Media must ask LNP: Do you intend to allow the Manus refugees to die?

21 Nov


Refugees on Manus in peaceful protest

Since the days of the Tampa, seventeen years ago,  I’ve heard it said repeatedly that Australians don’t care about what happens to asylum seekers and refugees who arrived here by boat, perfectly legitimately, seeking only sanctuary.

Obviously after seventeen years, during which the treatment of boat arrivals has only gone downhill, I must finally accept that this is true. If enough Australians cared, refugees on Manus Island would not be suffering as they are. If enough Australians cared, Peter Dutton and Malcolm Turnbull would not be conducting what amounts to a state-sanctioned experiment in torture: how long can people live without water, food, medicine, and medical attention in tropical conditions before they become extremely and or chronically ill, or die.

This is the experiment being conducted by our government. Australia is about to find out how long human beings can survive under these conditions. Australia is about to find out what the effects are on human beings of being subjected to these conditions if they don’t die. This is state-sanctioned experimentation on human beings. If you don’t agree, please, do tell me what you call it.

Every journalist should be asking every government MP they interview: Do you intend to allow the men on Manus to die? This is the only question that needs to be asked at this point. And nobody, but nobody, is asking it. The media are, with a couple of exceptions, as complicit in this state-sanctioned human experimentation as are politicians.

I am not particularly personally affected by which major party is in government. I’m not subject to Centrelink robodebt torment, for example. I’m not suffering the indignity of being unable to marry my same-sex partner. I don’t live in the vicinity of a proposed coal mine. I’m not desperately casting about for affordable child care so I can go to work. In terms of my material comfort and safety, either major party will, in general, do. Yet I’ve consistently, for decades, argued and fought for policies that seem to me fair and decent, whilst railing against injustices, not because they directly affect me, but because I’ve believed Australians, human beings, deserve the best and the fairest.

For the first time in my voting life, I understand the impulse to refuse the privilege of voting for any politician. This is not only because I am beyond disgusted over their collective treatment of asylum seekers and refugees. Now I’m disgusted at Australians. The Australians I’ve always considered when I cast my vote. The Australians who don’t care what happens to the men on Manus and the families on Nauru. The Australians who enable, either actively or passively, this government’s experimentation on human beings who did nothing more than ask us to help them. That’s all they did. They asked us to help them.

To all the Australians who don’t care, I no longer care about you. I don’t care who governs you. It won’t bother me. It won’t affect my lifestyle. I’m not voting in your best interests anymore. I’m not voting at all.

There are 600 men on Manus Island who are, as I write this, being denied food, water, medication and medical care by your government. They are walking around leaking pus from wounds on their feet and legs. They are vomiting and shitting because the only water they have to drink is from wells they’ve dug, and it’s bad water. Your government destroyed their rainwater supply, and their means to gather rainwater. Your government has forbidden the Lorengau pharmacy to supply them with water purification tablets, and medicine. Your government is refusing to allow doctors from the AMA into the detention centre compound to treat their illnesses. They are perhaps only days away from outbreaks of dysentery and or cholera. They have no toilets. They have no power.

Remember, they have committed no crime. They simply asked us for sanctuary. They simply asked us for help.

And remember that while at the moment only the LNP can take any action to relieve their suffering, it has been inflicted on them by both major parties.

Are you proud to be Australian? I’m not.


41 Responses to “Media must ask LNP: Do you intend to allow the Manus refugees to die?”

  1. Moz of Yarramulla November 21, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

    > state-sanctioned experimentation

    I call it torture. Capturing and holding people then deliberately harming them.

    It could also be called terrorism or war crimes depending on how you interpret “killing civilians to achieve political goals”. It’s worse in some ways since those civilians have a right to claim protection from the Australian government that that government acknowledges (largely negatively “we must prevent them making a legal claim of asylum”).

    But really, when a government is torturing people to death quibbling about what to call it and whether it’s better or worse than some other thing is bullshit.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Philip Kay November 21, 2017 at 4:14 pm #

    I agree with all here except for one troubling aspect. It’s as if the greens, who have always tried to help underdogs, don’t exist. Why not just vote for the political party that has policies you can support? (I’m not a member, just a member-of-the-public supporter, by the way).

