Australian Immigrant and Refugee Issues

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.

Australian sailors say Labor government ordered them not to rescue refugees

By Mike Head, 5 December 2014

Naval personnel testify that captains received instructions direct from Canberra not to assist stricken boats, leaving the passengers to perish.

Australia to effectively repudiate international refugee law

By Mike Head, 1 October 2014

New legislation will allow asylum seekers to be deported irrespective of Australia’s “non-refoulement obligations.”

Australia to offload refugees in Cambodia

By Mike Head, 27 September 2014

An unknown number of people, starting with those detained on Nauru, will be consigned to one of the poorest countries on earth.

Australia’s asylum-seeker policies claim another victim

By Terry Cook, 6 September 2014

The tragic death of Hamid Kehazaei, a young Iranian, is a direct outcome of Canberra’s brutal detention of refugees.

Tamil refugees offloaded into remote Australian detention camp

By Mike Head, 29 July 2014

The asylum seekers will now be interrogated by consular officials from India, the very country they fled about six weeks ago.

Australia illegally detains Sri Lankan refugees in prison ship

By Mike Head, 19 July 2014

Imprisonment in these inhuman conditions is clearly in violation of international law.

Australian minister whitewashes Sri Lankan repression

By Mike Head, 12 July 2014

As immigration minister Morrison praised President Rajapakse’s government, 153 Tamil asylum seekers remained incarcerated on an Australian Customs vessel.

Australian government seeks to lift bar on deporting refugees to face torture

By Will Morrow, 9 July 2014

The bill seeks to reinstate a Labor government policy to permit the expulsion of asylum seekers who confront a distinct risk of being tortured.

Oppose Australia’s handover of refugees to Sri Lankan navy

By the Socialist Equality Parties of Sri Lanka and Australia, 8 July 2014

The Socialist Equality parties of Australia and Sri Lanka call on working people in both countries and internationally to oppose the joint military operation in the Indian Ocean.

Sri Lankan minister confirms Australia’s handover of Tamil refugees

By Mike Head, 4 July 2014

The forced transfer of asylum seekers to the Sri Lankan navy is an attack on basic democratic rights, as well as a blatant violation of international law.

Australia to hand Tamil refugees to Sri Lankan navy

By Mike Head, 2 July 2014

If confirmed, the forced transfer of asylum seekers to the military forces whose violence they are fleeing will be a flagrant violation of the international Refugee Convention.

Australian High Court sanctions indefinite offshore refugee detention

By Mike Head, 20 June 2014

The judges rubberstamped legislation introduced by the previous Labor government to remove any requirement to adhere to the international Refugee Convention.

Australia authorities violently suppress refugee hunger strike

By Alan Leigh, 17 June 2014

Security guards broke up an extended protest by asylum seekers detained on Christmas Island.

Australian inquiry whitewashes PNG refugee camp crackdown

By Patrick O’Connor, 31 May 2014

An official report into the death of an Iranian asylum-seeker and the serious injury of others in the Manus Island camp exonerates the Australian government and its agencies.

Australian government to dump refugees in Cambodia

By Mike Head, 27 May 2014

Plans are underway to send asylum seekers, currently detained in an Australian-controlled camp on Nauru, to be “re-settled” in Cambodia.

Australian government scraps refugees’ rights to legal aid

By Alan Leigh, 19 April 2014

The denial of access to legal aid escalates the government’s drive to coerce asylum seekers to abandon their refugee applications.

Australian refugee camp atrocity: The class issues

By Patrick O’Connor, 14 March 2014

The brutal treatment of refugees is a sharp warning of the police-state measures being prepared against the working class as a whole.

More evidence of Australian government responsibility for refugee camp assault

By Patrick O’Connor, 8 March 2014

After initially lying that no violence occurred within the Manus detention camp, Prime Minister Abbott and Immigration Minister Morrison are proceeding with an abject whitewash.

