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“The best way to deter criminals is to abuse and traumatise children.”

The repeated and consistent claim from both the Coalition Government and Labor Opposition is that the offshore detention regime is necessary to deter the people smugglers. Neither major party wants to see a return of asylum seekers drowning in Australian waters. Neither major party wants to encourage desperate people fleeing warzones to take the perilous journey across the sea from Indonesia to Christmas Island. Both major parties have adopted an approach of ‘the end result justifies the means’.

The ‘end result’ is the prevention of men, women and children drowning in Australian waters.

The ‘means’ is subjecting innocent men, women and children to such appalling conditions that they would rather die in a warzone than seek asylum in Australia.

In an attempt to stop people drowning, or rather, in an attempt to spare the rescuers the traumatic task of pulling dead bodies from the water, both major parties have adopted the most extreme of approaches. The offshore detention regime is designed to be so horrific, that people seeking asylum would rather not risk the journey. It is designed to instil such fear in them, that if they survive the sea crossing, they will instead face years of torture, abuse and a slow death through loss of hope.

But the major parties know they can’t publicly trade off ‘death by drowning’ with the ‘torture of innocent people’. Instead they claim the harsh regime is necessary to stop the criminal activity of people smugglers.

Seeking asylum is not a crime. People smuggling is.

Yet both major parties fully endorse a policy which punishes those seeking asylum, with almost no negative consequence at all for those who are actually breaking the law.

The policy of both major parties can be summarised as follows:

‘The best way to deter criminals is to abuse and traumatise innocent men, women and children.’

When spelled out this clearly, one must wonder just how Australia got to this position? At what point did our elected representatives become so morally devoid and ethically repugnant that they were prepared to torture innocent people to stop criminal activity?

The slow march to national shame and disgrace has been so gradual, so carefully engineered by political campaigners aided by simplistic slogans, that Australia as a nation has come to accept cruelty, evil and insanity as ‘normal’.

The application of the policy is as follows:

Men will be housed in detention centres where they are set to languish, without hope, opportunity or any semblance of humanity. They will be subject to abuse, physical attacks and torturous conditions until they lose the will to live. They will be vilified and degraded. They will eventually reach a point where they will attempt or successfully commit suicide, or beg to be returned to the country from which they came.

Women will similarly be housed in detention centres, where they are set to languish, without hope, opportunity or any semblance of humanity. They will be subjected to abuse, physical attacks and torturous conditions. They will have to beg for basic sanitary items. They will have to shower and toilet in front of male guards. If they are raped, they will be denied treatment and forced to remain living in the same vicinity as their attackers. If they become pregnant, they will be used as political playthings by the Government, with the main aim to provide a deterrent to criminals. If they have a complicated pregnancy they will be forced to give birth in a third world hospital which does not have the equipment or facilities to deal with high risk, complex medical conditions in mothers or babies.

And the children? Regardless of age, children and babies will be housed alongside their parents in stinking hot, rat infested tents. They will be denied access to hygienic living conditions, sufficient fresh water and appropriate education. They will be deprived of basic sanitation and forced to shower in front of guards. They will be subject to sexual abuse, rape and physical attacks. Children who are sexually abused will be forced to live alongside their attackers. They will be so traumatised that children under ten years old will be suicidal. 

If men, women or children disclose any abuse or assault against their person, the local police will ignore it. Australia will ignore it. Those who make complaints will be vilified.

Men, women and children will be pushed to the limits – so far that they suffer from serious mental illness and resort to self-harm.

Dare to flee a warzone? Dare to flee persecution, genocide and violence? Dare to come to Australia by boat? Australia will punish you.

The Australian Government is doing everything within its power to make sure the people who dare to help themselves by escaping traumatic circumstances are subjected to the worst possible torturous treatment. It has made every attempt to make the living conditions so devastating that the detainees will beg to be sent back to their former hell.

It matters not, to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Minister for Border Protection Peter Dutton and Shadow Minister Richard Marles, that the people being punished and effectively tortured by the Australian Government have not broken any law.

As far as both major parties are concerned, the best way to stop the people smugglers is to inflict as much pain, damage and trauma on their human cargo as possible.

The punishment for not drowning at sea is the state-sanctioned torture by the Australian Government.

The reward for people smugglers attempting to smuggle people to Australia is cash payments to return to Indonesia and/or freedom.

Both major parties know the offshore detention regime is repulsive. That is the only reason they both fully endorsed and supported the law which threatens doctors, nurses, counsellors and other professionals with two years in prison for speaking out about the abuse.

The offshore detention regime may be legal, but it is immoral. There is simply no ethical or moral justification for deliberately subjecting innocent people to abuse in an effort to deter those who will break the law.

