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Guilt shared by the Australian electorate

Opinion Piece
Letter

In December 2018 while my wife and I were visiting family in the UK, we viewed a BBC documentary about Australia’s extraordinary powers to deport foreigners (about 1500 New Zealanders so far, mostly Maori and Pasifika).

Our English family watched in horror at the story of a New Zealand citizen who was arrested in Perth because he was deemed to be of “bad character”, owing to his being a member of a motorbike gang that police suspected of criminal activities. He was held for six months in prison without charge while his extended family in WA took his case to the Supreme Court. The court decided in his favour and he was released. Peter Dutton, Minister for Home Affairs, then had him arrested on the day of his release, taken to the airport and deported to New Zealand.

Obviously Peter Dutton has been vested with powers superior to those of the Supreme Court. His law is now above the law, allowing him to commit travesties of justice and crimes against humanity.

Of course, not all the deportees are innocent of crime. For example, deported members of Australia’s Comancheros gang have now set up shop here, dealing in methamphetamine along with the murders and general human destruction that goes with that drug. Thank you very much, Peter Dutton.

Australia has enjoyed the “high moral ground” of being wronged as a penal colony from 1788 until 1868, when a total of 162,000 convicts were transported from Britain to Australia. This was a punishment strategy of great shame and came to an end only after protests against the convict system intensified in the mid-19th century throughout the colonies.

Australia’s hypocrisy in now using the policies of deportation is obvious to all, particularly the English who have had to put up with the historical guilt aimed at them by Australia.

Although I’ve named and shamed the Right Honourable Minister, his extraordinary powers were enacted by a majority of members of the Australian Federal Parliament. A majority of Australian citizens voted for each of those MPs, so for now the guilt and this foul smudge of shame is shared by the Australian electorate.

John Matthews

Mangonui, New Zealand

(Australia’s Penal Colony No.1)