Dutton's nuclear vapourware

Everyone knows how it goes, as things get a bit older, they…

Ukraine, Continued Aid, and the Prevailing Logic of…

War always commands its own appeal. It has its own frazzled laurels,…

Illawarra offshore wind zone declaration good news for…

Friends of the Earth Australia Media Release Today the federal government officially declared…

Why bet on a loser? Australia’s dangerous gamble…

By Michael Williss A fresh warning that the US will lose a war…

The Potential Labor Landslide...

I once wrote that the Liberals would be releasing their policies closer…

"Hungary is our Israel”: Tony Abbott and Orbán’s…

It was announced in late in 2023 that Tony Abbott was to…


By Bert Hetebry We are the mongrels Underneath the table, Fighting for the leavings Tearing us…

Diamonds and Cold Dust: Slaughter at Nuseirat

The ashes had barely settled on a Rafah tent camp incinerated by…


How can Turnbull make refugees second-class citizens in another sovereign state?

The Turnbull government, no doubt believing it hasn’t yet done enough to convince the Hansonites they should vote for it, has now decided to create a secondary class of citizens by restricting the movements of refugees from Manus and Nauru, should they be settled in third countries. While everyone else in those third countries is free to apply for a visa to visit Australia, refugees are not.

The reason for this discrimination is that they arrived in Australia seeking asylum on a boat.

I can barely get my head around this much insanity.

This creation of second-class citizens does not, both Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull assure us, contravene any domestic or international law, and it does not breach our responsibilities to the Refugee Convention.

I confess myself at a complete loss. I do not understand how this can possibly be the case. The refugees have committed no crime. Their status has been awarded to them by the UNHCR. Yet Australia can, apparently with no legal ramifications whatsoever, cast them as second class citizens of another sovereign nation by refusing them the same freedom of movement other citizens of that nation enjoy.

The New Zealand Prime Minister has already declined to collude with this plan, declaring that his government will not co-operate in creating a secondary class of New Zealand citizens whose movements are restricted by Australia. Surely what Australia is proposing is contrary to every democratic principle?

And how can any country that is a signatory to the Refugee Convention co-operate with the Australian government’s restriction on the free movement of potential citizens who have committed no crime?

Any ideas?

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.



Login here Register here
  1. Tracie

    After spending years studying and understanding international law, what I can say with 100% truth of the matter is that what Dutton and Turnbull are trying to enforce will be illegal. They are trying to manipulate the sovereignty of other countries. This will not end well.

    “Surely what Australia is proposing is contrary to every democratic principle?” The short answer to this is – yes. The long answer is that international law does not abide by ‘democratic principles’. They abide by the international belief of sovereignty – which means that a country has its own rights to make laws in accordance with their own populations. By trying to force something onto another country, as Dutton and Turnbull are trying to do, they are breaching the laws of sovereignty. So, technically, you are correct, but technically, there are other aspects relating to this.

  2. david1

    It is past time the UN started to stop ignoring the absolute contempt this dirtbag Govt is treating the International Community. .Penalties are required and not the wet lettuce slap on the wrist type.

  3. Matters Not

    Notice the immediate political response? The Greens condemned it instantly.

    The ALP will think about it when it sees the detail – which is the rational response but again, The Greens will win the emotional race.

  4. Tracie

    I condemned it instantly! Not because it’s an emotional response, but because what Dutton and co have said is ILLEGAL. They are trying to manipulate the sovereignty of other countries. Australia will be ignored on a mass scale for this. We won’t get any benefits from other countries. We will be the next North Korea!

  5. Matters Not

    Tracie, making ‘statements’ may be ‘wrong’, ‘repulsive’ and all that but last time I looked statements, in themselves, aren’t necessarily illegal. As I see it, Dutton has outlined a legislative intent but has provided no detail.

    Are you suggesting that he be prosecuted for your claimed ‘illegality’? If so, then good luck with that. Perhaps Gleeson would have a view?

  6. Tracie

    Matters Not, haven’t you read my ICC submission? Or anything I have written about Dutton’s illegalities? The ICC is analysing Australia’s situation!

    Seriously! This whole immigration issue is actually illegal!! And their announcement yesterday goes into greater depths of illegality than can be reconciled with.

    Why are you questioning this? Why haven’t you read my articles on the AIMN website? My specialty within my postgraduate law degree was international criminal law, in particular the International Criminal Court. Not even Gleeson would have such an understanding of it as I do. His specialty is different.

  7. Matters Not

    Tracie, all I did was respond to your statements above. That was what I was responding to.

    As for your qualifications, other articles and the like, I have to plead ignorance.

    But given your ‘quals’, could you respond to whether ‘statements’, obviously grounded in political rhetoric in themselves are ‘illegal’?

    Or is that outside your speciality?

