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letters to Luke Hartsuyker up to February 2015


Letters to Luke Hartsuyker MP at 39 Little Street, Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450


                                                                                                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,


From: Mike
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2015 2:40 PM
Subject: Re: Nauru

Dear Mr Hartsuyker,
Thank you for your email of 14th January in response to my email of 7th January. 
In your email you set out, once again, the failings of the previous government’s immigration policies in contrast with what you regard as the rigorous and effective policies of your government. Unfortunately, you failed to address any of the issues which I raised with you.
My email referred specifically to the plight of refugees and asylum seekers on the island of Nauru.  I set out some of the concerns that I and many Australians have about the lives of real people, who every day of the week have to live the experience of the government’s offshore detention policies.  I asked you a number of specific questions relating to the safety and wellbeing  of refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru and I invited you to comment on the statement from Save the Children that “Nauru is not a sustainable long-term option for the resettlement of refugees”. 
I would be most grateful if you would now respond to the specific issues that I have raised with you.
Yours sincerely,
Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2015 4:36 PM
To: 'Mike'
Subject: RE: Nauru
Dear Mr Griffin,

Thank you for your email.

The cost of the Labor’s failures on our borders over the six years was substantial in humanitarian and financial terms.  Their failed border protection policies have resulted in an environment where more than a thousand people have perished at sea.  More than 8,100 people who have been waiting offshore in desperate circumstances were also denied Australia’s protection via humanitarian visas over its final three years.  During this time, Labor's asylum budget has blown out by $10 billion.

The Coalition remains committed to the proven policies and principles we have held for a decade.  We have protected the integrity of our immigration program.  

It was the Coalition who originally enshrined human rights protections in the Migration Act under section 198A for those processed offshore.  It was the Coalition who opposed Labor’s Malaysian 5 for 1 people swap because it was an abominable deal that could not provide sufficient protections for those sent to Malaysia.  It was the Coalition who opposed the attempts to strip all protections from the Migration Act.  The Coalition’s stance was vindicated by both the High Court of Australia and again by the Houston Report, which found the Malaysia deal did not contain adequate human rights protections for those sent there.  It was the Coalition who insisted that, when Labor reopened Nauru and Manus Island, the parliament would need to approve any country used for offshore processing, to ensure appropriate human rights protections were in place. 

The Coalition has always maintained a strong border protection policy and orderly immigration system is essential to safeguard the integrity of our Humanitarian and Refugee Program.  Australia runs the most generous resettlement program per capita in the world. Less than one percent of the world’s 10 million refugees will be resettled in any one year.  The Coalition believes we should hold steadfastly to protecting the integrity of this program so that, at all times, we are in a position to decide who will get that rare chance of resettlement.  

We promised to restore the full suite of our proven policies including offshore processing in Nauru, visa reform and coastal operations where the circumstances permit.  We have fulfilled our promises to the Australian people and will continue to do so.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me with your concerns on these important matters.

Yours sincerely,

The Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP
The Nationals’ Federal Member for Cowper
Assistant Minister for Employment

From: Mike []
Sent: Wednesday, 7 January 2015 9:41 AM
To: Hartsuyker, Luke (MP)
Subject: Nauru

                                                                                                                                                                                               Valla Beach
                                                                                                NSW 2448
                                                                                                7th January 2015
Dear Mr Hartsuyker,
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 $5 billion 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,


