Dear Prime Minister.

Dutton went on to explain why it is so important to deport migrants the moment they show signs of struggling in their dealings with the bureaucracy that makes up the immigration department.
“This week, we opened up a job that was undeservedly given to someone who was unable to travel 1800 kilometres to Sydney and update his Visa in time. That’s one less working class family that doesn’t deserve to be living in Biloela, by birthright. If there are any other unorganised subcontintentals hiding in the 15,729 square kilometres that make up the Banana Shire … We will find you and we will send you back to the political unrest in which you desperately fled in search of a better life sweeping up cow guts.”
— Betoota Advocate

Young family in danger

Dear Prime Minister,

Yesterday I wrote to you about Nadesalingam, Priya and their baby daughters. 

They have lived in Biloela for four years – Nadesalingam is employed at the town’s meat works – and are well regarded in the close-knit community which has rallied to have them returned since they had been moved.
Despite having a valid court action under way, Border Force officials raided the family’s house at 5am the day after Priya’s visa expired.

Two more children locked in detention by Minister Dutton's department. Hold him to account.

Australia's slave trade

Dear Prime Minister,

On 12 March the sixth group of refugees was flown from Nauru to the US: seven men. Of the 2000+ refugees in offshore detention, only 146 have been sent to the US. These few have a chance to restart their lives, despite isolation and the financial burden of having to repay their airfares. But as Ai Wei Wei says the refugee swap with the US is

a complete insult to the understanding of refugees. It’s exactly like slave trading. You cannot deal with human beings by violating their [rights].
— Ai Wei Wei

He goes on to say:

If it’s not solved, it’s simply because we don’t want to solve it, because we benefit from the situation. Other people’s suffering and desperation is beneficial, so if those questions are not being answered, we will never solve the problem.
— Ai Wei Wei

For the women of Nauru

Dear Prime Minister,

On March 8 Michele Feinberg wrote:

Today, March 8, is also International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate our achievements and hard won freedoms. When we say ‘leave no woman behind’. However, there are some women who are left behind. These are the women who our government has incarcerated for nearly five years on Nauru and in Immigration Detention in Australia. They include women who have suffered sexual and physical abuse while in our ‘care’. They include women who have given birth alone because our Government refused to allow their partners to attend the birth. They are women denied access to adequate medical care. They are women who are forced to live apart from their husbands or children. They include women denied timely and safe abortions. They are women whose health suffers because they still live in mouldy tents. They include women who have succumbed to self harm and mental illness because of our government has stolen their hope and their futures. Malcolm Turnbull pays lip service to the need to afford women safety and respect. Yet he affords this group of women neither safety nor respect. He affords them only danger, cruelty, neglect, suffering, and vilification. Ring Malcolm Turnbull (02 6277 7700) today and tell him that he has no right to partake of our celebrations while our sisters in Immigration Detention still suffer at his hands.
— Michele Feinberg
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To the person who opens and reads these letters at the PM's office: I imagine that not one of the letters I have written so far to the Prime Minister (591) has been seen by him. Please show him this one. If he won't look at it, ask yourself 'Do I want to be working for a system which allows this to happen? Should my income and career depend partly on women and children being locked up on Nauru?'


Dear Prime Minister,

Refoulement is a crime against humanity. Nine Bangladeshi men have been removed from Manus to Bomana jail in Port Moresby. Why are they being deported now?

Why has Australia ignored calls by UNHCR that 500 of the 2000 people detained by Australia on Manus and Nauru need a review of their refugee status? The imminent deportation of these nine Bangladeshi men, without proper judicial process, is refoulement. As Kate Schuetze of Amnesty International warns, the men must be given opportunity to appeal especially after being locked up for five years. They are Australia's responsibility.

