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letters to Dutton


16th February 2015
Dear Minister Dutton,

On 11th February I listened to the Prime Minister scornfully dismissing Professor Gillian Triggs' thorough and objective Report on children in detention. It was a disgraceful performance and did nothing at all to instil any confidence in the parliamentary process. 

How have we come to sink so low? It is surely time for your government to start listening and to refrain from hectoring and insulting our intelligence. Shooting the messenger will not make the problems go away.

Professor Triggs' Report amounts to a thorough and comprehensive indictment of the policies of both the current Coalition Government and the Labor Government before it. How can the government hold more than 100 children indefinitely on Nauru, given that both Chris Bowen MP and Scott Morrison MP both agreed on oath before the Enquiry that holding children in detention does not deter either asylum seekers or people smugglers? 

What possible rationale can the government offer, then, for the indefinite detention of children seeking asylum in Australia?

The findings set out in the Report are both shocking and shameful. No other country mandates the closed and indefinite detention of asylum seekers. It is clear that the actions of the Government, and its predecessor, are in breach of our international obligations.

I call on the Government to give the most serious and urgent consideration to the recommendations set out in the Report and to make a serious commitment to the  Australian people that the recommendations will be acted on in the shortest possible timeframe.

I look forward to receiving your response to the questions raised above.

                                                                                                            Yours sincerely,

                                                                                                            Mike Griffin


                                                                                                Valla Beach
                                                                                                NSW 2448
                                                                                                10th February 2015

Dear Minister Dutton,
Yesterday I was utterly dismayed and horrified, but not at all surprised, to read  Professor David Isaacs'  and Alanna Maycock's account of their time on Nauru in December. We, the Australian people, get few insights into the disgraceful treatment meted out to asylum seekers in our name. We are deliberately kept in the dark, and for obvious political reasons. 
I applaud Professor Isaacs' courage in speaking out, notwithstanding the gagging clauses in his contract. The Australian people have a right to know about the outrageous and immoral consequences  of the government's obsession with stopping the boats at any price. As Professor Isaacs and Alanna Maycock say, imprisoning people indefinitely and without trial - people who have committed no crime - contravenes international law. Equally importantly, the policy contravenes the moral code of any country which claims to uphold civilised values.
Mr Abbott tells us that his government, of which you are a senior member, is listening and is ready to change. Given the widespread opposition to the government's unlawful and cruel treatment of innocent children and their mothers in offshore detention centres, will the government now take serious steps to close these centres ? They are a monstrous affront to humanity and bring shame on us all.
I look forward to receiving an answer from you to my specific question.

                                                                                                            Yours sincerely,



Sunday, January 18, 2015 11:44 AM
Subject: Manus Island

Dear Minister,
I am writing to request that you do all in your power to close the detention centre on Manus Island and to bring the 1035 men who are currently detained there to Australia. I am deeply troubled by recent reports which describe their desperation, self harm and hunger strikes. These are desperate people, who increasingly live in great fear for their lives.  You will be aware that it was recently reported that locals massed menacingly outside the centre and that local staff vandalised the kitchen in one of the compounds.  We are now almost at the anniversary of the terrible violence last year which left one asylum seeker dead and many more injured. It is unsurprising therefore that asylum seekers on Manus are resorting to desperate measures to bring their plight to the attention of the world.
It is a matter of record that many locals in PNG are very hostile towards the refugees. Prospects for their resettlement in PNG are therefore remote, particularly as this is a very poor country with limited services and resources for the population.
Australia has a duty under international law to ensure the safety of asylum seekers. They are our responsibility.They should therefore be transferred to Australia and have their asylum claims properly and fairly assessed. Those found requiring our protection should be offered resettlement in Australia.
I strongly object to the current costly, damaging and punitive offshore regime. Many PNG nationals and community leaders also strongly object to these arrangements which have been foisted on PNG in return for aid assistance.
We are better than this. Will you bring this ugly and shameful policy to an end?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely,



3rd January 2015

Dear Minister Dutton,

I trust that you are enjoying a well-earned Summer break with your family and friends.
Sadly, for the asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru, their days and nights continue to be filled with fear and uncertainty as a result of the Coalition's asylum policies. 

We read on a regular basis, notwithstanding the government's efforts to shroud the harsh realities in secrecy, of the constant threats of physical and sexual abuse, and of violence committed against refugees now "settled" in this utterly inappropriate environment.

The Australian government, in spite of assertions to the contrary, continues to be responsible for the safety and the lives of these people.

Why should female asylum seekers and refugees feel obliged to sleep in their jeans because of their fears of rape? Why are asylum seekers and refugees fearful of reporting assaults and other abuse to security guards or to the police? 

How can things be so bad for refugees on Nauru that some of them have asked to be returned to the detention centre?

Save the Children is contracted by the Australian government to provide social services to refugees on Nauru.  

Notwithstanding the gagging clauses in their contract, they state: "Save the Children believes that Nauru is not a sustainable, long-term option for the resettlement of humanitarian refugees."  

Given this statement of the obvious, and given that punishing these people is costing the Australian taxpayer up to $5billion per annum, will you not now begin to take some steps to respond to the voices of so many decent Australians  who believe that offshore detention should be brought to an end in 2015? 

Surely it should now be acknowledged  that it is time to put this ugly and shameful chapter in our history behind us.

I look forward to hearing from you.

                                                                                                Yours sincerely,


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