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One could be forgiven for thinking this is just another shameful dog-whistling lie

Spud Duddy is demanding that the ABC and Fairfax apologise to him for doubting his version of events leading up to shots being fired on Manus Island.

“These people can take the word of somebody that’s been discredited but that is an issue frankly for the credibility of the ABC, Fairfax and others, and I think they need to reflect on their position because they’ve really turned into advocates as opposed to professional journalists.”

Speaking of credibility…..

The government attacked Gillian Triggs for the AHRC Forgotten Children report which found prolonged immigration detention caused significant mental and physical illness, while hundreds of assaults and 128 cases of self-harm were reported between January 2013 and March 2014. It also uncovered 33 reports of sexual assault.

Tony Abbott dismissed it completely saying “It’s absolutely crystal clear, this inquiry by the President of the Human Rights Commission is a political stitch up.”

Until the government’s own Moss Review confirmed the horror detailed by Ms Triggs.

The review by former Integrity Commissioner Philip Moss found evidence of rape, sexual assault of minors, and guards trading marijuana for sexual favours inside the centre on Nauru.

It also exonerated 9 Save the Children staff who had been deported under instruction from Scott Morrison for suspected “subversive” behaviour.

“They are employed to do a job, not to be political activists. Making false claims, and worse allegedly coaching self-harm and using children in protests is unacceptable, whatever their political views or agendas,” Mr Morrison said in October during a press conference as he launched the Moss Review. “The public don’t want to be played for mugs with allegations being used as some sort of political tactic in all of this.”

He was wrong. In January this year the department settled a court case compensating the Save the Children staff and issuing a statement saying it “regrets any hurt and embarrassment caused to the SCA employees.”

When Reza Berati was killed on Manus Island, Scott Morrison blamed the refugees for leaving the centre.

“I can guarantee their safety when they remain in the centre and act co–operatively with those who are trying to provide them with support and accommodation,” he said. “When people engage in violent acts and in disorderly behaviour and breach fences and get involved in that sort of behaviour and go to the other side of the fence, well they will be subject to law enforcement as applies in Papua New Guinea. But when people co–operate and conduct themselves appropriately within the centre then yes I can.”

Except he was beaten to death inside the centre by people employed by our government.

When Sarah Hanson-Young said she had been spied on when she visited Nauru, Peter Dutton called her an “embarrassment to the country”.

“My experience of Senator Hanson-Young is that she gets most of the facts wrong most of the time. She makes these allegations which are completely unfounded.”

Until a Senate committee found out it was true and that security had been instructed to destroy the evidence.


When it comes to offshore detention, this government has no credibility at all and I will believe Dutton’s version when he provides proof. Until then, I give it as much credence as every other shameful dog-whistling lie this government has told ever since they found it politically advantageous to demonise asylum seekers and anyone who dares to advocate for them.


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  1. David Bruce

    These political stooges have a duty of care to the people they have incarcerated. Seems to me a case for class action for crimes against humanity! Might give these miscreants a wake up call? It is not only un-Australian, it is becoming a global embarrassment for these hypocrites to criticize other governments for their human rights abuses!

  2. Kaye Lee

    It says a lot about the “values” of the Coalition government that they were more concerned about the timing of the release of the Forgotten Children report than its contents.

    Senator Ian McDonald chaired the committee that looked into the report. He condemned it whilst admitting that he didn’t bother even reading it.

    “I haven’t bothered to read the final report because I think it is partisan,” Senator MacDonald told the hearing.

    It’s all about the look. Reminds me of the cover up of abuse by the Catholic Church.

  3. Clean livin

    Well really. It goes without saying that if a politicians lips are moving, then they are most likely lying. In Duds case, you can tell he’s lying, because he’s walking toward a microphone.

  4. longwhitekid

    David Bruce, activist and writer Tracy Aylmer has worked long and hard to have Dutton, Morrison, Abbott charged with crimes against humanity regarding this issue.

