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That’s another Fine Mess you’ve gotten us into, Spud!

Following the repeal of the Medevac Laws, a number of asylum seekers are caught up in an exquisite political conundrum which nobody in the Morrison government, least of all Spud Dutton, want to discuss.

So, I’ll call on to the readers of AIMN to come up with a solution: after all, I didn’t vote for this mob.

Firstly, you will remember that in April 2016 the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea ruled that the detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island was illegal. The five-man bench of the court ruled that such detention breached the right to personal liberty in the PNG constitution. The Supreme Court ordered the PNG and Australian Governments to immediately take steps to end the detention of asylum seekers in PNG.

“Both the Australian and Papua New Guinea governments shall forthwith take all steps necessary to cease and prevent the continued unconstitutional and illegal detention of the asylum seekers or transferees at the relocation centre on Manus Island and the continued breach of the asylum seekers or transferees constitutional and human rights,” the judges ordered.

In response, minister Dutton ordered that a legal fiction be created: he deemed that by opening the gates of the detention centre, building new accommodation at Lorengau on Manus Island and allowing the detainees to walk free during daylight hours would demonstrate that these people – most of whom had been deemed to be genuine refugees – were not detained, they were merely subject to another legal dictum – introduced by the pop group, The Eagles in their classic Hotel California – and now part of settled Australian asylum seeker law :

‘You can check out any time you like, But you can never leave!’

Fast forward to Melbourne today and we find that there are around 45 asylum seekers who had previously been detained in PNG but who had, under the Medevac Laws, been brought to Australia for urgent medical attention. The men are currently, following their medical treatment, detained on one floor of the $180-a-night Mantra on Bell in Preston, which is off-limits to other guests and patrolled by private security guards.

The difficulty facing Spud Dutton is that he cannot easily return these folk to detention in PNG as – unlike Australia – it is unconstitutional under PNG law to hold people against their will unless they have been charged and convicted of a crime and sentenced in a properly constituted court of law; always remembering that seeking asylum is not a crime. So PNG is unlikely to take them back, as to issue them with a tourist visa would be taking migration law into the realms of Monty Python.

So, in between cameo appearances on 2GB and Sky and television ads with uniformed AFP personnel, minister Dutton is pondering his next move having effectively painted himself into a corner with little room to maneuver.

When repealing the Medevac Laws senator Jacquie Lambie, whose vote was pivotal, evidently called on the government to find a durable resettlement solution to secure her vote. Not only for these 45 men surviving on room service at the Mantra on Bell in Preston but for those other poor souls still in PNG and on Nauru and those scattered around Australia including the unfortunate family of four still in punitive detention on Christmas Island.

So far the government have been unable to come up with a solution beyond saying that ‘it’s a matter of national security’ (code for not saying anything) and that they will not accept the very reasonable offer, made by successive New Zealand prime minister’s, to take 150 such people a year for resettlement.

As my inspiration and mentor, Oliver Hardy would say, ‘well that’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into, Spud’!

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  1. Kaye Lee

    Lest we forget…..(solidarity Yassmin)

    A compensation deal from the Australian Government worth $70 million for 1,300 current and former detainees on Manus Island has been approved by Victoria’s Supreme Court.

    The group of asylum seekers and refugees were compensated for being illegally detained between 2012 and 2016, and for negligence in how the Government housed and protected them.

    The deal is the largest human rights settlement in Australian legal history.

    The agreement was reached out of court in June just as a trial against the Commonwealth and security companies Transfield and G4S was due to start.

    “These people came here seeking refuge and protection, this was denied by successive Commonwealth governments. Today, they achieved a medium of justice,” lawyer Rory Walsh said outside court.

    “[We wanted] to put an end to this fiction the Commonwealth seeks to maintain for political purposes that it’s PNG [that] holds these people, that PNG has the duty of care for these people.

    “The Commonwealth settled this case and paid $70 million not to have that fiction tested in court.”

    And then there was the compensation paid to the Save the Children employees after Scott Morrison defamed them and refused to apologise.

  2. MikeW

    Wow thanks Terence Mills and Kaye Lee I don’t recall hearing about any of this.

