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Morrison’s Resurgence Concerns Refugee Supporters

22.08.18

Key Refugee Supporters and Anti Racism Campaigners have reacted strongly to the news that draconian Dutton has been replaced as Minister by his predecessor Scott Morrison.

Grassroots refugee activists have commented on Morrison’s re-ascendance to Home Affair yesterday.

Terrible events like child rapes on Nauru, deportation of Save The Children staff, Ministerial lies about the offshore deaths of Reza Berati and Hamid Khazaei on Manus occurred when Morrison was previously the Immigration Minister. In fact, offshore detention campaigners feel like events have taken a monumental step backwards, if that were even possible.

“This is like some sort of Groundhog Day”, said Jane Salmon in Sydney. “We’re still stuck with a choice of rightist, racist bully for this powerful Home Affairs role. We had hoped the LNP and Labor party could learn from the past and move to a more enlightened approach to Immigration instead of pandering to Far Right extremism.

Now that Morrison is the new/old Acting Minister for Home Affairs, which includes Immigration, grassroots refugee activists insist on an end to indefinite detention onshore and off.

The transferees on Manus and Nauru are not isolated on islands to stop boats. The navy can provide safe escort for boats. UNHCR Processing in Malaysia and Indonesia is for that.

The transferees held offshore are men, women and children who arrived by any means other than air. They have been punished for 5 years.

Some are stranded asylum seekers who are deemed by desultory, lazy researchers “double negative” in their immigration status. The haphazard PNG Refugee Determination assessment process remains flawed. There is no appeal against unfavourable decisions.

Most transferees are people who would be welcomed everywhere.

These transferees are also people whose families should not be split and who cannot be deported to danger. They are people who are being punished for their legal mode of arrival. They are not less healthy or less safe or intrinsically less worthy than those arriving by plane.

Australian doctors and courts have found that a long parade of refugees have had their health harmed by offshore indefinite detention. Many of these are children. It is unconscionable that Australia continues with the previous Home Affairs Department pattern of only responding to urgent court findings rather than to medical need. Medical crises should be determined by experienced doctors rather than bureaucrats or lawyers.

We say #KidsOffNauru, apply an exit strategy. But also develop a more humane policy or reap the results. Noone would want their own families treated like this.

Indefinite offshore detention is as cruel as it is illegal. It has also been administered corruptly. Vast sums of taxpayer money have been squandered randomly on maintaining this form of deterrence. Mr Morrison has not arrested this pattern as Treasurer. Home Affairs has become a law unto itself.

When Immigration Minister for Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison had a track record of removing mobile phones from people in Immigration detention. These phones are a legal as well as emotional lifeline.

The behaviours of criminals and of Australian asylum seekers are being deliberately blurred by Home Affairs. This must stop.

Activists also call on Minister Morrison to stop removing Tamils from Biloela in dawn raids and to release the Tamil family held in a Melbourne detention centre back into the Biloela community that values them. These children have been held in detention onshore so long that they are regressing.

Mr Christenson also has also been mooted as a permanent Minister For Home Affairs.

“We’ve lost a racist, draconian Minister. We’ve only been offered yet another”, activists conclude. “Moderate Liberals only scraped into power by a narrow margin in 2016. Rightists now dominate. It is time for an election. Please Mr Turnbull, see the Governor General today”.

Signatories already include:

Deborah Brooks

Isobelle Carmody

Joyce Clarke

Christina Coombe

Monique Corah

Fabia Claridge

Dr Russell Darroch

Sally Dodds

Softly Dunstan

Chrissie Eilenberg

Anthea Falkenberg

Adam Fenech, U Canberra Refugee Action Club

Alister Ferguson

Michelle Michele Feinberg

Nicky Fraser

Joyce Fu, People Just Like Us

Anna Houston

Denise Irwin

Carolyn Jeanneret

Nicola Joy

Antonia Kostarakis

Naomi Lai

Dr Dudley Lai

Andrew Loz Lawrie

Alison Marie

Dr Nick Martin

Dr Helen Merrick

Anne Moon

Dulce Carolina Munoz, Convenor, Mums4Refugees

Lynne Murphy

Nicola Neale

Amanda Perram

Dr Jill Parris

Jenny Rae

Ali Reid

Ian Rintoul, RAC Sydney

Gabrielle M. Rose

Ian Rose

Morgan Roche

Kerrie Ryan

Jane Salmon

Marie Sellstrom President RAR

Deni Sevenoaks

Jamie Shaw

Nikala Sim

Susie Stevens

Evita Story

Maureen Strazzari

Di Surgey

Penelope Swales, lawyer

Genelle Tosh

Janet Wilson

ends

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