Over the last few days I have witnessed the culmination of a Faustian tragedy that has been slowing growing in Australia over the past few years. I watched as members of our Senate came close to breaking down in tears as their hands were forced to pass one of the ugliest pieces of legislation regarding asylum seekers in Canberra this week.
The federal government and in particular Scott Morrison [Minister for Immigration] held the lives of 1500 people, three hundred of those children, for ransom to push through a piece of legislation that stripped Australia of it’s right to be called a civilized country.
He told the Federal Senate that unless this bill was passed then the fate of those in detention would remain in limbo. He then said if they would pass the legislation then he would release those people before Christmas rather than sending them to Naru. Still facing defeat some of the senate found their phone numbers were given to those being held, children included so that they could contact them and beg them to pass this bill. It was voted through by a margin of one vote.
The people currently in detention and those who would be immediately affected by Morrison’s blackmail had no idea exactly what this legislation would mean to the future of asylum seekers. All they knew was it was an opportunity to have their children let out of the Australian version of concentration camps. [The UN compared them to Guantanamo]
At this point even if they did understand all the implications they were too worn down physically and psychologically to care and as such were prepared to accept anything that set them free, even the prospect of it only being temporary.
The most disgusting part of this is that it was Scott Morrison who was keeping them there, he could have released them at any time in the past 12 months but chose instead to use their lives as living, breathing ransom notes.
The piece of legislation was called Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014. It is a long and quite complicated proposal but it has some very specific repercussions. These are:
- Scott Morrison, Federal Immigration Minister, now has the power to simply push any Asylum Seeker boat back out to sea and leave it there.
- Scott Morrison, Federal Immigration Minister, now has the power to block any person from ever making a claim for asylum on the barely defined grounds of “character” and “national interest.“
- Scott Morrison, Federal Immigration Minister, now has the power to not disclose his reasons for blocking these claims. Ever.
- Scott Morrison, Federal Immigration Minister, now has the power to order people to be detained without charge for indefinite periods of time.
- Scott Morrison, Federal Immigration Minister, now has the power to order people to be deported to any country of his choosing, even if he is aware that they will be tortured or murdered when they arrive back in that country.
- Scott Morrison, Federal Immigration Minister, now has the power to never be challenged on any decision he makes under this amended legislation.
As of Friday evening Australia now stands outside the UN and international law by removing any mention of the Refugee Convention, which by the way Australia had a part in developing in the aftermath of WW II to prevent the huge loss of human life for those displaced during the conflict and after. It is also now the case that Australia no longer sides with the ruling that those seeking to flee war, persecution [religious, political etc] or major catastrophe in their own countries, be given shelter.
Despite the anger I have I also feel saddened for those whose hands were forced in this matter and even more for those who held out against the barrage of emotional blackmail. Morrison and his cohorts have behaved despicably in their quest to make others feel accountable for those children when it was he and his governments policies of ‘Stop The Boats‘, a euphemism for an old LNP policy known as the White Australia Policy, who kept them there.
What horrible choices these Senators had. To vote against this legislation, knowing if it was defeated Morrison would take delight in rubbing those kids in their faces while claiming his hands were clean. He played with the lives of children and the conscience of the parliament as if they were puppets set to dance at his command.
Or the other choice, to vote with the LNP knowing it to be an immoral law but desperate to do something to help those who were being used as pawns in game of political chess. Despite the knowledge that this act is condemned by the UN, The Australian Human Rights Commission as well as contravening international law they also had to balance the immediate welfare of children deemed in harms way through no fault of their own.
I have never ever lashed out at someone is regards to their faith. In fact I respect everyone’s right to follow the god/goddess of their choice. But when a man like Morrison stands in parliament at the beginning of this term and claims that the fate of those children weighs on him as a Christian and a father and then proceeds to use them as game pieces I draw a line. He is a hypocrite in the purest definition of the word.
Some of the most basic tenets of Christian belief are tied to compassion and upholding those who need help, the poor, the homeless the persecuted. Yet this disgrace of a human being has gone out of his way to force many of the senate in to a deal the devil himself who find hard to swallow.
So I have a question for him:
Mr Morrison if you truly are a Christian just how do you plan to explain to your god your actions? All I can think of is that you are one of those who view those of different faith or colour as less than human and as such feels no need to apply Christian charity to them. Nothing you could do from this day on will ever wash the blood and pain from your hands for your actions since you took Immigration as your portfolio – don’t kid yourself about that. I truly believe that there is an afterlife where we are judged for our actions in this life. I may see it from a different religion to you but I know one thing for sure – you’re damned in the eyes of your own god.
Below is one of the senators, Sarah Hanson-Young, speaking against this legislation. It is obvious at times to see her being torn emotionally because one man wanted power without repercussions and was prepared to use the lives and deaths of men, women and children to get what he wanted.