  3. Kaye Lee


    It is the tip of the iceberg.

    From September….

    “If the medical transfer bill is repealed, lawyers are expected to revert to filing compensation claims for asylum seekers who remain in Nauru and PNG.

    Lawyers are preparing to lodge compensation claims – potentially worth millions of dollars -on behalf of dozens of asylum seekers who say their medical treatment was delayed while they waited in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

    In 2006, the federal government paid $400,000 compensation to 11-year-old Iranian boy Shayan Badraie in an out-of-court settlement for psychological harm he suffered in Australian detention centres at Woomera and Villawood when he was aged five and six years old.

    As part of the deal, the government paid legal costs of the dispute, totalling more than $1 million.”

  4. New England Cocky

    Yes KL, Lest.We.Forget.Refugees.Military.Service.Victims.Yassmin.Inhumane.Religous.Hypoctites.

  5. whatever

    When those volcano victims were returned to Australia, that was “medevac”.
    It is common decency.

  6. Phil Pryor

    Shit like Dutton would be ejected by any decent arsehole. Putridity.

  7. Keitha Granville

    I would like to see a comprehensive costing of the refugee situation on Manus, Nauru, and anywhere in between. I would be willing to bet that it would be cheaper to have had them all living in Australia, maybe earning money and paying tax

  8. Harry Lime

    The glorious Herr Kipfler seeks nothing more than keeping his repulsive countenance in the RWNJ’s eye in case Rabbi Morrison should stumble(become electoral poison),or have an unforeseen early meeting with the Creator.The egregious sins of this contemptible shower are legion,and one would think that the settling of accounts is looming.Put another way, when are these putrid arseholes gonna get their just deserts?And Dutton really should quit with the carp imitations.

  9. roma guerin

    The 45 men locked up in Preston are in a virtual detention centre. They are not allowed to leave their rooms, although they have been offered a sort-of relief to visit MITA in Broadmeadows for some fresh air. Most of them have not felt up to it as it is not much of a choice to walk around for a bit inside wire fences. It just reminds them of the island camps. And they are not getting appropriate medical treatment either. Another disaster waiting to happen.

  10. Kaye Lee


    I had a go at costing it some years ago.

    Let’s buy an island

    Even without the compensation claims, for the amount of money we are spending keeping asylum seekers away we could buy them a country and build luxury resorts for them to live in.

  11. Cool Pete

    Dutton’s an evil, cowardly bastard!

  12. David Evans

    A Little off topic, but?….

    From “That Couldn’t Happen In Australia,..Could IT?” “So, we were wondering, we may need a bit of legal advice? We employed a bloke to represent us way back in 2007. We were warned back then that he didn’t have a particularly brilliant employment history/ resume, and that he was prone to be power hungry and a social climber. We did have some serious misgivings at the time, as we also felt that he was inclined to run off at the mouth a bit, without ever accepting any personal responsibility himself. Sadly, despite our doubts, we did employ him, but his scheming scamming power grabs and matey, blokey cut throat B/S style has been such that he is now very high up in society, but he has been, sadly for us, really disappointing in the performance of his duties. He has been caught out innumerable times telling lies to fellow employees, and to us, the people who actually pay him. He appears now to have suddenly absconded, without giving any notice to his employers, to take questionable leave. It has very recently, today in fact, come to our attention that he swore a few “stoogey” type subordinates and puppets to secrecy and not to tell us where he was going, or anything about his plans. We are far from pleased with this “miracle man’s” performance, and do feel that we have a case for his instant dismissal when, or if, he does return to work. There are numerous others who we believe are more than capable to replace him. Indeed, we have lost through their own resignations several good people because of this man, several absolutely refusing to share an office with him, even calling him an arsehole…..We have discovered he is an extremely unlikable, religious zealot, who appears to be gathering other “like minded loonies” around himself for his own protection. Our question is, Do We Have Any Right To Get Rid Of Him? We believe we do have in fact a legal obligation, for the well being of our enterprise…..What do others think?….Oh, by the way, his name is morrison…..Scooter Morrison.

  13. LambsFry Simplex.

    Yes,it just occurs to me, it is shaping up as another dirty episode, now they have got their way on medevac

  14. MikeW

    I love you Kaye Lee..

