Under the cover of predawn darkness this morning, the Turnbull Government forced Waleed*, a Sudanese man seeking asylum formerly detained on Manus, onto a plane in Melbourne and deported him. He was here because he’d been severely bashed by guards in the riots that killed Reza Berati.
A small group of dedicated people attempted to stop his deportation, but there weren’t enough of them to convince the government to back down.
Earlier this year tens of thousands of us stood with Waleed and hundreds of people like him and demanded the government #LetThemStay. From surrounding Lady Cilento Hospital in Brisbane to protect baby Asha, to protests around the country, we made it impossible for the government to deport them.
Now, having just won an election, Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton are testing our resolve.
This morning was just the start. What matters now is how we respond.
Just as we’ve done before, we can protect those at risk by swiftly gathering in peaceful protest in our hundreds the second the government tries to harm them. We just have to be ready.
Here’s how it will work:
This morning, if GetUp members had been at the airport to support protestors by bearing witness and shining a public spotlight on what the government was doing, we could have stopped the deportation. Next time, you can help make that happen.
GetUp will add your mobile number to a list of people ready to peacefully and legally take action. If the government tries another deportation near you, you will receive a text if there’s a safe way you can help. This may mean a text message being sent very early in the morning – but only if it’s urgent.
There are people being detained in and near the following locations at immediate risk of deportation:
- Perth (Yongah Hill)
If you don’t live near these locations, you can still help build our rapid response team by forwarding this email to friends, colleagues and family members who do – or just send them this link: http://www.getup.org.au/deportations
The next few weeks will be crucial.
The Australian government’s ability to keep its illegal camps on Manus Island and Nauru open depends on 4 factors:
- Bipartisan support from both major parties for this inhumane policy.
- Public support for the parties to hold that position.
- Papua New Guinea and Nauru agreeing to the camps’ presence.
- Corporations agreeing to run the camps on behalf of the government.
To end the detention regime, and bring safety to the men, women and children our government detains on Manus Island and Nauru, those pillars must be eroded. The moment one falls, the government’s only way forward will be to reassess the entire policy.
It’s the strategy GetUp members have been successfully working on for over a year. By deliberately focussing our collective power where it will have the greatest impact – from huge public opinion-shifting protests to #LetThemStay and #BringThemHere, to drying up corporate support by convincing local councils to refuse to do business with companies involved in the camps – people like you have played a crucial role in rendering the detention regime increasingly unviable.
The new government is scrambling to find its feet – and while it’s testing for weak points in our power, it will also be looking for a way out of the humanitarian and political disaster it created. We have a unique opportunity to make bringing people to safety the easiest way out for the Turnbull Government – but only if we ramp up our strategy.
We’ll need to spot opportunities and create our own, making sure we’re tackling the detention regime from every angle. But today, the government has brought the fight to us, and we must act quickly by taking on pillar 2: public support.
Can you help show the government just how huge the number of people prepared to take a stand really is? Join the rapidly growing list of people proving they are willing to take action: http://www.getup.org.au/deportations
Don’t live in a city near a detention centre? You can still help – take action by forwarding this email to friends who do, and asking them to sign up.
Thank you for taking a stand.
Aurora, Shen, Matt and Alycia for the GetUp team
PS: There’s so much happening right now. Yesterday, we released a scathing report into Ferrovial, the corporation that now runs the detention camps on Manus and Nauru. You can check it out, and send Ferrovial a copy, here. And we’re also looking into a game changing legal action that could break any day now. We’ll be in touch with updates very soon.
*We are using a pseudonym to protect Waleed’s identity