The High Court in PNG has ruled that the detention of asylum seekers and refugees is illegal. I don’t know enough law to comment on the decision from a legal perspective, but from a moral perspective the reasoning is impeccable: You can’t deprive people of their liberty when they have committed no crime.
How is it possible that we can think it acceptable to lock up people who come to us seeking our protection from persecution in their home country? The answer is found in the response to the PNG decision by Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton
No one who attempts to travel to Australia illegally by boat will settle in Australia (reported in The Australian, 27/4/2016)
It’s simple. Tell people that asylum seekers and refugees who arrive by boat are criminals and they’ll applaud you for locking them up.
We expect this of tin pot authoritarian regimes. I don’t expect it of a modern liberal democracy But here it is, a stain on our national character.