by Tess Lawrence, Contributing Editor-at-Large, Independent Australia

The endemic racism and repugnant rhetoric endorsed by some of Australia’s politicians and promulgated through both Houses of Parliament, as Hansard will forever attest, has legitimised the global bloodsport of demonising muslims and refugees.

The extent to which parliamentary hatespeak has contributed to New Zealand’s ChristchurchMassacre in the Mosques will become better known as the Australian who has been charged with this heinous crime, comes before the Court.

Successive Australian governments have shamelessly and illegally treated refugees and asylum seekers as sub-humans.  The Liberal National Party coalition in particular continues to beat the propaganda drum with a maniacal and sometimes messianic fervour that borders on criminal incitement and is defiant of international laws and covenants co-signed by an Australian pen with ink sometimes red and still warm, with Australian blood. 

Were it not for a vigilant, disparate and dissenting national Peace Army of civilian activists drawn from all walks of life, various refugee advocacy agencies, the courage of whistleblowers and media, the incessant lies, misinformation, disinformation peddled by the Coalition, would not have been publicly exposed as a mostly malicious litany of fake news.

The offshore illegitimate outsourcing  of our refugees to sub-contractors, other governments, other countries,other islands, of our refugees is more than political cowardice by our governments. 

It is more than a billion dollar people trafficking rort by the LNP; more than a lucrative cashcow for corrupt officials and shonky operators, fraud and scandal. The long years of secrecy and lack of transparency of what has happened – and is still happening – on the islands of Manus, Nauru, Christmas, PNG, the United States and elsewhere will no doubt contribute to the Coalition’s undoing in next Month’s Federal election.

Once again, the LNP have misread and misjudged the Australian people. It has escaped their notice that we have supposedly abandoned The White Australia Policy and have long been a multicultural melange. The bigotry and hatred that is their mantra poisons the very well from which we all drink.

The bigotry and hatred poisons the very well
from which we all drink

The isolating of refugees fits into the sordid and defamatory narrative that all refugees are terrorists, rapists, murderers, criminals – too dangerous to be allowed to set foot on Terra Australis. And that includes babies and small children. 

Nor are they worthy of Visas on humanitarian grounds. No, those humanitarian visas are only granted by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to white-skinned Au Pairs from Europe and only if Gillon McLachlan, CEO of the AFL, renowned humanitarian and Au Pair refugee advocate, is a mate.

The Government will argue that there is ‘ no refugee problem.’  That’s true in the sense that it is the Government(s) that is the problem.

The Government will argue that there are fewer people in detention centres, et cetera. In fact, the ‘ refugee problem’ is greater than ever and the consequences of our brutality have already fuelled ominous legal and societal challenges on our own shores and beyond. 

We who care need to fight harder and not lose momentum but instead accelerate efforts to bring about reform, justice and redress and reparation. 

The Coalition derides activists, advocates, dissenters, protestors, whistleblowers and protectors of those on the marginalia of society.. Their insult should be worn as a badge of honour. 

The political and legal ramifications of our mistreatment of refugees will extend far beyond the barbed wire fences. The suicides, the self harm, the deprivation of medical attention, the physical and mental harm we have caused, the destruction of families that we have authored and authorised to others, means that we will ultimately be held accountable, if not on a national basis then perhaps in an international court and before an independent arbitrator. Some of our misconduct not only flouts the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but falls under the distinct character of war crimes and torture. 

We are the collective voice of the Refugee.  We must in all conscience speak where they are denied a voice. We must walk where they are forced to kneel. We must expose the lie when we are not fed the truth. 

They are our brothers and sisters; our children. They are us.  They are not ‘ the other.’ We are all ’the other.’ We are all refugees of some kind, surely, just as many Indigenous Australians have long been refugees in their own country. And yet, in all the discussions, interviews and broadcasts I’ve done, not once have I met an indigenous Australian who begrudged refugees, refuge in this, their own country. Why can’t our politicians learn from them?                   

   Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees 2019.

It would be wonderful if you would join me and thousands of ordinary Australians throughout the nation, doing something quite extraordinary together. It is such an uplifting experience. I will again be walking in Melbourne on Palm Sunday, April 14. We will assemble at the State Library on the corner of Swanston and Elizabeth Streets at 2pm. Please come along. Let’s support each other. Let Love not Hate overcome the autocrats and bullies in our debased Parliaments, State and Federal. 


