Australian Immigrant and Refugee Issues

Australian government supports brutal assault on Manus Island refugees

By Max Newman, 27 November 2017

Turnbull’s government openly backed the violent eviction from the Australian-controlled detention camp, as part of its message to asylum seekers globally.

Australian government oversees police attacks on Manus Island refugees

By Oscar Grenfell, 24 November 2017

One of the asylum-seekers reported that yesterday’s violent incursion by Papua New Guinea state forces was directed by a representative of the Australian Federal Police.

Doctor describes “shameful” medical neglect at Australian refugee prison camp

By Max Newman, 15 November 2017

Asylum seekers detained in Nauru are “wilfully coming to medical harm” at the Australian government’s orders.

Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow is a major work, but what does the defense of immigrants entail?

By Eric London, 15 November 2017

The film is an aesthetic and political milestone and Ai’s imagery is unforgettable because it is real. But in its political orientation, Human Flow lags far behind.

Citizenship witch-hunt escalates after Australian government loses majority

By James Cogan, 13 November 2017

In a McCarthyite process, every member of parliament now has 18 days to prove they are not entitled to dual citizenship.

Australian government gives green light for violence against refugees at Manus Island

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 November 2017

The entire Australian political establishment is responsible for the desperate plight of the 600 men in the detention camp.

Australia: Thousands protest persecution of refugees on Manus Island

By Oscar Grenfell, 6 November 2017

Rally organisers sought to divert widespread anger over the dire plight of 600 refugees behind impotent appeals to the Coalition government, and support for Labor’s re-election.

Australian government starves refugees on Manus Island

By Oscar Grenfell, 4 November 2017

Contractors hired by the Liberal-National government emptied water tanks before leaving the facility Tuesday, while the Papua New Guinea navy is blocking emergency food deliveries.

Refugees on Manus Island face catastrophe at hands of Australian detention regime

By Oscar Grenfell, 1 November 2017

Asylum seekers have been left without food, water and electricity, and face the prospect of an armed assault by Papua New Guinea police and military personnel.

Australian government tries to force refugees from one prison camp to another

By Max Newman, 24 October 2017

“We explained over and over again that we would rather stay in the Manus prison without hope than face violence in Lorengau,” a refugee explained.

Tamil refugee dies in Australian detention on Manus Island

By Oscar Grenfell, 4 October 2017

Rajeev Rajendran is the sixth refugee who has died on Manus Island, and the second in just two months.

Few refugees leave Australian detention camps under US “swap” deal

By Max Newman, 29 September 2017

About 50 heavily-vetted detainees out of more than 2,000 are being transferred to unknown US locations.

Australian High Court sanctions deportations of Sri Lankan refugees

By Mike Head, 11 September 2017

The ruling is an indictment of the last Greens-backed Australian Labor government.

The dual citizenship furore in the Australian parliament: What is at stake for the working class?

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 6 September 2017

The citizenship crisis is an attempt to suppress anti-war sentiment and class tensions by promoting nationalism and patriotism.

Australian government strips asylum seekers of all housing and welfare payments

By Max Newman, 4 September 2017

The government’s actions have provoked widespread outrage, with thousands of people offering sanctuary to the refugees.

Australian High Court sanctions illegal detention of refugees in Papua New Guinea

By Max Newman and Mike Head, 24 August 2017

The judges rejected a challenge to incarceration on Manus Island despite the PNG Supreme Court last year ruling it was an unconstitutional deprivation of liberty.

Australia’s refugee detention regime claims its fifth victim on Manus Island

By Max Newman, 19 August 2017

Hamid Shamshiripour’s story is one of immense psychological suffering, as well as abuse at the hands of guards, overseen by the Australian government.

Right-wing Australian senator stages anti-Muslim “stunt” in federal parliament

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 August 2017

Labor and Liberal-National MPs, who incessantly promote xenophobic nationalism, feigned moral outrage over Pauline Hanson entering parliament wearing a burka.

Australian government threatens police violence to remove Manus Island refugees

By Max Newman, 9 August 2017

Asylum seekers detained in Papua New Guinea are being physically forced to move to an insecure temporary transit centre.

