The Refugee Action Collective Queensland has protested today, outside the Strathpine electoral office of Peter Dutton, Federal Member for Dickson and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.
The Collective handed over a letter urging Mr Dutton to consider his role in the ongoing systemic hardships of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia's offshore detention regime and to consider his role in this historical blight on our country's reputation.
Minister Dutton's office was urged to accept a copy of the Australian Women in Support of Women on Nauru report; "Protection Denied, Abuse Condoned: Women on Nauru at Risk", authored by five prominent Australian women.
Summarising a series of risks and harms that asylum seeker women are exposed to on Nauru, the Women on Nauru at Risk report ends with a series of recommendations, including, among others, that Australia end mandatory detention, make culturally and gender-specific medical treatment and counselling available at all times, and that abuse cases be investigated by an inquiry with subpoena powers (summary credited to The Age article).
The Women on Nauru at Risk report, and more about Australian Women in Support of Women on Nauru can be accessed at: http://www.awswn.org/
Refugee Action Collective spokesperson, Amanda McNulty, presented the letter to Mr Dutton's office after being buzzed through a locked door.
"I was met by a woman behind a glass barrier" Ms McNulty said. "I introduced myself and said I was from RAC, then gave a brief intro about the report and how and why it had been written.
"I told her we had appended a letter from RAC members asking that the Minister read the report and reconsider the offshore processing arrangements in light of the lack of safety for refugees, both inside and outside the detention centres, in particular the lack of safety for women and children".
Ms McNulty said that the report was accepted by the staff member at Mr Dutton's office.
The wider protest today aimed to encourage the community to speak out about Peter Dutton's ministership, calling for him to be removed, and for the current government to make a shift in their draconian asylum seeker policies.
Mr Dutton has recently made a series of misinformed and inflammatory statements and claims about asylum seekers and advocates, including: disgraceful comments about 'illiterate and innumerate' refugees, continued racist and divisive implications that asylum seeker families would deliberately harm their own children to get to Australia, and unfounded claims that advocates for refugees were encouraging self harming 'tactics' among detainees to pressure the government.
He has also been highly contradictory about whether it's Nauru or Australia that determines the issuing of visas to those who wish to visit Nauru to investigate conditions for asylum seekers.
Such inflammatory and divisive language and behaviour shows that Peter Dutton is not a fit person to hold the office of Immigration Minister.
At the peak hour protest today, motorists were encouraged to honk their support. There was a great response from the community as they drove past the peaceful demonstration.
For further comment about the protest, contact Amanda McNulty on: 0402482135 or Mark Gillespie on: 0439561196