Thursday, 12 November 2015

Christmas Island, rape, and other random questions [updated]


RADIO NZ: “The Australian government has provided Justice Minister Amy Adams, with a detailed breakdown of the list of offences by the 40 New Zealanders being held on Christmas Island.
    They include manslaughter, armed robbery and assaulting a child or wife with a weapon. A criminal convicted of indecently treating a child is also listed. However,
none are murderers or rapists
    “Ms Adams said Mr Key's statements were based on previous reports provided by the Australian government. ‘What we haven't known
until now one or two hours is exactly what the specific make-up was on Christmas Island.’” [Emphasis mine.]

… Why has it taken so long for the media to even ask for details about the central issue in this story?

… Why were reports suggesting that the “rioters” were NZers protesting their deportation, when three of the seven were refugees being indefinitely detained at the Serco-run facility? Who had seen an ex-military interpreter being sent back to almost-certain death in Iraq? Who had seen Kurdish refugee Fazal Chegeni die in bizarre circumstances? Who are not criminals, but merely seekers of asylum. (Seeking asylum is not yet a crime.)

… How do conditions on the Christmas Island concentration camp compare to the “gulags” at Nauru and Manus Island? Have we been told?

… Does Serco’s performance at Christmas Island tell us anything we didn’t already know about the warped incentives for managing privately-run prisons?

… Is it really a riot when you’re a political prisoner protesting your indefinite unjust imprisonment?

… Have the media accurately reported any of these stories to date?

… Why for example is a war hero locked up? Do we have the full story? How did Kurdish refugee Fazal Chegeni die? Do we have any idea at all?

… Why is New Zealand not really talking about our Aussie cuzzies “locking up some of the world's most desperate - folks guilty only of trying to find safety from war”? But talking instead about women desperate to make themselves victims and how important it is not to mention rape in the NZ Parliament?

… Should we simply trust without question figures supplied by Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton?  (He is a politician.) Or are there journalists somewhere checking his facts?

… Why did the Greens and Labour not find out themselves months ago exactly who is on Christmas Island, and what for?

… Wouldn’t they have done that if they really and truly cared about NZers on Christmas Island?

… Do they really and truly care?

… A barrister once told me that in a decent cross-examination you only ask questions to which you already know the answer. So wouldn’t a decent opposition have discovered before their protest over rapists on Christmas Island that there are no rapists on Christmas Island? Wouldn’t that have been a free hit on the PM?

… If they had, would they have needed to stage a walk-out over rape? Couldn’t they have just called him a liar? Or do they prefer their stunt?

… Why are the opposition protesting about the Prime Minister’s “rapist” remark when he was implicitly criticising rapists and defending their victims?

… Was the Prime Minister lying when he told the House that “some of them are rapists, some of them are child molesterers(sic), and some of them are murderers”? Or was he just horribly uninformed?

… If he was just horribly uninformed, then why did he let his mouth run away with him before he was properly informed? Does he care more about the truth, or about getting a hit on the opposition?

… Wouldn’t a decent Prime Minister ensure that he is always well-informed before opening his mouth on an issue?

… Wouldn’t a decent justice minister have discovered months ago for herself who exactly was on Christmas Island, and what for? Isn’t that her job?

… And shouldn’t she have kept her Prime Minister properly informed? Did she?

… So was Amy Adams lying yesterday when she says she only had the information for “one or two hours?” Or is she just inept?

… And why are the opposition parties backing all the criminals in detention, without singling out the bad bastards from those worthy of compassion? They had an MP there a week before this blew up—did he not learn of any?

And finally,

… Is there any politician, anywhere, that has come out of this with any glory?

Many more questions to be asked and answered. I’m sure you have plenty of your own.

[Hat tips Lukas Schroeter, Fabia Claridge-Chang, Lynne Murphy, Refugee Action Committee, Lindsay Mitchell, Kon Karapanagiotidis, Julian Burnside]

UPDATE: More on the blithering ineptitude of an opposition more focussed on identity politics than doing the job of an opposition (based on points made by Jim Rose):

… Would opposition parties oppose the deportation of serious criminals from New Zealand who are non-citizens?

… Rather than defending the very few NZers behind held in detention centres who do have a serious criminal record (however few or many this might be), wouldn’t a decent opposition pick out the few at the margin who are far from serious, and any maybe at the margin of the 12-month threshold, and tell their hard-luck stories? … of those who’ve been in Australia since a small child and now have families of their own across the ditch? … of the children of Samoan New Zealanders who do not acquire New Zealand citizen by descent and will be deported back to Samoa?

… And why [hat tip Alex Coleman] does John Key have “no clue” why the soldier who body-guarded him in Afghanistan has been detained when, if it was an All Black he would be on the phone in15 seconds—and when his Justice Minister should have known all about this way before the media (and the opposition) ever did.


  1. Thanks for this article PC. Up to the usual standard. You are way ahead for blogger of the year to be announced Christmas day.

  2. Hear hear! Thank you for cutting through the BS.

    This issue says so much about the sad state of media and politics in this country.

  3. I don't have a lot of sympathy for criminals. You're particularly dumb criminal if you go around committing crimes in another country because you invite deportation.

    As for that poor bugger who died after escaping from the migration detention facility, where is he escaping to? Didn't he know Christmas Island is in the middle of the Indian Ocean?

  4. "I don't have a lot of sympathy for criminals. You're particularly dumb criminal if you go around committing crimes in another country because you invite deportation." Me either but you do your time -- after which you're locked up in a concentration camp? Really?!

    "As for that poor bugger who died after escaping from the migration detention facility, where is he escaping to?" Perhaps all his attention was on what he was escaping *from*.

  5. "How do conditions on the Christmas Island concentration camp compare to the 'gulags' at Nauru and Manus Island?"

    The conditions for detainees on Christmas Island are streets ahead of those on Manus Island. I have worked in both places. The accommodation for Serco employees, interpreters and even some of the nurses on CI is often worse than that of the detainees. The standard of medical care on CI is on a par with that for any Australian. At one time during my time there the medical centre was staffed seven days a week, twenty four hours a day; it is now staffed from nine to five, five days a week, with a doctor and nurse on call after hours, same as most towns in Australia. There is a civilian hospital on the island to which the medical team can refer patients for acute admission; I have done this on several occasions.

    While not endorsing the decisions of the Australian government - they are spending vast amounts of taxpayer money and detaining people for what appear to be excessively long time periods - I believe the government are obligated to provide medical care for these detainees.

    From a maximum of about 3000 detainees on CI last year, about 98% of these were shipped out, many to the Australian mainland. In January this year, there were less than 80 left The media don't seem to want to report this.

    Personally I can't understand why any of these convicted criminals in question weren't told at the time of sentencing that they would be deported upon completion of their sentence, I thought that was the norm.

    If the prisoners with revoked visas were so settled in Australia, why didn't they take out citizenship?

    As has been repeatedly stated, the Kiwis over there are free to travel back here (once passports and security issues are sorted); NZ isn't such a bad place.

    I agree it's a very bad look for our top politicians and officials to be unaware of exactly who is in detention over there and their criminal backgrounds.

    1. Thanks Doc.Much more information than I've heard elsewhere.

  6. Best thing I have read on this topic. Congrats.
    Matthew Hooton

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