Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison are claiming success for stopping the boats. The media are saying job well done. Coalition supporters are pointing to the scoreboard.
Well here is the forgotten side of the Coalition’s scoreboard.
In December 2012, Coalition Shadow Immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, questioned the Federal Government paying for the flights of the bereaved from Christmas Island to Sydney to attend the funerals of their families.
On the 27th of September 2013 a boat carrying Lebanese, Iranian, Iraqi & African asylum seekers sank off Java en route to Australia. Reports varied about the number of people on board between 63 and 125. Thirty-six people were confirmed drowned, including a number of children, though news reports suggested the death toll may have been 70.
On December 9 2013 a boat carrying 30 Iranian and ethnic Rohingya asylum seekers sank off the coast of Java, bound for Australia. There were three deaths including one two year old child.
On February 5 2014 Rezene Mebrahta Engeda, a 30 year old Eritrean man drowned himself in the Maribyrnong River, Victoria upon notice of a failed asylum application and letter to attend a meeting with DIBP where he assumed he would be told of his pending deportation to Eritrea.
On February 13 2014 a 27 year old Indian man hung himself in Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre. He had been detained since January 2014 for overstaying his student visa. Victorian Police are investigating his death.
February 17 2014 Reza Barati, a 24 year old Iranian man, died of head injuries on the way to Lorengau hospital in PNG following protests at the Manus Island Immigration Detention Centre. The detention centre had come under fire by PNG police following protesting by detainees, resulting in the injury of 77 others, 12 seriously.
On June 1 2014 Leo Seemanpillai, a 29 year old Sri Lankan man died as a result of self immolation, suffering burns to 90% of his body. He had been living in community detention on a bridging visa awaiting the outcome of his refugee claim.
On September 3 2014 Hamid Kehazaei was declared brain dead after contracting cellulitis in remote Manus Island Immigration Detention Centre.
Pregnant asylum seekers will give birth in Nauru for the first time since 2004 under the Abbott government’s ”no exemptions” approach to offshore detention.
Of six pregnant women transferred from detention on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea by Labor earlier in the year, three miscarried.
In June 2014, two sixteen year old Vietnamese boys were abducted from their community house in Adelaide when they returned home after school, and taken to Wickham Point detention centre, built on a site that would have housed gas workers instead, except it had been deemed unfit for human habitation due to severe mosquito and midge infestations. The pair have remained in the high-security facility ever since. They had done nothing wrong. The letter handed to them at the time said “The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection has made a decision that your residence determination is no longer in the public interest.” Fifteen other children have run away for fear it will also happen to them. They have not been heard from since.
This was around the same time that Morrison turned over one boatload of Tamil asylum seekers to the Sri Lankan Navy and kept another boatload imprisoned on the high seas for over a month.
I cannot express my shame that this is lauded as a success. What have we become?
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