Abbott’s office responds to letters…

The office of Tony Abbott is responding to letters from members of the public concerning asylum-seeker policy.

The replies are, apparently, prepared by a staffer.  It comes as no surprise that the replies do not deal with the key problems.

One letter-writer, Gerard Grove-White, responded to the uninformative reply he had received.  It’s  a terrific letter, and he has given me permission to re-print it here.  I wish more members of the public would respond to the sort of stuff our politicians use to fob us off:

“Thank you for your reply on behalf of the Prime Minister and Minister Dutton.

By way of introduction I am not, as your Ministers may say, “A latte sipping, Chardonnay drinking, bleeding heart socialist”. I am in fact a retired “hard headed” internationally experienced senior engineering manager who happens to care deeply for his fellow men and women, of whatever race, colour or creed. I do not belong, nor ever have belonged, to any political party. Hence my position is apolitical.
Your reply on behalf of the Ministers was, to put it mildly, disappointing if not unexpected. It failed to answer the 8 specific questions I put to the Minsters, and merely regurgitated sections of various media releases made by the Government.
The suggestion that the Australian Government takes its international obligations seriously under the relevant international treaties is, quite frankly, disingenuous and laughable, if it weren’t so appalling. The reality of these breaches is shameful.

The recent report from the UNHCR highlighted Australia’s multiple breaches of many of these obligations in its treatment of Refugees. The Prime Minister’s comment that “Australia is sick and tired of being lectured by the UN” demonstrates for all to see, how seriously the Prime Minister takes these international obligations.

Incidentally the last time that phrase was used was by President Vorster in South Africa, when he responded to UN criticism of the apartheid regime. Prime Minister Abbott is in good company.

You suggest that arriving by boat is illegal. That is factually incorrect, as the Government’s law officers well know. The term “Illegal Maritime Arrival” is an untruth, and anybody who use that term is lying. Given that you are writing on behalf of the Prime Minister of Australia, one can only draw one conclusion from your use of the term, namely that he and Minister Dutton are being disingenuous on a nearly daily basis.

Your comments regarding budget saving are ludicrous in the light of the fact that the Government is spending over $1 billion pa on maintaining the “gulags” on Manus Island and Nauru. This amounts to some $500,000 pa per detainee. A very high price to pay to abuse fellow human beings and deprive them of their health, liberty and human rights.

I could go on disputing your assertions, but to what purpose?

In the end the truth of these monstrous abuses of human rights will be fully exposed for the whole world to see.

I have attached a paper I have written called “The Political Calculus of Australia’s Refugee Policies”. I would appreciate it if you could provide a copy to the Prime Minister’s office and to your Minister.

Finally you may rest assured that I will share this correspondence widely. I have an absolute determination to do my utmost to “Name and Shame” our elected representatives for having put in place, over the last 20 years, what is increasingly recognised internationally, as one of the world’s harshest, most abusive and inhumane set of policies for the treatment of Refugees.

Thank you for your help and assistance in this cause.

Yours Faithfully

Gerald Grove-White”