Brisbane literary identities Bronwyn Levy, Nick Earls and Krissy Kneen signed this petition, which was published in The Age on 1 March 2014.
If we #CLOSETHECAMPS we can #LetThemStay and #BringThemHere - why infantalise and constrain your demand? @nickearls [19/2/16]: Too many to count at Lady Cilento this evening. #LetThemStay
Is #LetThemStay an ALP contrivance? True believer shitty at its escape from their control (Read between the lines) [19/2/16]
At the big rally for Refugees
#Letthemstay #Bringthemback #Closethecamps
Image: @punkassneenja [19/2/16]
Looks to be nearly 1,000 people ---> @lovejoykirsten [19/2/16- VIDEO]: Thx @larissawaters 'We are bigger than that' #LetThemStay ...
@rjstrikers [19/2/16]: Rally at Lady Cilento Hospital this evening ...
@rjstrikers [19/2/16]: Incredible volunteers of #Rohingya community providing food for crowd Lady Cilento Hospital ...
Australia's "Opposition" Defence Minister Stephen Conroy signals to his constituents at US Pacific Command that he'd be happy to antagonise China (as well as engage in utter hypocrisy with regard to international treaties and laws of the sea) [Guardian - 19/2/16]:
... “The international rules-based system needs the people who are benefiting from it, needs the people who have the capability to stand up and demonstrate that they are not prepared to be bullied by China in this way,” Conroy told the ABC on Friday.
“The international treaties, the international laws of the sea allow us to sail well within the 12 miles of all of these disputed territories. If an arbitration or an agreement was reached that these islands were recognised, then those 12-mile limits would come into play and we would not be engaged in going through them. But at the moment, they are not recognised as anyone’s territory and we can sail legally, peacefully through these alleged 12-mile limits.”
Conroy said while it would be “foolhardy” for the government to announce a freedom-of-navigation exercise in advance of it happening, Australia “should be prepared to defend the international system”. ...
A Northern Province councillor with the Tamil National Alliance was attacked in Vavuniya by unidentified assailants on Thursday night.
Ramanathan Indrarajah, a councillor for he Vavuniya district, was on his way home on a motorcycle, ridden by NPC Councillor Pichchaimuththu Nadarajah, when the assailants rode up to them and hit the councillor on the back of his head with a metal bat.
Mr Indrarajah was taken to hospital with injuries to his head, by TNA MP Sivasakthy Ananthan, who was following the motorcycle and witnessed the attack.
The injuries are not reported to be serious. [Tamil Guardian - 19/2/16]
Tamil diaspora leader shot in Paris [Tamil Guardian - 18/2/16]
These are the people Turnbull, Dutton, Shorten and Marles want to stop from seeking asylum -----> Far from home, a Rohingya fights for the survival of his people [Equal Times - 18/2/16]:
... Being a Rohingya, Habiburahman could not aspire to lengthy studies.
At age 19, he decided, however, to leave his family and his region, Arakan, now the theatre of violence, off limits for journalists and NGOs. He went to study electrical engineering, thanks to fake papers and, above all, his exemplary academic results.
After becoming politically active with a teacher and mentor who was distributing tracts on the army’s appropriation of the country’s resources, he was arrested and had to flee the country. Thailand, Malaysia, the years went by and one arrest followed another.
Already, Habiburahman was defending the rights of his peers. He writes in his book: “I mainly attend to writing press releases, documenting the abuses committed against Rohingyas in Malaysia, and passing on the information gathered to the media and NGOs.” One testimony too many, for a British report, denouncing the plight of his compatriots in Malaysia, forced him to flee, to save his life.
In December 2009, he reached Australia but was immediately locked away for 32 months on Christmas Island and in Darwin, where his mental health came under serious strain.
Chewing betel, which grows widely in Burma, Habiburahman recalls these months of uncertainty and depression: “It was awful. I was completely trapped in an obscure system. I went on hunger strike several times and staged sit-ins on the roof of the detention facility. I even threw myself against electric fences.”
