Members of the Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance (WACA) blockaded the Home Affairs Department building and the Wilson Security Car Park in Canberra on March 28.
They were protesting the treatment of refugees held in indefinite detention and at risk of being deported to danger. The activists held banners that read “Border Force Tortures Refugees”, “Deportations = Death”, “#Justice4Refugees”, “#SackDutton” and “All Refugees in Detention are Political Prisoners”.
Peter Dutton has responsibility for Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Australian Federal Police, Criminal Intelligence Commission and Border Force in the new Home Affairs ministry. Under the change, the department is no longer held accountable externally but will be responsible for investigating itself.
WACA spokesperson Zianna Fuad said: “The concentrated power given to Dutton in his super-ministry is an erosion of our democracy.
“Dutton is a practitioner of the dark arts: enacting racist policies, snatching children at dawn, creating chaos in his department and disunity between Home Affairs workers.
“By outsourcing contracts for offshore detention centres to Wilson Security our government attempts to distance itself from the murder, rape, torture and child abuse of refugees."
WACA uses its protests to expose the ties between big business and government in the refugee detention industry. This industry benefits from public funds while profiting from the suffering of asylum seekers and refugees.
The action came as the “Super Glue Seven”, who superglued their hands to a balustrade in the public gallery of Parliament House in protest at the government’s treatment of refugees, stood trial accused of intentionally damaging Commonwealth property. They were found not guilty on March 29, as WACA members disrupted question time in Parliament for a second time to demand justice for refugees.
WACA spokesperson Charlotte Lynch said: “It has come to this, our politicians will not listen to the voices of refugees who are fighting for their lives. They will not listen to their citizens who are begging them to stop the madness.
“We will not let more lives be destroyed for political gains. We must stand in the way of this cruelty. It has now become clear to the majority of Australians that all refugees in detention are political prisoners at the mercy of Peter Dutton.
“We demand an end to deportations to danger, the immediate closure of all detention centres and the safe resettlement of every refugee and asylum seeker. We will not stop until there is justice for refugees.”