Dear Minister Morrison …


How’s the new job going?

It can be difficult settling into a new job so I thought I might make some suggestions that could  make things easier for yourself and us (your employer)

I guess your Position Description as Minister for Immigration & Border Security covers a large range of issues and we did have the expectation that you would look at your portfolio in the broadest sense. It does seem however that you have taken “Stop The Boats” to be all encompassing as if it is the only issue in your portfolio to consider

935211-navy-assists-asylum-seeker-boatSo serious are you about Stopping the Boats, you have turned your fight with asylum seekers into a military operation all overseen by a 3 star general no less. However, it does seem that this military operation of “illegal arrivals” ( your words not ours) is defined solely to those people arriving by dodgy fishing boats.  I guess we can be thankful that you aren’t using the military to round up all those pesky tourists and backpackers who overstay their visas. Or don’t you regard them as “illegal”. I guess it is up to you to judge the manner in which people arrive and the manner in which you demonise them although we, the people, would like to see some legal evidence of how seeking political asylum is “illegal”. Which bring me to another point…you have been told on a number of occasion by many people better qualified than myself…IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO SEEK ASYLUM.

AND…what’s with all the secrecy. The Cone of Silence worked out OK for Maxwell Smart but again we, the people, do not want to get our updates solely from the Jakarta Post.. fine newspaper that  it is. Your weekly updates fall a bit short of facts..and facts are what we are looking for. Thank goodness for independent journalists and online bloggers who are keeping the rest of us mushrooms informed.

Our own “shipping news” which tells us there have been 27 boats carrying 1883 people since the election. It’s not that we are obsessed about counting the boats but we are concerned about the welfare and rights of those 1883 people plus those already in detention. Some information on the number of individual men, women and children and their ethnic backgrounds would be most welcome..thank you. We know you like to call everything “operational matters” to justify your cone of silence but once people are already in Australia they are our responsibility and there is a little matter of “duty of care” which you seem to have let slip off the agenda. We have increasing concerns the more we hear of the appalling conditions on Manus Island & Nauru.  Not exactly the “family camps” you would have people believe them to be.

It is too easy to demonise people when they are described in the broadest  terms of “boat people” or “illegal arrivals” so I can understand why you want to keep portraying them as a scary group of people that pose a huge security risk to Australia …hence the need for a military operation. However when we are able to see people as suffering,  persecuted individuals, then your entire “operation” gets a bit messy. Depersonalising people works well in war situations..don’t get friendly with the enemy. We know what happened during the Christmas truce in World War 1. This event was retold in the brilliant 2005 movie Joyeux Noel.  Many of the amazing people who visit the detention centres, work with refugees, advocate of their rights know there are other stories to be told. However most of the Australian public don’t. It is easier to view asylum seekers as a homogenous group who, once transported to off shore detention, become out of sight out of mind.

The Personal is Political


Last week the story broke of the plight of Latifa, an asylum seeker who gave birth to a baby boy, Farus, at the Brisbane Mater Mothers hospital the previous week.

Latifa had been moved from Nauru to Brisbane with medical complications. Her baby was delivered by caesarean section. On day four post birth, Latifa was returned to detention in Brisbane leaving her ill baby in hospital. She was only allowed to visit her baby for 6 hours each day. Latifa’s husband Niza and her 2 other children were not allowed to visit the baby at all. The plight of Latifa and her baby touched that place in most of us that allows us to view the world with compassion. We found this action on your behalf to be cruel, degrading and abhorrent . To add insult to the matter, you blamed the Mater Hospital for your decision. This fine reputable hospital was then forced to correct the record.

What do we know of Latifa and her family.

Latifa and her family are Rohingya, a minority race from Rakhine State in Myanmar (Burma). They are denied citizenship within Myanmar by a law passed 30 years ago, thereby making over a million people stateless. The United Nations has described the Rohingya as one of the most persecuted groups of people in the world. Many are killed, raped and tortured. The have been described as the forgotten people.

Latifa and her family had spent 10 years in a refugee camp prior to coming to Australia. They are political asylum seekers who have a right to seek protection from Australia.

Suthakaram and an Unnamed child with profound disabilities

Yesterday brought more bad news …

Firstly reports that a man and his profoundly disabled 4 year old daughter are to be sent to Nauru. They are Tamils from Sri Lanka. The child was injured in-utero from shrapnel from a bomb blast. As they were leaving Sri Lanka, they were intercepted by military. The mother of the child was taken away with 2 other small children and jailed.

Suthakaram is a Tamil woman injured in the same bomb blast which killed her husband. She is now confined to a wheel chair. Suthakaram is to be sent back to Sri Lanka.

The majority of Sri Lankans are returned as they are deemed “economic” refugees ..with no acknowledgement of the suffering and persecution they have experienced. The torture and  persecution of Tamils within in Sri Lanka continues despite an end to the civil war.

Thousands of other asylum seekers have their own stories to tell.

 In all seriousness I find it hard to believe that we need a military operation with your 3 star general and cone of silence to be waged against these desperate people. I for one do not sleep easy at night believing  you are keeping Australia safe. Quite the opposite. It weighs heavily on me that you are doing all of this in my name. It weighs heavily on me that you are sending unaccompanied minors to detention in Nauru. I know you have firstly denied this, then admitted there are 3. Now we know that Save the Children fund are recruiting staff to work on Nauru with accompanied minors aged 5 to 12 years.

Ex Prime Minister Malcolm FraserI know you still have your training wheels on, so perhaps you might like to take some advice from a former Prime Minster and former member of the Liberal Party.

So Minister Morrison how are you going in the job?…not so good. Your performance appraisal suggests plenty of room for improvement and perhaps even you are not suited to your chosen career.

I think your resignation would be in the best interest of our country and all who wish to keep it as a fair and just place.

About Bettsie

Writing on things important to me... Feminism Australian Politics Social Justice
This entry was posted in asylum seekers, Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Dear Minister Morrison …

  1. Wow Betsie, I couldn’t have put it any better, what a great article.
    Morriscum, as he is being now portrayed on social media is doing what he is told to do. He & his fellow LNP parliamentarians are telling everyone that this is what we voted for. I don’t think so. The man is both gormless & stupid if he thinks that treating people who are seeking safe refuge in this country the way that he & his party are doing. It is ten times worse than when the ALP were in power.
    Those of us who find this behavior disgusting should protest long & loud & don’t stop protesting until they change their attitude.

  2. Team Oyeniyi says:

    Great job, Bettsie. I love it.

  3. Elizabeth Moonlight says:

    Thank-you, Betty, thank-you.

  4. Didn’t realise that there were 1882 as/ seekers arriving since the election…terrible lack of info from that Minister.Clear ,sensitive & informative piece that will be applauded & supported by many, you have given voice ( written) to what we who care want to say to those inGov,ESP Morrison.

  5. Pingback: Inhumane treatment of asylum seeker | strivetoengage

  6. Annie Roberts says:

    Thank you Betty No one could express our outrage and disgust better

  7. i just found this blog and have high hopes for it to continue. keep up the great work, its hard to find good ones. i have added to my favourites. thank you. lista de email lista de email lista de email lista de email lista de email

  8. Pingback: Australia’s national shame | strivetoengage

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