Now the holder of a temporary visa, Habiburahman works as an interpreter and social worker in Melbourne, but says he would like to study again if he could afford to pay for the fees.
He has also founded the Australian Burmese Rohingya Organization, where Rohingyas can go to talk, have a coffee or take English classes.
“There are around 500 Rohingyas in Melbourne and over 2000 in total in Australia,” says the young man, who devotes all his free time to helping his people.
The regional impact of Australia's anti
refugee policy is creating a human rights disaster -->
Trapped in Sittwe ghetto or rounded up and imprisoned while registering
at a UNHCR office in Malaysia [Myanmar Now - 19/2/16]:
… The Myanmar government does not recognise the 1.1 million Rohingya as citizens and calls them “Bengalis,” to suggest they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. The group is banned from travel within Myanmar and faces restrictions on access to education and healthcare.
Experiences such as Husaina’s are common among the Rohingya, confined to the squalid displacement camps outside Sittwe. The stories are shared among residents, making many fearful of the multi-day journey. Most of the Rohingya this correspondent spoke to say they are now too scared to attempt it.
“There have been very few boats since the sailing season started in October and none at all this year, 2016. The key reason is that smugglers have no option for disembarkation due to Thailand being virtually closed. Another is the situation in Malaysia (where) there are regular immigration raids,” Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project, a Rohingya advocacy group which tracks migration, told Myanmar Now.
Malaysian police have carried out arrests of asylum seekers queuing up at the offices of the U.N. refugee agency in the last week or so, and some 2,500 Rohingya are currently held in immigration detention centres across Malaysia, Lewa said.
“The majority of Rohingya who arrived over the last two, three years are unregistered and jobs have become really difficult to find… The community feels very vulnerable,” she added.
Rohingya kids in the rain during the rainy season in Sittwe's Muslim Quarter, now effectively a sealed ghetto.
Image: @andreapitzer [16/7/15]
Australian establishment media types continue their logical contortions and cover ups to shield LNP and ALP politicians and their lies about refugees being human trash [Sydney Morning Herald - 19/2/16]
Turnbull thinks he can continue getting away with "people smugglers and "we stopped the boats" lies because there is no opposition [ABC - 19/2/6]:
... At the annual Australia-New Zealand Leaders' Meeting in Sydney, Mr Key said it was "potentially possible" for New Zealand to take refugees.
Mr Turnbull said Australia appreciated the offer, but that Australia remained "utterly committed" to not giving encouragement or "marketing opportunities" to people smugglers.
"The election of the Labor government here in 2007 resulted in over 150,000 unauthorised arrivals, over 1,000 deaths at sea," Mr Turnbull said.
"It was a catastrophic failure of policy."
He said immigration officials were working with the asylum seekers on a case-by-case basis to determine their fate.
"We take into account what John has proposed, what John has offered, but we do so very thoughtfully, recognising that the one thing we must not do is give an inch to the people smugglers," he said.
"Because believe me, we are not talking about theories here. The alternative approach has been tried by Labor and we know what the consequences are."
Alleged organiser of boat at centre of paid turn-back claims arrested in Indonesia [ABC – 18/2/16]
Jail for boat crew paid by Australian official to turn back [Sydney Morning Herald - 17/1/16]:
The captain of an asylum seeker boat who said he was paid thousands of dollars by an Australian official to return to Indonesia has been sentenced to five years and eight months' jail on people smuggling charges.
The panel of judges also ordered Yohanis Humiang, 35, to pay 700 million rupiah ($70,000) or serve an additional five months in prison.
The remaining five crew members were sentenced to five years and six months' jail and a fine of 500 million rupiah or an extra three months' prison time.
The asylum seekers remain in limbo in Indonesia.
Kandiha Kayuran and his wife, who gave birth in December, are still in immigration detention in Kupang.
