Students occupy Peter Dutton’s Office

Students occupy Immigration Minister’s office in protest to the warehousing of refugees on Nauru

Early Friday morning in Brisbane, university and TAFE students occupied federal immigration minister Peter Dutton’s office.

Sitting in the cramped public space, we chanted: “Say it loud, say it clear! Refugees are welcome here!” We kept the beat with the service bell, and blue-tacked petitions with thousands of signatures to the walls.

Behind the locked doors, Dutton was nowhere to be seen.

Framed in the foyer are numerous awards and messages, including a mental health awareness poster. Lauren Saunders, NUS Women’s Officer for Queensland pointed out the irony:NUS Women’s Officer for Queensland pointed out the irony:

“Many of the asylum seekers are here in Australia to be treated for the psychological trauma they have suffered on Nauru – and now they are being sent back to an island camp which is not fit for human beings.”

She indicated to a number of framed children’s drawings on the walls of Dutton’s office. “We can see a giraffe and bicycles here. Meanwhile children locked in detention are drawing pictures of themselves committing suicide.”

After two hours, media arrived. When one of our representatives stepped outside to speak with them, 14 police clamped down on the occupation.

A follow up action is taking place in King George Square at 5pm to demand the government #letthemstay.

blood on yr hands

3 thoughts on “Students occupy Peter Dutton’s Office

  1. “Students Vow to Occupy Peter Dutton’s Office with Refugee Deportations Imminent” says:

    “Students Vow to Occupy Peter Dutton’s Office with Refugee Deportations Imminent”

    This morning, students from university and TAFE campuses across Brisbane are heading to Strathpine to occupy federal immigration minister Peter Dutton’s office at ten o’clock. Following pledges from religious leaders, trade unions, teachers and nurses to engage in civil disobedience to prevent the deportation of refugees, Brisbane students have decided to play their part.

    They will be plastering the walls of Dutton’s office with thousands of signatures on a petition against the impending deportations, collected since the controversial High Court decision last week which gave the green light to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to deport 267 asylum seekers back to rape, hunger strikes, self-mutilation, mental illness, regular suicide attempts and general abuse on Nauru and Manus Island.

    Protest organiser Reeshan Yameen, the National Union of Students Welfare Officer for Queensland and member of Socialist Alternative, denounced the High Court’s majority decision.

    “Basic medical facilities are not available on Nauru. The asylum seekers are here in Australia to access medical treatment. Many of the children facing deportation were born in Australia, they should be citizens. Instead, Turnbull and Peter Dutton will send them back to an island which is not fit for human beings.”

    Lauren Saunders, the NUS Women’s Officer for Queensland, condemned the lack of opposition from the federal Opposition and called for ongoing civil disobedience and protest action.

    “We are activists, we know from experience that waiting for politicians like Bill Shorten to be an ‘opposition’ is a waste of time and hope. Let’s not forget that it was Labor who came up with mandatory detention and offshore processing in the first place.”

    “We’re going to be hitting the streets to demand these asylum seekers be processed in the community, and that the hell holes of Nauru and Manus Island be shut down.”

    Socialist Alternative and their supporters have organised a follow up action in King George Square at 5pm to demand the government #letthemstay.

    Reeshan Yameen (NUS Welfare Officer, QLD and Socialist Alternative member) can be contacted on 0415 745 938.

    Lauren Saunders (NUS Women’s Officer, QLD) can be contacted on 0429 006 725

    Carl Jackson (NUS Environment Officer, QLD) can be contacted on 0439 018 603

  2. Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital refuses to release badly burnt Nauru baby says:

    Protesters hold signs, some calling for the closure of Manus and Nauru, outside Lady Cilento Hospital.
Photo: About 50 protesters gathered outside the hospital on Friday night, some holding signs calling for the closure of Manus and Nauru. (ABC News: Francis Tapim)

    Doctors at a Brisbane hospital have refused to release a one-year-old girl, badly burnt on Nauru, until a “suitable home environment is identified”.

    Key points:

    Brisbane hospital staff refusing to release girl burnt on Nauru
    Hospital says baby will not be released until “suitable home environment is identified”
    Parents in Brisbane and visiting daily

    The girl was injured when boiling water was accidentally spilt inside the tent she was living in with her parents.

    She was flown to Brisbane and admitted to Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital.

    In a statement on Friday, a hospital spokesman said the baby would not be discharged until a “suitable home environment is identified, as is the case with every child who presents at hospital”.

    “All decisions relating to a patient’s treatment and discharge are made by qualified clinical staff, based on a thorough assessment of the individual patient’s clinical condition and circumstances, and with the goal of delivering the best outcome,” the statement read.

    It is understood the baby’s injuries are healing well and her condition is now listed as stable.

    The girl’s parents are both in Brisbane and have been visiting her daily.

    Refugee Action Collective’s Mark Gillespie said they were terrified at the prospect of being returned to Nauru.

    “Both of them they don’t want to go back,” Mr Gillespie said.

    “They’re fearful for their baby and the conditions that they face. It’s just horrible for them and they’re resolute that they don’t want to go back. It’s just terrible for them.”
    Hospital protest to keep burnt baby in Australia to continue

    About 50 protesters gathered outside the hospital on Friday night and this morning to support the hospital’s decision — some held signs calling for the closure of detention centres on Manus and Nauru.

    “We are gathered here tonight in support of the young girl who is inside the hospital and her family,” protest spokeswoman Ellen Roberts said.

    “We also … support the doctors who have taken a very brave stance in refusing to release her.”

    Ros McLennan from the Queensland Council of Unions said protesters would continue to support hospital staff for as long as it takes.

    “It’s absolutely disgraceful that the Federal Government can even be contemplating removing a sick little kid from a hospital situation in Brisbane to detention in Nauru,” she said.

    “I absolutely commend the doctors, nurses and hospital staff for putting the child’s best interests above the ideological desires of the Federal Government.”

    Greens Immigration spokeswoman Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said she had “huge admiration for these doctors and nurses who are doing the right thing and refusing to release her”.

    “All strength to the medical professionals at the Brisbane hospital for acting in the best interests of this child,” she said.

    “The doctors know that discharging this baby would send her and her family straight to the dangers of indefinite detention on Nauru.

    “It’s time Malcolm Turnbull listened to the medical experts and realised that there is no government policy that can justifying the abuse of children.

    “The Turnbull Government needs a Nauru exit strategy, before more children are permanently harmed.”

    Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s office declined to comment on the matter.

    Francis Tapim

    Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital refuses to release badly burnt Nauru baby

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