Abbott’s only claim to fame: persecuting the utterly helpless.

1 Apr

As far as I can tell, the Abbott government’s proudest achievement in its first one hundred days has been its ongoing persecution of asylum seekers arriving by boat. It has also been its most costly, and I refer you to this excellent ABC fact-checked site titled Operation Sovereign Borders: the first six months for a breakdown of the billions the government has committed to spending to maintain its “stop the boats” policy, and the mandatory detention of asylum seekers already apprehended.

What the government never admits is that “stopping the boats” is not something it can conceivably cease – as long as there are asylum seekers there will be attempts to access this country by boat.  Surveillance, interception and transfer of asylum seekers to lifeboats (which we must keep on purchasing anew as we never get them back) has no foreseeable end. Stopping the boats arriving on Australian shores is an immensely costly business, and open-ended.

Some weeks ago, the Guardian revealed that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection had inadvertently released the personal details of one-third of asylum seekers currently in Australia, possibly putting them at great risk if they return or are returned to their countries of origin. The result of this data breach is that asylum seekers may now legally claim refugee status in Australia solely on the grounds of sur place. 

Eighty-three asylum seekers detained at Villawood Detention Centre have launched this action, and the directions hearing challenging the government over the data breach is due to be heard on Friday.

The DIBP have advised the Villawood asylum seekers that they are to be transferred to the remote Curtin Detention Centre in Western Australia on Thursday, the day before their directional hearing.

Last week, Scott Morrison announced that all taxpayer-funded legal aid to asylum seekers who arrive by boat would be terminated. One of the consequences of this decision is that there are no longer any free telephone interpreter services available to boat arrivals. Plaintiffs transferred from Villawood to Curtin the day before the directional hearing of their claims, will be unable to freely access interpreters to communicate with their lawyers.

According to the UNHCR, asylum seekers are entitled to legal services and to deprive them of access is a denial of justice.

This is just one of the recent examples of the Abbott government’s unrelenting persecution of boat arrivals.

There is something monstrously pitiful about a government that has as its greatest achievement the persecution of a small group of utterly helpless people. Such persecution is the hallmark of the bully: attacking those who have no possible avenue of escape, or of fighting back, and then boasting of your  achievement.

Abbott and Morrison continue to bring the full weight of their contemptible authority to bear on asylum seekers who arrive by boat, and no expense is spared in the scapegoating and persecution of this group of human beings.

You may not particularly care about asylum seekers and their fate. But every one of us should care a great deal about the characters of the men who govern us when their greatest satisfaction comes from persecuting and ultimately defeating, even to the death, a human group who are amongst the most vulnerable on earth. Such men are dangerous. Such men do not deserve to govern us. Such men will not stop at one group of human beings. When this group ceases to serve their purpose, they will seek out another, equally helpless, equally unable to fight back, because bullies can only feel good when they make others feel terribly bad.

Bullies and bigots. Australia, 2014.


27 Responses to “Abbott’s only claim to fame: persecuting the utterly helpless.”

  1. Bettsie April 1, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

    “There is something monstrously pitiful”…couldn’t agree more. To boast that ‘stopping the boats’ is a great government policy success is disgraceful. In another time and place, there will be a national apology for this shameful period in our history. Boats are towed back, people forced into organge boats, fishing boats ‘blown up’, reports of abuse, murder and abuse on Manus, human rights abuses within detention centers, suicides, high rate of miscarraige, UN condemnation.

    Sadly we have no moral leadership…bullies and bigots indeed


  2. Amanda Mack April 1, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

    So very well said! It’s an appalling record for this government and one that will go down in Australia’s history as a period of shame.


  3. gerard oosterman April 1, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    Gerard Oosterman ‏@GOosterman · 9s
    With piracy stopped on the high seas against whales by Japan. Can The Hague make a ruling on refugees being hounded by Australia?


  4. Marilyn April 2, 2014 at 2:25 am #

    And what is even worse is the fucking ALP agree.


  5. frontad84 April 2, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    Today Tony Abbott’s no hero
    And fast becoming a zero
    Folks are opening their eyes
    And beginning to despise
    This Dictator worse than a Nero.

    Like a weak and boring Sitcom
    I reckon Tony Abbott will bomb
    Find the truth re this Blight
    On impartial Website


  6. hudsongodfrey April 2, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    I’m told he has other talents for sport, procreation and firefighting. Why he doesn’t stick with one of his stronger suits defies the imagination.


    • mix1127 April 2, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

      I doubt whether he has much talents in these areas. Being a bully is not compatible with being a team player.


      • hudsongodfrey April 2, 2014 at 10:43 pm #

        Interestingly enough neither the thing with the budgie smugglers or the cycling events are necessarily part of team sports. So the plot thickens?


    • Anura Samara (@neo_the_fat_cat) April 2, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

      As a volunteer firefighter, I’m always disturbed when he likes to associate himself with us. The reality is that he would never be the first to drop everything at any time of the day or night when the pager goes off. Sure, in his position he can’t be, but then don’t trade on your membership. We have a (local) Lib politician in our Brigade and he just never does that – more respect to him.


