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John Passant

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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

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Sick kids and paying upfront


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Me on Razor Sharp this morning
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The Human Rights Commission exposes Australia’s deliberate brutality to asylum seeker children in detention

Here is the press statement by Professor Gillian Triggs, the head of the Human Rights Commission, on the release of its report into asylum seeker children in detention in both Australia and on Manus Island and Nauru.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has called for all children held in immigration detention in Australia and Nauru to be released into the community.

The recommendation was made in The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention 2014, which was tabled in Parliament last night.

Australian Human Rights Commission President Professor Gillian Triggs welcomed the release of children in immigration detention over recent months, but said the Commission remains concerned about those remaining in detention.

“Since the Inquiry began in February 2014, most of the 1138 children detained at that time are now in the community or in community detention,” Professor Triggs said.

“Recent data from the Department of Immigration shows that 211 children remain in detention in Australia and a further 119 are held in Nauru.

“When our Report was written last October, these children had been detained for an average of 14 months. Today their detention has lengthened to 17 months.

“It is our hope that the remaining 330 children will be released with their families as soon as it is safe to do.”

The Inquiry team visited 11 detention centres, with repeat visits to Christmas Island after reports of attempted suicide and self-harm. A total of 1,233 interviews were conducted with children and their parents including those in detention and those who had been released into the community.

The Inquiry also received 239 submissions from the public and stakeholders, took evidence from 41 witnesses at 5 public hearings, and relied significantly on data provided by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

The report provided unprecedented first-hand evidence of the impact that prolonged immigration detention has on the mental and physical health of children. It also identified the impact of detention on the key developmental stages of children as infants, pre-schoolers, primary aged children and teenagers.

Professor Triggs said the findings on mental health disorders among children in immigration detention were “deeply shocking”.

“34 per cent of children detained in Australia and Christmas Island have a mental health disorder of such severity that they require psychiatric support,” she said.

“Fewer than 2 per cent of children in the general community have mental health disorders of this severity. We believe the rate to be even higher in Nauru.

“Children are self-harming in detention at very high rates – over a 15 month period from 2013-2014, there were 128 incidents of self-harm amongst children. During this same period there were 27 such incidents of voluntary starvation involving children.”

The Inquiry also found that the children have been exposed to unacceptable levels of assault, including sexual assault and violence in detention.

Professor Triggs said successive governments have failed children by locking them up in immigration detention.

“This Report provides an opportunity for change. Never again should any child be treated in this way in Australia’s name,” she said.

“It is contrary to those values we admire in the Australian spirit; a generous hearted welcome to those needing our protection and a fair go.

“I appeal for a more humane and legally responsible approach to refugees who seek our help. I ask you to read this Report and decide for yourself.”

Recommendations of the Report:

•Recommendation 1 calls for all children and their families in immigration detention in Australia and Nauru to be released into the community.

•Recommendation 2 calls for the Migration Act to be amended to provide that children and parents may be detained only for a strictly limited period of time necessary to conduct health, identity and security checks.

JP additions

Recommendation 15  It is recommended that a royal commission be established to examine the:

·         long term impacts of detention on the physical and mental health of children in immigration detention;

·         reasons for continued use of this policy since 1992, including offshore detention and processing; and

·         remedies for any breaches of the rights of children that have been detained.

Tony Abbott immediately rejected the call for a royal commission into asylum seeker children in detention. While I will more write about this in the next few days, Abbott rejected it because this level of shocking cruelty to children is a deliberate part of the Australian government’s refugee policies. That is as true of Labor as it is of the Liberals. You won’t see Labor supporting the call for a royal commission either. It would expose them as much as it exposes the Liberals in their grotesque bipartisan brutality.



Comment from Kay
Time February 13, 2015 at 8:54 am

I think Gillian Triggs has been fairly discredited over time. It is interesting that she delayed the inquiry until the Coalition was in power, and the problem had largely been resolved. Most children detained by Labor have now been released into the community, and of those who haven’t been, many have rejected the offer because it would mean leaving their security-risk husband/father behind.

There is no justification for a Royal Commission. I don’t think it a surprise to anyone that being in detention is unpleasant, including for the children. Parents hopefully took this into account before hopping onto a leaky boat, hopefully including the possibility that they and their children might drown en route. It just shows what unintended consequences can occur when someone like Rudd decides to open up our borders to all comers, without any long-term plan that includes acceptance by the general community.

The best outcome for genuine refugees around the world, most of whom are currently languishing in UN refugee camps, is for the boats to be stopped, thus making room within the refugee program for those long-term refugees to be admitted via Australia’s humanitarian program. The Coalition has achieved this. I would like to see further increases in the numbers of genuine refugees admitted under the Humanitarian Program, and for them to be suitably supported in the community until they manage to ‘find their feet’. The number of people, including children, currently in detention will diminish over time given that no more are arriving – as happened under Howard. That is the best long term outcome. That’s pretty much a no-brainer.