Australian government shuts off power to refugees imprisoned on Manus Island

By Max Newman, 17 July 2017

Parts of the camp have been demolished and the Internet facility was taken away, leaving mobile phones as the only connection for detainees to the outside world.

Australian government summarily deports more Sri Lankan refugees

By Max Newman, 11 July 2017

Six asylum seekers were captured by the Australian Navy and forcibly deported to face possible torture and imprisonment.

Australian government’s $70 million court settlement covers up crimes against refugees

By Max Newman, 26 June 2017

A lawsuit by Manus Island detainees was halted to prevent a detailed exposure of the abuses inflicted by successive governments.

Reports expose Australian government coverup of armed attack on Manus Island detainees

By Max Newman, 2 June 2017

The Good Friday assault highlighted the dangers facing the more than 800 male asylum seekers held on the remote island.

Australian government demonises “fake refugees”

By Max Newman, 24 May 2017

Thousands of asylum seekers face forced removal to their countries of origin if they do not complete complex visa applications by October 1.

Turnbull government announces anti-immigrant “Australia first” policies

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 April 2017

The abolition of 457 visas for foreign workers and the tightening of citizenship requirements are aimed at diverting mounting social discontent in a xenophobic direction.

Papua New Guinea soldiers attack refugees in Australian-run prison camp

By Max Newman, 18 April 2017

At least three asylum seekers were injured by armed soldiers who assaulted the refugee detention centre on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

Australian government revokes Palestinian activist’s visa

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 April 2017

The anti-democratic move is part of a broader campaign to suppress opposition to the escalating US-led war in the Middle East.

Thousands of Australian asylum seekers face deportation

By Max Newman, 31 March 2017

Refugees living in limbo inside Australia have been given less than 60 days to complete visa applications.

Trump hails Australia’s draconian immigration regime

By Max Newman, 13 March 2017

The “Australian model” combines cruelty toward refugees, with a “points-based” program that discriminates in favour of employers and the wealthy.

Australian prime minister’s speech points to growing political crisis

By Mike Head, 4 February 2017

Donald Trump’s election as US president has sent shockwaves through the parliamentary elite and accelerated the global turn to trade war and war.

Australian prime minister defends Trump’s anti-immigrant bans

By Mike Head, 31 January 2017

In the face of global outrage over Trump’s measures, Turnbull undertook to strengthen relations with the new US administration.

Human Rights Watch again condemns Australia’s inhuman treatment of refugees

By Max Newman, 28 January 2017

The HRW report points to the rapidly escalating erosion of basic legal and democratic rights in Australia which continues despite previous such reports.

Australia’s “border protection” regime claims another victim

By Max Newman, 3 January 2017

Faysal Ishak Ahmed, a 27-year-old asylum seeker from Sudan, died after suffering a seizure and collapsing in an Australian-controlled detention centre.

Australia: Political instability deepens as Liberal Party faces potential split

By Linda Tenenbaum, 29 December 2016

Returning from a three-month stint in the US, where he fraternised with Trump supporters, right-wing Liberal backbencher Cory Bernardi is testing the waters for a new far-right party.

Inquest evidence shows Australian government was responsible for asylum seeker’s death

By Max Newman, 8 December 2016

The medical evidence makes clear that Hamid Kehazaei died as a direct consequence of the refugee detention regime imposed by successive Australian governments.

Australia: Desperate refugee sets fire to himself in a bank

By Peter Byrne, 22 November 2016

Nur Islam, a young Rohingya man who fled Burma, was on a temporary bridging visa, which blocked basic social and political rights, including to work.

Australian government unveils brutal refugee deal with the US

By Max Newman, 14 November 2016

On both sides of the Pacific, the world’s most vulnerable people will be denied the basic right to seek protection, while many will face permanent separation from their families.

Australian government pushes ahead with lifetime refugee ban

By Max Newman, 12 November 2016

The government remains determined to get the bill through the Senate despite widespread public opposition to its blatant violation of international law.

Doctors demonstrate against Australian government’s refugee policies

By Zac Hambides, 10 November 2016

Protest organisers made futile appeals to the Turnbull government and Labor, the very agencies responsible for the escalating persecution of the asylum seekers.