The major party’s state they want to take a compassionate approach to asylum seeker policy while also ensuring the people smugglers are stopped. Perhaps then, instead of torturing people seeking asylum, the Government can quickly process their claims and free them. And instead of rewarding people smugglers with cash payments, new boats and freedom, they can arrest them, charge them and have them tried in a court of law.

The policy of punishing the innocent to deter offenders is a national disgrace.

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42 comments

  1. kerri

    Good article Eva.
    Apparently Malcolm’s belief that people should have a go and not be punished for failure to succeed, doesn’t apply to asylum?

  2. Reg

    Why was the 2007 report prepared by the Howard government “Little Children are sacred” ignored? Make your choice 1) was it a joke or 2) Australian government is hypocritical?
    In either case Australia has failed both in the protection of children.and consequently as a people.

  3. Lee

    Of course the people smugglers really care what happens to their passengers after they’ve been paid.

  4. keerti

    Frequently heard these days are variations on the idea that australia is the best country, grows the best food and so on these claims are demonstitively inaccurate. What australia can lay claim to is an incredible ability and propensity to abuse the vulnerable!

  5. mars08

    Oh ffs… It has absolutely nothing to do with drownings, or people smugglers or security or refugee numbers or navy personnel or free range eggs.

    It has alway been exclusively about fear mongering and scoring votes. Both major parties have done it. And the Coalition has officially, publicly adopted it as a vote-winning strategy.

  6. Useless

    Well said mars08. That is what it’s all about exactly. Scoring votes at the next election! They will use anything or anybody to score them a vote. They don’t give a shit about what the Australian people want, they don’t listen to what is the best thing for Australia and it’s people, they just go about their dealing and wheeling about the future of this country. They have all sold out Australia to the highest bidder and they don’t give a rats!

  7. Useless

    Abuse and traumatise children? Most of these kids are already damaged goods long before they leave their own stinking countries! You think that by bringing them all to Australia along with their scum parents, that’s going to make them good Australians? Oh wake up and smell the flowers, they will always be under the control of their parents and their stinking cultures. That will never change!

  8. mars08

    Nurse!

  9. James Mason

    “Seeking asylum is not a crime. People smuggling is.”

    I do not in any way condone the disgusting practices of both sides of government in the barbaric way of treating desperate people seeking asylum in Oz ..

    but a thought occurred to me ..

    Maybe it would work better for the politicians to let the ‘smugglers’ bring the asylum seekers here and then arrest them using the ‘almighty highly organised border patrol ‘ mob we have to ‘make our borders safe’ .. that way the politicians are seen to be doing the right thing by the asylum seekers and the right thing by getting rid of the illegal people smugglers … OR
    are we not that good at catching people smugglers .. OR
    is this “People Smuggler/Asylum Seeker scenario just a ruse .. a PR ploy to divide Oz and fool some into feeling scared and therefore they think we would be easier to control..

    My money’s on the latter..

    Mase

  10. silkworm

    This country makes me sick. Time for an international boycott of Australian goods and produce.

  11. Lee

    “This country makes me sick. Time for an international boycott of Australian goods and produce.”

    Don’t you mean an embargo? Most of our stuff comes from China so avoiding Australian-made isn’t going to achieve much.

  12. Lee

    “Abuse and traumatise children? Most of these kids are already damaged goods long before they leave their own stinking countries! You think that by bringing them all to Australia along with their scum parents, that’s going to make them good Australians? Oh wake up and smell the flowers, they will always be under the control of their parents and their stinking cultures. That will never change!”

    (Assuming you’re caucasian)… That’s what the indigenous people said too.

  13. Douglas Pye

    …. I was thinking of making a comment along the lines of compassion and empathy ….. and then I read the above comment about these asylum seekers being “scum” and their children being “damaged goods” ! …. frankly this is no place for me!…. or my comments!! Whilst I am respectful of the writer’s basic right to express an opinion, I softly walk away. …..

  14. keerti

    Actually Lee they didn’t, at first! It was only when they discovered what arseholes we were that they began to object!

  15. keerti

    Douglas, from time to time the Aim attracts these types, briefly. Fairly soon they disappear.

  16. The AIM Network

    Douglas, types like Useless certainly aren’t welcomed here with open arms, but we can’t really stop them from having an opinion even if it repulses us.

    Besides, we usually find that good people such as yourself soon put them in their place. Other than that the best thing to do is ignore them.

  17. Deidre Zanker

    What sort of “God” do these politicians worship, which sort of religion enables them to put asylum seekers in hell hole prison camps where they are abused and tortured? So this is what “putting faith into action” means?