A corrosive influence

But just saying over and over again that you respect human rights doesn’t make it true, not for the innocent human beings warehoused on Manus and Nauru for the last five years, or the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, women and children being forced into prisons away from their families and communities at obscenely high rates.
All of the people suffering injustice right now in our community need action, not just words.”
“Victims of cruelty and injustice all over the world desperately need governments like ours to be part of the UN’s principled spine, not a corrosive influence gnawing away at the very foundations of human rights with their own hollow words and unprincipled actions.
— Daniel Webb, Human Rights Law Centre

Act by freeing all refugees and asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru

Human Rights pledge

Dear Prime Minister,

On 8 March 2018 Australia joined with nine other countries to make an Incoming Members' Pledge at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The pledge included the following:

'[to] engage in the work of this Council in a spirit of self-reflection with a view to improving our own human rights situation, recognising that no State has a perfect human rights record'

In the case of Australia's treatment of asylum seekers the UN has repeatedly reported and condemned Australia for continuing human rights abuses on Manus Island, PNG and Nauru. What will your Government do to meet the obligations of our pledge to the Human Rights Council?

Bring all refugees and asylum seekers to freedom and safety now.

We know

Dear Prime Minister,

Reneé Pettitt-Schipp is a poet and former teacher of English to asylum seekers on Christmas Island. She continues to use the power of her poetic language and her increasing audience to remind us, again and again, of what we have done and continue to do.

The Will of Water
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
- Rumi

out beyond the reef
beyond the horizon, beyond
the breakers
there is a space
that will break
that will break, that will
unmake you

out beyond the breakers
beyond borders, tankers, Customs
out beyond eyes
beyond sight and the light
of conscience

hear the timbre of strain
sing a low, sad song
this vessel was never meant
to contain such weight

out in the middle of
we will decide who comes
and in the thick of the circumstances
every fear of each imagined ending
will engulf you
for we are a land that will not
(a line that will not)

out where mothers
are grasping for children’s limbs
we are losing patience with pity, turn away
we will not witness, it will not stick
for we did not see
heard no screams
let me wash my hands
I know nothing
of the will of water

out beyond the ocean
and all its undoing
you had a dream. I will meet you there
for when each life is at last allowed its living
the world will be too full
to write about.
— Reneé Pettitt-Schipp

You cannot wash your hands clean of what you continue to do. We artists will see to it.

Bring all refugees and asylum seekers in offshore detention to freedom and safety now.

PNG not safe

Dear Prime Minister,

Minister Dutton says that refugees on Manus are free to resettle in Papua New Guinea. Refugees say PNG is not safe, including the PNG police force.

The recent finding by PNG National Court supports the refugees' claims. The state has been ordered to pay four citizens damages for human rights breaches by the police including violence, property damage and injuries.

Accept NZ's offer

Dear Prime Minister,

In your meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on March 2nd you once again turned down New Zealand's offer to resettle 150 refugees from offshore detention per year. You said that Australia will not consider NZ's offer until the US resettlement deal was completed.

Why? Is your strategy to make sure that some refugees will never leave Manus and Nauru?

A few more

Dear Prime Minister,

The fifth group of refugees have been flown from offshore detention to the USA. President Obama offered to swap 1250 refugees with refugees waiting to get into the US. But since that time, only 139 refugees have left Nauru and 85 from Manus Island.

What about the remaining 1800+? Why is it taking so long? Why have no Iranians, Somalis or Sudanese gone to the US?

A stain

Dear Prime Minister,

Finalist for 2018 Young Australian of the Year, Kevin Kadirgamar, is a lawyer who assists asylum seekers and refugees suffering under our draconian, unfair laws. He says that our treatment of asylum seekers is

"a stain on the soul of our nation."

I agree with this remarkable young Australian when he says:

There is a duty of citizenship for all of us to stand up and say no, that is not the country that we are, we do not accept that, and to jealously guard Australian values. We all have the opportunity to help them find a much brighter future.
— Kevin Kadirgamar

How will your Government act to reflect the Australian beliefs of fairness and compassion?