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Barry Waters November 21, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

    Thank you for saying these things so starkly. While Australians don’t care those politicians think they are doing what we want. Until we stop voting for them, they won’t listen to the few of us who are so opposed to their inhumanity. I have been ashamed of our politicians for a long time and now I’m ashamed of my fellow Australians.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Robbo37 November 21, 2017 at 6:19 pm #

    I cannot but agree with the article and comments so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Elisabeth November 21, 2017 at 6:47 pm #

    I’m not one bit proud to be Australian. Thank you Jennifer for calling it as it is. State sanctioned cruelty.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. doug quixote November 21, 2017 at 7:43 pm #

    The government is slowly squeezing them, to compel them to agree to repatriation. The smoke screen of some being accepted by the USA is still being raised. The NZ offer to accept 150 is interesting enough, but why don’t they up the ante to take all of them with Australia taking up the tab, which surely can be done covertly under the absurdly turgid budget allotted to deal with a few hundred asylum seekers.

    It is a disgrace, certainly enough. But hardly grounds for dissociating yourself from Australian society.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Moz of Yarramulla November 22, 2017 at 6:25 am #

      There’s public pressure in NZ to deal directly with PNG and take them all. But much as Australia has somehow persuaded PNG to prevent supplies being delivered to the camp and doctors entering it, somehow the NZ government is unwilling or unable to get the PNG government to allow that. I’m not saying that Australia is pressuring anyone, but what’s happening in PNG violates their constitution, and NZ is heavily dependent on Australia in a whole lot of ways.

      And surely no Australian foreign minister would ever say to some unreliable bint from across the Tasman “Lots of kiwis in Australia. Be a shame if more of them ended up in concentration camps in a foreign hellhole”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson November 22, 2017 at 7:10 am #

        I understand Australia is also exerting pressure on PNG. We give them a lot of money.


    • Jennifer Wilson November 22, 2017 at 7:09 am #

      DQ, I’m not dissociating myself from society. I’m just not going into bat for bastards who don’t care about state sanctioned destruction of refugees.


  7. allthumbs November 21, 2017 at 9:16 pm #

    Just the other day I watched a live cross on the ABC News channel from Christies Auction House and witnessed a nondescript painting of Jesus titled salvator mundi being bid in ten million dollar lots between two or three anonymous bidders eventually sell for US$400 million dollars.

    There was applause and cheering after the gavel came down.

    I thought of Goering and wished I had a revolver to reach for.

    Now, you mentioned something about Manus Jennifer?

    “The Suicide” 1922 by Otto Dix always puts me in mind of Peter Dutton.Just imagine the psychological landscape inside that slow-eyed bucked toothed waxed foreheaded cypher.

    I am pretty close with a lawyer that represents the refugees, Manus is just the start.

    Havana and Frank will be along soon, no doubt.

    You’re a good woman Jennifer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson November 22, 2017 at 7:14 am #

      Thanks, allthumbs.
      I heard about that auction. I felt pretty much the same as you.
      Dutton will continue to do as he likes, mostly because Australians don’t care enough to stop him.


  8. paul walter November 22, 2017 at 4:01 am #

    The question, am I proud to be Australian?

    No, of course not.

    And the Jennifer Wilson statement is unassailable, so I add the following with the context of my agreement with and acceptance of it as the correct basis for further discussion on this and related subjects.

    I’d just add, for context, that (I believe) the Murdoch-driven government has operated energetically to silence press and media as to coverage of real world issues; this one perhaps most of all.

    The public is denied info on many issues and instead, in the vacuum following, encouraged to be upset at who has not been included in the national cricket team, or the implications of the latest internecine feud between Sophie Monk and the Kardashian clan, for example.