He told Fairfax Media they had no idea what the future held.
"No one cares, New Zealand is not listening, and Australia too, even after the Amnesty report came out. Please help us."
New Zealand government refers refugees to Australia [RNZI - 13/6/15]:
The Government has told 65 asylum seekers wanting to live in New Zealand to contact United Nations officials in Australia.
The people, from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar, say they were heading for New Zealand when they were shipwrecked on an Indonesian reef earlier this month.
In a letter seen by Radio New Zealand, the group made a plea to the Government for asylum, saying it is unsafe for them to return home.
A written reply from the office of the Immigration Minister, Michael Woodhouse, said while New Zealand accepted 750 refugees annually, it could not pick and choose.
It said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Canberra was responsible for inquires dealing with New Zealand and suggested the group approach that office. [The UNHCR Canberra have said nothing - they refer any concerns about atrocities against refugees in our region to the Bangkok office.]
A UN representative in Indonesia said they met with the group, 52 of whom were registered as refugees. [As far as we know, these refugees are still detained in Kupang.]
Sydney Morning Herald [2/6/15]:
... Fishermen spotted two boats floating near Landuti island in the West Rote district, 500 kilometres north-east of the Australian coast, on Sunday.
"They looked exhausted," Rote police chief Hidayat said.
"One female passenger is pregnant – we took her immediately to the hospital but she is ok now."
Mr Hidayat said the migrants told him they had been caught by Australian customs on May 26, who sunk their boat.
They were put in two blue and white boats, and sent back into Indonesian waters. ...
Stream of deportees arrive in New Zealand [NZ Herald - 16/2/16]:
More than a quarter of people being deported to New Zealand from Australia have not been convicted of a crime, or have served less than a year in jail, new figures reveal.
Deportees have been arriving at the rate of more than one a day since a law managing their return was passed on November 18 last year.
Of those, 73 were automatically placed under supervision by probation officers in New Zealand Corrections.
Justice Minister Amy Adams said the rest were not eligible for automatic supervision because either they had served less than a year in prison or were deported on character grounds that were not related to a conviction.
Of that group, Corrections made three successful court applications for supervision -- meaning 29 were deported despite not having a conviction, or having served minor jail time.
Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox said the Government needed to push Australia harder on adjusting the threshold at which people are deported, particularly those who are judged to have failed on character grounds.
"The Government should be asking greater questions of cases of deportation on character grounds ... the [Australian Immigration] Minister Peter Dutton can take away the visa, seal the record.
"They come back over here and we are picking up the pieces of this mess that the Australian Government has created. Our Government have moved to try and put some controls in there, but for the people sent back on bad character, there are no controls."
Ms Fox said she was looking at a case where a 77-year-old, who was associated with the Rebels motorcycle gang and had a minor drug conviction, was deported to New Zealand on character grounds, despite having lived the majority of his life in Australia.
Labour Corrections spokesman Kelvin Davis said Australia had attempted to portray deportees as hard-nosed criminals, but the reality was that many were not.
The trauma of being deported was compounded by long stays in detention centres. Mr Davis said that the treatment of people in those centres was of huge concern.
"When they come out, whether they go back to Australian society or New Zealand society, they are going to come out in a worse state than when they come in.
"That means when they get to New Zealand, chances are they are bitter and angry, and there's potential there to create more victims."
In releasing the figures, Ms Adams said all 105 have had identifying particulars and DNA collected from them. The law was operating as intended.
"The most serious offenders are being supervised to ensure public safety and assist their re-integration into society.
"I've said throughout that while there is always a risk of re-offending, as there is with any offender who leaves prison, this law goes a long way to mitigate that risk for law-abiding New Zealanders."
The Returning Offenders (Management and Information) Bill was passed in November without opposition. It was designed to give the same sort of oversight to the stream of deportees arriving from Australia as offenders who had served a similar sentence in New Zealand.
