By Kyran O’Dwyer
There has been much written about such things as perception, bias, dishonesty, all manner of things relating to the media, our political parties and the world of ‘massaging the truth’. In ‘plain speak’ English, that’s called lying. This week has been no different to any other week in modern Australia. We are, after all, sensitive little flowers who could not possibly handle the truth. We need one of our political illuminati or one of their media handmaidens to explain it to us.
Apparently, things such as the environment, the economy, health, education, the law, all manner of things, are beyond us. Until such time as our leaders and their cheer squad tell us what we think, we have no idea of what is going on, let alone what to think of it. And even then we will only be presented with their version of our reality.
There are two fundamental flaws in those assumptions. The first being that we, as members of the public, cannot distinguish fact from fiction. The second is that any reasonable mind would accept one single solitary word from either cohort without checking it out.
According to them, nothing is a matter of ‘Black and White’ anymore. Everything is ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and we are reliant on the political illuminati and their media handmaidens to let us know exactly what is what.
According to them, it’s all very sophisticated and nuanced. As mere members of the public, we are no longer considered capable of working out fact from fiction. We can be easily manipulated by the media, the spin doctors and the outright bullshit artists.
Which is fair enough. We keep voting for the bastards, so it must be our fault. And we don’t have the ability or capacity to distinguish between the multiple shades of grey currently on offer without their help.
Nothing is ‘Black and White’ anymore.
Except our ‘refugees’.
If you are a white South African farmer, you should be extended every priority, every advantage, every courtesy, to expedite your transfer to Australia, because we need your farming skills and you need our protection. You are a persecuted minority, albeit with a large landholding, and our farmers are going broke.
There will be no suggestion of ‘temporary’ (yet indefinite) accommodation on Nauru or Manus whilst we contemplate your future in the context of a pathetic ideological spiel that you are, in fact, either a jihadist wanting to eat our firstborn and terrorise our populace, or a wealthy person who could afford to pay thousands of dollars to languish on a leaky boat.
No. Our ‘SA Best’ Farmers will undoubtedly arrive by plane, like most of our genuinely illegal immigrants, negating the application of ‘queue jumping’ or ‘boat people’ stigmas.
Whilst you may well be destined to reside in groups in hospitable environments, such as the seat of Dickson (which is represented by a politician desperate for ‘your kind of people’), you will never be referred to as ‘South African Gangs’. They are, after all, prevalent only in the southern states, and they are black. Who knows. If you settle here, we might let the blacks work on your farms for $2 a day, just like home.
Well, so the narrative goes. Us stupid people can’t distinguish between Black and White. So we will remain reliant on our politicians and their media to explain to us the subtleties of Fifty Shades of Grey.
Does anyone else remember a time when things were so much simpler? When things were a matter of ‘Black and White’? When it was a reasonable expectation that most of us understood the difference between ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’?
This didn’t stop people doing the wrong thing, but at least there was a clear understanding that what they were doing was wrong.
Do we need to wait for our politicians and their media to explain that to us as well?
Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s fantastic that Peter Dutton (Michael Pezzullo’s appendage) knows the difference between black and white. It is a most basic notion, and he is, after all, a most basic individual. His credentials already include ‘WORST EVER’ minister, so how could he get even ‘worser’?
His ‘WORST EVER’ minister credentials go back to health. Which is appropriate. He is currently second in command, answerable only to Michael Pezzullo, to administer to the health of those in our care, both on and off shore.
A few years back, 2016, when it was the Department for Immigration and Border Protection, a heavily redacted document comprising 75 pages was released which included a run down on the obligations of his department towards those in our care. If you can struggle through it all, you may well be horrified. We are, after all, supposed to be ‘civilised’. It effectively handballed the ‘medical’ function, both physical and mental, to IHMS, but, nonetheless, Dutton was ‘responsible’ for its administration.
Much of the redaction related to silly little numbers, like the incidents of self-harm, the assaults, the appalling conditions, the inaction of the staff employed by Pezzullo/Dutton. Annoying things that are called facts. They have been redacted, the same way facts have been removed from the lexicon of the Pezzullo/Dutton existence.
So, who are IHMS?
“International Health & Medical Services (IHMS) is contracted by the Commonwealth of Australia, represented by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, to provide primary and mental health care to people in immigration detention in Australia, and to asylum seekers and refugees residing in Manus Island, Papua New Guinea and Nauru. IHMS also manages the health care of people in community detention through its network of community providers.
