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“The worst day of my life”

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

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: nationwide vigils

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.


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  1. babyjewels10

    He thinks he’s better than Abbott but in many ways, he’s sneakier and a bigger liar. And that’s saying something.

  2. helvityni

    Thank you Kyran for writing this, pleased to see that someone still cares…

    When I heard that Turnbull was awarded a prize for “maintaining Australia’s non-discriminatory immigration program”, I was stunned…What has he done, he’s given his blessing to all Dutton’s inhumane immigration /asylum seeker schemes….

    He is truly a Malcolm in the middle, he has policies for his overseas trips, and totally different ones for folk back home (‘clean’ coal for us and Paris agreements, when in company of Angela and Macron )

    ” New Zealand a forbidden fruit.” A smiley for that 🙂 make it two 🙂

  3. paulwalter

    While we are about, let ‘s also mention the equally morally bereft and globally synchronised move to Decryption of Internet email and blog traffic.

    The sources of this move must be utterly paranoid. control-obsessed ideological nutters.

    Take care.

  4. Kaye Lee

    Turnbull getting the Disraeli Award for maintaining “a strong non-discriminatory immigration program helping to make Australia a land of opportunity for peoples from all around the world,” is akin to Hunt getting the Bestest Minister in the Whole Wide World Award for his “creativity, the impact of the projects he initiated, the ease of enacting them within and outside Australia, and other criteria.”

    “In politics nothing is contemptible.” Benjamin Disraeli

  5. paulwalter

    Perhaps we could consider Dutton for “Humanitarian of the Year.”?

  6. Michael Fairweather

    There are rumours that they are going to dig Hitler up and award him a humanitarian medal , well any thing is possible if Turdbull can get an award.

  7. bobrafto

    I got a photo of myself titled The worst day of my life, but pales into insignificance to the plight of refugees.

  8. havanaliedown

    The worst day of my life was being fired from a shit job working amongst complete wankers by a completely friendless bastard of a boss, then having to suffer the stage musical “Cats” for my sister’s birthday that night.

  9. Freethinker

    Would be interesting to find out the thoughts of your ex-workmates, and the boss about you………………

  10. havanaliedown

    I was 19, innocent and shy. They were mostly a bunch of cocaine-snorting turds, or wannabes, plus a few kind people amongst the pricks, who I remember to this day. A week later I was hired by another division of the same company across the street, by a manager who hated his “colleague” that fired me. He shat himself when he found me in the lunch room of premises #2 when he was giving some prospective clients the grand tour a month or so later. Sweet revenge! It was actually a pleasant, fun place to work.

  11. Kyran

    “The Manus centre – ruled illegal by Papua New Guinea’s supreme court 15 months ago – will close on 31 October under pressure from the PNG government and from the private contractors running the centre, who have refused to continue working there.
    The Nauru camp will continue to run but that country’s government has consistently refused to offer permanent resettlement to refugees, instead offering 20-year visas with restrictions on travel.”

    “The Manus detention centre is being progressively shut down with more than 800 men still housed there. Buildings have been closed off, power shut off, activities stopped and people forcibly moved from their dormitories. There are reports there is no more running water in parts of the camp and those within are reliant on bottled water.
    Despite the camp closing around them, many of those in the detention centre are refusing to leave, saying they will not be safe in the community.”

    “I feel like everything the Australian government is doing is designed to force us to go home or go into PNG. They are squeezing us out of the camp but not to the airport where they will take us to safety. They are squeezing us into the PNG community where we are not safe.”
    – Amir, 23, Iran

    “The situation here is getting worse and worse. They have shut down classrooms. Closed the gym. They tell us every day that we can’t stay here. They say go back to your country or go to the transit centre. But we aren’t safe out there in the community. That is the worst thing – they are trying to push us somewhere where we will not be safe.”
    – Madu, 23, stateless Rohingya

    “We’ve had so many hard times. We’ve been attacked, we’ve been punched and we’ve been fired at with shotguns. My friend, Reza, was killed. He was a gentle man. But they didn’t care who we were.”
    – Farhard, 36, stateless Kurd

    All for the bargain price of $4.895bill.

    The sentiments of Burke and Niemoller are well known. Whether they are seen as cautionary or prophetic is for the individual to decide. As is the choice of what to do in response.