The deportations are the result of a law passed in Australia in November 2014 which automatically cancelled the immigration status of any non-Australian citizen who had been sentenced to a year or more in prison, either in a single sentence or in a series of cumulative sentences.
Many were sent to detention centres around Australia including the infamous Christmas Island Centre which was visited by Labour MP Kelvin Davis -- that visit prompted Prime Minister John Key to accuse Labour of supporting murderers and rapists. He has since apologised in Parliament for making the comment.
Of the 70 per cent of offenders who have come under the automatic supervision of Corrections, 40 have had additional special conditions imposed on them, said Ms Adams. The law says special conditions may include electronic monitoring, a residential restriction and a requirement to take prescription medicine -- although only if the prisoner agreed.
Last week Corrections Minister Judith Collins said Auckland-based Prisoners' Aid and Rehabilitation Society (PARS) would be given a $100,000 grant to help settle deportees.
That is the second grant PARS has received to help settle deportees from Australia -- last October it was given $100,000.
PARS staff will meet the deportee at the airport, and help the person sign up to bank accounts, benefits, an IRD account and arrange immediate accommodation. That support is ongoing.
As of December 30 last year, there were 183 New Zealanders held in detention centres, including 158 men and 25 women.
“I don’t want money. I don’t want go [to] Australia. I want to go for a country for freedom. Freedom, only freedom. I need only freedom.”
Refugee left homeless in PNG after being exiled and released from Australian concentration camp [Guardian - 19/2/16]
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young [Huffington Post - 19/2/16]:
... The fact of the matter is that the government has no exit strategy when it comes to the offshore detention camps.
They've already sent thousands of people there, but now they don't know what to do with them. No other country is putting up their hand to take them and the countries who are hosting the camps are becoming increasingly agitated by their presence. With no exit strategy, the government has sent thousands of people to the Hell of indefinite detention on these hostile and remote Pacific islands.
To justify this absurdity, the government wants people to believe that there are only two options; either treat people seeking asylum cruelly or let them risk their lives on the open ocean. I'm here to explain that there is a third way -- a 'Solution C'.
The Australian Greens want to put a fair and efficient process in place that would see people's claims for protection assessed in the region, before they are forced into taking a dangerous boat journey.
For that to work, Australia needs to lead a huge effort in our region; establishing reception facilities in Indonesia and Malaysia, operating them so that people have access to healthcare and education, funding the UNHCR so that they can assess people's claims quickly, and then bringing those that need protection here safely.
And let's be honest, if the government genuinely cared about dangerous boat journeys they wouldn't tow them back out to sea, they'd fund proper search and rescue operations.
All of this could only be achieved with the type of true political leadership that has been sorely lacking from the Labor and Liberal parties of late.
The moral vacuum that has been created by this lack of political courage is, however, being filled with the efforts of community members, advocates, mums and dads, teachers, doctors and academics around the country who are standing up and saying 'enough is enough'.
Media statement by Melbourne Art Spire climbers [19/2/16]:
We have chosen to come down from the Arts Centre spire of our own accord.
We have the freedom to leave this space, while refugees facing indefinite detention are stuck in Manus Is and Nauru prison camps.
This action calls on the government to listen to the people they are supposed to be representing.
We demand that they close the prison camps and the end of mandatory detention of asylum seekers.
Humane people do not stand by as others, people just like them, are subjected to torture and trauma. As people seeking legal asylum in Australia, the government must let refugees stay.
We have climbed today in solidarity with all asylum seekers, and with the health care workers, doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, of Lady Cilento Children’s hospital in Brisbane.
These workers have taken action to stand against unjust and immoral laws that are designed to punish asylum seekers who asked for our help.
We encourage all people of conscience to stand up and to speak out – in your home, in your workplace, in public and on social media.
The tide is turning against politicians who would seek to manipulate the public. Now is the time to take courage to right wrongs and to do what is right.
We wish to thank the police in negotiating a peaceful outcome with us.
