Nauru …What the hell is going on?

imageWe all know that Australia has a partnership with Nauru which allows the government to export all our unwanted asylum seekers into a prison facility on the island. The Detention Centre was first opened under the Howard Government in 2001 and has continued to operate as a “processing” centre since. The fact that we are still sending people there 13 years on might indicate to any reasonable person that it is not the deterrent many lauded it to be in stopping desperate people boarding leaky fishing boats to reach Australia.

The history of how Howard exploited the dire financial situation of Nauru to establish a detention centre, is best documented in The Economist…

imageConditions within the detention centre have been severely criticised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The UN agency found conditions in the detention centre fail to meet international standards. The fact that Australia fails to meet our obligations and responsibilities under United Nation Conventions, hardly raises an eyebrow in Australian media.

I don’t know of any other country that moves their responsibility for managing asylum seekers to another independent third world country. So much secrecy surrounds the partnership with Nauru and PNG who also has a detention centre on Manus Island. How much is the Australian Government “paying” these countries to be the dumping ground for our unwanted?

Current Crisis on Nauru

If Nauru was considered to be unsuitable by the United Nations in past visits, they must certainly be alarmed at the current situation on Nauru. At present the entire judicial system has broken down.

Resident Magistrate Peter Law, an Australian, was deported post haste, earlier this month. Chief Justice Geoffrey Eames also an Australia who was visiting Melbourne at the time, has had his visa cancelled and cannot re- enter Nauru. Following this,  the government of Nauru has hurriedly amended the Immigration Act to allow for the immediate expulsion of Rod Henshaw also an Australian who was a media advisor to the former government. .

Now reports that the government of Nauru is drafting laws to impose emergency rule. They are being assisted by lawyers from Fiji, hardly the epitome of democracy. Against this backdrop, Nauru has increased the visa application fee for journalists to $8000, payable whether the application is successful or not. Hardly an enticement for any journalist to apply.

There are approx 900 asylum seekers imprisoned on Nauru. They were sent there by the Australian government and I believe remain our responsibility. Minister Scott Morrison has stated the internal politics of Nauru are not our concern. I beg to differ.

We have had 3 highly regarded Australians thrown out of Nauru and the government say nothing…that is a major concern right there.

Questions need to be asked about how much involvement Australia has had in this entire sorry saga? Is our government complicit in a veil of secrecy descending on Nauru to protect our own agenda of inhumane treatment of asylum seekers? If we have nothing to hide, then don’t  hide it. If the Australian government is opposed to the current situation on Nauru with emergency rule then they need to articulate this strongly, terminate the partnership and bring the asylum seekers and their children back to Australia. 900 lives depend on us doing the right thing by them.

We either stand strongly for democracy or we all lose.

About Bettsie

Writing on things important to me... Feminism Australian Politics Social Justice
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8 Responses to Nauru …What the hell is going on?

  1. I am unsure about the facts, but isn’t Nauru pretty much bereft of an economy and we (Australia) would be giving them the biggest chunk of cash they would earn to dump Asylum Seekers? If that is the case, A. Why is this issue not massive in our media here and B. Why don’t we interfere & tell Nauru to get act together?

    • Bettsie says:

      That’s just it Noely..we don’t know. What is in it for Nauru and PNG. Would love to know what the carrot is. We need journalists in there reporting..the country is in a state of emergency and no reporting

  2. Team Oyeniyi says:

    There is something very odd going on here, Betty. I am becoming quite afraid of the whole blanket of secrecy happening with this government.

    I read somewhere once it was expected that at some point the entire population of Nauru would become refugees themselves.

    For the life of me I can’t remember where or when I read that.

    • Bettsie says:

      I share your fear Robyn..when have we had 3 highly regarded Australians deported and the government of the day offers no comment. Now emergency rule. NZ proposing sanctions and we dont even talk about it.

  3. Davispg says:

    Thank you for the post Betty. It concerns me that so many Australians are so malleable they accept the government propaganda. It concerns me Nauruan’s are ‘grist to the mill’ for (successive) Australian Governments in the implementation of offshore processing for asylum seekers. A small island, sadly stripped of its resources and left. Simply saying ‘it’s an internal matter’ is, in my opinion, wrong. Economically Nauru needs Australia, politically the Australian Government needs Nauru. The two countries are linked, thus I think what happens in Nauru should be of concern to Australia. Instead, what we have is a government treating its own population with disrespect, hiding the operation behind a military fire-wall, leveraging its propaganda machine to ensure the malleable folk in the Australian population remain just that, malleable, and compliant.

    • Bettsie says:

      Thanks Paul..good to remind us of the disrespect to their own population. Goodness what “emergency law” will mean for them..where do they go for assistance

  4. Bettsie says:

    If the refugees on Nauru are being treated humanely then there should be no need for secrecy!
    If they are not being treated humanely then OUR govt should be investigating. Surely enough red flags have been raised OR are these moves condoned or dare I say, even suggested, by our govt?

    We have to face the fact that the refugees on Nauru sought refuge IN Australia. The Australian govt transported them to Nauru. The refugees therefore must remain the responsibility of the Australian govt. There can be no excuse for out of sight out of mind!

    In our democracy, OUR govt is elected by US to represent US! Therefore anything done by OUR govt is done in OUR name. If we want information on actions taken in our name we should be provided with it by OUR representatives! This is not happening with this govt so how do we hold it to account?

    Surely history teaches us that a whole nation is tarnished by the actions of its government. Do we really want to be known as a nation without compassion for our fellow man? If we don’t, then we can’t allow the government to abrogate its responsibility to those we have sent to Nauru!
    Posted for Lorraine Hyde

  5. Passionate Piece Bett,,, & up to the usual high standard! “A nation is tarnished by the actions of its Gov”We are ashamed & embarrassed by our As/seeker policy,treating the very desperate so disgracefully,& yes the barrier of secrecy non accountability is a genuine threat to true democracy…a deceitful Gov does indeed tarnish allof us!

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