IHMS delivers health care in a professional manner that is:
- medically appropriate
- without any form of discrimination
- with appropriate dignity, humanity, cultural and gender sensitivity; and
- with respect for privacy and confidentiality.”
Well, there you go.
“Medically appropriate, non-discriminatory, dignified, humane, culturally and gender sensitive, respectful …”
See? Black and White. Crystal clear. Absolutely no Grey in there.
But you then have to remind yourself of Dutton’s Distinction, ‘WORST EVER’. He doesn’t like listening, particularly not to experts.
“Martin’s decision to speak out has come amid a growing crisis in Australia’s detention healthcare. The chief medical officer of the Australian Border Force (ABF), Dr. John Brayley, resigned in September 2017. Brayley resigned just two years into a five-year appointment, and the reason for his departure remains a mystery.
While Martin is unaware of why Brayley resigned, he reveals new insights into the chief medical officer’s decision making.
Frequently we would put our recommendations in, it would be approved and supported by John Brayley at the time and it would then be countermanded by someone who was not medical,” Martin said.
“[Brayley’s] recommendations were being routinely ignored by other people in the ABF.”
Australia runs two offshore detention centres — one on the Pacific island of Nauru and one on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea — where more than 2,000 asylum seekers and refugees are being held as part of the country’s controversial immigration detention policy for asylum seekers who arrive by boat to Australia.”
Given the ‘WORST EVER’ Health Minister was now in charge of a medical regime, and his de-facto dispensers of medical care no longer had a Chief Medical Officer, for any mere mortal that would be a significant problem.
If that’s what you thought, you weren’t paying attention. He doesn’t like listening, particularly not to experts. Anyway, his boss, Michael Pezzullo, had the matter in hand. Sort of. He attended the Senate Estimates to tell us all about it.
“There has not been since Dr John Brayley left the role in September. Secretary Michael Pezzullo said the process to find a replacement was “close to conclusion” in estimates on Monday. Deputy secretary Steven Groves said interviews had been conducted on February 20 and referees were being checked.
Brayley’s responsibilities have been fulfilled by first assistant secretary for health services and policy, Elizabeth Hampton, who is not a medical practitioner. The committee heard she takes advice from doctors, nurses, dieticians, exercise physiologists, occupational therapists and the like, both employed by the department and external service providers.”
What could possibly go wrong? Well, if those in our care cannot get access to the medical facilities we say are there, they can always go to court. We routinely spend money in a Court system designed to make the most basic of health care a time delaying exercise. We will not have queue jumpers in Australia. It seems appropriate our Foreign Affairs Minister famously started the whole notion of queue jumpers when she advocated the dying should not be allowed to jump queues simply because they were dying. Vale Bernie Banton. Maybe the effects of toxic mould (as found on the tropical paradise known as Nauru) are similar to mesothelioma. Julie Bishop was in PNG recently to remind them how our relationship with PNG is a ‘Glorious Foundation’ for our deep, deep, bonds.
“Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is using a trip to Papua New Guinea and Tonga to remind Pacific nations that Australia’s neighbours are its biggest beneficiaries.
“We are the partner of choice, along with New Zealand, for the islands of the Pacific and that’s demonstrated here in PNG where we work across a whole range of areas,” she said on a trip to PNG’s remote New Ireland province.”
Partner of choice with New Zealand? That can’t be right. We won’t let NZ take our refugee’s, which are becoming a bit of a problem for PNG. She nearly declared war on NZ on that issue. What else?
“Australia has preferred to focus on “governance” in preference to calling out the PNG Government on its more egregious failings, such as last year’s national elections, marred by a deficient electoral roll, voting irregularities and at times blatant manipulation.”
43% of our ‘budget’ with PNG is spent on ‘governance’. We will not be told what to do by their courts, but we’ll lecture them on dodgy elections. Good governance?
The attitude of our ‘WORST EVER’ and his boss, Pezzullo, to ‘the law’ and ‘due process’ is every bit as considered as his attitude to health. Ill considered, that is. Having lost a class action by default (it didn’t even see the inside of a court room) and having lost more than 20 cases in the AAT and having lost High Court decisions and having disregarded judgements and orders made in all manner of courts and facing further class actions, and, and, and … Well, at least he wasn’t put in charge of any agencies responsible for the upholding of the law of the land.
Oops. He now controls the AFP, ASIO and a myriad of other departments. None of which can find these nasty people smugglers before they commit their heinous acts. And it would appear they can only locate the ill-fated cargo with the assistance of the Australian Navy, after the fact.