  5. babyjewels10

    What can one say? He’s a loathesome slug. I can only hope he gets his just desserts eventually.

  6. Zathras

    I’m hoping that the next ALP Government throws open all the books about “on water matters” and the treatment of refugees or at least what doesn’t get shredded or buried under layers of secrecy classification by an outgoing government.

    Lifting the imprisonment restriction on whistleblowers or other witnesses would also be interesting.

    It will go a long way toward revealing what sort of people hide behind the mask of “values” – especially if Dutton is made the next Liberal Leader,

  7. Kaye Lee

    The ICC said “the allegations appear to fall outside the jurisdiction of the Court…you may consider raising it with appropriate national or international authorities” though they did say they would keep the information “and the decision not to proceed may be reconsidered if new facts or evidence provides a basis to believe that a crime within the jurisdiction of the court has been committed.”

    Julian Burnside wrote an article asserting Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison’s actions “appear to constitute a crime against humanity contrary to section 268.12 of the Criminal Code (Commonwealth)”.

    However, only Attorney-General Senator George Brandis can bring a prosecution under section 268.12, highly unlikely against members of his own government.

    Abbott Government back in International Criminal Court hot seat over #refugees: @jansant reports

  8. Kaye Lee

    Criminal Code Act 1995

    268.12 Crime against humanity—imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty

    (1) A person (the perpetrator) commits an offence if:
    (a) the perpetrator imprisons one or more persons or otherwise severely deprives one or more persons of physical liberty; and
    (b) the perpetrator’s conduct violates article 9, 14 or 15 of the Covenant; and
    (c) the perpetrator’s conduct is committed intentionally or knowingly as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population.

    Penalty: Imprisonment for 17 years.

    268.13 Crime against humanity—torture

    A person (the perpetrator) commits an offence if:
    (a) the perpetrator inflicts severe physical or mental pain or suffering upon one or more persons who are in the custody or under the control of the perpetrator; and
    (b) the pain or suffering does not arise only from, and is not inherent in or incidental to, lawful sanctions; and
    (c) the perpetrator’s conduct is committed intentionally or knowingly as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population.

  9. Nick McCarthy

    John Howard must be very proud of the odious vermin that now call themselves conservative politicians. Dutton is just another graduate from the LNP political assembly line that values money and power over everything else. Therefore, lying, cheating and abasing others is perfectly acceptable in that pursuit. “A most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality.” Henry IV Part I (Act 2, Scene 4)

  10. Kaye Lee

    268.11 Crime against humanity—deportation or forcible transfer of population

    (1) A person (the perpetrator) commits an offence if:
    (a) the perpetrator forcibly displaces one or more persons, by expulsion or other coercive acts, from an area in which the person or persons are lawfully present to another country or location; and
    (b) the forcible displacement is contrary to paragraph 4 of article 12 or article 13 of the Covenant; and
    (c) the perpetrator knows of, or is reckless as to, the factual circumstances that establish the lawfulness of the presence of
    the person or persons in the area; and
    (d) the perpetrator’s conduct is committed intentionally or knowingly as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population.

    Penalty: Imprisonment for 17 years.

    (2) Strict liability applies to paragraph (1)(b).
    (3) In subsection (1):
    forcibly displaces one or more persons includes displaces one or more persons:
    (a) by threat of force or coercion (such as that caused by fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or abuse of power) against the person or persons or against another person; or
    (b) by taking advantage of a coercive environment.

  11. Michael

    And there is f*ck all anyone can do until the next election?

    But deep down inside I feel an Royal Commission or two and a Federal ICAC coming on to (a) clean out this putrid swamp of vermin (they have done their job by clearly showing us LNP innovative agility in the art of depravity and abuse of power), (b) put forward the strongest recommendations for reform and (c) reinstate the swamp to environmentally healthy wetlands providing us a boost to our work-in-progress democracy as we navigate the future.

    Until then let’s just keep gathering evidence.