    I accept that the idea that idiotisation of the public is down to the msm is reductive and that the mechanisms of consent and complicity are more complex than through a mere explaining away of events as a Murdoch/ high-tory conspiracy, but do propose that the communities response is determined through factors that can be observed through a lens and subsequent critique involving class theory highlighting base manipulation.

    This week we have seen parliament shut down to avoid pressure as to both the censored out Manus issue and for fear of an inquiry into the banks being raised.

    Yet the self-same government that can’t find money for social infrastructure or a few bob to bring the Manus Island refugees here still insists on massive tax cuts for the rich and corporations. Division that enables corporate looting is driven by politics based on cold blooded illogic. It intensifying the fear of disempowerment that drives a fear of what Hansonists describe as the “Asianisation” of the country, that triggers a Kafkaesque sense of anxiety in many uninformed or less intelligent Australians that blots out a proportionate understanding of other issues.

    This is the fundamental reason why I blame conservatives more than Labor for the mess that has developed this century; no reassurance from people like Ruddock, Howard, Abbott and Dutton, just an exclusive claim to virtue on the trumped up issue of “Border Defence” to consolidate power, amplified through the Murdoch press and tabloid media; so its just been propaganda that has positioned the ALP in the public’s mind as “soft” on people movements and hampered therefore for any moderating movement they would try to attempt otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • doug quixote November 22, 2017 at 5:15 am #

      Just so. The conservatives are supported, aided and abetted by the mass media ownership, concentrated as it has been for decades; they control the narrative, setting the agenda and overriding any protests.

      The virtual brainwashing of the Australian people on this issue in particular is frightening to behold. Their core constituency is so firmly behind them that their mouthpiece and catspaw the government can resist the cries of humanity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marilyn November 22, 2017 at 6:13 am #

        And your precious, racist ALP not only started this filth but still support it entirely, not a word of care or kindness from the trash

        Liked by 3 people

        • Moz of Yarramulla November 22, 2017 at 6:29 am #

          But we must vote ALP, because they’re somehow not quite as bad as the LNP/L/N coalition. {eyeroll}. They eagerly embrace the very worst aspects of the coalition policy, add some nasty twists of their own then decorate the edges with pretty distractions. Look at the pretty distractions!

          It’s great that my local ALP member is pro gay marriage despite the bigot vote here being very strong. If only he was similarly moral and willing to do the right thing on refugees and first nations people.

          Liked by 1 person

        • doug quixote November 22, 2017 at 7:07 am #

          Ah, to swim against the tide, to take lance to windmill like my namesake.

          Not my ALP, Marilyn.

          I merely prefer them to the incompetent rabble fronted by Truffles.


        • Jennifer Wilson November 22, 2017 at 7:25 am #

          I agree with Marilyn. Barely a word from the opposition. Anyone who is silent about this is enabling it.


          • Arthur Baker November 22, 2017 at 3:25 pm #

            And yet we are still effectively forced to vote for one or the other in the House of Reps owing to compulsory preferential voting. Even if you put them last and second last, somewhere on your ballot paper you will have to choose to put ALP above LNP or vice versa. If you leave them both un-numbered, or even one of them un-numbered, your vote is informal.

            In most electorates, that means your vote will inevitably filter down to one or other of these crime-against-humanity-committing bastards. Oh, for optional preferential, as in the Senate.

            One day, these perpetrators, these tormentors, these murderers, these serial breachers of the numerous treaties and conventions we have signed, will face the International Criminal Court. I’m about to enter my eighth decade. My only wish for my future is to live long enough to see that. But I’ll settle for younger Australians watching and learning from that glorious spectacle. And cheering their heads off when the apology is delivered by some future Prime Minister who possesses that scarce quality, a moral backbone.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Jennifer Wilson November 22, 2017 at 8:03 pm #

              Arthur, I do think the tide will turn and there will be a reckoning in the ICC. I don’t expect it in my lifetime, and I haven’t got near my eighth decade yet. And some of the perpetrators may be dead before the world decides to care again.


