How to end our Nation’s Shame

Asylum Seekers: how to end our nation’s shame

Canada’s new Liberal government is showing Australia the way.

Nicholas Reece   in The Age – 28 December 2015

Will Australia ever display more compassion to asylum seekers?

Some Liberal MPs have started telling refugee advocates to wait until after the next election and they will see a more humane policy from the Turnbull government. Sorry, not good enough. The horror of war in Syria and the Middle East has left the world facing the biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, with 60 million displaced people seeking a place they can live safely. Australia needs to show more of its generous heart. Not just towards those currently fleeing the Middle East but also the 2000 people already in our immigration detention facilities and the 29,000 languishing in purgatory in Australia on bridging visas.

Read more here

Offer a Home to a Refugee

How can you Offer a home to a Refugee

by Michael Short

The Age September 30, 2015

 As millions of refugees are displaced across the world, many Australians have been left asking what they can do to help. As pictures of a small boy dead on a beach left us heartbroken and governments struggled with a political solution to an overwhelmingly problem, some began to look at their own homes and wonder if helping could be as simple as offering someone a place to stay.

Could it really be that simple? You might think there are bureaucratic or legal barriers. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, you might suppose there are organisations all over the place facilitating such housing. So, can you actually do it?

Read full article here

David Manne on RN Breakfast

David Manne on RN Breakfast – 28 Dec 2015

David Manne 1

Almost a year has passed since the Human Rights Commission published its damning report on the treatment of children in detention.

The government’s asylum seeker policies were criticised by organisations such as the UN, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

David Manne is a human rights lawyer, migration agent and the Executive Director of the Refugee Legal Centre.

Manne joins Sarah Dingle to talk about the issues refugees faced this year, and what he thinks the priorities should be in 2016.


Angel visits Malcolm Turnbull

An Angel visits Malcolm Turnbull

by | Dec 25, 2015


Human rights advocate and abuse witness Sarah Smith dressed as a Christmas Angel to make a plea for refugees to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at his private Sydney Harbour residence at 6pm on Christmas Eve.

Accompanied by like-minded friends, Ms Smith handed over a white box containing images of over 30 offshore detainees witnesssed to have suffered psychological harm through trauma, long-term incarceration, loss of life options, beatings and sexual abuse by guards at Australian-run detention centres and in the community of their sweltering island prisons. Each photo is captioned with a brief description of the detainee’s specific strengths and suffering.

“… … the box of photos and a message of goodwill towards all boat arrivals was reluctantly accepted by Federal Police who opted for a silent night. Carol singing was discouraged outside the Prime Minister’s mansion. It is unclear whether the Turnbull family was with-inn but it is known that there are rooms to spare.”

Read the full article here

Another cruel twist in Australia’s refugee policy

Another cruel twist in Australia’s refugee policy

John Key - NZ PM

Australia has left 300 refugees in limbo in Nauru and Papua New Guinea rather than allowing them to build new lives in New Zealand under a standing resettlement offer from the Key government. Yet immigration minister Peter Dutton continues to pursue resettlement options in poor countries like Cambodia, a policy that is far more expensive than the trans-Tasman offer. Just five people have been resettled in Cambodia under a deal that has cost Australian taxpayers $55 million.

New Zealand’s agreement to take up to 150 refugees each year from Australia’s offshore centres dates back to when Julia Gillard was prime minister. Announcing the deal in February 2013 after a meeting with her New Zealand counterpart, John Key, she said that the program would “start in 2014 and be ongoing.” The places were factored into a three-year rollingplan for refugee resettlement signed off by the NZ cabinet in June 2013.

Under the plan, New Zealand Immigration set aside 150 of the 750 resettlement places in its annual refugee quota for refugees “subject to offshore processing from Australia.” Places were reserved in both 2014–15 and 2015–16, but so far none has been taken up, and the NZ government doesn’t expect they ever will be.

Read the full article here


AHRC: Submission re Migration Amendment 26 Nov 2015

AHRC Submission: 

 AHRC logo

Migration Amendment (Complementary Protection and Other Measures) Bill 2015 

Committees submitted to: Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee

26 November 2015

The Australian Human Rights Commission made this submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee in relation to its inquiry into the Australian Government’s Migration Amendment (Complementary Protection and Other Measures) Bill 2015 (Cth) (Bill).

Life in the Manus Island detention centre

Life in the Manus Island detention centre

by Melbourne-based freelance journalist, Chris Shearer, in The Saturday Paper – 24 October, 2015

Within the Manus Island detention centre, daily life is a dull routine in the company of guards and increasingly disturbed fellow detainees, endlessly playing out in the oppressive heat and humidity.

“How are there Australians that hate us and think we’re their enemies? We fled persecution and war.”

Read the full article here

Future of human rights in Australia: Triggs

The Future of human rights in Australia

Gillian Triggs – keynote speaker at the Human Rights Awards
as Peter Geste wins 2015 Human Rights Medal

Gillian Triggs

“The violation of human rights laws by respective Australian Governments, especially of the right not to be detained arbitrarily without charge of trial- a principle that was first set out in the Magna Carta 800 years ago-has attracted the concern of the international community.”

“Just a couple of weeks ago, I was in Geneva, where the Human Rights Council conducted its Universal Periodic Review of Australia’s human rights record over the last 4 years. 105 countries spoke up, making 291 recommendations. At least 70 nations listed the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees as a primary concern, especially the mandatory offshore detention of children.” – Gillian Triggs

Read Professor Triggs’ full speech here