The 267 asylum seekers facing deportation to Nauru and Manus Island by the Australian government could go to New Zealand if they are found to be refugees, the country's Prime Minister John Key said on February 15. Among those facing deportation are 37 babies born in Australia to asylum seeker parents, and another 54 children, some of whom are attending school. A High Court decision this month ruled Australia's offshore processing regime was legal.
Nauru and Manus Island detention centres
Not for some years has there been so much justifiable outrage over bipartisan cruelty towards refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. The groundswell of community organising to keep the 267 asylum seekers, being threatened with deportation to Nauru and Manus Island, is a bright spot on an otherwise bleak horizon.
It was standing room only as more than 250 people packed an auditorium in Sydney, to hear speakers discuss conditions in the Nauru and Manus Island detention centres. As speaking about conditions in these detention centres has now been criminalised by the federal government's Border Force Act, the three speakers were whistleblowers. Two speakers, who had worked in or visited the detention centres, risk prosecution.