  12. leighton8

    Sad … it seems few in this LNP government give any thought at all to how they will be viewed in history.

  13. Miriam English

    Dutton is even worse than Reith… and that’s really saying something.
    Reith has suffered a stroke. I won’t waste any sympathy on that lying swine.

    Dutton is so unutterably vile, such a slimy liar, so eager to hurt innocent people… I don’t know how he sleeps at night or looks at himself in the mirror. (Of course, legend has it that vampires don’t sleep at night or see their reflections…)

  14. Michael

    Miriam, I came across an old Academic Remainers purchase in my library titled “Are We All Nazis?” by Hans Askenasy, second print 1978 – I am still wondering how that came about.

  15. Ricardo29

    There should be a royal commission into this despicable practice but there won’t be. Labor, when elected, will go soft on it because they are in it up to their eyeballs. Complicit and acquiescent and only marginally more humanist than the grubs of the LNP, and I’m a Labor supporter. Happy to be proven wrong though.

  16. pierre wilkinson

    Surely there must eventually be an accounting of the blatant undemocratic arrogance of this inept government?
    meanwhile, we have Kaye Lee and the AIM network to keep us informed; thanks

  17. Ian

    Thank you Kaye for another stellar effort in practical and authentic journalism. You do all at AIMN, and indeed us as media consumers, an awesome service.

    As for Dutton- Once a pig, always a pig.

  18. Kaye Lee

    Ricardo, Labor’s policy is slightly better and they have been more transparent in government than the Coalition so that would be a plus.

    Labor policy

    Labor will provide $450 million over three years to support the important work of the UNHCR.

    Labor will reinstate references to the UN Refugees Convention in the Migration Act to reverse the Abbott Government’s retrograde efforts to undermine international law.

    Labor will take a leadership role within South East Asia and the Pacific to build a regional humanitarian framework supporting the UNHCR in providing health and education services to asylum seekers. It would also involve advocating for work rights for asylum seekers,

    By 2025, Labor will increase Australia’s annual humanitarian intake to 27,000

    Labor will appoint an advocate independent of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection backed by the resources and statutory powers necessary to pursue the best interests of children seeking asylum, including the power to bring court proceedings on a child’s behalf.

    Labor will legislate to impose mandatory reporting of child abuse in all offshore and onshore immigration detention facilities.

    Labor will reinstate access to the Refugee Review Tribunal and abolish the Independent Assessment Authority established by the Abbott Government.

    Labor in government will reintroduce the ‘90 day rule’ into the Migration Act.

    Labor does not believe offshore facilities should be run as punitive holding cells. They need to be humane and offer people seeking safety exactly that. Fast and efficient processing should occur so that claims for protection can be determined quickly and fairly.

    Labor will implement independent oversight of Australian-funded processing facilities.

    Labor will abolish TPVs which keep people in a permanent state of limbo.

  19. Miriam English

    Michael, I try to keep reminding myself that the Nazis were just ordinary people, like the people in Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford prison experiment, or the people in Stanley Milgram’s torture experiments. It is so dismayingly easy for us to fall. We must be very careful because we are all basically Nazis underneath.

    It is far too easy to be like Neil Aitchison, and deny other people rights and dehumanise them. That tendency is in us all. I showed a glimpse of it in myself above, joking about vampires in connection with Dutton.

    We all have to keep the monster on a tight leash. Even when others let theirs roam free (like Aitchison, Dutton, Christensen, Bernardi, etc). It is imperative that we hold our own monsters tighter under control. We need to be better than them.

    Yes. We are all Nazis underneath.

  20. Kaye Lee

    I should have included the ABC/Guardian report that the government paid people smugglers and that asylum seekers were mistreated.

    The government reaction was to ban government MPs from appearing on the “unpatriotic” ABC – they refused to comment on the allegations because they were “onwater” and how dare they imply that our wonderful military could ever do anything bad like burning someone’s hand (or even cutting them off as Andrew Hastie’s troop allegedly did in Afghanistan).