    • Jennifer Wilson November 22, 2017 at 7:21 am #

      Yes, PW, of course you are right about the complexities of manipulation by politicians and media propaganda. I have, in my fury and distress, oversimplified.
      At the same time I’m sick to death of the dumb fucks, and those who should know better, who are so desensitised to the vileness of how millions are treated, not only in the Manus situation but globally, I really at this point would not put any of them out if they were on fire.
      That’s where I’m at.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. paul walter November 22, 2017 at 9:39 am #

    Three dimensional intersection:

    The moment I read of this I thought of this post. It is not strictly on topic yet is such a beautiful paradigm of the type of politics that most here have got fed up with, which is to say muscular, irrational, brutal, illogical and diametrically inappropriate as a response to a number of problems discussed here and how and they they interrelate:

    Liked by 1 person

  10. paul walter November 22, 2017 at 10:21 am #

    Yet another example of the governments pathology, the same pathology that applies elsewhere and across a spectrum.

    Read closely.

    It is not about fair resolution of unfairness and compounding the crime, also bookmarks Centrelink outsourcing involving Serco to further erode Centrelink independence.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. samjandwich November 22, 2017 at 10:24 am #

    Thank you Jennifer – and it is true that abstention is a very legitimate form of protest. The only reason politicians are where they are is because we voted for them… so don’t vote for them!

    I am heartened to see that the international community is not voting for them. These are comparatively harsh words from the likes of the UNHCR: “This is a man-made and entirely preventable humanitarian crisis. It is a damning indictment of a policy meant to avoid Australia’s international obligations.[…] Australia has in effect created and then abandoned a humanitarian crisis at the doorstep of the international community.”

    Of course most politicians don’t care about the UN either… though I’ve had the impression for some time that Julie Bishop has been trying to set herself up as future Secretary-General material. Her having presided over this mess should disqualify her from consideration of any such role.

    Liked by 1 person

    • paul walter November 22, 2017 at 11:31 am #

      Best posting of the thread..You are definitely onto something, samjandwich.


      • paul walter November 22, 2017 at 11:34 am #

        Except that this has landed in the wrong place..referring to the world bank posting, 11 02. Now for a read of the second link, re Manus.


    • Jennifer Wilson November 22, 2017 at 8:10 pm #

      Bishop as Secretary-General, yes I can see that. I think the UN has very few teeth. There’s no sanctions for us breaking the Conventions we’ve signed. UN won’t go into Manus & assist the men there. Nobody cares about being chastised by the UN. I doubt Dutton and Turnbull lose a wink of sleep over having their hands smacked. Once it was possible to shame politicians, however, they seem to have morphed into a state of arrogance in which shame has no place. Being ashamed is for idiots.
      Sorry, I’m very bitter and cynical right now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • samjandwich November 23, 2017 at 10:20 am #

        This is true, especially for Dutton who brings so much of his police background mentality into this: Anyone who isn’t “us” is either a deadshit addict, a psychopath or a sex fiend.

        …apparently the PNG police have just moved in to force the asylum seekers out – though I imagine they are probably somewhat more compassionate and well-balanced than our politicians…


  12. paul walter November 22, 2017 at 11:47 am #

    “This is a man made and wholly avoidable crisis… Australia created and then abandoned a humanitarian crisis..”

    Imho, for base local electoral reasons using the lives of actual human people. These do have an unbconscious racist drive as well as Machiavellian- clever moves by insane yet oddly logical people which dovetail with the urge to avoid responsibility re refugees…both the naivety and the cynicism remain beyond measure and is what onlookers find nauseating, for similar reason to what they find nazi history showing up as to a perversion relative to life affirmation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • doug quixote November 22, 2017 at 6:39 pm #

      According to Godwin, your post should bring an end to this thread.

      Can we prove him wrong?

      Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter November 22, 2017 at 11:32 pm #

        (sighs) Was waiting for it..Still, interesting how the one example tends to authenticate the other and vice versa.

        You complaint is nullified on the basis of contempt prior to investigation, the attack based on the non recognition of my employ of the analogy in the demonstration of a plausible thesis with implications for the present time.

        In the real world, the warning must come first..