Australian government moves to bar entry to refugees for life

By Mike Head, 3 November 2016

Some of the most vulnerable people in the world, many fleeing the ravages of US-led wars, are bearing the brunt of a brazen repudiation of basic legal and democratic rights.

UN committee condemns Australia’s Nauru refugee camp

By Max Newman, 19 October 2016

The Committee on the Rights of the Child described the treatment of children in the Australian-controlled detention centre as “inhumane and degrading.”

Amnesty report: Australian government running torture detention on Nauru

By Nick Beams, 18 October 2016

Efforts by Australian politicians to sell their detention model have helped create the conditions where governments around the world are regularly in breach of international law.

Australian government claims refugee policy “best in the world”

By Max Newman, 26 September 2016

At the UN summit, Prime Minister Turnbull urged countries to adopt Australia’s “border protection” regime.

Australian political establishment embraces Pauline Hanson’s One Nation

By Mike Head, 16 September 2016

Hanson’s first Senate speech, which was given wall-to-wall media coverage, focused on vilifying Muslims, China and welfare recipients.

Few Syrian refugees yet to arrive in Australia

By Max Newman, 10 September 2016

Less than 2,000 Syrian and Iraqi asylum seekers have been allowed entry since the government’s promise to protect 12,000 people nearly a year ago.

Former detention centre workers condemn Australia’s brutal refugee regime

By Max Newman, 29 August 2016

More than 100 ex-staff members have risked lengthy jail sentences to protest against the treatment of asylum seekers incarcerated on remote Pacific islands.

Leaked files reveal brutal regime in Australia’s Nauru refugee camp

By Max Newman, 16 August 2016

The government and Labor opposition remain committed to punitive “offshore” detention as a means of deterring refugees from trying to reach Australia.

Report documents human rights violations in Australian refugee camps

By Max Newman, 8 August 2016

A report targets Ferrovial, a global infrastructure giant, which currently holds the Australian government contract to run the detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.

Amnesty report denounces Australia’s “cruel” refugee regime on Nauru

By Mike Head, 5 August 2016

The Australian government has set a brutal model for countries around the world to punish and bar entry to millions of desperate refugees.

Chasing Asylum: Exposing Australia’s brutal refugee-detention regime

By Richard Phillips, 29 July 2016

The feature-length documentary is a harrowing account of the systematic cruelty and de-humanisation of asylum-seekers in Australia’s offshore detention centres.

Documentary director Eva Orner discusses Chasing Asylum

By Richard Phillips, 29 July 2016

The filmmaker explained to the WSWS why she decided to lift the veil of secrecy on Australia’s offshore refugee detention centres.

Unicef report reveals 250 million children are victims of war

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 15 July 2016

The shocking consequences for millions of children growing up in war zones can last decades.

The Australian election and the assault on refugees

By Max Newman, 1 July 2016

Workers and youth must defend the basic rights of asylum seekers as an essential part of the struggle to unify the working class internationally.

Two refugees set themselves alight in Australia’s Nauru detention centre

By Max Newman, 4 May 2016

The Australian government has labelled the protests as acts of “self-harm” to divert from any examination of why refugees have been driven to such desperate actions.

Australia: Pseudo-lefts promote the Greens’ posturing on refugees

By Patrick Kelly, 3 May 2016

Amid widespread public outrage, the rally organised in Melbourne on Saturday served as a thinly veiled election campaign event for the Greens.

Australian government defies PNG refugee ruling

By Mike Head, 2 May 2016

The refugees remain incarcerated on Manus Island, despite Papua New Guinea’s highest court declaring their detention unconstitutional and ordering their immediate release.

PNG court declares Australian refugee detention camp illegal

By Mike Head, 28 April 2016

Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ruling exposes the unlawful character of the Australian policy of incarcerating asylum seekers on remote islands.

Hundreds of refugees in Australia face return to offshore camps

By Max Newman, 23 March 2016

Asylum seekers who have been receiving medical treatment in Australia are threatened with being sent back to Nauru or Manus Island.

Australian media whips up fear campaign against African youth

By Richard Phillips, 16 March 2016

The state Labor government has seized on police clashes with youth in Melbourne on Saturday to demand greater police powers to “smash gang violence.”

