noises without being terribly specific,which starts to sound like sophistry.Still too many ‘lifers’ and time servers,too many ‘old hands’ to wring the changes this country so obviously needs.We don’t need to tiptoe ahead,we haven’t got the time.Looks like the only thing that’s going to turn politics as usual on it’s head is the election of more Independents.Colour me disappointed.

  4. Stephengb

    Institutional racism

    It is sickening. O’NIEL can’t hide behind a public servant.

    That the public servant directs the reader to the real author, tells me that the public servant is well aware of the cowardly nature of the minister.

  5. GL

    They are shit scared of being perceived as weak by the wankers in the LNP, other RWNJ’s and the main sleaze media, all of whom would waste no time trashing them at every chance.

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