Mind you, all of these agencies are probably very busy investigating our federal politicians. Not for the purposes of a conviction, but in the pursuit of establishing their innocence. No wonder it takes them so long to conclude an ‘investigation’.
Pezzullo, Dutton, Bishop and the word ‘law’ don’t belong in the same article. There are literally hundreds of investigations being conducted, internally and externally, on all manner of corruption within the behemoth known as Home Affairs. Roman Quaedvlieg and Fabio Pezzullo were only two of them. And Julie Bishop is still denying the existence of ‘donations’ by foreign governments to her beloved ‘party’, let alone their proprietary. Law? Pffft.
Going back to the health issue, there was a recent story about a 10-year-old lad on Nauru, who had been recommended for transfer to Australia in July 2017, as he was suicidal and engaging in self-harming behaviour. This was rejected by Dutton’s department FIVE MONTHS LATER, in December. It was eventually sorted out in Court.
“The home affairs department – which controls Australia’s offshore processing regime – fought the injunction, arguing that there was sufficient healthcare on the island to treat the boy and asking the court to delay the court hearing a week.
Justice Nye Perram disagreed and ordered that the boy be immediately returned to Australia for treatment: “A delay … cannot be justified, there is a significant risk the boy would not be alive by that hearing, and I am not prepared to run that risk.””
It could be worse. Doctor Dutton took 18 months to find someplace that was NOT Australia to help Fatemeh.
“Fatemeh, 55, has been living in Nauru’s regional processing centre at “high and imminent risk of … heart attack or sudden death”, according to doctors. Border Force had approved her medical transfer overseas, but said she could not take her son with her.
Fatemeh refused to leave her son alone and unsupervised on the island. He has suffered from acute mental health issues on Nauru, where unaccompanied minor refugees have faced significant violence.
“Death and separation from my son is the same for me,” Fatemeh told Guardian Australia. “I would not go anywhere without him. All we have is each other.”
Fatemeh and her son, who is now 17, were flown by a chartered jet to Taipei on Friday at Australian government expense. They were the only passengers aside from Australian government-contracted case management and security staff. She will be admitted to Taiwan Adventist Hospital for heart surgery, according to documents seen by the Guardian, while her son will receive psychological care. It is unclear how long they will stay in Taiwan.”
That’s only two of the stories about the litany of complaints regarding the absence of adequate medical facilities on either island and the preference of Doctor Dutton to mindlessly shuffle and shuttle inmates rather than treat their afflictions.
It could be worse. There is a database being kept about deaths in immigration custody in both on-shore and off-shore ‘regimes’. In addition to the three deaths on Nauru, as Walid Zazai notes, there have been six on Manus.“On 29 September 2017, Rajeev became the sixth Manus Island-refugee to die in the last four years. His death follows those of Reza Barati, Hamid Kehazaei, Kamil Hussain, Faysal Ishak Ahmed & Hamed Shamshiripour.”
Of course we are working on a solution. Not our BFF, our partner of choice, NZ, who famously joined us in battle to establish the ANZAC legend, the battler wanting to defend ‘the fair go’. It would appear PNG aren’t really in the mix either. The need for urgency due to the PNG court decision was recently ‘ramped up’ in an article featuring our glorious Julie.
- PNG officials fear a large number of Manus refugees will not be included in the US deal
- Attempts to resettle the men in PNG has largely failed, PNG’s Immigration Minister says
- Cambodia’s the only country which could take refugees from Australia’s offshore processing centres
PNG has formed a special team to negotiate with Australia’s Home Affairs Department to ensure all refugees from Manus Island are resettled in a third country, soon.”
Semisonic had a song, ‘Closing Time’, which seems a fair summary of this mess.
“You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here”
We are fast approaching the one year anniversary of the PNG Navy armed assault on the compound where the refugees were being interred. The Navy are still annoyed with the refugees, as are the local landowners, and the local businesses who have not been granted the promised contracts of supply of goods and services to our detainees, or the local community, who are still impoverished, despite the billions being casually thrown around our ‘stakeholders’ (multinational corporations).
As the song says;
“I hope you have found a friend
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”
Not to be fazed, glorious Julie went on;
“Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop — who is visiting Port Moresby — indicated new resettlement countries were not being considered.
Ms Bishop said Cambodia was the only country which could take refugees from Australia’s offshore processing centres.”
The Cambodia deal became even more farcical this week when the Australian government voted with the UN Council to condemn Cambodia’s human rights abuses, yet insist it was ‘nothing substantial’. Cambodia can keep the $50mill+ and the refugee deal is ‘still on the table’.