Leaked Australian document reveals plans for mass surveillance of immigrants

By Max Newman, 7 March 2016

The Australian government is preparing continuous monitoring of immigrants and more severe visa and citizenship tests to block access to permanent residence.

Australian government refuses to help children trapped in Syria

By Mike Head, 13 February 2016

The government’s reaction to the plight of these six Australian children displays its true contempt for the millions of victims of the predatory US-led war in Iraq and Syria.

Human Rights Watch underscores Australia’s abuses of refugees

By Max Newman, 10 February 2016

The report documents Australia’s stripping of asylum seekers of basic democratic rights and the build-up of repressive police powers.

Australia’s High Court backs indefinite offshore detention

By Mike Head, 9 February 2016

The ruling sets a new global benchmark for the incarceration of innocent and desperate people in what amounts to Guantanamo Bay-style legal black holes.

Australian High Court sanctions indefinite offshore detention of refugees

By Mike Head, 4 February 2016

The decision sets a new global benchmark for the incarceration of men, women and children in conditions that amount to torture.

Doctor challenges Australian government over refugee conditions on Nauru

By Max Newman, 2 February 2016

A paediatrics professor who worked in Nauru has condemned the indefinite detention of asylum seekers as torture, defying the police-state secrecy provisions of the Border Force Act.

Imprisonment periods lengthening in Australian immigration detention centres

By Max Newman, 22 January 2016

Detainees are now being incarcerated for an average 445 days, resulting in severe mental distress.

As court bans racist rally, Australian media promotes far-right

By Richard Phillips, 12 December 2015

The media has provided blanket coverage of plans for an anti-Islamic rally in Cronulla, where racist mobs attacked Middle Eastern youth in 2005.

Indonesian government discusses offering Australia an island to detain refugees

By Max Newman, 11 December 2015

As a result of Australia’s “turn back” policy, more than 13,000 asylum seekers are now living in some of Indonesia’s most impoverished provinces.

Refugees rescued off West Timor after being dumped by Australia

By Max Newman, 30 November 2015

Asylum seekers who disappeared for a week after being intercepted by the Australian navy were found stricken in a small boat without fuel off the Indonesian coast.

Australian Greens posturing on war and refugees exposed at public meeting

By Max Newman, 28 November 2015

None of the speakers mentioned the direct connection between the refugee crisis and the war drive by the US and its allies, including Australia.

Australian government considers removing refugees to Kyrgyzstan

By Max Newman, 14 November 2015

Kyrgyzstan, one of a number of former Soviet Union countries being considered for transferring refugees, ranks among the 50 poorest countries in the world.

Australian government deporting life-long residents over minor offences

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 November 2015

Hundreds of long-term residents are being stripped of their visas, and face indefinite detention and deportation.

Refugee’s death triggers another riot on Australia’s Christmas Island

By Mike Head, 10 November 2015

According to detainees, a confrontation broke out after Iranian refugees demanded answers from security guards, only to be abused and taunted.

Two more refugees commit suicide in Australia

By Max Newman, 2 November 2015

The Australian government’s responsibility for the suicides is underscored by the treatment of Khodayar Amini, who set himself alight last month.

Australian PM refuses to halt deportations of New Zealanders

By Tom Peters, 26 October 2015

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull bluntly rejected a request to end the removal of New Zealand-born Australian residents who have received prison sentences.

Australian government sends alleged rape victim back to detention on Nauru

By Max Newman, 24 October 2015

In order to prevent a court injunction, the Turnbull government quickly removed a young refugee woman seeking an abortion in Australia.

Australian government seeks to block High Court case on offshore detention centres

By Max Newman, 19 October 2015

The Turnbull government claims that Nauru’s new “open centre” model means asylum seekers are no longer “detained.”

Papua New Guinea trial obscures Australian responsibility for refugee’s death

By Max Newman, 10 October 2015

Two Manus Island locals accused of murdering Iranian Kurdish asylum seeker Reza Barati have won an order re-opening their trial.

Agonising suicide in Australian refugee detention centre

By Max Newman, 28 September 2015

All the circumstances surrounding Ali Jaffari’s death point to the impact of the harsh measures being taken by Australian governments to repel asylum seekers.

Australia: Thousands rally in defense of refugees at nationwide vigils

By Oscar Grenfell, 8 September 2015

The attendance at the vigils highlights the widespread sympathy for refugees among workers, young people, students and others.

