Jay Fletcher

When feminist writer Clementine Ford outed one of her online abusers to his employer, it struck a chord with people who have endured similar sexist harassment and abuse: on their blogs, social media, and even dating websites. However, Ford also been criticised and been told she's doing more harm than good, most famously in the widely discussed opinion piece on independent news site New Matilda by Jack Kilbride titled “Why Courageous Clementine Ford Is Not The Answer”.

The decision to deny 11-month-old Ferouz Myuddin a protection visa precedes a plan by Tony Abbott’s government to retrospectively deny all babies born to asylum seekers the right to seek refugee status.

An amendment bill containing extensive changes to the Migration Act was tabled by the federal government last month. The bill would remove most references to the refugee convention and legalise boat turnarounds.

The Coalition government also wants all babies born to asylum seekers who arrived by boat after August 13, 2012 to be declared “unauthorised maritime arrivals”.

Forty-eight hours to send newly arrived refugees back the way they came and a plan to conceal when boats are “turned around” at sea, were among immigration minister Scott Morrison's statements at his first weekly briefing under “Operation Sovereign Borders” on September 23.

Iranian asylum seeker and aspiring architect Reza Berati was beaten to death inside the Manus Island detention camp more than two months ago, during what former employees of the detention centre described as “inevitable bloodshed”.

Now, the five witnesses who say they can identify those who allegedly kicked, punched and beat the 23-year-old until he succumbed to massive head injuries, have been receiving death threats from local security guards.

Doctors have spoken out for refugees in unprecedented numbers, as an open letter to the government signed by more than 62,000 Australians was handed to parliament on October 20.

The letter, signed by more than 240 health professionals, legal experts and academics, accuses the government of “willfully and deliberately” harming refugees.

The opening session of the new parliament in Canberra next month will be met by a national convergence of refugee rights activists and campaigners.

For years the federal budget has been brutal on refugees and asylum seekers. Each year for the past two decades, visa places have been cut or made more difficult to gain, and services and rights to appeal are cut. The rights of people seeking protection in Australia are slowly eroded while detention centres get bigger and bigger budgets.

Now, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey have revealed a budget that takes the war on refugees to new heights — with a newly merged border control agency, more patrol boats and the axing of independent oversight of refugee processing.

The Australian government’s review of the February violence on Manus Island leaves critical questions unanswered and does not call for the detention camp to be closed.

Robert Cornall’s 107-page administrative review, released on May 26, includes a detailed account of 23-year-old Reza Berati’s death and identifies a Salvation Army employee as instigating the attack.

A campaign organised by Cambodians has led the country’s first vice-president of the National Assembly to urge Australia to back down from its bid to resettle refugees there.

Kem Sokha said in a letter to the Australian Ambassador to Cambodia, Alison Burrows, that the deal to transfer up to 1000 refugees from Nauru could have “negative impacts which would possibly be caused by economic, social situations”.
Joyce Fu, who works for NGO Corner Link and was part of organising protests and petitions calling for the refugee deal to be abandoned, said Cambodia was ill-equipped for the plan.

Immigration minister Scott Morrison reintroduced temporary protection visas (TPVs) on October 18 in a two-page “regulation” that amends the Migration Act and strips many rights and protections for refugees in Australia.

Morrison said the move was part of the government's “border protection policy” and aimed to “discourage” people from making “dangerous voyages to Australia”.


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