Australian doctors should boycott working in detention centres, Dr John-Paul Sanggaran [The Age – 19/2/16]:
... We doctors have ample, consistent and ongoing evidence that the treatment of asylum seekers within Australian immigration detention centres is reprehensible. We have the stories of asylum seekers themselves. We have our colleagues risking imprisonment to inform us. We have international condemnation.
We cannot hide behind the excuse of ignorance. We know what is happening. We know it constitutes a form of systematic child abuse. We know it constitutes a form of torture.
The Australian Medical Association's code of ethics states: "Regardless of society's attitudes, ensure that you do not countenance, condone or participate in the practice of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading procedures, whatever the offence of which the victim of such procedures is suspected, accused or convicted."
The code could not speak more clearly or directly. By continuing to work within immigration detention we merely provide legitimacy to those that would lie and mislead the public into believing healthcare of a respectable standard is being delivered. By continuing we maintain and perpetuate suffering and injustice.
Australian Psychological Society calls for bipartisan approach to end offshore processing [Media Release - 5/2/16]:
... Professor Kyrios said: “Remote detention restricts access to mental health and other services, as well as impeding links to community resources and networks and increasing the likelihood of abuse. Of particular concern, the harsh restrictions around information and disclosure make it almost impossible for health professionals to meet their ethical obligations. This is a complex issue that requires input from a range of organisations and disciplines with the right expertise to ensure our obligations to protect people's health and safety are met.”
Psychologist - Nauru [Seek.com - added at 11.24 am 19/2/16]
Is there some reason why we can't know the name of the journalist and why the ABC won't broadcast their story? [Guardian - 19/2/16]:
Nauru has revoked visitor entry for Australian and New Zealand passport holders, allegedly after an Australian journalist entered the country without declaring he or she worked in the media.
The decision to change visa entry requirements appears to have been made at extremely short notice.
SBS reported that travellers waiting for a flight in Brisbane early on Friday morning were told at the airport shortly after midnight their passports were no longer valid for travel to the country.
Nauru Airlines confirmed to Guardian Australia citizens of the two countries could no longer enter the republic without a visa, but referred all questions to the Nauru consulate in Brisbane.
Who cares if the journalist wasn't "on assignment in Nauru". IF THERE'S A STORY, BROADCAST IT [ABC - 19/2/16]
Even children locked up want to sing! [VIDEO - Free The Children Nauru - 18/2/16]:
Children are the same all around the world. They just want to sing, play, be nurtured and loved in a happy home.
Whilst this is a beautiful message to the Save the Children teachers and kids in Australia, it is sad to know that these are the children locked inside the Australian DETENTION centre on Nauru.
They are certainly resourceful playing music with spoons and plastic tubs. However is it a shocking waste of human potential!!!
They could be playing music with guitars and drums in a supportive Australian school.
Que Sera is a special song that the children used to sing during school assemblies and events put on by Save the Children.
The children sung the Que Sera to the Save the Children teachers when they were leaving Nauru for the last time.
... Tanh with cake from his shop for #ladycilento vigil
'without the opportunity I wldn't be here' ...
Image: @ellen_roberts [19/2/16]
Wonder what refugees and asylum seekers incarcerated in Australia's gulag archipelago are having for lunch today?
The Trans - Tasman Business Circle is proud to host this prestigious occasion with the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand , The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP and Rt. Hon John Key.
This will be the first occasion both Prime Ministers have jointly addressed the business community.
It is a rare opportunity for them to share their vision and policies for promoting the economic and social development of both countries. ...
Solidarity rally with Lady Cilento staff:
Friday, February 19 at 5:30 PM
Support the Lady Cilento staff and their couragous stand in not discharging baby Asha into detention.
*Senator Larissa Waters
*Dr Fotina Hardy, Queensland Branch President, of the Australian Association of Social Workers.
