By Kyran O’Dwyer
“Malcolm Turnbull has defended the government’s border protection policies as protesters gathered outside the London venue hosting an award ceremony for the prime minister.
Mr Turnbull received the Disraeli prize for 2017 from the centre-right think tank Policy Exchange on Monday night.
Protest leader Lizzie O’Shea told AAP: “We are here to protest Malcolm Turnbull receiving an award for his immigration policy because we think that the immigration policy that Australia has is inhumane and unfair and treats people like animals, locking them up indefinitely offshore and around Australia and we think it needs to end.”
The prize presented by British Home Secretary Amber Rudd in part honours Mr Turnbull for “maintaining Australia’s non-discriminatory immigration program”.
Mr Turnbull said in his speech to the forum the government’s policy had saved lives and taxpayers dollars.” (The Weekend Australian, July 11, 2013).
No. This is not fake news. It’s real. Mr Turnbull received an award based on a lie. And in his speech, he uttered more lies.
This is the man, for want of a better word, who is currently overseeing the ‘rehousing’ of those on Manus. This is a process where the current housing of those men in our care is demolished and they are moved into an environment that is known to be unsafe for them.
This is the man, for want of a better word, who is currently overseeing the indefinite incarceration of those men, women and children in our care on Nauru, without charge or conviction.
This is the man, for want of a better word, who ‘made a deal’ with the Americans, only to watch the deal collapse, as the Americans have already taken in their quota.
This is the man, for want of a better word, who has overseen the imposition of an arbitrary date for asylum seekers in Australia to submit their applications, 1st October, whilst disabling their avenues of making such applications.
Four years of this barbaric policy
I turn to Facebook for the words of someone who has lived through this hell:
’19th July. The worst day of my life’
“As an architecture graduate, I look at art in geometric forms, with volume, colors and visual elements harmoniously combined. My inspiration comes from my favourite style Cubism and complimented by expressionism, abstract and modern art.
I usually draw portraits with aspects of the person’s life, textured, hidden and incorporated into their personal story. Their dreams, sadness, loves, hope, happiness flow throughout the drawing.
I’ve painted ’19th July’ to show my own story about trying to seek asylum in Australia and instead of finding safety, I am faced with 19th July 2013 policy, of no hope in limbo, told “You will never make Australia home”.
In this painting the only thing which is in realism is ocean. Because everything that I’ve seen during my travelling is based on lies, but the ocean was real and true. The words 19 July tattooed on the top of the canvas same as in my mind.
The fences on both sides of the ocean, shows a woman is stuck behind the bars, watching the ocean. The sun is brightening in her eyes and in front of her lips. The anchor has broken her heart, because she is stopped at a wrong place.
The hands reach for the sun, a symbol of warmth to catch the freedom of getting to Australia, are coming out from the ocean, Instead of catching the sun, those people are drowning in the ocean.
With fire behind the fences, the spiral gets closer to itself, getting more alone and cloistered, until he sets himself on fire.
There are thoughts of making fire in the woman’s mind, but also some brightness of sun that shows that some hopes still remain and stop her from making fire. In front of her face is an angry man who made the 19 July policy. His bruise face and his compressed teeth shows how he hates the woman because she is an asylum seeker.
The 19 July is the worst day of many people’s lives”.
To see the poster and this comment – visit the Free the Children NAURU Facebook page. To read some of their misery and marvel at their fortitude, visit freethechildrennauru.com.
The 19th July marks the four year anniversary of this barbaric policy. Since then, we have added more and more penalties, hoops and hurdles to people whose only ‘crime’ was to seek safety, asylum. That many of them were escaping from Australian bombs is regarded as little more than irony by our politicians.
The facts are that these people, in our custody, in our care, are doomed. The ones housed in our Gulags have no prospect of being ‘integrated’ into the communities on Manus and Nauru. They have no prospect of a ‘third’ country accepting them. Cambodia was a sham, America just an impossible dream, New Zealand a forbidden fruit. Those in Australia already are being further tormented with the prospect of being returned to their persecutors. Non-refoulement be damned.
GetUp has organised vigils around Australia on the 19th July. The links below show various venues:
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.