Artists boycott Sydney biennale over Australia’s asylum seeker regime

By Richard Phillips, 6 March 2014

Australian and international artists protest over Canberra’s incarceration and brutal treatment of refugees.

More evidence about atrocity at Australian-run refugee camp

By Mike Head, 27 February 2014

The government is intending to whitewash the assault on refugees, while exploiting the death and injuries to deter asylum seekers from trying to reach Australia.

Australian government changes its story on refugee camp killing

By Patrick O’Connor, 24 February 2014

The shifting official version of events is further evidence of a cover up of what initial witness accounts indicate was state sanctioned violence.

Australian government prepares cover-up of refugee detention camp atrocity

By Patrick O’Connor, 22 February 2014

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has effectively welcomed the killing of a 23-year-old refugee as a “deterrent” to others thinking about seeking asylum in Australia.

Witch-hunt against Australian ABC escalates over refugee torture allegations

By Mike Head, 8 February 2014

The government and the corporate media are seeking to create an atmosphere of wartime-like censorship.

Refugee details punishment at sea by Australian navy

By Will Morrow, 8 February 2014

Sailors intentionally held the hands of asylum seekers over hot engine pipes as punishment for their protests against lack of access to the toilet.

Australia: New evidence of refugees being assaulted at sea

By Mark Church, 3 February 2014

Despite the Abbott government’s military secrecy, reports are starting to surface of asylum seekers being beaten, pepper-sprayed and handcuffed to force them back to Indonesia.

Indonesia demands suspension of Australian naval operations against refugees

By Mike Head, 18 January 2014

Canberra’s admission that Australian ships entered Indonesian territorial waters has fueled the diplomatic row between the two countries.

Australian government forces refugee boats back to Indonesia

By Mark Church, 10 January 2014

Canberra’s policy is threatening hundreds of lives and fuelling tensions with the Indonesian government.

Doctors condemn conditions in Australian refugee camp

By Mike Head, 24 December 2013

A 92-page “letter of concern” sheds further light on the inhuman conditions in the country’s detention facilities.

UN reports expose conditions in Australia’s offshore refugee camps

By Mark Church, 12 December 2013

There is a bipartisan policy in Canberra of using indefinite detention in primitive conditions to deter all refugees from seeking asylum in Australia.

Refugee standoff heightens Australian-Indonesian tensions

By Mike Head, 12 November 2013

The conflicts over refugees are bound up with wider strategic questions, provoked by the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia, directed against China.

Australia: Government and Labor boast of stopping refugee boats

By Mike Head, 4 November 2013

Since the election there has been a concerted cover-up of what is happening to the victims of the anti-refugee regime.

Australian government accused of ignoring refugee boat emergency calls

By Patrick O’Connor, 30 September 2013

The accounts again raise the question as to whether Canberra allowed the drownings in order to deter other asylum seekers.

Australian “border protection” regime fuels dispute with Indonesia

By Peter Symonds, 28 September 2013

Jakarta’s opposition to Canberra’s naval operations to halt refugee boats is bound up with broader concerns over Australia’s close alignment with Obama’s “pivot to Asia.”

New Australian government appoints military commander to oversee anti-refugee regime

By Mark Church, 21 September 2013

“Operation Sovereign Borders” places the military in control of not just turning back refugee boats, but of 15 civilian agencies involved in immigration control.

Australian voters denounce attacks on refugees, living standards

By our reporters, 11 September 2013

Voters spoke to WSWS reporters outside election polling stations last Saturday, voicing their hostility to the Labor Party and the entire election campaign.

Australia: Greens promoted at refugee protests

By Will Marshall, 26 August 2013

Thousands joined protests in Australian capital cities against the brutal anti-refugee policies of the Labor government and opposition Coalition.

Australian public servant faces dismissal for criticising refugee policies

By Mike Head, 23 August 2013

The ruling effectively gives governments and employers carte blanche to sack workers for expressing political views.