  8. Tracie

    This is the pattern that has been going on for the past few years – Coalition makes an announcement. Community is horrified. Community is very vocal. Community says no. Labor then says they are also disgusted. Then, Labor says they will check out the legislation when it comes. Labor checks out the legislation and then change their minds. Labor votes with Coalition. We then get all these nasty laws in place, that should be put in place, if only Labor would stop voting FOR Coalition rather than AGAINST Coalition.

    That’s how this has happened with the numerous terrorism laws (we have more than any other country in the world) as well as metadata laws and refugee laws. And they are a small sample of the pattern that is now quite recognisable.

    You ask whether statements are illegal? It depends on laws such as 18C and 18D, as examples. For everything else, the announcements show that the direction they wish to go in is illegal, which is exactly what I have been saying and implying the whole way through. If they go through with this, then this breaches international laws in far too many ways.

    At the present moment, they are breaching international law, anyway, in many other different ways.

  9. metadatalata

    What I don’t get (along with why Australian politicians have got this far with human rights violations) is how Australia’s Border Force has managed to board foreign vessels in international waters and remove assylum seekers without charge and hold them in detention indefinitely. If that is not piracy, I don’t know what is. It certainly breaches international maritime law unless the boats enter a zone within 24 kilometres of an Australian shore. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-26/government-turn-back-boat-policy/4979898

  10. Matters Not

    Tracie, I agree with your broad political analysis. As to my particular question re illegality (or otherwise), you say:

    You ask whether statements are illegal? It depends on laws such as 18C and 18D, as examples

    So there hasn’t been an actual legal decision that’s specifically relevant? Just a whole range of legal ‘opinions’?

    As Brandis and others have pointed out, or at least indicated, legal opinions are there for the ‘buying’.

  11. Kaye Lee

    Katherine Murphy from the Guardian got it right in my view. She said the Coalition have been deliberately going further and further into these murky depths trying to find the line Labor won’t cross so they can, as Dutton has already done (what a predictably odious creature he is), accuse Labor of being “weak on border protection”. In the next breath, they remind us that it was Rudd’s policy. They really do my head in with their constant blame game.

    And what happens if other countries refuse to go along with this debacle? Does that mean we refuse to let these innocent people go anywhere for ever more? This must stop.

    The average period of time for people held in onshore detention facilities steadily increased from July 2013. At 31 August 2016, it was 454 days.

    Of the 1602 people in immigration detention facilities on mainland Australia and Christmas Island, 24% of them have been detained for a period “Greater than 730 days”.

    Of the 619 people in Community Detention, as at 31 August 2016, those in detention for “Greater than 730 days” increases to 38.9%.

    This does not include the 1,233 people (including 49 children) still being detained on Manus and Nauru who, if no boats have arrived for 800 days, presumably have all been there longer than that.

    In the meantime, the Department of Immigration confirmed that it is offering voluntary redundancies as it looks to cut at least 300 jobs.

    “The move is a result of a reduction in the department’s budget for 2016-17 by 4.5 per cent, or $116 million, and a subsequent year-on-year reduction in the department’s average staffing level cap.”

    Perhaps they should start with a couple of hundred of Dutton’s media advisers.

  12. Kaye Lee

    The president of the Carlingford Liberal Party branch, George Popowski, will use a party conference on Thursday to call on the Turnbull government to halt “all immigration and refugee intakes” until an investigation can establish the “risks and benefits” for Australia.

    “The last thing we need is foreign workers. Get the bastards who are here, off their back-sides! 80% of all new arrivals are on benefits – some for over 10 years!” he wrote. “Simple: compulsory work for the dole – plus, prison for all the crooked quacks who’ve signed them up for the DSP!”

    “Who wants criminals? As THE Donald said: ‘We don’t know who these people are!’ And we don’t! Today, when they can forge $100 notes, any documents can be bought,” he wrote. “Also, all the jihadists here! Surely, this crap must stop! Shut the door NOW! Do we NEED these people??????”

    Mr Popowski is a hard-right factional ally of colourful Parramatta division secretary Charles Camenzuli who a prominent local Liberal Party member described as from the “very, very hard-right and if you don’t see it his way he will go out of his way to bring you down”.


    The real problem with this country is that the parties preselect morons and then we vote for them. I love the fact that two guys with names Popowski and Camenzuli want to ban immigration.

  13. Jennifer Wilson

    The coalition have finally come to the end of the road with their refugee abuse, unless they plan on hanging them in a public square. If they manage to palm refugees off onto another country willing to comprise its sovereignty, they’ve lost the most powerful distraction and wedge they’ve had for the last fifteen years. Quite why they are doing this so far out from an election is something of a mystery to me.

