Australia’s flawed human rights record

There’s not too much coincidence about the timing of China’s social media campaign, accusing Australia of human rights abuses. The photo-shopped meme which has outraged all sides of the Australian government targets alleged war crimes in Afghanistan. Timely, given that next Thursday (the 10th), is International Human Rights Day. China, of course, is campaigning from a blood-stained corner, its long record of human rights abuses and accusations thereof, lurking in the shadows. I mention the…

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Asylum seekers and the seven-year itch

If Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton ever had a lapse in judgement, it would be thinking that asylum seekers and their supporters have given up. Over a seven-year span, Mr Dutton and his predecessors have exposed asylum seekers to a punitive system (which is outside the UN Convention on Refugees). As you may hear this weekend, Sunday marks seven years of detention for those who were sent to centres on Manus Island and Nauru. At…

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About Nauru your petitioner humbly prays

I could count on the toes of my feet the number of petitions I have signed in this life, but I could not refuse the Kids off Nauru campaign. More than 100 human rights groups, churches, charities and organisations, including World Vision, Amnesty International and the Australian Lawyers Alliance are behind Kids off Nauru. The e-petition to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten leaves no room for negotiation. Children in detention on…

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A few myths about refugees

My conscience would be burdened if anyone went to the polls on July 2 believing some of the persistent myths and misunderstandings about asylum seekers and refugees. First, let’s set out a few facts in the interests of perspective: Asylum seekers are people seeking international protection but whose claims for refugee status have not yet been determined; Australia is the only nation with a policy of indefinite mandatory detention for people it has identified as…

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