  18. Lee

    “…. I was thinking of making a comment along the lines of compassion and empathy ….. and then I read the above comment about these asylum seekers being “scum” and their children being “damaged goods” ! …. frankly this is no place for me!…. or my comments!! Whilst I am respectful of the writer’s basic right to express an opinion, I softly walk away. …..”

    Douglas, I assure you that most of the people who post here do not agree with Useless and people like Useless don’t tend to stay here for long. Please stay and contribute to the discussion.

  19. Deidre Zanker

    Douglas, the people who post on here are careing, compassionate and show a great deal of empathy. Pleased don’t be put off by one troll whose main objective is probably to disrupt this site.

  20. diannaart

    Stop the Drownings!

    Where is the evidence that drownings have actually stopped?

    Everything is hidden under the cone of “Operational Matters”.

    Boats have not stopped leaving Indonesia, we know this because our Navy intercepts them, gives people lifeboats or pays smugglers to take the people back – so no boats have actually been stopped from setting out.

    As for further traumatising men, women and children and now returning little newly born babies to a detention deliberately designed to be an ordeal – well words fail me here – both LNP and Labor still stick to this heinous scheme.

    I want soooooo much to vote out the LNP. I still cannot in all conscientiousness vote for Labor while they ALLY themselves with the LNP on this issue that will, in the future, be another dark history of Australia.

  21. kathysutherland2013

    @ Douglas, as others have said, we’re not all like that! Please stay.

  22. Lee

    Drownings haven’t stopped. They’re still being reported in the Mediterranean. Sure glad that threat of detention is stopping those despicable people smugglers!

  23. Eva

    @diannaart: You are quite right. I should amend this sentence to “Neither major party wants to see a return of asylum seekers PUBLICLY drowning in Australian waters.”

  24. The AIM Network

    Eva, for some reason your comment had been caught in the spam folder. We apologise for that.

  25. diannaart

    @Lee

    I was referring to the issue of asylum seekers in Australian waters.

    @Eva

    No worries, I should’ve been clearer myself.

  26. Lee

    “I was referring to the issue of asylum seekers in Australian waters.”

    I know that is what the major parties really mean, but they’re not telling us that. They’re only telling us they don’t want any drownings period, and they want to stop people smugglers. So I’ll take them at their word. The Australian MSM may have a blackout but foreign-owned media is telling us that boats are still coming and people are still drowning. The Australian government cannot and is not stopping the people smugglers.

  27. mars08

    Eva:

    “Neither major party wants to see a return of asylum seekers PUBLICLY drowning in Australian waters.”

    Frankly, given the amount of suspicion, hatred, fear, bigotry and general venom directed at asylum seekers over the years…. I strongly suspect that any news of refugees drowning in Australian waters wouldn’t distress many of our fellow citizens. And our politicians would use such an event to justify cranking up the cruelty and collective punishment of those innocent, powerless, damaged, isolated souls who are already incarcerated.

  28. Douglas Pye

    ” Douglas, types like Useless certainly aren’t welcomed here with open arms, but we can’t really stop them from having an opinion even if it repulses us.

    Besides, we usually find that good people such as yourself soon put them in their place. Other than that the best thing to do is ignore them.”

    My thanks to the AIM Network and the other kind folk who commented in keeping with the above … please be assured I have not cast all contributors in the same mould as ” U ” … I’ve been happily reading here and occasionally commenting for a little while.

    In effect my “softly walk away” reaction was really directed squarely at ” U ” … expressing polite disdain …. ….. Cheers .

  29. mars08

    @Douglas Pye… I know how you feel. I saw a few links on social media about the court decision and started reading the comments. I soon turned away because i could feel the bigotry, ignorance, cruelty and hatred eating at my soul. It is repulsive. It is disheartening. And I refuse to subject myself to such filth.

  30. corvus boreus

    ‘Useless’, you seem to be very, like, Unhappy.

  31. Sir ScotchMistery

    Apparently dear old Turdball has a thing about matching issues to actions – Vietnamese refugees from the 70s and 80s are part of the fabric of our nation. “Have a go” says Mal Turdburgler, and to discourage people smugglers, we will borrow your 5 year olds so the Australian government employed staff – Serco et al, can then rape them on Nauru, starting with boys aged 5, filming the activity for the enjoyment of one or two of their political masters one supposes. Might need to have a chat to the attorney about that.

    Then he says “this is a great time to be australian”. (I can’t even capitalise the name of the country any more I am so disinterested in whatever it is we are pleased to call a “system”).