    I am curious to see which country agrees to create a two-tiered citizenry to accommodate Australia, and what price that country will charge us for its compromise. The US, perhaps, with an exchange of Costa Rican refugees merely a fig leaf for massive military bases?

  14. wam

    It is easy to see little billy is being wedged! So why is it difficult to see how moribund malcolm has no choice. These people treat Aborigines, welfare recipients and unskilled workers with contempt hidden as help and these are Australians? Why would they be any better with other people of lower stock.
    It is obvious mal needs a boost in the polls. So why not get pauline’s support at the same time.
    NB detention centres
    Under labor vs detention centres under coalition?

  15. Rezblah

    Wedge politics, surely the most pathetic and easily dodged limp lettuce tactics ever devised?

    Seriously, if you can’t smack those lollipop lobs straight back in the face of the thrower then stop listening to focus groups, sack your advisors, or get another job ffs

  16. guest

    You are quite right, Metdatalata.

    The navy has indulged in piracy on the high seas. It has not complied with the Refugee Convention, even though Oz is a signatory.

    Gillard tried to find a regional alternative to Howard’s “Pacific Solution” but failed for various reasons. The Coalition crucified her.

    Howard had let the refugees on Nauru come to Oz secretly, but there was a huge outcry, so Rudd said in his last days Why not say refugees cannot come to Oz? Abbott seized the idea with glee. Turnbull, whatever he actually believes, is hogtied by the ideological Right. They do not really have a Plan B. Their regional plan has failed too.

    For the Right, people smugglers paid to transport refugees to Oz are criminals and the refugees (Hanson thinks they are all “economic migrants”) are demonised and used as human shields against other boat people.

    But the Oz government thinks it legal to transport refugees to other places and to never allow them to come to Oz, ever.

    Never mind the reported trauma and cruelty inflicted on these innocent people. Surely what the government intends to do is people trafficking to appease Hanson and to wedge Labor and distract from the falling polls.

    Enough is enough. Time for defiance against this inhumane behaviour in the name of Oz.

  17. Kyran

    “I can barely get my head around this much insanity.”
    The 44th and 45th parliaments of the Australian government can best be characterized as insane. Using Einsteins definition; “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
    Over and over again, they trot out meaningless slogans, attempt to dress them in policy and then abandon the slogan as any meaningful scrutiny underscores the shallow inadequacy of their mindless utterance.
    Over and over again.
    These parliaments have remained oblivious to the damage caused by their mindless utterances. The stress caused to those reliant on the provision of government services. The provision of which is a duty of the government and a right of the people of Australia. Not an ‘entitlement’. Entitlements are, after all, the domain of the political elite and the wealthy.
    From the ABC;
    “Francois Crepeau will use his 18-day trip to examine immigration detention and processing centres in Australia and on Nauru.
    In a statement, Mr Crepeau said he would also meet with border protection officials and migrants as part of a series of meetings in capital cities.
    “This is an opportunity for me to understand how Australia manages its overall migration policies, and their impact on the human rights of migrants,” he said.
    The visit comes 14 months after Mr Crepeau cancelled a planned trip due to concerns over immigration legislation.”


    Julian Burnside has posted two articles on his blog, one of which underscores the legality (or lack thereof) of the proposals;


    The other concerns itself with the real issue of people seeking asylum, the reality of what they are fleeing and the inherent risks they take, many of which are procedural as we do not yet have any consistent regional process to address what is the greatest movement of refugees since the second world war;


    We are left, yet again, to ponder the moronic utterances of dutton, a piece of filth that defies description. Asides from Cambodia, he has yet to name one single country that is prepared to become complicit in the crimes committed in our name by an insane government. Yet again, we are expected to discuss a non proposal, absent of any fact or substance. Rest assured that if his non proposal is challenged by any of our institutions whose charter demand they protect human rights, the wailing banshee’s will be out in force. brandy, dutton, morrison, et al. At least now there will be some higher pitched voices, ley, bishop, hanson.

    Over, and over, and over again.
    Thank you Ms Wilson. Hopefully, this insanity will end without too much further damage being caused. How many PM’s till Christmas?
    Take care

  18. Rezblah

    General strike now. there is a very long list of demands that need to be made immediately, beginning with the suspension of parliament, a federal ICAC, actual enforcement of parliamentary rules and serious punishment for the perpetrators of the atrocious activities of this government exposed everyday, day in, day out.

    It will not stop until we make them, and neither should we

  19. wam

    Hear hear Rezblah 0850 but labor has decided to play with stringless racquets and the fact that there are no boat arrivals since the rabbott won over the electorate begs the question WHY? Avoidance? Deflection? Surrender to the idiots? Perhaps turnball is still paying the smugglers, as well as day, hansen, slimey X, incorruptable whathisname, and anyone who can keep him in power.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

Return to home page