On border force and new rules for visiting immigration centres

Marilyn J Shepherd writes: Re. “Latest changes to detention centre protocols provoke hunger strikes, heartache” (Wednesday) 

Way back in 2001 I spent a whole day packing toys for the 300 or so kids in Woomera prison, hundreds of people donated goods and Meg Lees of the Democrats allowed her offices to be used as collection points.

At 10 that night we got a call from the centre stating that no soft toys were allowed because they could be used as weapons, set on fire and used as frigging weapons. No toys could be wrapped, they were not allowed to get the toys for Christmas because a couple of desperate men had acted up. They were handed out in January 2002 in plastic bags and the kids had to line up with guards around them to get the goods.

Don’t tell me thinks were ever better, wake up and read the many reports showing how terrible it’s always been.

The Woomera lawyers were banned in 2002 because they tried to take in Easter eggs for heaven’s sake.

On transparency in the public service

Graybul writes: Re. ” Public servants ignoring the public interest in freedom of information” (Wednesday) 

What price democracy, accountability, transparency?

What next . . . drop the term “servant”. Why not, reality is we the public know full well we now deal with Public “Officials”. And then of course it is but one small further step for Ministers of the Crown to follow the lead of [future PM] Minister of Home Affairs The Honourable Peter Dutton and outfit all departmental officers with appropriate non gender uniforms? That way we the public would be on a next to nothing chance of identifying any miscreant who chose to frog march us to end of queue because he/she could.

The simple truth is that incremental change in the way the public service functions; with or without ministerial direction, is self evident. The Australian nation has morphed into a divided polity; rich / poor, govt / private, accountable / unaccountable, left / right, legal / illegal, moral / immoral, black / white, boat refugee / plane refugee, religious / irreligious. And at the centre of this cancer are the political class who have failed to meet the challenges/responsibilities of leadership.

Peter Fray

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