    He then adds “we need more innovation” and immediately removes 300 scientists from CSIRO, probably so he can outsource to India. Dumb mongrel dog. (apologies to man’s best friend).

    We are a craven nation. We don’t have the right to be called civilised. We are the earth’s scum, led by the Wentworth filth.

  32. Ricardo29

    Allowing the boats to arrive and then catching the people smugglers won’t work because the smugglers take the money then put gullible 15 year old Indon kids on the boats. The only way to stop the smuggling is in Indonesia and that takes cooperation of the Indon authorities and, sadly, we don’t have a particularly good relationship with them since our intelligence agencies thought it would be a good idea to bug the phones of the president and his wife, among others. However if we were to direct some of the billions being spent on Manus and Nauru into properly run camps in Indonesia and include people there in a fair and legal immigration process then we might really stop the boats. In the meantime the Manus and Nauru, and Darwin, camps must be closed and the people settled in Australia. No ifs buts or maybes.

  33. RosemaryJ36

    As a migrant who arrived 45 years ago from the UK and has lived all that time in the most cosmopolitan part of Australia – Darwin in the Northern Territory – I often wonder to what extent the convict roots and the corruption in, in particular, NSW in early years have left a legacy in the Australian psyche – most especially among those who have not been upwardly socially mobile? I also think the education system has a lot to answer for. As a now agnostic individual, I still think the most valuable part of my secondary school education was, in my final years in (a C of E) school, studying comparative religion.

  34. mars08

    I realise fhat social media only provides a limited view into a society’s character.

    Nevertheless it’s very depressing to see how few people even bother with the facade of wanting to prevent asylum seeker drownings. The vast majority of comments I see are blatant bigotry and hatred. There isn’t even a hint of compassion.

  35. paul walter

    It is a benefit as far as insights into national character and human nature. It provides a good sampling of the temper of the public on a given issue. However, the enemies of humanity aso monitor it.

    But with the collapse of broadsheet MSM, the internet and social media are now often more reliable sources and virtually mandatory as part of a menu or tool-kit available for uncovering unpleasant truths.

  36. townsvilleblog

    I think that the overwhelming majority of Australians are very apprehensive of these refugees because most of them are Muslims and we have seen the actions of Muslims in Parramatta and in Martin Place last year.

  37. Kyran

    “The policy of punishing the innocent to deter offenders is a national disgrace.”
    Can anyone imagine the notion that you need to incarcerate the victims, to protect them from the perpetrators?
    Pick a subject, any subject at all.
    Not rape. ‘Abyan’ and a five year old boy were both allegedly raped on Nauru, a country without a legal system. The justice minister, Adeang, has shown no regard for inquiry or law, having declared that, as no enquiries were undertaken, no offences were committed.
    The recent spate of sexual assault’s in Germany evoked a response from Angela Merkel. “Why would you require a curfew on women, who are the victims? Why wouldn’t you put the curfew on men, who are the perpetrators?”
    Their are many comments that are useful, some appear to be useless. Thank you, Ms Cripps. Take care

  38. mars08

    “…..and we have seen the actions of Muslims in Parramatta and in Martin Place last year…”

    Where does one begin when confronted with this facile, unreasoned rubbish?

  39. Lee

    @mars08

    With a facepalm.

  40. mars08

    I usually resort to the head-desk…. But in cases like this…

  41. paul walter

    Nonetheless, it a fear and a deep rooted one and one massaged by media and press. Within many Australians it is like the terror of walking past a big dog when you are a kid. I experienced it when a tiny tot, when my dad tried to force me into the water at a beach and I kept clear of him for life for that and other incidents a little later. Activists need to relate this fear to incidents in their own lives if they are to persuade many of these people to be more rational.

    Mars, Lee. It is irrational, but it is there and its manipulation has induced the absurd response to those 270 women, kids and babies as well as the Islamphobic Chicken Little stuff- that is the measure and look what else they have convinced us of that is bad for us, with its hold on the public mind. Powerful and it is little wonder even intelligent people haven’t been able to counter it when others are so well equipped to massage it via mass communication.

  42. Kyran

    “The policy of punishing the innocent to deter offenders is a national disgrace.”

    “We are receiving reports of increased SERCO presence right now (the security company that removes refugees) at ‪#‎LadyCilento‬ Hospital. Growing concerns they may be seeking to move ‪#‎BabyAsha‬ and her family.
    The family needs your help. If you’re in Brisbane get down there ASAP with your friends, just in case.”

    This was posted about an hour ago from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC). https://web.facebook.com/Asylum.Seeker.Resource.Centre.ASRC/?fref=nf

    When will this feckin madness stop. Take care

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