Australia

Feb 5, 2013

What Brendan O’Connor must do with Immigration Dept

Cabinet has a new Immigration Minister after the recent reshuffle. Ex-DIAC executives John Menadue and Arja Keski-Nummi explain how Brendan O'Connor should handle the asylum seeker issue.

Brendan O'Connor

With a new immigration minister, we have an opportunity to reshape our public discussion on asylum seekers.

6 comments

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6 thoughts on “What Brendan O’Connor must do with Immigration Dept

  1. Pamela

    Regarding the “slowing down of process” as problem, emblematic of this is long term detention which continues. The latest stats show that 591 people have been detained for more than two years.
    These longterm detained people are almost all people who have been accepted as proven refugees.
    While around 58 refugees (including babies) have ASIO decisions awaiting review,the others are mostly refugees who have both positive refugee and security decisions and so legally should be released on Protection Visas as under the Constitution they are denied their freedom for “administrative detention”.
    This government has found new ways to imprison refugees. One method is to send their cases to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) to see if they can be charged for “crimes” committed in detention. In this way people have waited up to 26 months to be charged. They then wait for the AFP to send them a notification and then wait for court. Some have been in detention now for over three years. Some of the crimes are as serious as “breaking a window”. A man is to be flown from Melbourne to Derby in WA to face court on this charge this month.
    Others have been flown around Australia and Christmas Island, only to have their charges dropped for lack of evidence and then returned to detention in Melbourne to sit and wait months for the Minister to sign their release.
    All this time the people are nominally POI- Persons of interest- but interestingly they are not told the reason for their continued detention nor given any official notification.

    Then there is the Character Assessment Team headed by the “Principle Assessor”- sounds like the FAT CONTROLLER and has as mush power. Then there is the Minister with consummate “non-compellable Non-reviewable” powers used by the recently departed Minister to leave hundreds of men rotting in detention.

    A new method to keep refugees locked up is “health”. It may surprise Australians to discover that people are being locked up in some of our most isolated detention prisons because they have TB. Treatment for 3/4 weeks usually renders the diesease non-infectious with a 12 months medication followup to cure the patient. At a time when “LEPER COLONIES” are a disgrace of the past, Australia is resurrecting detention as an appropriate place for TB patients to remain while they take their 12 months treatment. There are a number of people with cancer being treated while in detention. No one is too sick to be detained. Melbourne saw two men have their legs amputated and then returned to detention even though there was no way that effective rehabilitation and mobilisation could be achieved in this environment.

    Detention is like a virus- highly infectious and reasons can be found to hold people at will.
    ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION legal under the CONSTITUTION- how long before Australia is tried for its Arbitrary Indefinite Detention policy?

  2. Vivushka

    Hear! Hear! I am ashamed of Australia’s terrible record by both parties in demonising asylum seekers and placing them in the equivalent of concentration camps. Will we listen to those who have had first hand knowledge of the implementation of our government’s policies and are no longer gagged? We are behaving incredibly inhumanely.
    Wake up, Australia, and take a good, hard look at yourself!

  3. Patriot

    Blow them out of the water!

  4. shepherdmarilyn

    wWhy is the arsehole patriot allowed to say we should murder innocent people.

  5. CML

    @SM – Because last time I looked, we had freedom of speech in this country. I do not agree with Patriot’s views, but I will defend his right to express them.
    Some people may find your attitude to refugees is offensive. Does that mean they have the right to say you shouldn’t be heard? Of course not.
    Refugee advocates and detractors should try finding issues on which they can agree. The rhetoric of both sides is becoming extreme. And that doesn’t help anyone.

  6. Roni

    If you extend humanity and compassion to *everyone* it’s not hard to see comments like Patriot’s as being a natural consequence of comments like Vivushka’s.

    Stories demanding responses of shame and horror make people feel bad. People who feel bad want to do something to feel better. If a real solution was proposed they’d probably support it. If no solution is offered, only more and more shame they can’t fix, people get angry. It’s only human.

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