The Migration Amendment (Clarifying International Obligations for Removal) Bill 2021 was voted into law with Labor support on Thursday after Senate debate was cut short.
The Coalition and Labor voted together to legalise the indefinite detention for refugees, and to create conditions whereby refugee determinations can be reopened and overturned.
You can read more about it here:
It's a sad day for all of us who seek an honest, fair and just society.
The Migration Act required that immigration detention, if required, should be brief. Politicians have ignored this, and since few knew, and none took them to Court on the issue, they've got away with it.
A Tamil man I've met was kept in immigration detention for 16 years. The Sri Lankan government said he was a terrorist, so he couldn't be sent back. Why exactly our politicians thought a Tamil Tiger would be a threat to Australia is not clear. He was a fighter in, as it turned out, the losing side of a civil war.
The point of the Refugee Convention, which we signed, was to allow people in danger to flee. To lock the man up for doing so was breaking the law and spirit of the Convention. We locked him up for 16 years because the government of the country he had run away from wanted to kill him.
Our politicians were out of control way back then. Their current cruelty is nothing new. It's just that we didn't hear about it.
The recent release of many in immigration detention was because the government had lost a court case on this issue. (Just as they've done on environmental issues, when they lose, they change the law, so they don't lose next time.) That liar Peter Dutton said that the releases were to "save money". Not a good lie, but those who want to believe it, will.
The changes go beyond politicians being able to cast people into prison for life. They will be able to decide that this or that person is no longer a refugee, so they can 'send them back' regardless of what happens to them.
As an ex-Labor supporter, the saddest thing is to see this was done with Labor support. They compromised themselves when they chose cruelty to refugees as the path of least resistance to win government. Until they get a leader willing to stand up for what is right, they will keep supporting the excesses of this criminal government.
So please, Labor or Coalition, VOTE THEM OUT.
Write to them and tell them that the end does not justify the means. If they can't get themselves elected without hurting innocent people, they don't deserve to be elected. There's no doubt that there are individual MPs opposed to this, but so what? If they do not stand up for what is right, if they meekly do what they are told, they are not our representatives, they're not doing their job!
Contact them and tell them so!
Letter for politicians written on 13 May 2021
The government has known for years that they were contravening the provisions of Migration Act, and now seek to cover their illegal acts by changing the law. Common decency requires we offer protection to all who seek it, and it is the Christian thing to do. Your focus on the struggle for power infringes on the human rights of many of us, not just the rights of refugees.
It was the choice of both major parties to deter refugees by punishing those who came by boat to ask for our protection. It is a violation of human rights to punish innocent people in order to deter others from a course of action. In another context it's called 'taking hostages'. It is a violation of our laws to imprison people who have not been charged and convicted. You know this. It's why the prisons were established off-shore. It's why you've drawn a veil of secrecy over 'on water' matters.
By rights, it is you who should be imprisoned. You are responsible for the torture, both physical and mental, that detainees have been subjected to.
Can you really delude yourselves that you are saving lives, when there are other ways to solve that problem. The problem is that this provided the political opportunity to 'solve' the threat of millions of refugees coming to Australia. It's a threat you created, and solved. "I stopped the boats!"
Murder and suicide because of your ambitions and insecurities. Is it really suicide, when you drive people mad and they kill themselves, and you see this but don't change your behavior? How is mental torture acceptable, when it leads to a horrible death by burning?
Don't just vote down these changes. Show you have not abandoned all decency, and demand that all who want to permanent residence be accepted immediately, and provide adequate compensation to all your victims. If you can't manage that, there is no hope for any of us.
PS Julian Assange is dying in prison because people like yourselves refuse to stand up for justice. Two brown children have spent most of their lives in an Australian prison. And we've cut foreign aid.