Governor General Cosgrove made to be a hypocrite

Dear Prime Minister,

 Australia's punitive, repressive policy towards refugees is revealed yet again. At the UN, Governor General Cosgrove said

We have a duty to promote the rights of the most vulnerable, oppressed, discriminated communities, and to seek universality of human rights to all parts of our world.
— Governor General Peter Cosgrove

Yet Australia promotes its hardline policies of boat turn-backs on international waters, mandatory and indefinite detention and offshore 'processing.' Australia leads the world in exploiting and abusing asylum seekers by its policies of deterrence and punishment. We cannot pretend to uphold human rights. We deserve to be criticised and held to account.

Australia lies

Dear Prime Minister,

On November 24 2017 Minister Dutton issued a press release which stated that the new accommodation for refugees at West Lorengau Haus and Hillside Haus in Lorengau had been fully functional by October 31 2017. Yet on February 28 2018  a Papua New Guinean construction worker was killed when a crane rolled over while lifting a generator at West Lorengau Haus.

Construction at the island’s refugee facilities is continuing despite claims made by the Australian government in November that they were near completion.

Australia's offshore detention regime is deadly for refugees and Papua New Guineans. Evacuate now to freedom and safety.

NGV dumps Wilson Security

Dear Prime Minister,

Refugees and journalists reported serious allegations of abuse and criminal activity by Wilson Security guards in offshore detention centres. Arts activists staged a number of actions at the National Gallery of Victoria which also contracts Wilson for security services. Visiting artists at the NGV Triennial also protested directly against Wilson Security. The NGV has now ended its contract with Wilson Security.

Refugees and citizens will continue to protest against businesses associated with the illegal and inhumane treatment of refugees by Australia. End offshore detention and bring all refugees to safety and freedom now.

Do more for Manus

Dear Prime Minister,

Australia has forced the people of Manus Island to accommodate 600+ men on their small island. Despite Australian promises, the Manusians have seen no new hospital, no improved infrastructure (apart from a new police station) and no support to absorb this sudden 10% increase in population.

In the immediate term, Manus needs Australia's material support. But ultimately the refugees are Australia's responsibility. Bring them to safety and freedom now.

Fatemah needs urgent heart surgery

Dear Prime Minister,

Minister Dutton and the Department of Home Affairs lie when they claim that all refugees on Nauru have access to appropriate health care. Cardiac specialists in Australia insist that 55-year-old refugee, Fatemah, needs medical treatment in Australia for her complicated heart condition OR ELSE SHE WILL DIE

Her teenage son is depressed and suicidal. She cannot leave him alone on Nauru. It is urgent that both mother and son are flown to Australia. They are our responsibility.

Epic Mould on Nauru

Dear Prime Minister,

Dr Cameron Jones, a microbiologist contracted by Transfield to assess the mould in the Nauru immigration centre, reports that the contamination was of ‘epic proportions’ and was a serious health hazard. Despite these findings showing direct impact on the health of Australian staff who worked there the report was covered up.

Who authorised the suppression of this report? 

The Department of Home Affairs is lying when it says that no-one has developed health issues due to mould exposure at Nauru RPC. Comcare has received a complaint about workers diagnosed with respiratory conditions caused by mould at Nauru RPC.

The article in the Guardian on 24 February details interference with the investigation, suppression of previous reports, prevention of investigators speaking with refugees, photographic evidence of ongoing mould infestations and long-term health problems for numbers of former staff.

The working conditions for staff in Australia’s offshore detention centre are Australia’s responsibility. The health of the refugees is Australia’s responsibility. Bring them all to safety and freedom now.

Refugees denied medical care on Nauru

And so in the end after multiple, multiple occasions with multiple patients where my medical advice was being ignored or overridden by a bureaucrat with no medical training, in the end I’d had enough and thought this is just disgusting.
I felt morally obliged to say something.
— Dr Nick Martin

Dr Nick Martin said Australia had a duty of care for the refugees it detains offshore and was lying when it said their healthcare was the responsibility of Nauru.