This is from Tom Ballard’s piece in The Guardian, published 7 April 2016. Follow the links:

The White Australia policy was ended and Malcolm Fraser did the decent thing after the Vietnam war, but the good times didn’t last. Hawkie had no time for the “queue-jumpers” and Paul Keating condemned all boat arrivals to indefinite mandatory detention (an “interim measure” that’s lasted for 24 years).

We declared all out war on the people smugglers and refused to show any sympathy for their desperate customers, caught in the crossfire. The story of “Ms Z” is chilling.

She arrived by boat in 1994, seeking asylum from the People’s Republic of China and its draconian one-child policy. Ms Z fell pregnant while in immigration detention. In 1997 all her legal appeals were exhausted and we deported her back to China. She was eight-and-a-half months pregnant. A week after her return, Ms Z was subjected to a coerced abortion.

Almost 20 years later, the horror stories keep coming:


Human teeth being found in the food on Manus Island.

Claims of guards on Nauru sexually abusing refugee children.

Kids in detention as young as seven attempting suicide.

Footage of Wilson Security employees joking about shooting people seeking asylum.

Earlier this year we found out that suicide attempts are such a regular occurrence on Nauru that guards have been issued with special knives so they can “cut down a transferee who is hanging”.