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If there is one thing you can rely on from our government, it’s inconsistency

A few weeks ago, Peter Dutton decided to release dozens of refugees who had been held in Melbourne hotel rooms for more than a year because it was “cheaper for people to be in the community than it is to be at a hotel or for us to be paying for them to be in detention.”

What a revelation.

Dutton told 2GB radio the released men had been assessed as not being a threat.

Which is a turnaround from his fearmongering 2 years ago that the medevac bill, allowing these refugees to receive medical treatment on mainland Australia, would lead to “Alleged murderers, rapists and paedophiles” coming to Australia.

Speaking of not being a threat, another court decision will be made today about the ongoing detention of the Biloela family.

Priya, Nades, and their Australian-born daughters, Kopika, five, and Tharunicaa, three, were taken from their home in Queensland and moved to Melbourne in March 2018 and have been detained on Christmas Island since August 2019.

Department figures provided to the Senate estimates process last month show keeping the family detained has cost $1.4m in the past year.

The case today is the government appealing a previous ruling against them in which they were ordered to pay costs. The legal bill to keep this family detained must be astronomical.

As we await the decision about the Tamil family, Foreign Minister Marise Payne is, once again, admonishing China.

Speaking at a video conference organised by the Canadian government this morning, Payne said Australia would “hold countries to account for their international commitments and their obligation to comply with international laws and practices”.

“The practice of arbitrary detention is against international law. States must uphold all of their international human rights obligations, and that includes those owed to foreign and dual nationals within their jurisdictions …”

I think you may be leaving yourself wide open there Marise.

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  1. Terence Mills

    There is something fundamentally wrong with our system of arbitrary and indefinite detention.

    Dutton has tried to break the spirit of this Sri Lankan family and has managed to hold them in detention for close to three years when it would have been quite adequate to leave them in Biloela whilst the legalities of their plight rumbled through our justice system.

    The tragedy is that the two children were born in Australia but this evidently gives them no rights of citizenship : hopefully the imminent court decision will bring some relief to these folk – if only they had been white Swedish au paires !

  2. Kaye Lee

    The case was heard by the full bench over half a day in October. Moshinsky had found Tharunicaa had been denied procedural fairness because the immigration department had prepared a brief for the then immigration minister, David Coleman, informing him he could “lift the bar” to allow a visa application.

    The brief was prepared days before the 2019 federal election and Coleman did not act on it.

    On Christmas Island, the family can only leave their accommodation to take Kopika to school, or to go to the recreation centre, and those trips must be authorised by Australian Border Force at least two days in advance.

    They cannot visit friends on Christmas Island and they are escorted by security guards at all times.


  3. Kaye Lee

    BREAKING: The full Federal Court has rejected an appeal by the federal government. The earlier ruling of Justice Mark Mochinsky, that Tharunicaa was denied procedural fairness in making a visa application, stands. Story coming now

  4. Matters Not

    While good government sees a separation of powers so that a particular individual isn’t directly involved in the judicial, legislative and executive branches. Yet Dutton does his level best to be involved in the law making process (he is a MP and therefore a legislator). His is also a Minister with administrative powers (therefore part of the executive branch). And he makes it his business to be involved in the judicial aspects as well. Look at the legislation he sponsors. Invariably, he ensures that it’s the Minister who makes the final decision and NOT a judge.

    It should be a worry therefore that Dutton can say without challenge – the released men had been assessed as not being a threat. Surely any assessment is contentious and should be determined by a judicial officer and not an (executive) Minister. Yes it can be a grey area. But look at Dutton’s history.

    He hates judges because they let people go. Goes back to the times he was a copper in the drug squad. And the judge know it – so perhaps they are a touched biased agin him. Lol.

  5. Yes Minister

    Aside from whatever international treaties exist, sooner or later we are going to need to bite the bullet regarding population increase. Australia is not Europe, most of this country is uninhabitable desert and the coastal strip is already ridiculously overcrowded. IMO, the appropriate / sustainable population for Australia is about a quarter of what it is currently. With no immigration and low birthrate, we would get back to a sustainable population in time. One issue that complicates the immigration problem is the number of people rendered homeless due to wars, especially wars in which Australia has been a party. It is undeniable that we have a responsibility to those victims. Rather than accommodating them here however, it would be far better to fix the messes we’ve created by meddling in the war zones.

