Refugee Action Collective (Vic)

Free the refugees! Let them land, let them stay!

Archives October 2016

MEDIA RELEASE | GOVERNMENT RATTLED BY PNG SUPREME COURT ACTION – UNPOPULAR TURNBULL TURNS TO REFUGEE BASHING

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE

GOVERNMENT RATTLED BY PNG SUPREME COURT ACTION – UNPOPULAR TURNBULL TURNS TO REFUGEE BASHING

The Turnbull government’s announcement that it intends to ban for life, asylum seekers and refugees, who attempted to travel to Australia by boat after 19 July 2013, has been dismissed as political grandstanding by the Refugee Action Coalition.

“This is a desperate headline-grabbing announcement from a Prime Minister whose is now less popular than Tony Abbott, and a government that is trailing Labor in the polls.  The Turnbull government is shamefully attempting to pre-empt a looming PNG Supreme Court action that seeks orders for the asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island to be returned to Australia,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

The PNG Supreme Court action seeking compensation for human rights breaches and an order to return the Manus detainees was dismissed on a technicality on 27 October.  But already over 600 detainees on Manus Island have signed court applications to ensure the court action can be resumed, perhaps as early as December.

“The announcement is proof positive that the government recognises that its claim that refugees from Manus and Nauru, would never come to Australia is just bluster.  The government is trying to hide the fact that its offshore detention regime is disintegrating. Leaders of both PNG and Nauru have appealed for international help to resettle refugees, but the government has tried to bury its head in the sand.

“Turnbull’s lifetime ban must be opposed,” said Rintoul, “It is disgraceful that Bill Shorten and other Labor leaders have not yet completely rejected the proposal. Some Labor MPs have spoken out against the ban. They can help ensure that the Labor Party acts to kill off this draconian and misjudged legislation and declare they will vote against it.

“The inherently discriminatory legislation is also legally dubious and would likely face a constitutional challenge even if it did pass the parliament.

 

“Offshore detention has already divided husbands and wives and parents from children, brothers from sisters. Turnbull’s threat of a lifetime ban would mean more divided partners and families. But people have had enough of cruel Coalition policies. Turnbull’s threat as support to bring offshore detainees to the Australian mainland is growing.”

Catholic bishops are just the latest to call on the Coalition government to :”Bring Them Here”. (https://www.catholicweekly. com.au/time-to-bring-them- here-australian-bishops- statement-on-offshore- detention/)

 Thousands of refugee supporters are expected to attend the  “Doctor’s March for Refugees” is being held in Sydney in Saturday, 5 November starting Hyde Park north, 1pm, marching to Circular Quay. A

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713 (recently on Manus Island) ; Nick Riemer 0481 339 937

MEDIA RELEASE | PORT MORESBY SUPREME COURT SET FOR DECISION TO RETURN OF MANUS REFUGEES

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE

PORT MORESBY SUPREME COURT SET FOR DECISION TO RETURN OF MANUS REFUGEES

A full bench hearing of the PNG Supreme Court, on Thursday 27 October, will consider an application on behalf of 302 Manus asylum seekers and refugees for the return to Australia of all those asylum seekers and refugees who wish to do so.

The lead counsel acting for the Manus asylum seekers will be retired Federal Court of Australia judge, Ron Merkel.

The application for Summary Judgement follows the PNG Supreme Court’s finding in April that the Manus island detention centre is illegal and that the Australian and PNG government ‘must take steps to cease the illegal detention of asylum seekers on Manus and the continued breach of their human rights’.

The summary judgement seeks the Supreme Court to order: (i) that the PNG and Australian government make all necessary arrangements for the transfer to Australia of all those applicants who wish to return to Australia within 30 days of the order of the court; and (ii) the governments of PNG and Australia make all necessary arrangements for the transfer to a third country (capable of offering them a durable solution) of those applicants who do not wish to return to Australia.

Lawyers acting for the Manus Island detainees have written to the Australian government have been invited to appear before the Supreme Court hearing on Thursday (letter here).

The Australian government has previously tried to deny any responsibility for the Manus detainees despite the clear Supreme Court ruling on 26 April this year. It is also clear that the PNG Supreme Court has the power to make an order against the Australian government.

“The asylum seekers and refugees have been illegally imprisoned on Manus Island for over three years. It is six months since the PNG Supreme Court ordered that Manus Island be closed, but those orders have been ignore. The application for Summary Judgement will give the court the opportunity to put its decision beyond any doubt and see the detainees returned to Australia,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The compensation payable for the multiple human rights breaches cannot begin to make up for torture that Operation Sovereign Borders has inflicted on people who sought protection from Australia.

“It is shameful that the Australian government has been willing to ignore the Supreme Court’s earlier decision. Both the PNG Foreign Minister and the Nauru Prime Minister have appealed for international help to resettle refugees from their respective countries, but the asylum seekers and refugees have always been Australia’s responsibility.

“We are hoping that very soon after the court hearing, we will see the first Manus Island detainees returned to Australia.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713