  21. Michael

    Miriam, I re-read my earlier reply to you and now see that it can be interpreted in two ways – my comment was aimed at how the association of Kaye’s article and my dust gathering book came about.

    In support of your comments, the author’s concluding introduction words:

    “The moral and mental defects of the human race and its leaders thus have been demonstrated with some exactitude. Yet the butchery [as globally summarised only since WW1] goes on. And so, as expressed in the words of the cold-blooded Prussian general Alfred von Schlieffen: “It will happen as it has to happen.”

    Unless you and I find out what makes man behave so barbarically and idiotically – unless you and I decide to do something about it”.

    Q – We know what has and is happening, we know how it is happening, what can be done for that not to happen?

  22. Mhoira White

    Why couldn’t they send the refugees to New Zealand when they offered to take them. They certainly wouldn’t want to come into Australia after the way they’ve been treated & Donald Trump will end up not taking them. He’ll find some excuse to change his mind.
    Has Dutton ever visited Manos or Nauru?

  23. Michael

    Mhoira, I challenged the then new Greens spokesperson for these matters (after not receiving a reply from Sarah Hanson-Young) to OPENLY invite Morrison/Dutton to spend an all expenses paid week in the shoes and clothes of refugees seeking asylum in each of our two island “resorts” – undercover, if that is possible, no minders, no special exemptions, no favouritisms (unless “in return for” as detailed in article), etc.

    Waiting response to suggestion and the challenge – but can you imagine ….. if that does not bring about change …

    The worst thing that can happen is to lose your seat at the next election.

  24. Miriam English

    Michael, I think the only way is to carefully arrange society so that nobody has control over another person. Of course that doesn’t solve the problem, but it does avoid it.

    Personally, I doubt there is a solution… at least until such time we can fiddle with our brain structure and/or genes to render us unable to be bullies, making us chronically compassionate.

    In the nearer term, I pin a lot of hope on artificial intelligences (AIs) helping us avoid our worst traits by guiding us to be the best we can… like the moral equivalent of how calculators let the most arithmetically inept among us be skilled mathematicians. They would chaperone each one us, assisting our conscience, helping us navigate moral questions. Hopefully future children would grow up increasingly making morally good decisions automatically, without need of intervention from our personal angels, but even so, given our nature it wouldn’t be smart to attempt to do without them.

    We can be such wonderful creatures, but we all have monsters lurking just under the surface. If you doubt me, ask yourself where the meat you eat comes from… or the milk you drink.

  25. Michael

    Miriam, valid points, taken – my initial thoughts in response were that teaching of and learning from history should be compulsory but once one realises that history is written by the victors, does not cut it, however, transparency, on the other hand, is revealing, cheap, self-sterilising, teachable, learnable, accountable, accessible, memorable (especially before voting), comparable, practice-able, demonstrable, character building, examples of what to do/not to do (esp children) – all of which may then eventually trickle to those we choose to be our representatives ….

    And lack of transparency – warning lights, on guard ….

    Then perhaps if were better taught to collaboratively talk (rather than adversitorially which our democracy is based on – debates, debating) to each other …………

  26. Miriam English

    Michael, yes. Transparency is essential. I think our society has the whole secrecy and privacy question completely backwards. People should have a right to privacy until they form a group, and the more people who comprise that group, the less they deserve privacy. Government and large corporations should be completely banned from holding any secrets. They are just too damn dangerous. As you say, transparency is cleansing. It sterilises; it rids organisations of the infection of corruption.

    Agreed also about collaboration instead of adversarial systems… with the slight caveat that we should always have someone being a devil’s advocate. A different kind of corruption develops if everybody is too eager to get along and too reluctant to speak against decisions.

    Have you heard of the experiments where the subject is asked to say which of a few lines is the longest? When they are in a group where the others are all conspiring with the experimenter to give the wrong answer, almost all people will defy the evidence of their own eyes and agree with the others that a shorter line is the longest. But introduce one nay-sayer into the group and the experimental subject virtually always is freed to tell the truth.