From: Mike
Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2014 1:42 PM
Subject: Asylum policy
Dear Mr Hartsuyker,
You will be aware that the UN Committee Against Torture has now published its report on Australia’s treatment of refugees, including children. The report unsurprisingly finds that the government’s treatment of refugees amounts to “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” which, as you will know, is forbidden by international law.  The report describes in some detail the harsh conditions in detention centres and the huge uncertainty about the future, which create serious physical and mental pain for asylum seekers. It is simply not good enough for you to continually tell us that government action to “stop the boats” in any way justifies the cruel and inhumane policies that you have adopted to achieve this objective. Nor is it acceptable for you to continue to assert that the cruel punishment –for that is what it is – meted out to asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island are matters for the Nauruan  and PNG governments.  The UN report makes it clear that Australia has effective control over these detention centres and cannot therefore outsource its responsibilities.
When will the government begin to listen to the voices of all the organisations – Church groups, NGOs, the UN, Amnesty International and many other groups – who are telling you loud and clear that the government’s policy in relation to refugees is cruel, inhumane, immoral and unlawful? In recent days, Alastair Nicholson QC, Chairman of Children’s Rights International,  stated on ABC National radio: “ What the Minister is doing unfortunately is the very thing that the UNHCR has pointed out should not happen, and that is to use children as a pawn to achieve a political objective”.  He goes on to say: “ It’s time that we realised that we are in breach of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we’re in breach of international law, and the Minister has been hiding the facts and pretending that in some way he’s acting lawfully, when he knows full well that he’s not.”
It’s surely time for the government to acknowledge it’s responsibilities – both legal and moral- in relation to asylum seekers seeking refuge in Australia, and to recognise that there is therefore an urgent need to close the detention centres on Christmas Island, Manus Island and Nauru. Asylum seekers in these centres should have their claims thoroughly and properly assessed, with a view to those receiving a positive determination of their claims being resettled in Australia without undue delay.
Yours sincerely
Mike Griffin
39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach, NSW 2448

The following letter is in reply to a letter from Mike

right click on letter to enlarge

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 13

Dear Mr Hartsuyker,

I write to  express my utter dismay at the government's latest tactic to keep asylum seekers from our shores, namely the shameful plan to resettle up to 1,000 refugees from Nauru in Cambodia.

Cambodia is a very poor country, with an appalling human rights record. Corruption is endemic and there is ample evidence of the widespread disregard for the rule of law. The country sits at 138 out of 187 on the Human Rights Index, and is placed 160th on the Corruption Index of the 177 countries surveyed.  

It is clear, given Cambodia's very poor record in relation to its treatment of refugees, that the safety of asylum seekers currently languishing indefinitely in offshore detention centres cannot possibly be guaranteed by the Australian government. 

Let us not forget that the High Court rejected Labor's  "Malaysia Solution" in 2011 on the grounds that the government could not guarantee the safety of refugees sent to Malaysia. How can this government, therefore, pretend that these helpless people will be safe in Cambodia? It cannot, and in the name of humanity, the plan should be dropped immediately.

It seems that refugees can be settled anywhere, except in Australia. For purely political reasons - because, after all, there are votes in the "stop the boats" sloganeering - the government is prepared to do whatever it takes to avoid its obligations to asylum seekers who are in need of our protection. 

This government, of which you are a senior member, has been regularly condemned in forthright terms by Christian leaders across the country, by UNHCR, by the Human Rights Commissioner, by prominent human rights groups and by a host of leading Australian figures. 

They are all  well-informed, principled, thinking and compassionate people, but their views seem not to trouble you. It is simply not good enough for you to tell us that we are all "well intentioned, but naive."

The government appears to have learned nothing from our past failures as a nation: the institutionalised sexual abuse of children, the stolen generation, the forgotten generation. Are we expected to look the other way, once again? 

The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce is surely right when it states, in its recent report about unaccompanied children in detention: "This is state sanctioned child abuse which the Taskforce believes will warrant a Royal Commission." 

Do you believe that it is acceptable to use children as a deterrent in this way?

At some point in the future, you and your government will surely be held to account for your shameful actions. It is outrageous that you continue to treat asylum seekers, especially children, with such cruelty and inhumanity. 

Will you now acknowledge the damage that you are doing to these young people, who have committed no crime, and close all offshore detention centres immediately?

Yours sincerely,


September 2014



response from Luke Hartsuyker

From: Hartsuyker, Luke (MP) []
Sent: Wednesday, 30 July 2014 1:03 PM
To: 'Marlene Griffin'
Subject: RE: Asylum Seekers.

