Dear Minister Morrison Part Two

Well, if I thought things weren’t going so well when I wrote to you in November, they have really gone to hell in a hand-basket now. Many commentators talk about a “race to the bottom”.  Well, I think the bottom has well and truly been reached. The murder of Reza Berati on Manus Island on February 17th assured that. The only thing worse now, is you trying to spin it to save your job.

Much had been said and written over the past week, of events which occurred on Manus Island which resulted in the murder of Reza and the injury to another 67 asylum seekers. Truth will finally out and we will know what really happened that dark evening….same as how the truth of  “children overboard” eventually came to light and will forever be a stain on the political records of John Howard & Peter Reith.

ImageIt seems Reza’s murder has become a watershed which galvanised a complacent public. Tens of thousand of people turned out to more than 700 plus #LightTheDark events across Australia organised by GetUp. Incredibly sad it took a murder to do this. Great it has happened but so many other atrocities have gone barely noticed.

I have to be honest Mr Morrison and say it is not just about Manus for me, disgraceful as it is. It is how you treat women & kids in all detention centers.

Last November, I wrote of Latifa who had been transferred to Brisbane from Nauru for an emergency caesarian. Remember her, the woman your staff  were keeping from her seriously ill baby.

Your plans to send Latifa and a very ill baby Farus back to Nauru post haste were ‘interrupted’ when lawyers, acting pro bono, gained a court injunction to allow them to stay in Brisbane ( in detention of course) so that both Latifa, a diabetic and Farus could continue to receive ongoing medical treatment. To any reasonable person this would seem fair and right. Not to you it seems, as you are still fighting this in the courts. You are disputing the “legal” status of Baby Farus who was born in the Mater Hospital Brisbane. A birth certificate was issued for Farus. His parents are stateless Rohingyan who have spent 10 years in a refugee camp in Malaysia. Rather than do the humane thing and allow this family to stay in Australia, you are spending tax payer’s money appealing to the High Court to overturn the injunction and have them returned to Nauru. Your legal argument is that baby Farus “arrived” by boat as an “illegal maritime arrival” and is therefore not entitled to a Protection Visa. It now seems the unborn are counted in your pathetic definition of “illegals” Unbelievably pathetic. The matter is still before the courts.

And now to  Salima whose story is heartbreaking beyond belief. Salima is also Rohingya. She was sent to Nauru with her husband in early December 2013. Salima was 6 weeks pregnant at the time. She had her pregnancy confirmed by a medical officer on Nauru. Salima made the heartbreaking decision to terminate her pregnancy because she and her husband could offer “no hope” to their unborn. They both portray life on Nauru and the appalling conditions in which they exist. They both believed their baby would not survive Nauru, both the horrendous conditions as well as the  lack of hope. Salima was brought to Australia for the termination. Her weight has dropped to 35 kgs following the termination of her pregnancy. She is now in detention in Darwin where she is receiving psychiatric care. The depths of despair we are driving people to….is this the Australia we want.

ImageAnd what about kids…Your “no exceptions” policy has recently seen 13 unaccompanied minors sent to Nauru. This adds to the numbers of unaccompanied kids already sent off shore. You had better check on your colleague Joe Hockey. He said in the last parliament that it would be ‘over his dead’ body that unaccompanied minors would be sent off shore. The trafficking of children across international borders is appalling and is well articulated in this compelling article.

The safety and wellbeing of children should be the highest priority of any government. We now see at the Royal Commission into the institutional sexual abuse of  children, what happens when the oversight of the safety of children falls off the radar. How much harder this will this be when we place children in detention in a foreign country with all the “secrecy” surrounding detention centres. You informed us last week, that you could “guarantee” the safety of asylum seekers who stayed within the compound. I would like some clarification on “safety”. Are you just talking about physical safety or are you humane enough to advocate for emotional, sexual, cultural & spiritual safety…bit to think about there. I am seriously concerned about what is happening to children particularly unaccompanied minors…you are after all their legal guardian making these decisions on their behalf. Second thought, I would feel a whole lot better if you appointed a specific Refugee Children’s Commissioner who could do this. Your track record with pregnant women, babies and kids isn’t doing so well.