  27. Matters Not

    Michael re your comment:

    teaching of and learning from history should be compulsory

    While one can teach and learns mathematics, for example, history is a different beast entirely. One doesn’t learn history in the same way as one might learn how to ‘resuscitate’ an apparent lifeless body, recite ‘poetry’, chant a mantra and the like. No ‘history’ is something that must be ‘constructed’. Thus to speak of The History (of anything) – as opposed to A History – misses the point of what History is all about.

    ‘History’ is something that must be ‘done’ – something that must be ‘constructed’. There’s no one History but an almost infinite number of possibilities. That all people should consider and reflect on the past goes without saying. But that’s not to say they should learn a particular History. Without realising that it’s a particular construction.

  28. Frank Smith

    “Something is a’brewing”. Even though his position is so irrational, our resident potato-head is running so hard on this issue there has to be another agenda here. Is this despicable spud trying to force a coup whilst our ineffectual Trumble is swanning about overseas?

  29. Michael

    Matters Not, I view everything in the past has been paid for (one way or another), shortfalls in expectations are lessons and repeated until learnt (ie stop doing, change), by studying the past with 20/20 vision hindsight, not only is one maximising what has already been paid for but lessons can be reconstructed and reviewed as a means to improvement or how not to be repeated.

    As a society, it seems, we have a vacuum of mechanism/s of learning accountability for the choices made by the voter.

  30. Zathras

    History is indeed “written by the victors” and it may take several generations before all facets of “the whole truth” are revealed.
    Even then, many will refuse to accept it and opposing lies also tend to prop each other up.

    People are capable of every type of atrocity under the right circumstances. People rightly accuse Hitler of many atrocities but the fact remains that he probably didn’t kill a single person personally.

    There were many others prepared to do it on his behalf, gassing women and children and then later going home to their loving families.

    One historical quirk that always surprises me at this time of year is the planned invasion of Australia during WW2 – an unchallenged fact.
    However, the chief historian of the Australian War Museum (for one) disputes this and claims that “we knew” we were not an invasion target in 1942 when we broke the Japanese codes.

    We obviously couldn’t announce it at the time but it seems the myth has endured and become fact for other purposes.

  31. Terry2

    The legality of the situation prevailing on Manus Island is very confusing and having Dutton ‘in charge’ is possibly the worst management arrangement we could have at this point in time : I see that he has been backed into a corner over his dog-whistling and now says that the information he has – and we don’t – is classified and thus confidential….Hello !

    Just to back-track : the Rudd government entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with PNG and Nauru – this link is the MOU with PNG and that with Nauru is much the same :

    https: //

    If you have a quick look at Guiding Principle 5 :

    ” The Government of Papua New Guinea will conduct all activities in respect of this MOU in accordance with its Constitution and all relevant domestic laws. ”

    The Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea found that the detention of people who had not committed a crime in PNG, who had not been before a court of law in PNG and who had not been sentenced to detention in PNG could not, under the Constitution of PNG, be detained.

    Quite simply put, the MOU between Australia and Papua New Guinea, entered into by the Rudd government and used by the Abbott and Turnbull governments as the authority for the continued detention of these people on Manus and supposedly the responsibility of the PNG authorities (that’s a legal fiction by the way), is null and void : the MOU is seeking to promote what the Supreme Court of PNG found to be an illegal purpose and as such the MOU is itself not a lawful agreement.

    There are just so many reasons why the mishandling of this calamity has been so badly managed by Rudd/Morrison/Dutton that it needs an adult to take over and resolve this human tragedy : that rules out Mr Duddy.

  32. Michael

    Miriam, further to your transparency point – at one time all property etc was public ownership – either belonged to no one or collectively by everyone – humans constructed the private/public concept – essentially, “private” becomes a separate entity and “ownership” is invented where private property is yours to do what you like within the confines of the rules etc the public side sets and allows for the good of all – the public property, in our work-in-progress democracy, is entrusted to our representatives to hold in trust for the benefit of all humans.