    Thank you AIMN for the opportunity. Take care

  12. Andreas Bimba

    Turnbull said that his decision to amalgamate all security related agencies under the one newly created Department of Home Affairs was a no brainer; so he found one to look after it.

    Apart from the gross waste of money, poor oversight implications and conflicts of interest, it is clearly another example of our steady drift to a form of national socialism run by our ruling wealthy elite. Our democracy and liberty are being dissolved under the Conservatives.

  13. crypt0

    Thank you Kyran …
    It seems to me that the homeless of Oz are being treated nearly as poorly as the homeless on Nauru and Manus Is. …
    Could this be representative of the new Oz values we keep hearing about ?
    Under this LieNP government, I think so.
    As for Mr Turnbull receiving some award for “maintaining Australia’s non-discriminatory immigration program”, that really SHOULD be fake news.
    Sadly not so.

  14. Kyran

    Indeed, cryptO, we have many issues that have commonalities.
    It can be of little consolation to any of our homeless that the cause of their homelessness is somehow different to the cause of someone else’s homelessness. Whether it be our asylum seekers or the returned military, abandoned by the ADF on their return from creating refugee’s, or those escaping DV, or those with ‘mental health issues’, the list is potentially endless as to cause.
    The end result is that they are homeless.
    With respect, I don’t accept that the underlying issues have to be segregated on the basis of cause. Identify the issues and deal with them. The ‘homeless of Oz’, it seems to me, are a mirror of the ‘homelessness of Oz values’.
    With respect, the notion that Australian’s have to choose which of the ‘needy’ should be addressed first is nothing more than a political construct, an absurdity, based on some sort of political triage, or prioritisation. That we cannot walk and chew gum is so passé it is galling.
    For what it’s worth the rallies weren’t widely reported.

    Apologies for my tone. These issues are not mutually exclusive. Until the elected buttheads get that, we will continue to discuss political triage, to the detriment of all constituents.
    Thanks again. Take care

  15. Kyran

    There have been numerous postings under hashtags about ‘lives matter’. Whether it be ‘black lives’, under the auspices of racial equality. Whether it be ‘female lives’, under the auspices of DV (or wages parity, or any myriad of reasons for that matter). Whether it be ‘homeless lives’, under the auspices of the increasing epidemic of homelessness. Whether it be ‘poor lives’, under the auspices of the growing inequality gap (the vilification of individuals seeking assistance and the glorification of companies reliant on the same assistance). Whether it be ‘religious lives’, under the auspices of a belief that one religion is somehow more valuable, or correct, than another.

    These campaigns are individual to the extent of stating the cause of why their lives are important.

    These campaigns are common to the extent that they carry the message that their lives matter.

    The old idiom of ‘It’s a case of mind over matter’ has long since been replaced. “I don’t mind, you don’t matter” is the new order of the day.
    Imagine, if you can, that your life has a different value to the person beside you.
    That’s a notion I’ve always considered absurd.

    There have been protests on Nauru over the last few days. This is a country totally reliant on Australian aid for its very existence. This was posted about 24 hours ago;

    “One man beaten and thrown in jail for having a camera. Police arrested others at peaceful protest. It is illegal to protest on Nauru. It is illegal to photograph protests. It is illegal to have a camera in the so called ‘Open Centre’. It is illegal to use Facebook. It is illegal to take a bottle of water, drink, food into the detention centre. IT IS NOT ILLEGAL FOR POLICE TO HIT CHILDREN!, NOT ILLEGAL TO LOCK UP INNOCENT PEOPLE. IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO RAPE. POLICE BRUTALITY IS NOT ILLEGAL. AND IT DOESN’T SEEM TO BE ILLEGAL FOR ABF TO MURDER!”

    This was posted about 8 hours ago;

    “PEOPLE DIE WHEN GOVERNMENTS LIE! Protests continued last night. Women and children were pushed, men were bashed, five people were arrested for just being there or having camera’s. It’s phenomenal how a bunch of people peacefully protesting, without violence, just using their voices to tell the world that they are there, can be such a threat to the Australian and Nauran Governments.”

    This was posted about 2 hours ago;


    There can be no doubt that this is an insignificant problem for our politicians. After all, they believe their political lives matter. How their political life is more important than the people they claim to represent, or the victims of their malfeasance, is beyond me.
    Lives matter. How one life is somehow more valuable than another, escapes me. Martin Niemöller’s reflective observation has somehow become a prophecy.
    Thank you, again, for the opportunity. Take care

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