Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A government not worthy of the name

Yesterday, after months of abuse, tensions at Australia's immigration gulag on Christmas Island boiled over, with protests and riots. While the protests were triggered by the suspicious death of an escaped prisoner, they had apparently been brewing for some time, with Serco guards accused of brutal assaults. The Australian government has apparently refused to negotiate to enable a peaceful de-escalation, and the prisoners are now worried that they will be shot or brutalised when the guards invade.

There are 40 New Zealanders among the prisoners, and yesterday John Key was asked what he was going to do to protect their safety. His answer? Nothing:

Mr Key said his office had received a briefing on the riot and he understood a small number of New Zealanders might have been involved.

However, any incidents at the detention centre were a matter for the Australian government, he said.

"If there was a problem at Paremoremo [Prison, in Auckland], I don't think the Australian Prime Minister would fly over or the Australian officials would fly over to Paremoremo," he said.

"[Christmas Island] is an Australian Corrections facility."

A government which will not even raise its voice to protect its citizens is not worthy of the name. And the leader of such a government? They're just a spineless quisling.

There are kiwis on Christmas island, and our government ought to be concerned about their safety. They should immediately send an observer to provide consular assistance to those in detention, and make it very clear to the Australians that they will be held accountable if any of our people is injured by its goons. While prisoners have protested and rioted, and Australian law must take its course, it does not permit beatings and broken bones as punishments, and it does not permit indiscriminate violence against suspects, let alone bystanders. Australia needs to know that we will be watching, and asking questions, and demanding prosecutions for abuses if necessary. And fuck our "friendly relationship". "Friends" don't stick each other in indefinite detention for petty crimes, and "friends" don't beat and brutalise each other. And if Australia persists in being the sort of country which does this, I think we need to make it clear that we can no longer be friends.