    On the issue of inconsistency, and without intending to imply the lefties / greenies are blameless (which they most definitely are not), the NoNotion quasi party absolutely excels in inconsistency. In the run-up to the Queensland election, Malcolm Roberts (a prize fuckwit IMO) bleated about health-endangering man-made pollution that would be inflicted on the people of Ipswich by a proposed incinerator (which is fair enough as far as it goes), but at the same time this luminary was demanding a tribe of coal-fired power stations that would emit a thousand times more health-endangering man-made pollution than the incinerator. This same galah also ranted about renewables being horrendously expensive and non cost-effective, despite AGL switching to renewables because of the cost saving and efficiency increase. Following the Roberts bullshit, one must assume the millions of householders with PV systems only got them so they could pay more for their electricity. This is only the tip of the NoNotion inconsistency iceberg, one could easily write a library of books on the subject.

  6. Joanna Parish

    Yes I agree with your question, and your article. In Darwin there are at least 15 refugees held in the airport Mercure hotel, yet they have not been offered visas by the Department of Immigration: why?

  7. Kaye Lee

    The best way to curb population increase is to educate and empower women and lift people out of poverty. Regardless of where they live.

    Which is why it is sheer madness to slash foreign aid. We assist in foreign wars and then wonder why people flee. A very small percentage of the world population consume a vast percentage of the world’s resources whilst disadvantaged countries bear the brunt of the worker exploitation, pollution, waste, and climate change our greed causes. That just isn’t fair.

    PS It would also be great if religion would stop telling us that contraception, abortion, and voluntary euthanasia are bad. Make choices for yourself, not others.

    PPS the Biloela decision will not mean the family is released into community detention out of Christmas Island, but means they will not be removed from Australia while the legal process is still ongoing.

  8. Kerri

    The naked self-righteousness of this clack of politicians is utterly stunning!

  9. Gangey1959

    The ever lovin marise pain. An image of her is used by parents when they talk to their children about the bogeyman. It’s on the flipside of spud dudone. The thought has curdled my weetbix.
    @ TM : There is something fundamentally wrong with our (governments since 2013) system of arbitrary “insert phrase here”.
    @ YM : I agree that our immigratiom policy needs to be looked at. In every respect, because “speciallist workers” have an impact as well. As do foreign students.
    Personally, I think that where Australia is now is about right. This is not to say I am against immigration, but the way it is being done, and the “ghettoisation” of various socioethnic groups is not benefiting Australia at all. Bringing a bunch of people from country X and plonking them into a new country with a pat on the back and a “Welcome to Australia, Go for it”. is not good enough, and does nothing to stop the old attitudes and troubles coming with said people.
    The other MAJOR issue is our infrastructure. My Mum and Dad built our house on a 1/2 acre out in the East of Melbourne. My first house was on slightly smaller. My current house is on about 650sq m, but I have grass all around except for where my garage meets my neighbours. The new estates down the road a bit are tiny. There is enough space between the houses to have a puppy or a small child get stuck. Like that will never happen. Car parking??? We have 10 driveways in our court, and 43 cars between the houses. I have counted them. Plus additional “guests” when covid allows. None of our bigger roads are able to cope with the placement of this scale of instant population, which happens in bubbles. Look at Victoria’s last election. One of the major platforms of BOTH parties was road “links”. East-West OR North-South, or whatever they were called. The reality is WE NEED BOTH.
    Then there is the rail services. What a fucking joke. We get bigger, faster, shinier, more betterer trains and trams, but they dont go anywhere different or further than they did 150 years ago. Who cares what colour they are, they STILL dont go to Doncaster, and they still dont go between Frankston and Dandenong except via Richmond. In otherwords, a 3 1/2 hour trip that takes 20 minutes by car, with plenty of parking at either end. There COULD be a light rail down eastlink. There COULD be a REAL train down the Cranbourne Highway. All it would take is a few shekels. And VISION.
    But we don’t have vision, because our current inneptitude in canberra, and even in Melbourne, cant see beyond the barbed wire.

  10. Michael Taylor

    Geezus. Peter Dutton is modelling himself after Mitch McConnell.

  11. MrFlibble4747

    Where is the moral stance on all this? This family should be released and compensated! How about the famous and fabulous “ministerial discretion”? Will the PM make a stance as the senior minister of all and let them go (surely the “Christian” thing to do). They are all guilty of crimes against humanity! What a pack of absolute feckless bastards!

