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letters to Federal Cabinet members March to September 2014

Letters to Federal Cabinet

Address for Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison MP

Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
PO Box 6022
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Telephone: 02 6277 7860
Fax: 02 6273 4144
If you would like to provide an opportunity for the minister to respond, please supply a postal address with all correspondence (including email).

8 September 2014 reply from Tony Abbott on asylum seeker policy

double click on letter to enlarge


Dear Mr Morrison,

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


10 July 2014

Dear Tony Abbott,
Every day we read increasingly atrocious accounts of events on Christmas Island. It is reported that 9 mothers who are asylum seekers have attempted suicide in recent days in the desperate hope that their orphaned children might be settled in Australia. Their desperate acts are a direct consequence of the Coalition Government’s immoral and barbaric policy of keeping these women and their children in indefinite detention. 
Australia is a signatory to the UNHCR Refugee Convention and is legally obliged to assess asylum seeker’s claims fairly. Yet Sri Lankan refugees have recently been returned to Sri Lanka following a perfunctory process of assessment at sea which we understand involved only 4 cursory questions. The Australian people and teams of International lawyers are now rightly questioning the legality of this process. 
Are the members of the Coalition Government familiar with the second verse of the Australian National Anthem?  In Verse 2, lines 5 and 6 we sing :
“For those who come across the seas, We’ve boundless plains to share.”
The Coalition Government needs to be honest with us.  If they do not believe in these ideals they now need to front up and rewrite our National Anthem. 
I would like to express my opposition to present Coalition Government position on the treatment of asylum seekers and would personally never vote for a party promoting these inhumane policies. 
Yours faithfully,

Dear Scott Morrison
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,
8. 7. 2014



From: Barbera
Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2014 10:28 PM
Subject: Refugees 50/50 chance.

Dear Minister Morrison,
I never write to Ministers, but upon watching your speech to refugees in detention centres I believe that as a Christian I must speak up.
I hasten to say that I have no objection to you sending back people who hail from countries at peace and have legal avenues of entry, but I strongly oppose  the return of people to their countries of origin, if these countries are known to be dangerous and are actively persecuting their people because of religion or ethnicity.
I am especially appalled at your proposed legislation that if people face a 50/50 chance of being executed they may be send back

Who will be the judge of this risk............... not you personally ......................but some twenty something year old government employee who has spent his or her whole life in the comfort of middle class Australia.
A 50/50 chance of persecution a life hanging by a thread.  
I should know as I survived the Nazi Regime.
Your proposal is not a service to Australia, we are not in a war situation when lives sometimes must be sacrified, but this is purely  a breach of morality.
As a fellow Christian I implore you to exercise your Christian conscience and show mercy to these troubled souls. 
Yours in Christian Fellowship

More letters have been sent via Getup,


27 June 2014

Dear Scott Morrison,
I was utterly dismayed to learn yesterday that you now plan to make life even more difficult for asylum seekers looking for a safe haven in Australia. To suggest that asylum seekers will in future have to demonstrate that they face at least a  50% chance of persecution if they return to their country of origin before their claims for asylum will be considered is both impractical and morally reprehensible.   It seems that your government is more interested in political posturing than in meeting its obligations under the international  Conventions to which Australia is a signatory. At a time when there  are more refugees in the world than ever, you are insisting that these people are not welcome here and instead are to be pilloried and demonised by our political leaders. We may be “open for business”, but we are clearly not willing to share the international burden of taking care of some of the most vulnerable and desperate  people on the planet.
The damage that your populist political posturing is inflicting on Australia’s international reputation is immense.
Be assured that you do not act in my name.
Yours sincerely,
Valla Beach,

response from Luke Hartsuyker when Judy sent poems to 150 Members of Parliament

Address for Scott Morrison

Suite 102, Level 1 (PO Box 1306), 30 The Kingsway, Cronulla NSW 2230
Tel : (02) 9523 0339, Fax : (02) 9523 8959

Valla Beach 
                                                                                                                                                                  NSW 2448 
                                                                                                                                                                  18.05 14
Dear Mr Morrison,
 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.
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. 
I would like you to answer two important questions:
How does your government justify locking up people in remote offshore locations, other than to use them as a deterrent to other would-be asylum seekers?
Why is your government detaining young people on Nauru, with little access to health and education provision, in clear contravention of the Convention?
The Coalition’s mantra of “Turn Back the Boats” is political posturing of the worst order and brings shame on Australia in the eyes of the world. It is high time for your Government to review this cruel and inhumane asylum policy and to close the Nauru and Manus Island detention centres.
I look forward to hearing from you.
  Yours sincerely,



6 April 2014

To Scott Morrison.   

 It has been with absolute dismay that I have been following the outcome of the refugees held in detention on Manus Island. 
The culmination of my  outrage was the 4 corners report when an eyewitness to the riot ,obviously very distraught, questioned whether Australia, as a first world  af  country couldn’t do  better. Surely the answer to this is yes. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Yours Sincerely


letter via Sarah Hanson Young to Scott Morrison - 1 May 2014



Valla Beach
 NSW 2448
                                                                                                15th April 2014

Dear Scott Morrison,
I am writing to you to express my deep concern about the ongoing detention of children  on mainland Australia, on Christmas Island and on Nauru. As an Australian citizen, I feel deeply ashamed that my government continues to flout international law for narrow political and ideological purposes. You know as well as I do 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.
As an ex-high school principal, I have a good understanding of the need for young people to live in a safe and secure environment, to feel that they are being well cared for and to have access to full-time, good quality education. You are providing none of these, and it is clear from your regular statements to the media that it is your government's clear intention to continue the current inhumane, immoral and unlawful policy.
How can you, in all conscience, despatch 177 children, many of them unaccompanied, to Nauru, where there is scant provision for their education and welfare? How do you reconcile this with the comments that you made in your maiden speech to Parliament? What has happened to the "values of loving kindness, justice and righteousness" and your commitment "to act with compassion and kindness, acknowledging our common humanity and to consider the welfare of others"? If your words to Parliament were sincere, then where is the urgent action to release all these children from detention and to provide them with a caring, supportive environment in which they can grow and learn? Without serious and urgent action, your eloquent words in Parliament in 2008 can only be regarded as self-serving and deeply hypocritical.
I look forward to learning about serious action on your part to release the 1,100 children currently held in detention without further delay.

 Yours sincerely,

Mike G



28 March 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?


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