Refugee Action Collective fact sheet
Last week acting immigration minister Alan Tudge was interviewed by 4BC shock jock Mark Levy. In the fine tradition of government refugee bashing Tudge tried to paint the men currently detained in the Kangaroo Point and Mantra hotels as disingenuous rorters, unworthy of public sympathy. This leaflet answers some of his lies and distortions.
Alan Tudge “a third of the people who’ve come out here ...actually refused the medical care”
Fact: A total of 192 people were brought to Australia under medevac. We know that 95 arrived between 31 August - 31 December 2019. Out of those 95 people only 2 declined treatment. (Source: Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, 2nd March 2020)
Alan Tudge “half the people now have actually had their medical treatment but aren't returning”
Fact: We know that of the 95 who arrived between 31 August and 31 December 2019, as of the 2 March, 73 were still awaiting treatment. (Source: Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, 2 March 2020).
Alan Tudge “people were supposed to come here for a short period of time”
Fact: Says who? How long does it take to treat PTSD aggravated by prolonged detention? PTSD is a complicated mental health condition usually requiring ongoing and even lifelong therapy. Some men have heart conditions that can’t be treated in PNG.
Alan Tudge “they do have opportunities for outdoor exercise and the like”.
Fact: Where? Over 100 men are crowded into this hotel and the main bitumen car park in this aerial photo is fenced off.
Alan Tudge “we had to remove at one stage some of the health workers from the hotel because those protestors were putting at risk the workers who were there to support those people in the detention facility”.
Fact: This is just an assertion. No protestor has been charged with preventing health workers from doing their job. In March, 1183 doctors, psychiatrists, professors and other healthcare workers signed a letter calling for the hotels and detention centres to be closed because of the potential spread of Covid 19, describing them as “a very high-risk environment”.
Alan Tudge “about a quarter of the people have been assessed and have been assessed as not being refugees.”
Fact: Currently there are 105 people in the Kangaroo Point hotel. Eighteen have negative assessments (slightly over 17%), of these eight refused to make an application in PNG but nonetheless received negative assessments. How fair is that? And what about the over 80% who are refugees? Why are they being locked up? Why aren't they being settled in Australia? (Source: From refugees in the hotel)
Shock jock Mark Levy makes these comments at the end of the interview: "Alan, I just wanted to applaud you on your comments today. Well done, and hopefully the message will sink in to these protestors. And for anybody wanting to come to our shores, to do it the right way rather than the wrong way. Thanks for your time as always".
Fact: There is no right or wrong way to escape from war and persecution. If they came the “wrong way” presumably they committed a criminal offence, but none have ever been charged despite spending years in detention. This is because under UN conventions on refugees that Australia is a signatory to, it is legal to cross borders and seek asylum.
Mark Gillespie for the Refugee Action Collective
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