Australian opposition party unveils unconstitutional plan to reject refugees

By Mike Head, 21 August 2013

The Coalition’s plan to end all court appeals marks a new step in the flouting of fundamental democratic and legal rights.

Opposition in Papua New Guinea to Australian refugee pact

By Alex Messenger, 9 August 2013

Refugees cannot be genuinely protected and settled in PNG, given the extraordinary levels of poverty that beset most of the country’s people.

Australia: Greens, pseudo-lefts suppress class issues at refugee rallies

By our correspondents, 5 August 2013

Students and youth, outraged by the sheer brutality of Labor’s policies, made up a significant proportion of the demonstrations.

Australian political parties step up anti-refugee campaign

By Patrick O’Connor, 2 August 2013

The reactionary “border protection” campaign is aimed at creating a massive political diversion from the real issues confronting the working class.

Australian Greens fraudulently posture as defenders of refugees

By Oliver Campbell, 30 July 2013

At demonstrations in Australia’s main cities last weekend, workers, students and youth expressed outrage at the Labor government’s brutal treatment of people fleeing oppression.

Australian opposition leader demands military response to refugee “emergency”

By Patrick O’Connor, 26 July 2013

The Labor government and the opposition coalition are coordinating an assault on basic democratic and legal rights, which is ultimately directed not at refugees but at the entire working class.

Whistleblowers expose unspeakable conditions in Australian refugee camps

By James Cogan, 25 July 2013

Labor’s policy is based upon maintaining a detention regime that drives refugees into insanity, self-harm and suicide.

Australian Labor government announces shutting of borders to refugees

By Mike Head, 22 July 2013

Asylum seekers will be transported to primitive detention camps in Papua New Guinea—one of the world’s most impoverished countries.

Australia: 13 dead in two more refugee boat disasters

By Mark Church and Mike Head, 17 July 2013

The latest tragedies underscore the human cost of the Labor government’s escalating measures to stop asylum seekers.

Australian prime minister travels to Indonesia to boost Labor’s anti-refugee witch-hunt

By Patrick O’Connor, 9 July 2013

Both the Labor and Liberal parties are mounting a xenophobic scare campaign for the forthcoming election, in order to erect an impenetrable barrier to refugees seeking to flee persecution.

Australia: Labor government foreshadows even harsher anti-refugee measures

By Mike Head, 4 July 2013

Rudd is seeking to outdo Liberal leader Tony Abbott’s reactionary promise to “Stop the boats.”

Another boat disaster highlights criminality of Australian refugee policy

By Mike Head—SEP Senate candidate for Queensland, 15 June 2013

Like its counterparts around the world, the Australian political establishment is scapegoating asylum seekers.

At least 55 die in another Australian refugee boat disaster

By Mark Church, 11 June 2013

The disaster has raised further questions about the Australian government’s anti-refugee policy.

Australian government rejects damning media report on refugee camps

By Mark Church, 10 May 2013

The government has vowed to continue its “Pacific Solution” and imprisonment of children despite the medically unsafe and inhuman conditions.

Australia: Latest refugee boat disaster leaves 58 dead

By Mark Church, 23 April 2013

Under the Labor government, more than 800 asylum seekers have drowned at sea while attempting to reach Australia.

Australian PM dismisses refugee hunger strike over ASIO bans

By Mark Church, 18 April 2013

Prime Minister Gillard has defended the powers of the domestic intelligence agency, which are being used to keep 55 refugees in indefinite detention.

Australia’s “border protection” not just about refugees

By Peter Symonds, 13 April 2013

The unstated purpose of Australia’s Border Protection Command is to monitor key Asian shipping lanes as part of the US preparations for war against China.

Sri Lankan correspondent explains why refugees are fleeing to Australia

By Mike Head, 12 April 2013

Hundreds of refugees are leaving because of severe economic hardship and repression by the Sri Lankan government and the military.