hush money

You can't buy silence

Dear Prime Minister,

Dr Peter Young, former director of mental health services in the Manus island detention centre (2011-2014) states that the Australian government has settled the Manus island detainees' class action so that the refuges' testimonies would not be heard in open court.

The government is so intent on keeping these things quiet. It’s denying the public the opportunity to know whats going on, and be held accountable. ... It’s certainly not a fair amount ... It doesn’t represent the degree of suffering they were put through. ... it’s a drop in the ocean
— Dr Peter Young:

As the Huffington Post points out the $70 million settlement is nothing compared to the estimated $14 billion Australia has spent on detention on recent years. It is paltry even compared to the $257 million refurbishment of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's office space.

End the coverups. End the suffering. Bring them here.

First Dog on the Moon:

First Dog on the Moon:

It's not justice

Dear Prime Minister,

The refugees on Manus Island continue to be heard:

The majority of the refugees have been seriously damaged physically and mentally and this money is not even enough to cover the medical expenses they will have to pay as a result
— Behrouz Boochani
We should wait until the next few weeks to make a decision. The system has humiliated us for a long time. It has threatened us and put us in a harsh place with no safety.
I myself have lost a lot of things in my life because of this system and my body has been damaged. Compensation can never bring justice for us. It’s not justice when the government has played with our bodies and souls for its own political aims. It’s not justice.
— Behrouz Boochani,

End offshore detention #322

Dear Prime Minister,

Here are some of yesterday's payout headlines. Has your government's decision to settle succeeded in making this go away quietly?

2000 Manus Island asylum seekers may receive compensation: Fran Kelly, ABC RN

Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton condemn payout to refugees detained on Manus Island: Ben Doherty,  The Guardian

Government agrees to $70m settlement for Manus detainees: Tom Lodewyke, Lawyers Weekly

Manus payout: Government has avoided having its dirty secrets exposed: Eva Orner, The Sydney Morning Herald (see Eva Orner's film, Chasing Asylum on iTunes here)

Government, corporations settle Manus class action at the last minute: Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre

Manus detainee payout: The Project

Safety more important than settlement - Manus detainee: Benjamin Robinson-Drawbridge, RadioNZ

Andrew Wilkie, MP,  writes 'Australian Government guilty of human rights abuses' and pledges to 'to pursue policies in the Parliament that will see the end to mandatory detention, boat towbacks and other measures to punish people, most of whom are fleeing for their lives.'

Finally, Fr Rod Bower of the Anglican Church of Gosford writes on his church billboard: 'Dutton's $70 million coverup of crimes against humanity'

Thank you to the group Eyes On Offshore for the media roundup.


End offshore detention #321

Dear Prime Minister,

$70 million payout and $20 million costs is the biggest human rights settlement in Australian legal history. As Michael Gordon writes in The Age:

Dutton suggests the decision to settle was pragmatic, avoiding an action that would have run for six months, cost tens of millions in legal fees, and had “an unknown outcome”. This is hardly a statement of confidence in the Commonwealth’s ability to refute the claims of human rights violations on a huge scale.
— Michael Gordon:

Close the camps and bring them here.