“In Geneva on Thursday morning Australian time, the 45 members of the 47-member human rights council said Cambodia had made significant democratic progress since the signing of the Paris peace agreement in 1991 ending the country’s civil war. But it had regressed in recent years, growing increasingly violent and authoritarian.
“As we near the elections scheduled for 29 July this year, our previous optimism has been replaced by deep concern about the recent serious decline of civil and political rights in Cambodia. These backward steps include signs of escalating repression of the political opposition, civil society and media,” the countries said.
“For the Cambodian government to retain its legitimacy, any elections must be free, fair and credible.”
Some have been resettled in the US, even though the majority of those on Nauru and Manus are on the ‘Trump no go list’ and most won’t survive the ‘extreme vetting’ promised by Trump.
That’s not to say Australia will be the land of milk and honey for these poor souls. There are more than 30,000 refugees currently on bridging visas in Australia, which impacts their ability to work in the community. We compel them to rely on welfare benefits, punish them if they try to get off the benefits, and ridicule, belittle and demean them for being bludgers on benefits. Pezzullo and Dutton are in charge of our visa system (not just the 457 and associated scams) which they don’t seem to regard very highly. There was a recent story about a Sri Lankan family and their heavy-handed removal at 5.00 am in Queensland, their transport to Victoria and then WA for the purposes of refoulement. And the subsequent abandoning of one more expensive farce, that is our Border Force.
“Despite having a valid court action under way, Border Force officials raided the family’s house at 5am the day after Priya’s visa expired.
“This was a dastardly and reprehensible action,” Ben Hillier, spokesman for the Tamil Refugee Council said. He said the family’s protection application should be reassessed.
“Dharuniga and Kopiga were born in Australia. This is their home – they have never been to Sri Lanka and do not hold Sri Lankan citizenship.”
Clearly, appealing or protesting to either one of these obscenities would be a waste of time, energy and emotion. Likewise, appealing to our fearless leader, Captain Tremble, would be a wasted exercise. He is totally focussed on the Number 30. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
You cannot appeal to the intelligence of someone who is intellectually barren.
You cannot appeal to the emotions of someone who is devoid of emotion.
You cannot appeal to the conscience of someone who delights in acting unconscionably.
You cannot appeal to the humanity of someone who is, at the very core of their being, inhumane.
You cannot appeal to the reason of someone who is capable only of the unreasonable.
You cannot appeal to the decency of people who are fundamentally and at the most base level, indecent.
“We should not judge his achievements through the lens of these most recent events.”
“The home affairs secretary farewells Roman Quaedvlieg, fired for his work in the office affairs department. To be fair, almost no one working in a department once charged with welcoming migrants could be happy when judged on recent events.”
That was from the Saturday Paper. Whether it be recent or past events, we now have the Dutton Distinction, the ‘WORST EVER’ entrenched in our history.
“Some of the crazy lefties at the ABC and on The Guardian, Huffington Post, express concern and draw mean cartoons about me … They don’t realise how completely dead they are to me.”
First Dog on the Moon summed that one up well.
It was over a year ago that I finished a piece with the following:
“The purpose of this post isn’t to decry the policy or demean the perpetrators. These actions are simply inexplicable in any civilised society.
The purpose of the post is to simply state the obvious.
We need to bring them here, now.”
And yet here we are. Dutton talking about an issue that is Black and White. Dutton talking of a ‘civilised country’ (Taken off ‘the blacks’.) after famously ignoring The Apology.
There will be the usual Palm Sunday Walk for Justice meetings around Australia tomorrow.
Walid Zazai is one of those currently detained on Manus. Having committed no crime, he is not charged with any crime, not tried for any crime, not convicted for any crime. Yet he has been incarcerated for over five years. His draft address to be read at rallies tomorrow finishes with this.
“Finally, I thank you.
Thank you to our growing advocates & friends. Thank you to the people who act – who write to their MP’s & talk to their friends about the injustice in this place.
Thank you to the religious who take the love for your neighbour seriously.
Thank you to the people who know the equality of humanity & act to make it happen. You have empowered us & given us a small voice.
Please keep speaking for us, yelling for us, screaming for us. Please continue putting peaceful but loud democratic pressure on the people who hold our freedom in their hard hands.
Please tell them our wish & our prayer is simply either, “please Bring us to Australia, let us go to NZ or grant us our freedom somewhere safe”.
Thank you. With love & blessings, from Manus”
It really is a case of Black and White. There is no grey.
This is Just Not Right.
This is Wrong.
Like what we do at The AIMN?
You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.
Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!
Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.
You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969