Dear Ms Griffin,
Thank you for your correspondence seeking information about the Sri Lankan nationals who attempted to arrive illegally by boat to Australia as part of a maritime people smuggling venture.
The suspected illegal entry vessel (SIEV) was intercepted by Border Protection Command West of Cocos (Keeling) Islands in late June. At no stage was the vessel in distress and all persons aboard the SIEV were safe and accounted for.  Forty one potential illegal maritime arrivals who were intercepted on the SIEV were returned to Sri Lankan authorities on Sunday 6 July. The 41 Sri Lankan nationals were transferred at sea, in mild sea conditions from a vessel assigned to Border Protection Command (BPC) to Sri Lankan authorities, just outside the Port of Batticaloa.
All persons intercepted and returned were subjected to an enhanced screening process, as also practiced by the previous government, to ensure compliance by Australia with our international obligations under relevant conventions.  This process includes identifying any person who may need to be referred to a further determination process. In such cases, the Government's policy is to transfer such persons to either Papua New Guinea or Nauru for offshore processing. 
In the single case where such a referral was recommended, the individual, a Sinhalese Sri Lankan national, voluntarily requested to depart the vessel with the other persons being transferred and returned to Sri Lanka.  This transfer of 41 persons, including 37 Sinhalese and 4 Tamil Sri Lankan nationals, follows previous returns to Sri Lanka including 79 illegal maritime arrivals under Operation Sovereign Borders last year.
The Australian Government will continue to act in accordance with our international obligations, including applicable international conventions and to protect the safety of life at sea. At the same time we will not allow people smugglers to try and exploit and manipulate Australia's support of these Conventions as a tool to undermine Australia's strong border protection regime that is stopping the boats and the deaths at sea.  Accordingly, the Government will continue to reject the public and political advocacy of those who have sought to pressure the Government into a change of policy. Their advocacy, though well intentioned, is naively doing the bidding of people smugglers who have been responsible for almost 1,200 deaths at sea.  We will continue to do what we said we would, consistent with our obligations, and achieve the results we said we would achieve.
We have more than 200 days since the last people smuggling venture successfully arrived. In that time no one has drowned at sea. This is an outcome the Government welcomes.
Australia and Sri Lanka have a strong history of cooperation at the operational level to disrupt people smuggling ventures departing Sri Lanka. We are grateful for the efforts of the Sri Lankan Navy to combat people smuggling, as well as other Sri Lankan authorities.  Sri Lanka is one of many close partners with whom the Australian Government works in our region. The Australian Government looks forward to continued cooperation with Sri Lanka. Australia’s cooperation with Sri Lanka is as important as it is effective.
The Australian Government does not deal in half measures and has the policies and resolve to fight people smugglers and stop illegal boat arrivals.  People should not trust the lies of people smugglers and seek to come to Australia illegally by boat. It is dangerous and the Australian Government's strong border protection policies under Operation Sovereign Borders mean they will not succeed.
Yours sincerely,

The Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP
The Nationals' Federal Member for Cowper
Assistant Minister for Employment

Dear Luke Hartsuyker,
The return of 41 Sri Lankan asylum seekers to Sri Lanka and the secrecy surrounding this action is both morally indefensible and in contravention of international law. Returning these people to Sri Lanka exposes them to risks of serious harm, including physical and mental torture.  
It appears that the refugee status of the people on board has been assessed by cursory questioning and with no concern for due legal process.
Sri Lanka is a refugee-producing country. Historically, 90% of Sri Lankan asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australia have been found to be refugees. Even in 2012/13, when the number of Sri Lankan boat arrivals reached its peak, a majority of arrivals were found to be refugees.

The same Sri Lankan security forces to which the Australian government has just delivered the asylum seekers stand accused of gross human rights abuses.
Detention is inherently dangerous in Sri Lanka. Torture and other serious human rights abuses are widespread in the custody of Sri Lankan security forces, including the police. Abusers are rarely, if ever, brought to account.

Any critics of the Sri Lankan government – be they journalists, human rights defenders, lawyers or opposition politicians – face serious threats to their life and personal security, including abduction, torture and enforced disappearance and death.

The simple but critically important promise at the heart of the refugee convention is that we will not return people to harm. The only way to ensure that we keep this promise is to give asylum seekers access to Australia’s normal refugee status determination process.The extraordinary secrecy that shrouded the fate of this boat, and that of another boat with 153 or so asylum seekers, shows the lengths to which the Coalition Government is determined to go to prevent people from accessing that process and their rights under International law.
The government’s policy diminishes Australia as a nation in the eyes of the world. The denial of information also treats the Australian public in a disdainful and dismissive way.
I wish to express my profound opposition to these actions and policies and would be most interested to have your own view on these issues.
Yours sincerely,
Marlene Griffin
8. 7. 2014