    On ministerial discretion: my understanding is that it is a “tie breaker” power, to be used if the guidelines result in a tie in the selection process. Not a “throw away the rules and take over the process for their own ends” power. We could do away with the ministries in that case. The media should be screeching about this but it just does not happen. As on other issues, they just let them go unexamined or challenged beyond the sound bite response.

  12. Kronomex

    Peterino Spudolini’s cruelty and plain straight viciousness with this family is a filthy stain that can only removed if, and when, the LNP is kicked out. He has no intention of releasing them because he is quite literally having too much fun mentally torturing them (not joking here).

    Saint Scotty won’t do anything because he’s frightened of our version of J. Edgar Hoover and Beria.

  13. Terence Mills

    On the release of asylum seekers in detention in motels, Dutton finally had to capitulate and concede that his recalcitrance was costing us a fortune and he released most of them into the community.

    When it comes to the Biloela family he has dug his toes in and will spend as much of our money as it takes to have them deported : so far the legal costs and the cost to detain the family amount to more than $6 million.

    At any stage in the past three years Dutton could have allowed these people to remain in Australia or at the very minimum allow them to remain in Biloela while the matter is sorted .

    The judgement from the full Federal Court called the government’s approach on this matter Kafkaesque (i.e. Kafkaesque bureaucratic delays having a nightmarishly complex, bizarre, or illogical quality).

    Can we afford Spud Dutton ??

  14. Pete Petrass

    Perhaps the family’s lawyer should open up a new case against the government using that very same statement by Marise Payne as the basis for them being returned back to their community.

  15. wam

    if there is nobody capable of remembering yesterday’s decisions then today’s are new.
    Perhaps labor erred in 2018, when the family were ripped out of biloela and dumped in melbourne.
    Are they erring now by not showing dutton, as a vindictive incompetent minister?

  16. ajogrady

    You always know what you will get with the L/NP. Consistency! Lots of consistency. Consistent corruption at all levels of government, consistent stacking of boards committees commissions and delegations with L/NP stooges, consistent branch stacking, consistent incompetent and corrupt members, consistent rorting of slush funds and grants schemes at taxpayers expence, consistent blame shifting, consistent photo ops; consistent do nothing and ineffectual policies, consistent attacks on unions, consistent lack of support for workers, consistent demonising of those on social security, consistent poor governance, consistent bad judgement, consistent poor captains picks, consistent cover ups of bad behaviour, consistent use of taxpayers money to promote and advertise the L/NP plus consistently more and more corruption and theft of taxpayers money. Rather then the “comeback” being on the truth is “the fix” is on.

  17. Andrew J. Smith

    Yes Minister, be careful of libertarians of the right setting political traps.

    The population increase we see in Australia is due to ageing and the ‘nebulous’ NOM change of definition in 2006 (capturing more temporary churn over e.g. students) which inflated the estimated resident population headline number; ignored or missed and misrepresented in all Australian media.

    Wait about five years and the permanent base will be in decline, why? The last of the pre and WWII oldies will have departed then the ‘baby boomer’ bubble will start departing and continue for 15-20 years (depending upon definition), followed by the sprog of lower fertility rates balancing out the ‘bubble’ (no doubt property prices etc.).

    Fact is, no other nation in the world in past two decades has become so obsessed about ‘population growth’, ‘immigration’, ‘refugees’ and the (purported) linkages with negatives, without any compelling evidence based upon credible research and data proving both correlation and causation (vs. Malthusian predictions). Meanwhile, Australia nobbles and/or avoids any measures or robust environmental regulation to deal with fossil fuels and carbon emissions, under the guise of libertarians’ need for low taxes low regulation etc.; while ‘population growth’ is blamed and deflects from fossil fuels etc.

    No coincidence, as the original ZPG with Malthusian Paul ‘Population Bomb’ Ehlrich, with (now deceased) anti-semite white nationalist John ‘passive eugenics’ Tanton supported by libertarian ideologues in fossil fuels and auto i.e. Rockefeller Bros. (Exxon Mobil) and Ford Foundations, helped develop this tactic for the GOP (and donors); radical right libertarian ideology joined at the hip with eugenics and white nationalism.

    Not only was Malthus the preacher wrong (according to his ‘research’ and ‘population principles’ we’d be at 100+ billion globally now), he also influenced Adam Smith (who in turn informed radical right libertarians), Darwin on his ‘theory of natural selection’ was then used by socio-Darwinists and Galton for his ‘theory of eugenics and racial hygience’.

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