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1DN’s Hero and Villain of the Week – 02/09/2011

Hero – David Manne, Executive Director of the Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre .

Hero - David Manne

David Manne and his team at the RILC brought the action in the High Court against the Government’s “Malaysian solution” that was this week found to be unlawful. The ruling by the court was historic, in that in provides a major hurdle for this and any future Government to attempt to process Asylum Seekers offshore. But history is not forged by those who sit by why injustice takes place and High Courts do not rule against a Government unless a group of people do Hero like work to ensure that justice is done. In a time when politics has become particularly dirty, tea party like rallies in Canberra, politician’s caught up in serious legal issues and a parliament ground to a halt by mud-slinging the good news is that not all leaders are politicians and most politicians are NOT leaders. So our hero of the week for leadership, commitment and an amazing achievement for Human rights is David Manne and the team at RILC.

Villain  – News Limited “columnist” Andrew Bolt

In a week where his News Ltd stable mate, Glenn Milne, could have beaten him to the prize. Bolt proves there is nothing like a hissy fit to get your name in the papers and be this weeks Villain. The Australian newspaper kicked off the week by publishing an article by Milne about PM Gillard that was short on facts and high on Chardonnay fumes. The false and defamatory article was pulled by News Ltd and an apology put in its place. To Bolt this was the equivalent to appeasing the Nazi party and he would take his flaming sword of freedom to the airwaves.  “What are you so afraid of? What else would you stoop to in order to cling to power? I was considering resigning as a News Limited columnist,” Bolt screeched. “I thought this company that I love, that I have long admired for its defence of free speech, had caved in to pressure from a Prime Minister to close down reporting of a matter of public interest.”

A blogger can strike? Hippy!

So Bolt took his bat and ball and went home. But like most cry babies and bullies it only lasted for a day and with his sword still out of its sheath went on the rampage about Democracy, Freedom, Socialism, Lenin and why he just had to hold strong for the good of the nation. Sorry Andrew, but your pen pal Milne got it wrong, suck it up and get on with writing about why Carbon Dioxide is actually a beautiful rainbow creating lolly drop from God. But you are this weeks Villain!

*credit to for Bolt image.

High Court says halt! Refugee advocates win first battle!

Last week we accused Minister for Immigration Chris Bowen of being a bad parent. We firmly believe that transferring refugees to Malaysia under the recently struck deal, is both illegal and immoral. In response one well known academic and ethicist accused of being  “totally clueless”. Well it would seem the high court agrees our assessment might be spot on and some people’s ethics don’t stack up to the law.

The High Court has extended its injunction against the federal government’s attempts to send asylum seekers to Malaysia. The government was prevented from sending 16 asylum seekers to Kuala Lumpur today after High Court judge Kenneth Hayne issued a temporary injunction yesterdayJustice Hayne today extended the injunction until the full bench could consider the lawfulness of the government’s policy. Justice Hayne said it was likely the full court could hear the matter in a special sitting in the week beginning August 22.

The issue comes down to an aspect of the law which makes the Immigration minister judge, jury and executioner. He determines who is held in detention, he is the guardian of those asylum seekers who are unaccompanied children and he makes the decision on where to expel those who are no longer permitted, by his rule, to stay in Australia (detention). Further to this he makes the assessment as to the legality of removing all asylum seekers and whether the new detaining country meets the relevant human rights obligations for which Australia is a signatory.

Seems like one MASSIVE conflict of interest and it cannot logically be argued that the guardian of children could be acting in their best interest by sending them to a country such as Malaysia where their human rights are not guaranteed and the minister cannot ensure their protection and well-being.

The Government now faces having to convince the full bench of the High court that this controversial deal is legal, this again raises further questions about this already suspect arrangement.

DAVID MANNE: It certainly does because what the court has said is that the Australian Government at the moment cannot, is prohibited from expelling our clients to Malaysia pending the outcome of this case. 
And this case is about our clients arguing that their claims for refugee protection should be considered in Australia instead of being expelled to Malaysia. 

Now the courts will decide the fate of this ridiculous piece of policy and a ruling that strikes the Malaysia deal down must certainly be another nail in the legality and morality of any and all offshore processing and forced removal of asylum seekers whose claims have not yet be reviewed.

Are we here “totally clueless” or is the High Court, public opinion and common sense swinging the way of where our national ethic of this issue should be?!

For audio of today’s ABC radio PM report – ABC AM Report

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