Dear Mr Hartsuyker,
I heard on the news last week that a Tamil refugee is close to death after dousing himself in petrol and setting himself alight saying he would rather die in Australia than be killed in Sri Lanka. He was on a recently reintroduced cruel Temporary Protection Visa and was told he would be deported back to Sri Lanka.  
It is shocking to me that this level of desperation occurs in our country that prides it self on its high aspirations for human dignity and justice. It is our duty having signed the Refugee Convention, to grant protection to asylum seekers.
In 2013, 88% of asylum seekers were found to be genuine refugees, yet this Government has punitive policies in place to deter asylum seekers.
In 2013 there were 143  human rights violations relating to the illegal indefinite detention of 46  refugees for more than 4 years . The Government was given 180 days to act but still has not.
The Government has commenced the transfer of unaccompanied minors to Nauru, imagine your own children in a situation like that !
Children interviewed by the Human Rights Commission visiting Christmas Island said it is hell.  They are filled with anxiety and despair. There are 315 children, half of them under five. There are no play areas, no grass for little ones to crawl. Schooling is inadequate, about 2 hours per day. They are surrounded by anxious adults. What is the psychological impact on these already disturbed children ?
It is  a fact that there are many refugees in this world. Many much poorer countries accept much higher numbers of refugees than Australia. Our Government should not shun its responsibility for the safety of those coming to our shores.  Dumping refugees on other poor countries in our region has already led to the death of one asylum seeker on Manus Island and wounding of more than 60 others.
As my parliamentary representative I call on you to convey my deep distress about these policies to the government and demand  more humane policies. The huge amount of money spent on locking up people indefinitely  should instead go towards:
1. A short processing period for health checks in Australia
2. Allowing refugees to work and live in the community while their status is worked out. They are highly motivated people embracing the opportunity for a new life 
3. Resettle genuine refugees in Australia

Yours sincerely,

Annika  early april 2014


 Valla Beach
            NSW 2448
Dear Mr Hartsuyker,
Latest statistics reveal that asylum seekers in Australia are spending an average of more than 9 months in detention. This is four times longer than in July 2013 and far exceeds the average in other countries.
The national commission of audit stated recently that the average annual cost of detaining an asylum seeker in Australia is $ 239,000 and more than $400,000 for an asylum seeker held offshore. Contrasting with this it costs $100,000 to support an asylum seeker in community detention and only $ 50,000 to fund an asylum seeker on a bridging visa.
Considering that Australia, as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees , must by law provide protection to people fleeing persecution, the present government policies are highly questionable.
Long term detention has severe detrimental effects on psychological and physical health. In relation to the detention of children there are even more serious long term effects on their mental health. Lack of access to education creates even further problems which will have long term implications.
Compared to other refugee hosting countries Australia receives a very small number of refugees. Figures for 2012 revealed that asylum applications to Australia were less than 1.5% of the claims lodged across the world. Furthermore many refugees who come to Australia are educated , professional people who, given support and opportunities can be a great asset to Australian communities. It is precisely because of their high level of education and professional standing that many of them came to the attention of authorities in their own countries and precisely this that has necessitated their application for asylum in Australia and in other countries.
The Coalition Party mantra of ‘ Turn Back The Boats” is political posturing of the worst order and brings shame on Australia in the eyes of the world. You will have seen there is a groundswell of opinion in your constituency against these policies as illustrated by recent numbers participating in protest meetings such as “ March for March’ in Coffs Harbour .
As my Federal MP I would be interested to read your own views on present government policy. I read the ‘ Coalition Party Line’ every day in the press but to date I have no idea what your own views are and it would be helpful to understand your own position on these vital issues.
Yours sincerely,


Unsatisfactory Reply from Luke Hartsuyker 5 May 2014

I note receipt of your email and your views on immigration detention. 

Yours sincerely,

The Hon Luke Hartsuyker

The Nationals’ Federal Member for Cowper

Assistant Minister for Employment


Follow up from Mike

Sent: Monday, May 05, 2014 6:47 PM

Subject: Re: Letter to L Hartsuyker

Dear Mr Hartsuyker,

I look forward to learning about YOUR views on immigration detention.


Valla Beach
 NSW 2448
                                                                                                2nd May 2014

Dear Mr Hartsuyker,

Like many decent Australians, I am deeply dismayed by the government's inhumane, cruel and unlawful policy of locking up more than one thousand children in detention centres on mainland Australia, on Christmas Island and on Nauru. How can you, as a father of children yourself, and as a decent human being, continue to support this policy? How can you countenance children being used as a deterrent?