  15. Kathryn

    This depraved, unspeakably callous monster, Dutton, is using inhumanity, hatred, fear, division and breathtaking sadistic mistreatment of desperate asylum seekers to cater to the decreasing number of his putrid rabble of xenophobic racist supporters in the red-neck haven of far northern Queensland and other areas of Bogan Australia! What is REALLY worrying, is that this demonic creature has been salivating after the PM job for years and now that MorriScum has chosen to abandon Australia, race over to Hawaii (in order to hand over $150K of taxpayer funds to his mentor, the paedophile-protecting Brian Houston of Hillsong notoriety), it looks like SlowMo has committed professional suicide with Dutton waiting in the wings like some enormous, demonic Grim Reaper!

    In the Lying Nazi Party, the psuedo-leaders, war criminals, bible-thumping hypocrites and sociopathic sadists just seem to get worse and worse! We all thought that we couldn’t possibly do worse that the snivelling, pathological liar and war criminal, John Howard, eh? Then, along came Phony Abbott – a swaggering, misogynistic, onion-eating BOGAN who had the foresight and intelligence of a telegraph pole! Tony Grabbit proved to be such an unconscionable serial liar, he almost made Howard look honest by comparison! Abbott even bragged about lying – who else could wear dishonesty and deceipt like a badge of honour? To make matters even more intolerable, Abbott revealed himself to be so corrupt, his blatant nepotism in handing over plumb government jobs to his “mates” became a frequent and disreputable hallmark of his short career as the worst PM on record …. this INCLUDED handing all three of his grasping daughters high-paying government jobs (none of whom had one iota of training for those positions). Abbott, always the crawling, obsequious imperialist, then thought handing over a knighthood to the Duke of Edinburgh would be a good idea! Phil is a condescending member of the Royal family whose lack of tact rivals Abbott and who is known to despise Australia and Australians with fervour. Abbott’s decision to reward Phil’s bad behaviour (not surprisingly) proved to be a very unpopular idea and Phony Tony soon realised that his breathtaking lack of good judgement (that embarrassed our nation on the world stage) would spell the END to a brief political parasitic career that was littered with non-achievement, lies, corruption and internationally embarrassing faux pas! Next!

    Then we had the supercilious Turnbull. After Abbott was unceremoniously kicked to the kerb, I think we ALL felt that Turnbull would HAVE to be an improvement, eh? I mean, REALLY?? After all, wasn’t THIS the man who headed our Republican movement? Wasn’t THIS the man who cheered on the ALP version of the progressive NBN – the Labor-backed system that was SUPPOSED to be operated by OPTIC FIBRE instead of antiquated copper? Nope! Nope! Nope! Instead of THAT man, we got the gutless version of the capitalistic hero to neoliberalism who kowtowed to the shrieking hysteria and paranoia of the far-right extremists rising from the depths of the increasingly soulless and self-serving LNP like a cancerous growth. Instead of THAT man, we got a lily-livered version of Turnbull who folded faster than a paper tent in a gale! We got the cheaper, slower version of the NBN that made Australia go from HERO to ZERO as a nation with one of the world’s worst, most regressive national network systems. We all hoped Turnbull would soften the LNP’s cruel, hard-lined approach to its illegal detention of asylum seekers – but it wasn’t to be! Turnbull’s short tenure as PM was littered with disappointment, a total lack of initiative, zero foresight, a total lack of courage against the ravaging extreme right-wing and devastating policies that further targeted the poor to feed the rich. It wasn’t long before the Grim Reapers within the LNP started sharpening their knives and, in the end, Turnbull had so many blades in his back, he looked like one of Edith Head’s pin cushions! Next!

