Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Whistleblowers Warn New Immigration Laws Will Boost Secrecy In Detention Centres
"New Matilda" reports below something that would normally be cause for alarm but fails to look at the bigger picture. People who took airline flights to Indonesia from places like Pakistan and then got into boats to Australia are not impoverished and desperate refugees. They are middle-income economic migrants who have deliberately flouted Australia's border controls, fully aware that they cannot reach the standards that Australia requires of immigrants. If it was refuge they needed, they already had it in Pakistan, Indonesia or any other Muslim country. Muslims have a duty of hospitality to fellow-Muslims.
As such they deserve no sympathy and tales of encountering hardship in Australia are likely to deter any others from coming.
I have no idea if such people are harshly treated by officials in detention centres but it seems clear that they do often treat one-another and everyone else badly. They are unscrupulous Muslim lawbreakers after all. It also seems clear that some claims of bad treatment arise from "plays" put on to deceive gullible observers and sympathetic Leftists, probably with the collusion of the Leftists concerned. Lying for a cause has always seemed OK for Leftists and Muslims
So New Matilda has done us all a good turn below by amping up the apprehensions would-be illegals will feel when deciding where to go. They now mainly seem to be going to countries in S.E. Asia, who are no pushovers. When that option is recognized as too hard, we need for them not to reconsider Australia
Doctors and contractors who formerly worked in Australia’s immigration detention network say new legislation criminalising disclosures will have a chilling effect, and is designed to deliberately target those wishing to blow the whistle on the conditions and standards of care being provided to asylum seekers.
The Australian Border Force Bill passed the Senate in mid-May with little fanfare, and is ostensibly designed to consolidate Customs and the Border Protection Service into the Department of Immigration.
But the legislation also contained a new two-year jail sentence for employees in the Department and those working for contractors who publicly disclose information.
Dr Peter Young, a former senior employee at private health contractor IHMS – which provides medical services in on and offshore detention centres – told New Matilda there are not adequate pathways in place for whistleblowers to raise their concerns. “I’m certainly very concerned that this legislation seems to further extend the secrecy and restrictions that affect staff working in immigration detention,” Dr Young said.
Head of Mental Health Services at IHMS for close to three years, Dr Young went public with his concerns about the impact prolonged detention was having on children, providing astounding testimony at the Australian Human Rights Commission’s inquiry in July 2014.
Aside from detailing incidents of self-harm among minors, Dr Young told the Commission he had been asked by the Department of Immigration to withdraw figures from IHMS reports that documented increased rates of psychological distress among children in detention.
Dr Young said policy makers who passed legislation discouraging whistleblowing were directly responsible for any harm that would occur as a result. “I think that it will in some instances have a chilling effect, but the problem is that by introducing policies that make the system even more secretive and less transparent, it increases the risk of more abuse occurring and will inevitably result in more harm being done,” he said.
When the Border Force legislation was debated by the Senate, the Greens moved an amendment allowing disclosures that would not harm the public interest. It was voted down by Labor and the Coalition, with Nick Xenophon the only non-Green to back it.
Minister for Immigration, Peter Dutton as well as Labor MPs, have previously dismissed concerns now coming to the fore about the legislation’s implications for those wishing to speak out about detention centres and their operation.
Senator Kim Carr said Labor had not been consulted on the Greens’ amendment. “Labor supports the existing whistleblower arrangements and would oppose any attempt to dilute those protections,” he said.
“The advice we have received is that this bill does not include any provisions that would prevent an employee of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, including the Australian Border Force, from making a public interest disclosure in accordance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013, which is the act that provides protection for whistleblowers.”
But that hasn’t reassured critics, who point to the fact the Public Interest Disclosure Act is relatively weak, and only sanctions a public disclosure where there is an “imminent danger to health or safety” – a very high bar.