It may have escaped your attention, but given the current security concerns about possible ISIS terrorism, the last thing the Australian population wants is a further uninvited influx of disgruntled Muslim asylum seekers. There is no support in this country for a significant increase in the Muslim community, nor will there be as long as Muslim extremists are a risk to us.

Comment from John
Time February 13, 2015 at 10:44 am

Discredited? Rubbish, that is just BS from Abbott and his right wing sycophants at Rupert’s regime. She is a great servant of the public highlighting the issues.

Comment from Brian
Time February 13, 2015 at 11:27 am

Discredited, yes she is!

she gave up her own disabled daughter and allowed her to die,

She said there were armed guards (there are no such guards) she said detention centres had no grass or playgrounds for children (they have swimming pools grassed playgrounds and equipment), she said the detention centres are prisons (which Morrison ripped her to pieces as she tried to compare Long Bay jail to a detention centre.)
She said there were no medical facilities in detention centres. AND worse of all she ORDERED children to draw a prison, so she could use it for her own proper gander, lying, deceitful means.

She is an insult to mother hood and to women,. She should be sacked immediately

Comment from John
Time February 13, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Bullshit Brian. You have been reading and are now regurgitating nothing but filthy lies about Gillian Triggs. These lies are attempts to undermine her for telling the truth about children in detention. I do agree with you on one aspect – the detention centres aren’t prisons. They are concentration camps. I pity you that you have to rely on this nonsense to bolster your support for this brutal treatment of children. I won’t publish any more of this sort of nonsense, of lies, of filth from you. Post it on the right wing hate blogs.

Comment from Brian
Time February 13, 2015 at 1:10 pm

John, when you result in insults, then you have lost the argument.

I read and comment on your blogs to have a healthy discussion, not to be insulted.

I commend you on your blind faith that any left wing person must be pure.

But seriously, to compare our detention centres to concentration camps, is a disgusting insult to all POWs around the world.

Why can’t you support the current government who has released 1000’s of children and NOT ONE death at sea. Or would you prefer to believe in the Lies Gillian tells and go back to many deaths at sea?
Do you know Gillian? I do.

BTW John, why put up blogs, if you don’t want a discussion? If you just want mindless sheep supporting your limited experience in these matters, don’t blog

Comment from Brian
Time February 13, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Hi John,

please post my last comments, otherwise It just proves I’m right

Comment from John
Time February 13, 2015 at 2:14 pm

Actually if you look at the history of concentration camps from the Spanish in Cuba to the US in the Philippine American war to the British in the Boer war and beyond (the Nazis took them an extra exterminating step) then our detention centres are precisely that. They concentrate a group of people (‘aliens’) in a prison without trial.

I deal in facts, not lies. None of what you said about Triggs is true. Slandering and defaming a woman defending basic rights of asylum seeker children isn’t debate. It is filth.

Here is part of the story about her disabled child. The Age link to her interview no longer works.

The government haven’t saved thousands from death. They have outsourced the misery and death to other countries as well as Manus Island and Nauru where kids exist as living dead.

Comment from John
Time February 13, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Your comments get caught by the spam detector. Don’t lecture me.

Comment from John
Time February 13, 2015 at 2:30 pm

Here is also Ben Hillier in Red Flag on why they are concentration camps.

Comment from John
Time February 13, 2015 at 4:10 pm

Your comment that she left her child to die is a lie. You have zero credibility.

Comment from John
Time February 13, 2015 at 5:20 pm

So is your source Piers Akerman? Really? is that who you rely on for your ‘truth’. God help us all.

Here is a response to Akerman’s filth.

Comment from Thekla
Time February 13, 2015 at 9:58 pm

Thank you for writing this. Great post!

The strange thing is that the majority of boat arrivals have been shown to be genuinely in need of our help, and yet we punish them for it. In the meantime others arrive by plane and are somehow not arbitrarily detained, even though they have been shown historically to be far less in need of protection. The mind boggles!

The sad thing is that this is NOT over – the damage has been done to these children already, and a Royal Commission should take place.

The weird thing is that while the report covers a long period of time and is a 10-year follow up to the 2004 report, this Govt and many of its followers have chosen to take it as some sort of personal attack and behave like children over it, even though it is critical of both sides of govt.

Not only can they not handle hearing the FACTS and the accounts from many qualified medical professionals, they twist and turn and try to discredit the messenger.

Time for some of our politicians to well and truly grow up and realise it’s not all about them.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time February 18, 2015 at 2:52 pm

I thought some of the issues raised by the HRC were fairly trivial, which detracted from the more germane elements of concern.

If all asylum seekers are quickly released into the community, it will ramp up the number of economic refugees coming to our shores at a time when unemployment and underemployment of Australians is a serious problem.