“Are other Australians ashamed, as I am? How can Australia, proud of our freedoms, respectful of all our peoples, and insistent on human dignity, inflict cruelty on Australian children as a means of achieving a goal of government policy?” – Sir Gerard Brennan, Chief Justice of Australia 1995–1998, appointed by the Keating Labor government who first introduced mandatory detention of refugees in Australia.
It was the Keating Labor government that appointed Gerard Brennan as Chief Justice of the High Court to oversee the Labor government’s policies including mandatory detention for all “unlawful non-citizens” like Tharnicaa from Biloela. Keating introduced a requirement that all persons (like Thani’s mother Priya) arriving in Australia by boat must undergo immigration clearance (in this case mandatory detention on Christmas Island). We post this account of the latest controversy in he refugee movement. There have been many, but no real advance.
Chief Justice Brennan chose to be silent on a policy (of mandatory detention) that he regarded as unjust and cruel. Because that was his job, to be silent and to hide his beliefs behind ‘‘sage and meticulous advice’‘. Another Labor appointee to the High Court, Pat Keane, ruled in favour of government policy that resulted in the mistreatment and abuse of refugees on equatorial Nauru, a tiny spec in the Pacific Ocean far from privileged suburbs of Canberra.
The response from ordinary people has forced church and state leaders to offer sanctuary to the 267 refugees and their children. Nevertheless these refugees may be deported as a result of government policy introduced by good ‘christian’ Liberal leaders like SloMo and its inevitable ratification by the High Court judges whose job it is to follow unjust laws.
Lets not forget how long this has been going on.
– Ian Curr Ed., WBT, 12 June 2021.
At left, former Immigration Minister, Phillip Ruddock. Painitng by Tony Bowersby 2006
Three-year-old Tharnicaa (sic) from Biloela has been medically evacuated to Perth with Mum Priya after being hospitalised on Christmas Island with a suspected blood infection.
Tharni had been unwell with vomiting, diarrhoea and dizziness for 10 days, with her temperature sometimes exceeding 40 degrees. We understand that detention centre staff refused to take Tharnicaa to hospital until Sunday, despite repeated requests from Mum, Priya.
With her sister Kopika, QLD-born Tharni is one of only two children remaining in immigration detention in Australia. She just turned 4 but has spent 80% of her life in detention. She has never been separated from her Dad Nades or sister Kopika before.
QLD-born Tharnicaa is turning four this Saturday, she has spent the vast majority of her life in detention, and most of that time in detention on isolated Christmas Island. She should never have spent a single day in detention. The ongoing detention of Tharnicca and her family is callously cruel and unnecessary.
With a stroke of her pen, Minister Karen Andrews can release this family and let them go back to their home and community in Biloela.
Refugee Action Collective (Brisbane & Perth)
10 June 2021