Australian government refuses to lift refugee intake

By Mike Head, 7 September 2015

As Abbott feigned compassion for the asylum seekers in Europe, he was preparing to extend Australia’s current bombing campaign from Iraq into Syria.

Australian senate inquiry masks responsibility for Nauru refugee camp abuses

By Max Newman, 7 September 2015

Further evidence reveals inhumane conditions and treatment of refugees in Australia’s illegal offshore processing facilities.

Public outcry halts Australian Border Force blitz in Melbourne

By Mike Head, 31 August 2015

“Operation Fortitude” highlighted the creation of police-state conditions by the Abbott government, with the Labor Party’s bipartisan backing.

Australian Federal Police aid Sri Lankan unit implicated in torture

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 August 2015

The AFP has provided equipment and training to Sri Lanka’s CID, long accused of kidnappings and human rights abuses.

Australian Labor leader insists on turning back refugee boats

By Mike Head, 23 July 2015

By adopting the Abbott government’s regressive policy, Bill Shorten also sent a wider signal of his determination to shift Labor further to the right across the board.

World medical body denounces Australia’s refugee detention censorship law

By Will Morrow, 4 July 2015

The new law makes it a crime, punishable with two years in jail, to publicly reveal information about the conditions in Australia’s refugee detention camps.

Detention centre staff defy Australian government’s refugee censorship laws

By Will Morrow, 2 July 2015

Medical professionals and former staff in Australia’s refugee detention network have challenged the new “Border Force Act.”

Australian Labor leader pledges loyalty to government’s assault on democratic rights

By Mike Head, 27 June 2015

Labor helped ram through an anti-refugee bill amid an escalating terrorist fear campaign by the government and the corporate media.

The callous and criminal treatment of refugees

By James Cogan, 17 June 2015

The brutal measures used against refugees are a warning to workers of the anti-democratic methods being prepared against the working class as a whole.

Australia: Former Rudd and Gillard Labor governments also accused of paying “people smugglers”

By James Cogan, 16 June 2015

What has risen to the surface is just one aspect of the ruthless and criminal policy of “border protection.”

Australian government tacitly admits payments to “people smugglers”

By James Cogan, 15 June 2015

Indonesian police are investigating the allegations, which legal experts believe could be violations of Australian, Indonesian and international law.

Australia: Tony Abbott’s government accused of paying “people smugglers”

By James Cogan, 13 June 2015

The issue of stopping “people smugglers” is at the very core of Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott’s prime ministership.

Refugee boat pushed back by Australian navy crashes on Indonesian reef

By Mike Head, 3 June 2015

The near-tragedy of a boat carrying 65 asylum seekers is another damning indictment of the Australian government’s anti-refugee policy.

Australian government sends refugees back to Vietnam by naval warship

By Mike Head, 22 April 2015

Canberra’s violation of the basic legal and democratic right of refugees to seek asylum has reached a new level.

Australian government launches vicious attack on human rights commissioner

By Will Morrow, 20 February 2015

Prime Minister Abbott vilified the Human Rights Commission over its report on children incarcerated in refugee detention centres in breach of international conventions.

Australian High Court rubberstamps detention of refugees at sea

By Mike Head, 5 February 2015

The ruling gives a green light to the bipartisan drive to go to ever-greater lengths to stop all asylum seekers entering Australia.

Violent crackdown on hunger strikers in Australian refugee camp

By Will Morrow, 20 January 2015

The Abbott government hailed the repression of asylum seekers by security forces on Manus Island.

Hunger strike in Australian refugee detention camp on Manus Island

By Will Morrow, 17 January 2015

The protest reportedly involves over 400 of the 1,053 detainees.

UN torture report criticises Australia’s refugee policies

By Terry Cook, 19 December 2014

The Abbott government has thumbed its nose at a UN committee report finding that the country’s refugee system could violate the Convention Against Torture.

Australia: Senate inquiry whitewashes killing at Papua New Guinea refugee camp

By Patrick Kelly, 17 December 2014

Evidence suggests that the government provoked protests at the detention centre, then violently suppressed them as a means of deterring refugees from trying to reach Australia.