      • hudsongodfrey April 2, 2014 at 11:21 pm #

        I hope my remarks in jest came across as such. I’d never even fleetingly disparage either the fire services or the SES for that matter. The point to be made however is that if our PM feels he has a duty to participate then by all means he should, but as PM there are almost always larger priorities that I think somebody in that role has to honour first.

        So even if he’s the best firefighter of all time and fighting fires is really his thing, when oh when I ask will he get it into that thick skull of his that we’re not voting for firefighter of the year, miss congeniality or any other pissant distraction. We actually want somebody who can govern. Something that we have come quickly to recognise he lacks any real talent for.


  7. doug quixote April 2, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    Excellent Jennifer. That an eight month old government’s greatest success is monstering the most vulnerable and oppressed people in the entire region is a badge of shame.

    I hesitate to insult the Keystone Kops again; this mob are on their own.


    • Marilyn April 2, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

      And the laws being used are Gillard’s so called expert panel and Roxon and her, Marles loves them.


  8. paul walter April 3, 2014 at 3:11 am #

    Marilyn has decided she has a big issue with Abbott using a template he inherited from Labor, which was in turn something inherited from Howard. Abbott’s use of the template has been different in some respects to Labors though, his politics and outlook is different in important respects.

    So, no one put a gun to the Abbott government’s head and forced it to use ALP policies,in fact, basically what they have done since they got into power has been to attempt to dismantle these, so it is an anomaly; they are only keeping the crappy bits.

    What is more interesting is that the activists have reconciled themselves to a series of court cases as the way to go in combating the various little lapses of memory that come out of Canberra, to do with little examples of laws overlooked or not in accord with human rights. In footy terms, it’s the equivalent of contesting each ball, the long and the hard way.

    It’s always been down to the a possible conflict in law as to the order of objectives of the laws. Do we worry first about our security or the predicament we find asylum seekers are in?

    You daresay the laws could have been written and applied with depoliticised motives in mind, but then there is the politics.

    The politics has been as much about circumventing the laws as having them applied as to both the spirit and the letter, when this interferes with a political narrative that is attractive to the politicians in their quest for power. This has also involved consent manufacture based on racism, so if anything the job of getting Australians to think less defensively about the issue has been log jammed and the public view, based on misinformation, has become entrenched in/as the public’s collective mind, which is a win for conservatives and conservatism rather than progressives, as was always intended.

    All of this century has been to do with surveillance and control not just of asylum seekers, but us.


    • Marilyn April 3, 2014 at 4:00 am #

      When it is well known to all that Abbott is a bullying lawless thug Gillard knew the result when she handed him the poison pill she made.


  9. billabonglime April 3, 2014 at 7:09 am #

    Reblogged this on Nuclear Ideas and commented:
    Monstrously Pitiful says it all about this government. A government that have bullied their way through a path of revenge against previous governments it would seem bent on destroying every good piece of social infrastructure ever built in Australia.


  10. Kade April 3, 2014 at 11:26 am #

    One wonders if the asylum seekers were Americans how they would be treated?? Australia we need to start commenting with solutions. We need to shift the way we operate to create the world we want. Do you want to spend the rest of your life complaining, whining and feeling despair? Your community is a place to start (in the real world not the internet). Invite your local councilors or members to hear what you want – face to face. Start with small groups and grow from there.


    • Marilyn April 3, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

      Kade, we have been doing that for 13 years and for every step forward we go back 100


      • Kade April 3, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

        I read a lot of negative – defeatist comments like this. If we are not going to find our own solutions then maybe we deserve what we a dished out? I am a believer in what we concentrate on we will manifest – if people keep focusing on how crap their lives are under Abbott then that is what will continue to be the reality. If a better world exists it is not within the current operating structure. Belief and vision of alternatives coupled with ACTION is what will move us beyond our current stifled existence. This may mean sacrifices in our current lifestyles – because is the system working in its current form? Is your lifestyle sustainable? Is current ways of government sustainable? Is growing the economy realistic and sustainable?


        • doug quixote April 3, 2014 at 10:16 pm #

          It is called living in the real world.


          • Kade April 4, 2014 at 8:01 am #

            time to create a better ‘real’ world then Doug. Life is what you choose it to be…. some people can’t handle that responsibility.


        • Marilyn April 4, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

          You missed my point, we have been protesting against this cruel brutality for 13 years, I worked for lawyers as a researcher for 7 years pro bono and we are now worse off than ever before thanks to the racists Gillard and Roxon.


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  12. Jim Saucell May 16, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    Always amuses me seeing women coming to the defense of “asylum seekers” knowing the attitudes people from those countries have towards women.

    The fact is that very few of these “asylum seekers” are genuine refugees and the crime rate, particularly sex crimes, amongst ones who’ve been settled here is FAR out of proportion to the general populace (despite them being better looked after than our own seniors). You want them here, you put them up in your house.



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    […] don’t get too vocal about.   For policies and views that affect the disadvantaged.   Like asylum seekers.  Like the working poor.   Like Indigenous Australians.   Like animals, who don’t have a […]


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