        • doug quixote November 23, 2017 at 12:11 am #

          Hmm. I hadn’t noticed before, but allthumbs had already mentioned Goering in the context of the art auction . . . the difference, mein herr, is that the Manus Island men can move out whenever they please, and could have agreed to repatriation years ago had they wanted.

          Their decision has been to stay, goaded and encouraged by “refugee advocates” who are using them as a stick with which to beat our asylum rules. They are being used.

          The “refugee advocates” actually want some of them to sicken and die, if only they can use the sad demise to advance their own agenda.

          But you may disagree.


          • paul walter November 23, 2017 at 1:52 am #

            I’d say it is a little more complex than that, perhaps?

            I will not speak further at this late hour, but await the development of a consensus as regards the validity of your proposition in its current form.

            As I rest, to recoup from today’s sojourn and prepare for the travails of the morrow, I will sleep on the proposition that yourself and say, Marilyn, are describing a similar situation from polar opposite locations in different ways with different objectives in mind.

            The people who comment here are all honest, perhaps to the point obtuseness.

            (yawns) will now retire, in anticipation of further developments.


          • allthumbs November 23, 2017 at 9:46 am #

            Just the opposite Doug, from the couple of lawyers I know involved in this stuff directly, there is no such Machiavellian strategy in play to test the Asylum rules.

            They are mostly involved in pushing shit uphill and halting its downward momentum in regards to their day to day efforts to represent their clients in a belligerent and officious climate.

            On top of that imperious decisions in regards to very narrow timelines being handed down on high from Dutton to undermine and stymie the abilities of underpaid, overworked and harassed legal representatives to present what are very complicated cases.

            One of the bitter ironies is the pressure and weight put upon Asylum seekers to prove their citizenship while struggling with language, location, remoteness, usually in a hostile environment both here and their homeland under very straitened circumstances; while our Pollies can’t get their own documentation in order under the most lenient of circumstances.

            The invective Dutton uses to describe these lawyers doing their jobs within the law as “unaustralian” just shows how successfully scum rises to the top.


            • paul walter November 23, 2017 at 10:56 am #

              I agree; the rugged attempts to suppress even a questioning of asylum seeker issues and policy let, alone direct criticism, has been a disturbing feature of the issue for a long time.


            • doug quixote November 24, 2017 at 12:38 am #

              Well reasoned, Carl.

              I try to stimulate debate, but unlike the late great Ellis my Devil’s Advocate stuff just doesn’t seem to strike home.

              And so it goes . . .


              • paul walter November 24, 2017 at 1:55 am #

                Your devil’s advocate stuff is fine but very realistic, almost like from the master himself.

                Like me, you’ve probably caught snippets of the attempt to force the issue at the detention camp and marvelled, if that’s the word, at the ethics of both the police and Reichsminister Dutton.

                Dutton and co have had much of msm run off or silenced (Fifield/Xenophon and the Guardian and public broadcasting) for “operational reasons”.

                They have bolstered their case by claiming the new facility is ready for use when, according to Tim Costello, it is in no way that and Pontius Pilate like, washed his hands of it all, claiming it is all exclusively the pathetic PNG government’s responsibility.

                But as long as he can hold the bogy of open borders over the Australian public’s head, he and his mates will get away with it.


              • allthumbs November 24, 2017 at 7:28 am #

                Doug I keep thinking that the Turnbull Govt. would have provided so much material for Ellis he would have inspired him no end, and so it does indeed go.

                I sent an email to Anne the other day to say hello and whatnot but haven’t heard back as yet.

                Keep up the good work.


  13. allthumbs November 22, 2017 at 9:11 pm #

    The Gang of Four Turnbull, Bishop, Morrison and Dutton.


  14. paul walter November 23, 2017 at 10:52 am #

    Yes, there are fresh developments. The PNG cops have just crashed the detention camp..yes, samjandwich can back it up…

    Will they try to stay or move them to this so called new centre or just have them end up in the streets?

    The msm coverage seems pitiful. I suppose it is being censored out.


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