* Sujauddin Karimuddin, Queensland Rohingya Community
* Paul Bastian, National Secretary of the Australian Metal Workers Union
What if asylum seekers from Ancient Greek tragedies were subjected to Australia's offshore detention process?
In this new play by director Jo Loth and writer Ginna Brock, the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble explores Australia's current response to asylum seekers. ... Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble
@Mums4Refugees [19/2/16]: Breaking! Turnbull office now Mums 4 Refugees #LetThemStay #CloseTheCamps
Who's "we"? I will not be ordered around or have my demands to CLOSE THE CAMPS co-opted and minimised by blowins and interlopers ---> @Kon__K [19/2/16]: #Brisbane we need you. Peaceful protest tonight. 5.30pm #LadyCilento Hospital Join the call to #LetThemStay
If the ACTU were serious they'd also divest from detention and call nationwide strikes until the concentration camps are closed. ----> @unionsaustralia [19/2/16]: @GedKACTU supports the brave nurses and staff at Lady Cilento. Do you? Let them know ...
A gentle reminder: Unions are part of the detention industry [xBorderops - 22/7/15]:
... What does it mean, in short, to make a public statement of opposition to detention while at the same time remaining quiet about one’s role in financing this very industry? Or more directly, are unions indeed committed to ending detention or are they in fact hedging their bets?
To summarise the point to be made here, Australian unions are a constitutive component of the border industrial complex.
The actions of the ALP help to protect these investments and manage the risks associated.
The investments of unions in the detention industry comes in the form of both financing detention centre contractors through industry superannuation funds as well as recruitment strategies directed at detention and immigration control workers.
To this picture we can also add a number of social service and mental health organisations which play a role in either financing detention contractors or charity-washing for directors otherwise involved in the detention industry.
The Coalition and Labor have joined forces to vote down a motion to grant amnesty to almost 270 asylum seekers currently in Australia.
The 267 people, including 37 babies, are facing the prospect of being sent to Nauru in the wake of yesterday's High Court judgement which upheld offshore immigration detention.
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young today moved a motion in the Senate, asking for the Federal Government to allow the asylum seekers to remain onshore.
In full, the motion read: "the Senate calls on the Turnbull Government to grant amnesty to the 267 men, women and children in Australia as part of the M68 High Court challenge, and allow them to stay."
It was defeated 10-40, with independent senator John Madigan siding with the Greens.
Behrouz Bouchani: Persecuted, imprisoned, exiled and tortured for journalism and seeking asylum [The Guardian - 19/2/16]:
... What crime have we committed to deserve detention and torture? It is an anguished question with no answer.
I think, one of the natural and basic rights of every prisoner is to know the reasons behind his punishment and the duration of his imprisonment.
This natural right is exercised for all prisoners, however it has been denied for people who seek asylum in Australia.
Fundamentally, when a charge against a criminal is proven in the court, it is much easier for him to bear the situation of the prison compared to an innocent person being detained indefinitely. ...
... The women have climbed the spire to protest the deportation of asylum seekers to Nauru.
At first, it was not clear whether the women were protesters or thrillseekers.
But at 8am, the pair unfurled a banner reading #letthemstay, making their objective plain.
A smiling Ms Woskett posted a photo on Twitter of herself near the top of the spire, showing Melbourne's CBD and Flinders Street Station in the background.
The women's actions were praised on social media by passers-by, with some saying they were impressed by the pair's ability to climb the tower.
On the ground, more protesters - wearing face-mask cut-outs of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton - carried #letthemstay signs. ... [The Age - 19/2/16]
Do the MEAA also support calls to CLOSE THE CAMPS AND DIVEST FROM DETENTION? How about also calling for a bit of journalism??? -----> Under what authority, or power, are Serco guards present in a Queensland Public Hospital? ... Ms Blucher says despite following the appropriate channels through immigration, she has not been told why she's no longer permitted to visit baby Asha. ... [ABC - 18/2/16]
19 February 2016