Manus Island is closing, but this by no means is the end of Australia’s detention centres. For all the impassioned pleas and fervent disagreement no matter who came into parliament offshore processing of asylum seekers was not an issue up for discussion.
Australia’s politicians have made a fortress of our fine coastal dwellings, barricading those begging at the gate and muting their cries. We live now in a gated community of sorts, the undesirables cast to an island far away where no can go and locked away. Newsworthy, no way?
Stop the boats has entered our everyday vernacular, a colloquialism thrown about to illustrate ignorant tunnel vision in social settings. Go on use it in a sentence, it’s works immeasurably well, a standing ovation or two for sure. What a larrikin.
The closing of Manus Island was not by choice. It was not a heartfelt decision or a strategic military movement, it was a forced hand by the Papua New Guinean government who deemed the centre unlawful.
Ex-Prime Minister and all round menace Tony Abbott shouted it so loudly, so incessantly during his election campaign that it surpassed even his own notoriety (don’t worry no Abbott budgy smuggling shots in this article, you’re safe). You can play the Stop The Boats game for yourself here, nothing like a little toying with the lives of real people for political gain hey.
Under the puppetry of Tony Abbott a new hardline stance was taken, where asylum seekers who came by boat (his most hated mode of transport obviously) would be held in Nauru and Manus Island indefinitely and denied refuge in Australia permanently.
With Manus Island this week coming to a close thanks to the unlawfulness of it’s existence, 854 detainees are most likely to be moved to Nauru. A place where only Peter Dutton and A Current Affair can visit. With the release of the Nauru Files in recent weeks (horrific but necessary reading here), the protest of former border officers over mistreatment just what are we sending them into?
Although the phrasing of headlines may have you thinking otherwise, the closing of Manus Island was not by choice. It was not a heartfelt decision or a strategic military movement, it was a forced hand by the Papua New Guinean government who deemed the centre unlawful.
We could empty the ocean and the rafts would still flow to our privileged shores.
At a cost of $2 Billion to keep the centre open for 4 years, it’s closure was met with heralds and celebration. Until Peter Dutton reiterated none of those refugees would be allowed to set foot on Australian soil, left as castaways in makeshift prison indefinitely. 2000 detainees have passed through Manus Island in it’s time, with 98% of them deemed to be legitimate refugees and settled in PNG, efforts to deter people smuggling efforts leave desperate men and women literally stranded at sea.
Shrouded in mystery the going ons of the Border Force is further down low than our ASIO operations. If it’s all above board, why aren’t we allowed to know about it? The government’s secrecy strategy involves outsourcing operation of detention centres, outsourcing the locations of centres and restricting former staff of the centres with silencing orders. The Border Force Act locking up any point of weakness and washing officials hands from the wrongdoing of unlawful indefinite detention.
— Kon Karapanagiotidis (@Kon__K) August 20, 2016
So awful the media won’t even report on it, you may ask? They most certainly would if they could. The tidy arrangement between the Nauru and Australian Government sees an $8,000 visa application fee for a vacation to Nauru. That’s non-refundable. Even if the fee wasn’t exorbitant, any media outlet worth their journalistic integrity would most certainly not be approved for a visit.
Wherever you stand on the matter the closure of Manus Island is no celebration, instead it signals a change in the tide. Instead of sitting idly by Australian’s are demanding to know how our oceans are protected and by what means our laws are upheld. Blissfully unaware, pleading ignorance no longer an option. Out of sight sure, but no longer out of mind.
Detention centres do not stop the boats, they drive detainees to insanity. We could empty the ocean and the rafts would still flow to our privileged shores. Offshore processing doesn’t stop asylum seekers, desperate people ravaged by turmoil will behave desperately in pursuit of safety. Secrecy in border protection doesn’t protect our interest, it belittles Australia’s intelligence.
The orchestration of offshore processing and systematic mistreatment wouldn’t be stomached in public. By tolerating this blindfold pulled tightly over our eyes we take a silent stance in line with border protection operations. Staying silent is staying blind to the injustice, a compliant part in the border protection mechanism.