ImageStill on the topic of women…I hear your office is being inundated with tampons. I know you described the campaign by Destroy the Joint as “juvenile” but the thing is Mr Morrison, many of us woman were appalled to hear that women in detention were not being provided with adequate sanitary supplies and were having to ask male security for these products and were then provided with them 2 at a time. Just one of the many ways in which people or in this case women, are degraded and dehumanised in detention centres including those within Australia as well as those in detention on Christmas, Nauru and Manus Islands.

The world is watching and judging us badly. The United Nations have condemned conditions within detention centres on Manus & Nauru. Likewise so has Amnesty International. Indonesia have rebuked us for our military operation and tow backs where people are “forcibly” removed from boats, put into life boats and towed across the Indian Ocean.  We now have a ‘show’of faux sympathy for those who perished at sea when it was yourself who publicly complained about the cost of bringing family members from Christams Island to Sydney for the funerals of their loved ones who perished in the ship wreck off Christams Island.

For the thousands in detention and the many thousands in the community facing visa cancellations, I say enough.

For Reza, Latifa, Farus Selima and the tens of thousands nameless asylum seekers, my heartfelt apology. This has never been about you, it is about shameless politicians who are appealing to the worst of human nature to gain and maintain political power. Thing is, the vast majority of Australians are decent people who may have been misled but once informed are appalled

We can all do our bit in our own way to end this madness by saying enough. I personally encourage everyone to March in March.

You Minister Morrison can do your bit by resigning and leaving the parliament.

About Bettsie

Writing on things important to me... Feminism Australian Politics Social Justice
This entry was posted in asylum seekers, Children, Manus, Nauru, Politics, Scott Morrison, Violence Against Women. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Dear Minister Morrison Part Two

  1. Bettsie, you have said it oh so clearly.
    It is not only the LNP, Abbott & Morrison & Co but also the ALP who need to have a good hard look at themselves. The problem was always on how to control the numbers of desperate people who just want to come to a country that they see from outside of it, as a great place to start a new life. It used to be once. It is not now.
    Before the problem of Asylum Seekers got so terribly out of hand, I seem to remember that one of the earlier plans was to increase the numbers from the refugee camps & let them become the next generations of wonderfully productive people. These people deserve to be helped to join out communities, both in the main cities, but more so in the areas in country areas who are just crying out for people to join them so they can keep whatever services they have & stop those services from closing down their towns.
    Australians who really care should voice their distaste for this disgraceful behaviour as you say just to gain political power. It just sucks!

    • Bettsie says:

      You said it rightly Sandra ” before the problem of Asylum Seekers got so terribly out of hand”. Asylum seekers arent “numbers, illegals, transferees, detainees or queue jumpers. The dont even comprise a homogenous group. Their common bond is their search for a better life has brought them to our shores and into the dark abysess of our disfunctional system

  2. hannahquinn says:

    Reblogged this on The Kettle Press and commented:
    Morrison said he could ‘guarantee’ refugee safety if they stayed inside the compound, however, the injuries occurred inside and Berati died inside the compound. Yet, Morrison says nothing further on that. Instead, when asked in parliament about any of this, he answers by attacking Labor who are no longer in government. This is not good enough and a long, long way from the so-called ‘adult government’ Abbott claims to run.

  3. Bettsie says:

    Thanks Hannah for the reblog. Morrison cannot guarantee anyone’s safety. If he is unable to ‘protect’ men then we must have grave fears for his inability to protect children

  4. Di Macleod says:

    Well said Betty. Morrison must resign. Everyone please march in March!

  5. Pingback: Goodies, baddies, wimps: where are the ADULTS? | Love versus Goliath : A Partner Visa Journey

  6. Spagirl says:

    When our government lies to us without shame- we have a huge problem that requires direct community action- This Minister has lied to us and nurtured a culture of secrecy to a level any dictatorship would admire…his resignation is required but not his alone- this Abbot government is the most dishonest, deceitful and morally bankrupt government Australia has EVER had- time to go the whole lot of them- our international reputation has been trashed enough

  7. Well you let fly this time Bett! excellent summary re the detestable,immoral policy of the Abbott Gov! The many concerned/ shocked people who attended Light the Dark offered a significant symbol – Australians do care about the horrendous treatment of the as / seekers & gathered to peacefully voice their sorrow & shame at this Gov,& to let these poor helpless AS know that many of us stand with them & are seeking ways to support their plight…..March in March is coming! marvellous blog again Bett,keep up the fire in the belly,a very worthy cause!

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