    My God, what happened next was, perhaps, the WORST CUT OF ALL! The insufferable, bible-thumping Pentecostal hypocrite, Scott Morrison – aka the Liar from the Shire! WOW! This bastard is beyond words! Sanctimoniously preaching, waving a bible on one hand whilst destroying and selling off everything taxpayers own, vandalising our environment and maintaining an unspeakably cruel stance on illegally detained asylum seekers with the other! Here is a depraved individual who is SO arrogant, SO smug, he can barely hide his condescending contempt for us mere mortals, we ordinary Australians who pay his HUGE, undeserved salary (a salary he had the gall to increase no less than three times whilst OUR wages have been stagnated for years). Now that Morrison is one of the HIGHEST PAID leaders in the OECD world – earning a salary higher than his hero, the just-about-to-be-impeached president Trump; higher than the revered Angela Merkel; higher than the bumbling clown, Boris Johnson – Australians would have EVERY RIGHT to expect this megalomaniacal narcissist (Morrison) to get off his ample behind and do a bit of hard yakka, right? Nope! Nope! Nope! After doing six months of delegated destruction and turning our country to SHIT in record time, MorriScum decided he had had enough of doing NOTHING to benefit the lives of ordinary Australians, pack his bags and get his family as far away from the catastrophic fires and smoke-filled pollution as he could and take a taxpayer-funded first class flight to Hawaii for a “much-deserved” rest from doing ZIP! Morrison’s government has barely sat in parliament for 14 weeks of his short reign as the newly appointed WORST PM in living memory! This is the man who defunded State schools to the tune of MILLIONS whilst pouring countless millions into the religious hysteria of Pentecostal relgious schools throughout the nation! This is the man who (like Howard, Abbott and Turnbull before him) kowtowed to the unelected swill in the IPA, following their notorious neoliberal agenda to the letter in defunding the ABC into oblivion, the LAST taxpayer-owned form of media which is (mostly) outside of Murdoch’s manipulative reign of influence constantly spouting the politically-biased propaganda of the LNP and character-assassinating attacks on ANYONE opposed to the callous inhumanity, rising fascism and lack of transparency of the LNP/Murdoch/IPA Alliance! This is the tyrannical dictator who REFUSES to be questioned, REFUSES to be challenged, who cowardly runs away from interrogation and whose smug superiority is becoming so insufferably intolerable, the growing amount of simpering RAGE in Australia is almost tangible. This is the snake-oil salesman who’s fake pretence at being “one of the boys”, a football-loving-bogan of the Insular Peninsular cannot hide his hatred and loathing of our egalitarian life. Morrison went on and on tearing down our democracy, piece by piece: shutting down free speech by infiltrating OUR taxpayer-owned ABC by parachuting a variety of IPA representatives and LNP/Murdoch sycophants onto the Board of the ABC to ensure that its LNP-bias is complete; arresting journalists, prosecuting whistle blowers and, now, attempting to obstruct, charge and prosecuting citizens of our nation who dare to practise their DEMOCRATIC RIGHT TO PROTEST against the LNP’s climate-change-denying lunacy, its ongoing horrendous waste of taxpayer funds, its short-sighted ineptitude, callous inhumanity which is now receiving INTERNATIONAL condemnation and its rising, very worrying, level of horrendous fascism! This is a man who believes the sadistic, soulless, child-torturing grub, Peter Dutton, is doing a GREAT job as the terrifying SS Guard to our borders! Morrison, clearly, is a man too stupid, too lacking in good judgement and/or insight to realise that it is Dutton who is waiting, scythe in hand, to remove SlowMo at the first opportunity so that he (Dutton) is Next! God help us!

    Make sure NONE of these grubs are “Next!” – KICK ‘EM ALL OUT AT THE NEXT FEDERAL ELECTION! There is not ONE person in the whole cabinet of the LNP who has a SINGLE redeeming feature – not ONE! Albanese may not be everyone’s cup of tea but, at least, he has a cabinet of competent, compassionate and hard-working people behind him.

  16. Harry Lime

    Holy Shit! But correct on all charges.I fear there’s a lot more shit to come before the hoi polloi realise they are being royally shafted.

  17. DrakeN

    Harry Lime,

    Many people are aware that they are being ‘shafted’ but due to the malfaesance of the commercial mainstream media, as well as their own intellectual indolence, remain completely unaware of by whom they are being royally done over.

    I frequently refer to the UnHoly Trinity of Commerce, Politics and Religion as the root cause of us all being akin to ‘sheeple’ – well and truly fleeced before being lead willingly to the slaughter.

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