You are well aware, I am sure, that under international law, children should not be held in detention for any longer than is absolutely necessary for health and security checks to be carried out. How, then, do you justify the regular statements from government ministers which make clear that it is the government's  intention to continue the current inhumane, immoral and unlawful policy?

As my local member of Parliament, I would like to know how YOU feel about the government's current policy and practice.
I look forward to hearing from you.

                                                                                                            Yours sincerely,




Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP                                                                 
PO Box 2056                                                                                    
Coffs Harbour 2450                                                                         Sawtell 2452 
28 April 2014

Dear Mr Hartsuyker,

I believe that I speak for many Australians when I say “enough is enough” in regard to your government’s policy on asylum seekers. As a retired asylum seeker decision maker who worked for the Immigration department in the mid 1990’s I am appalled at the downward spiral of policy and public debate on this issue since the dreaded “Tampa” decision. A decision that both major parties agreed to, in contravention of international maritime and refugee law, to their everlasting shame.  The bidding war that took place during the last federal election brought disgrace upon our political system and on this country as a democratic and law (international) abiding nation. Both your side of politics and the Labor government held a law and order style auction trying to outbid each other for who could brutalise these desperate people the most effectively. You should all hang your heads in shame. Many of you, including Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison and Kevin Rudd, profess to be Christians. The fact is that many Christians have been asking your government to stop these inhuman policies and you have thumbed you noses at them. How do you sleep at night? I don’t. Every night I lay awake wondering how a country like ours has come to this state of affairs where politicians with the aid of the media have demonized innocent men, women, children, babies and unborn babies and interned them in Australia’s 21st century answer to Nazi concentration camps.

Go home tonight, look into the eyes of your children and grandchildren and tell them that you truly believe that innocent people, who are entitled to seek protection under the international Convention on the Status of Refugees, to which our country is a signatory, should be treated like animals. If you can do that, with out any sense of guilt or remorse at the misery your policies are causing, then it is time for you to resign because you have lost any claim on humanity that you may have once had and are not fit to represent the people of Cowper.

Whatever good things you and you fellow politicians have done while in our Federal parliament, the cruel and inhuman treatment of asylum seekers has totally nullified those things. History will remember this Abbott government as a cruel and vindictive government guilty of the worst human rights offences perpetrated by a developed western democracy in recent times.

Yours sincerely


Luke Hartsuyker's reply right click on letter  to enlarge



Spicketts Creek
                                                                                                            24 April 2014

 Dear Mr Hartsuyker

I am enclosing a copy of the article about Manus Island Asylum Seekers that was in the Sydney Morning Herald on 23 April 2014.
Please explain to me why it is necessary to torture these asylum seekers who are seeking our protection.




Eungai Creek NSW 2441
23 April 2014 
Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP
PO Box 2056
Coffs Harbour 2450

Dear Mr Hartsuyker

I used to be proud to be Australian; to be a citizen of a nation that led the world in moral matters, that believed in a fair go, that had a government devoted to humanity and social progress.  Now we have a government so ethically debased that it is prepared to use the benighted and disadvantaged asylum seekers as political pawns in the game of petty power politics.  
Your government has manipulated and maligned the most powerless, has sacrificed the vulnerable in the pursuit of getting elected.  In so doing, you have demeaned your office, you have committed systematic cruelty and you have appealed to the lowest in humanity, reducing our once noble nation to an assembly of the mean-spirited.  I am ashamed.

I have some questions to which I would appreciate your considered answers:

Do you support locking up children and pregnant women?

Do you think PNG or Nauru can really support refugees for ever?  The Amnesty International report into conditions on Manus was absolutely damning and the latest outbreak of mosquito-borne disease on Nauru is a symptom of the inadequacy of these off-shore concentration camps.

Do you think spending billions of dollars on a few thousand people is wise for the country as a whole? Would it not make better economic sense to hold these people only for as long as required for basic health and security checks, before releasing them into the community, where they could obtain work and independence, as happens in other countries?  Why are we locking these people up instead of processing them, when we know the vast majority will prove to be genuine refugees?

How do you plan to protect the rights of children who arrive with no parent or adult family members? How can it be in the best interests of any child to be sent away from Australia and into remote, indefinite detention with no certainty around resettlement even if the child is a refugee?  Should one child be punished in the hope of helping another? You have children: how would you feel about your children being locked up in a remote detention centre?  I am a mother and I would find it agonisingly insupportable.

