Yesterday, reacting to the deportation of New Zealanders who had lived their entire lives in Australia, Minister of Justice Andrew Little sharply criticized Australian Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton for the breach of human rights.
I applaud Mr Little for standing up to Mr Dutton. Mr Dutton has made it his mission in office to wage full on war against anyone who is seeking asylum, is a refugee or otherwise in a vulnerable category of residency. Mr Dutton, who is reported to enjoy his work, was a detective in the Queensland Police force before he became a politician in 2001.
One method Mr Dutton employs is the use of offshore detention centres on tropical islands such as Manus, Christmas and Nauru. People who get sent there stay in centres and have been found to be severely wanting both in terms of their management, and a severe lack of basic amenities. Violence including riots, hunger strikes and so forth have been commonplace.
Another is the deportation to New Zealand or to other countries of people found to have committed a crime, whether they were born in that country or not. In the case of New Zealand, people who left New Zealand very young as children and have spent their entire adult lives in Australia have found themselves deported back to a country where they have nothing, know no one or any support.
Obviously I do not condone whatever crimes they committed. But the ethics of deporting a person to a country that they have no connections whatsoever to and are in danger of just committing further offences raises significant moral issues. They also serve to strain ties with those nations who have not had to deal with these people before and now find themselves with no choice but to take them in.
His policies have inspired United States President Donald Trump’s attempt to build a wall on the Mexican border, to wage the war he has been against illegal immigrants. Whilst many of the immigrants whose citizenship status is questionable in the United States, the vast majority were fleeing from countries where diplomatic relations with other countries are weak and seeking legal avenues for emergency protection signals to the Government that one is fleeing.
Mr Dutton wields considerable power. Aside from being Minister of Immigration, he is also in charge of the Australian Border Force, which are equivalent to Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the United States. The A.B.F., like I.C.E. in the United States have had considerable controversy in their time in existence, including the two examples I have mentioned above.
Mr Dutton was wrong to say New Zealand does little for defence. The South Pacific is a largely peaceful region, which very much how New Zealand wishes to keep it. Mr Little understands this perfectly. Mr Little also understands something Mr Dutton does not – if a nation does not want to have large numbers of asylum seekers arriving then it should not be interfering in that nations affairs. A lot of the asylum seekers arriving in Australia are from nations where Australia has joined the United States and other western powers – on occasion New Zealand too – in interfering for reasons of “national security”.