    As the world progresses in sophistication and technology-wise, gets smaller, resources becoming relatively scarcer and more difficult to access, the attraction of plundering public property by those who own private property escalates so much such that power/influence of money transcends the power/influence of the vote (democracy for sale, elitism, privilege, multi-level, network marketing political parties, amnesiatic (to an art form) donations).

    As we maniacally privatise public assets under the moniker of “asset recycling” and not “sold” but leased for 99 years and a further variant of public/private “partnership”, transparency is essential and should come into its own – the reason it has/does not is that it is not in the “best ” interests of private ownership for obvious reasons.

    What should happen in such cases is that BEFORE entering the transaction it is made clear that AFTER an open and transparent (including real grass roots up public consultation for which we do not have an effective mechanism) tender, etc process, ALL details are to be made transparent so that everyone is automatically and without cost is made aware of the terms and obligations – this would be the only way the public owners will get to know whether the public has a fair deal and mutual success or been screwed or vice versa (latter two equally undesirable) – private owner can protest themselves how they wish (patents, trademarks, etc), but “commercial in confidence” is out as is stretched “privacy considerations” – if not willing to to be transparent AFTER successful tendering and be open to public scrutiny and sanitisation, if any, then do not bid.

    As to collaboration (looking in the same direction) instead of adversarial (looking into each other’s eyes) systems – coming form a humanist background, critical thinking, ethics and exploring processes such as Edward de Bono’s “lateral thinking” and “6 thinking hats” which when combined with clean grass roots consultation processes/mechanisms and the like could provide the elements of “devil’s advocate” you refer to.

    As to the experiment you refer to, I am not familiar (will research) but can imagine how that could be possible, particularly if reliance is placed on eloquence of language, etc much admired by disciples of debaters (I am going to make me right, and you wrong) and to some extent practitioners of “t*rd polishing” – again constant application of critical thinking processes/mechanisms etc mentioned above should assist.

    Thank you Miriam, hopefully our discussion may pave a way forward ?

  33. Miriam English

    Michael, search for Solomon Asch’s conformity experiment.

    It is fascinating. We humans are amazing, but so deeply flawed. As I say, my great hope lies in the possibility that artificial intelligence (AI) can help us. We’re pretty screwed trying to run the planet with a stone age brain. I love to learn constantly about science and technology, but it is depressing how many waste their time on religion, or fashion, or tribal things like sports. And it is downright scary how much humans will insist they are right even when they know they are wrong.

    Dutton is a perfect example of this. It is completely obvious he knows he was spreading a lie, but will he admit his “error”? No. He will do his very best to attempt to rewrite reality. To what end? What on Earth does he hope to achieve? It is impossible to alter what actually happened. It is insane. And I don’t mean it is awful or reprehensible (though it is both those too). I mean it is literally insane, as in, not a sane thing to do.

    It’s the same with religion. People think they can adopt a convenient or nice-sounding belief. But that doesn’t make any sense. Reality doesn’t conform to what we humans want to believe. To think that a delusion can stand for reality and somehow make itself into the truth is the height of insanity and it appalls me that so many people can’t see it.

  34. Miriam English

    Here is Solomon Asch’s experiment introduced by Philip Zimbardo, the researcher who created the groundbreaking, but deeply disturbing Stanford prison experiment.

    Asch Conformity Experiment

  35. Christina Heath

    Kaye, Great report. Love the name ‘Spud Duddy’. Spud’s vile personality is matched by his spooky appearance, the likeness to a peeled potato eluded me until I read your post. This venal cretin is trying to create another ‘children overboard’ situation by demonising the refugees, yet again. He refuses to accept any alternative versions to his own demented lies, even dismissing the report of the PNG Commissioner of Police. Thankfully, the ABC’s Barry Cassidy has shown some backbone and I think, has exposed Spud Duddy for the disreputable piece of work he really is.

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