Wednesday, 11 November 2015


12 November 2015
Somewhere along the way this week the plot got well and truly lost. Uproar in Parliament, walk-outs, protests and people shouting at and over each other may be all good theatre, a modern form of gladiators in the arena if you like, but after it is over, the fact remains, nothing has changed as a result.
Moreover, the issue itself seems to have become secondary to the noise it has generated. And the issue here is simple: Australia is treating people in its detention camps – in the main New Zealanders awaiting deportation – in a way that is appalling, no matter which way you look at it. Yes, there are definitely very evil people amongst them who have committed unspeakable crimes, with whom we would not usually wish to associate, but they still have the same basic human rights as the rest of us. The argument should be focussing on how these rights are being upheld in the detention camps. On the strong face of it, the detainees are now worse off than when they were in prison, even though they have presumably paid for their crimes in Australia. This cannot be just.
And that is the real issue here. Are these detainees being justly treated, and if not, what can we in New Zealand reasonably do about it? There has always been a more frontier approach to justice in Australia, as the treatment of their indigenous people has shown, and the current treatment of boat refugees continues to show. I suspect most New Zealanders are far from comfortable with the notion of holding such people captive on offshore islands, and would not let a New Zealand government even consider doing so.
That different approach is where our focus needs to be. The modern concentration camp approach Australia has taken is simply wrong. It was wrong when the British tried it in Northern Ireland in the 1970s; it is wrong in Guantanomo Bay, or in Israel today. Australia is no different. The right to due process and fair and open trials is inalienable. So New Zealand needs to be asserting basic human rights and freedoms, not stooping to the name-calling and abuse that has passed for debate over the last week.
Australia is a sovereign state. We cannot automatically require it to change its laws, just because they affront us. The Prime Minister is right on that score. But we can, and should, be speaking out as loudly and frequently as we can against abhorrent practices, especially given the mantle of family the Australians like to drape upon us. After all, most families are blunt with each other and speak out about what they do not like. We should be as well.
The political civil war of the last week has done nothing at all for any of the detainees on Christmas Island. Rather than turning their guns on each other to pointless effect, the Government and the Opposition need to be turning on the real villains of the piece – Ministers like Peter Dutton and others in the Australian Government who continue to promote and support such savage and inhumane policies.    

13 comments:

  1. Finally, a politician prepared to speak up for human rights for all.Congratulations.
    We have so lost our way as a country that our forebears who were instrumental in setting up the UN and respect for human rights would have been appalled .

    Our Prime Minister is cowardly and out of control . His government's arrogance seems to know no bounds. His comments in Parliament were just party politics and an attempt at diversion from his supine response to Australia.

    I am so deeply ashamed that our country has made no comment on Australia's human rights record at the UN. But I guess I am naive to expect statesmanship from a PM whose only credo appears to be "lets make a deal"

    Well done again

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  2. Finally, a politician prepared to speak up for human rights for all.Congratulations.
    We have so lost our way as a country that our forebears who were instrumental in setting up the UN and respect for human rights would have been appalled .

    Our Prime Minister is cowardly and out of control . His government's arrogance seems to know no bounds. His comments in Parliament were just party politics and an attempt at diversion from his supine response to Australia.

    I am so deeply ashamed that our country has made no comment on Australia's human rights record at the UN. But I guess I am naive to expect statesmanship from a PM whose only credo appears to be "lets make a deal"

    Well done again

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    1. Are you from Australia or New Zealand..?

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    3. Perhaps if you read up on the issue and actually acquainted yourself with the facts or even just some of the facts then perhaps you might be worth a reply

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  5. I'm sure Mr Dunne has visited the centre and seen for himself, and not taken the word of a group of violent hardened criminals that have been convicted of serious crime. These men, who have set fire to the centre and caused extensive damage (worthy people one and all) have also reportedly bashed and intimidated other detainees.
    But they are somehow victims of perfidious Australia, rather than opportunist hardened criminals who will say and do whatever it takes to thwart Australia's right to deport people who fail a character test because of criminality.
    Place the shoe on the other foot Mr Dunne. Would you like these men in New Zealand if they were Australian?
    I hope Mr Dunne speaks to some of the people at Christmas Island, rather than the bros who are causing the damage.

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    1. Amazing how you can get the facts so wrong but that happens when you view everything through a lens of prejudice. The people rioting aren't the kiwis but the incarcerated from the boats.

      Doesn't it worry you at all that people are forced from their homes of long standing by retrospective legislation accumulating minor offences and then placed in detention with no rights?
      If Australia had said well from now on these are the rules fair enough but this kind of legislation that recriminalizes someone after they have served their time is state tyranny that would not be out of place in soviet Russia or Nazi Germany. And remember it's all very well to be complacent when it is happening to someone else but what protection will you have when they come for you some time in the future about something else because state tyranny knows no boundaries and respects no-one.

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