Advocacy group Doctors for Refugees has launched a High Court challenge to the controversial Border Force Act that prevents them from speaking out about child abuse and other threats to asylum seekers in detention centres. Lawyers for the doctors will argue that the court should declare invalid laws that threaten detention centre staff with two years' jail for disclosing information about conditions they observe behind the wire.
In the discussion about Pauline Hanson's election to the Senate and her recent appearance on ABC's Q&A there have been appeals by some commentators to go easy on her because: "She is just saying what a lot of people are thinking". Well, dopey racist ideas need to be condemned for what they are, regardless of how many people share them. This defence of Hanson is like the completely false idea that the degrading treatment of asylum seekers by Labor and Coalition governments is just responding to what the voters want. This of course puts the cart before the horse.
More than 1500 people crowded into Sydney's ornate Town Hall as an east coast low brought rain tumbling down, to rally for refugees. The pre-election refugee rights rally, themed 'Close Manus, Close Nauru, Bring Them Here', was held during World Refugee Week. Speakers included Socialist Alliance Senate candidate Ken Canning, who gave a moving acknowledgment of country; Ian Rintoul from Refugee Action Coalition; TV personality Margaret Pomeranz, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, Sophia from Young Labor for Refugees, Hamad, a refugee, and Judith and Evan, who were teachers formerly on Nauru.
On July 2 Australian voters head to the polls — although by that date up to 40% of voters will have voted at early polling centres across the country. Despite a number of minor parties and progressive independents running in lower house seats and the Senate, we know that come July 3 we will be looking at three more years of evil bastards or the lesser of two evils.
Zebedee Parkes, an activist in Sydney’s Refugee Action Coalition and member of Socialist Alliance prepared this for Green Left Weekly. 1. Asylum seeker protests in Nauru detention centre for more than 60 days Protests in the Nauru detention centre started on March 20 and have now continued for more than 60 days in the face of hostility from guards and attempts to stop messages from getting out to the world.
Several hundred people rallied outside the department of immigration in Sydney on April 29. They were part of nation-wide #BringThemHere actions, demanding the federal Coalition government bring the 850 asylum seekers and refugees currently in Manus Island Detention Centre to Australia. Earlier in the week, the PNG Supreme Court had ruled that the detention centre was in breach of its constitution. Aboriginal activist and Socialist Alliance Senate candidate Ken Canning said: "The way this government is treating these people, a lot of them will die — and that is murder."
Four lawmakers from Spain's far-left Podemos party and its allies are participating in a week-long hunger strike to try to rally public support for refugees. The lawmakers began their hunger strike on April 16 and called on people to occupy public squares for 24 hours on April 22, the day their actions end. The hunger strike is a gesture of support for those people at the center of Europe's biggest migrant crisis since World War II. Twenty-four hour assemblies were planned for a dozens cities on April 22.
That the Australian government can find $6 million to fund a film aimed at convincing asylum seekers to not come to Australia and yet cut more than $50 million from Screen Australia speaks volumes about its priorities.
Racism and homophobia are on the rise. Millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) and sex and gender diverse identifying (SGDI) people face life-threatening persecution. About 2.7 billion people live in the 76 countries that criminalise homosexuality. The death penalty for homosexuality is applied in Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen. In China, several hospitals use electric shock therapy as “anti-gay treatments”.
Profits have soared for the operator of Australia's detention camps for asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea on Manus Island and on Nauru. Broadspectrum, which used to be called Transfield Services, announced it had trebled its net profit for the first half of the year to $25.1 million. Broadspectrum has been awarded a 12-month extension on its contract providing operational, welfare and security services to asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island. It has told investors it is the "preferred tenderer" for a new five-year contract it hopes to sign this year.