What are your thoughts on the suicides and mental harm caused by indefinite, remote detention? 

If we don't increase the number of refugees we take from Indonesia and Malaysia we are not saving any lives, they are just not dying in our ocean near our media attention. They remain home and die or are completely unsafe stuck in limbo between their homes and Australia, often for decades.  These inhumane off-shore gulags are not about ‘saving lives at sea’: please do not insult our intelligence with this manipulative, fraudulent posture.

If we deny refugees family reunion we are actually going to attract whole families on boats out of desperation, not just fathers or husbands.   What is your view on this matter?
How did your forebears come to Australia?  Did they come seeking a better life for themselves and their families?  Does that mean they were brave and enterprising?  Does that mean they were economic refugees?  Or were they fleeing persecution?  Did they have a right to come here?

In the name of justice and humanity, I wish to see an end to mandatory detention, an end to the persecution of people who have no choice but to arrive by boat without visas, an end to the deliberate infliction of misery upon these victims with the malicious aim of making them abandon hope and return to countries where they are in danger. I would like to see Australia live up to its responsibilities under the United Nations Convention for the treatment of asylum seekers.  I am mortified we are denying them freedom of movement, access to education and the other human rights to which they are entitled.
I wish to see an end to the travesty of democracy where love of country is corrupted to xenophobia, where a propaganda war is waged against the voiceless and the vulnerable, where compassion is thwarted in the service of political careers.   I want to see an end to the denial of human rights to legitimate claimants that has brought international shame on our once great nation.
You do not represent me when you vilify the persecuted and the suffering.
Yours faithfully


Spicketts Creek

Dear Mr Hartsuyker

On 10 April 2014, an asylum seeker tried to commit suicide by setting light to himself.

He had received a letter from the Department of Immigration advising him that he would be deported back to Sri Lanka.

The misery and despair caused by the lack of compassion resulting from your Governments’s policies is difficult to accept.

When will you revise your cruel policies?


David W

Luke Hartsuyker MP
39 Little Street
Coffs Harbour
NSW 2450

"Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." Udana-Varga 5:18

 Bellingen NSW
7 April 2014

 I write as a middle aged law-abiding taxpayer with big L liberal leanings.  With that political bias I cannot understand and certainly can’t condone the cruelty and psychological damage the Coalition is inflicting on asylum seekers and I use that term advisedly, who have done us no harm.  I try to imagine what it would be like to have to leave Australia out of fear for my life, embark on a tortuous journey, worried all the time for myself and the family I have left behind and then when I finally imagined myself safe and with friends, finding that they will lock me up, not help me in any way, provide next to no advice on my rights and tell me that this situation could last forever unless I agree to go back to the place I had to flee.  These policies are just plain nasty and mean spirited and I believe the Australian people want better.  The people we are treating so inhumanely could in different circumstances be the making of Australia, grateful to be here, willing to work hard and be ambassadors for the country that has taken them in.  Put yourself in their shoes for just a minute without all the spin and consider what government policy is doing to innocent people.  The Stop the Boats mantra just doesn’t cut it.  Desperate people do desperate things and we cannot treat the people who are already here, in Manus, on Nauru with such utter contempt.

Please consider these people, they are just like you and me, in other situations it could so easily be our children, our families, our mothers, our fathers.  Would we not want them to be treated with compassion?


24 April 2014
 Dear Mr Hartsuyker

I received your response to my letter sent on 2 April and found it unsatisfactory.

What I wrote was

As I watch the plight of Asylum Seekers on Manus Island, I find it difficult to understand why these human beings cannot be treated in a compassionate way.

Your Government has already made it clear that they will not be resettled in Australia.

Why is it necessary to make them suffer further especially after the horrific assault on these detainees?”

Your reply sent on 7 April merely suggested an investigation -  there was not any compassion about the death or the injuries or explanatation as to why you are persecuting these asylum seekers.

Yours Faithfully

David W


Spicketts Creek NSW 2454

2 April 2014

As I watch the plight of Asylum Seekers on Manus Island, I find it difficult to understand why these human beings cannot be treated in a compassionate way.

Your Government has already made it clear that they will not be resettled in Australia.

Why is it necessary to make them suffer further especially after the horrific assault on these detainees?


David W

response from Luke Hartsuyker- right click and open in new window for larger print

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