The walk is a manifestation of community solidarity for Justice for Refugees  in the face of white nationalism and the ‘ Let’s Make Australia White Again ‘ whitemanifesto. 

Let us show our dissent; our rebelliousness, our refusal to acquiesce to political tyranny and treachery; our resolve to champion the refugee and asylum seeker. We are among their number. It is not weak to speak of kindness, nor to speak of a shared and common humanity and compassion.  These are not heretical profanities. This is about the Human Family. And our welcome of ‘them’ to the ‘ us’ that is Australia. 

In fact, the fabulous and big-hearted Welcome to Country will be led by Wurundjeri Elder Colin Hunter Junior, who is also on the Wurundjeri Council’s Committee of Management. 

Each step in this walk takes us closer to Justice for Refugees. For us, it’s a mere stroll. Refugees and asylum seekers are still walking their walk.

More articles on the ghastly key players and topics: –  


(Art by @JohnGrahamArt) Via Independent Australia




(Image via @uknowiss) via Independent Australia


From the Refugee Advocacy Network – 

 It took over five years, but almost all children are now off Nauru. This is a result of the pressure of the refugee movement on the politicians who said they would never come here. Now we need to get everyone off Manus and Nauru.

Australia’s treatment of refugees continues to be inhumane and unjust:
• Over 10
Join the Walk for Justice for Refugees on Palm Sunday 14 April 2019

From Facebook Events page:

– For a Fair and Welcoming Society
– Close Manus & Nauru, Bring Them Here

Speakers include 
Welcome to Country – Wurundjeri elder Uncle Colin Hunter
Behrouz Boochani – activist, filmmaker, winner of the Victorian Prize for Literature, 

and Kurdish refugee imprisoned on Manus Island (live via phone)
Richard Flannagan – Author

Nyadol Nyuon – lawyer, writer and community advocate
Taqi Azra – Hazara Refugee
Michele O’Neil – ACTU President
Interfaith Panel including Mohammad Mohideen president of the Islamic Council of Victoria
Lavanya Thavaraja – Tamil Refugee Council
David Manne – Refugee Legal

Music from 1.30pm, Speakers from 2pm. Walk from 2.45pm to Kings Domain for music by Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir and others, half of the speakers will also be at this end of the march

#justice4refugees people on Nauru and Manus are still languishing offshore, with no prospects for permanent resettlement. The US deal will not provide for all of these people – they need to be brought to safety.  
• The Australian Government is not offering permanent protection to the children and their families being brought here from Nauru – so their uncertainty continues, and the government is still refusing the New Zealand offer to provide permanent protection. Many of the children and families from Nauru are now held in detention centres here, or in community detention.
• Hundreds of people continue to be held in on-shore detention centres – some for more than 9 years
• Over 16,000 people are still on Bridging visas in the community, with uncertain futures
• The Government is continuing to deport people to danger, and thousands of people live with the threat of deportation. These include the Biloela family, and Huyen who may be indefinitely separated from her young baby, who have now be held in detention for many months
• Young people who have grown up here and have permanent residency are being held in detention, and some have been sent back to countries where they have never lived
• Thousands of people face destitution as the government withdraws income and housing support to vulnerable people, who have difficulty getting full time employment, having been denied the right to work for many years.
Australia must honour its commitments under the Refugee Convention, embrace decency and fairness and provide permanent protection for refugees.
• Seeking asylum is a human right, but people seeking asylum by boat continue to be turned back; and UNHCR recognised refugees stuck in Indonesia for many years without the right to work, education, or health care are currently banned from coming to Australia.

Stand up for a fair and welcoming society by joining the Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees in 2019

Invite your friends, and share through your social media networks. 

Link to the rally is here.

* The Refugee Advocacy Network is a broad coalition of Victorian organisations who have come together to advance a more just, humane approach to refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. If you or your organisation would like to support the network please get in touch.

Other states and territories are also holding Palm Sunday Walks for Justice for Refugees and various agencies and religious organisations are involved, including rural areas. Why not organise your neighbourhood to do a walk around the block and make your own posters and placards ?