Operation Sovereign Borders

Operation Sovereign Borders

This policy affects people. Human beings. Mothers, Fathers, Sisters, Brothers, Uncles, Aunties… Children. Babies.

These are not cattle or pallets of imported goods.

Our processes SHOULD NOT involve policies solely based on ‘Economics’. 

Lives are not being saved by the current policy. People may not be drowning in our oceans, but lives are being destroyed in our detention centres and for those who have been sent to another country that lacks the resources to provide required care – they will no doubt perish in some form on those shores.

We’re ‘Passing the Buck’.

‘Australia has international obligations to protect the human rights of all asylum seekers and refugees who arrive in Australia, regardless of how or where they arrive and whether they arrive with or without a visa.

While asylum seekers and refugees are in Australian territory, the Australian Government has obligations under various international treaties to ensure that their human rights are respected and protected.

These treaties include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). These rights include the right not to be arbitrarily detained.

As a party to the Refugee Convention, Australia has agreed to ensure that asylum seekers who meet the definition of a refugee are not sent back to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened. This is known as the principle of non-refoulement.

Australia also has obligations not to return people who face a real risk of violation of certain human rights under the ICCPR, the CAT and the CRC, and not to send people to third countries where they would face a real risk of violation of their human rights under these instruments. These obligations also apply to people who have not been found to be refugees.’

The current actions of the Australian Government are breaking the law. Many laws. It is unacceptable and as an Australian citizen I find it extremely concerning. We should be able to rely on the Government to conduct itself within the scope of the law. If collectively they don’t feel as if the law is adequate or requires amendment, then there are processes to go through to resolve that. Arrogantly, blatantly defying the law sets a terrible precedent.

My opinion, the Government have got this Policy very, very wrong.

Sources I referenced to write this post:


26 responses to “Operation Sovereign Borders

  1. We need to have more compassion as a country. I want to cry and then throw things when I read some of the comments on News.com.au. ‘Send ’em back and who gives a shit what happens, not our problem.”

  2. It would be nice if we could alter the conditions surrounding the departure of refugees and immigrants. Unfortunately, as I’m seeing more and more in world politics, unless there is money to be made in it governments won’t do it.

    • It certainly does appear to be the case. Although I appreciate that it is a very complicated issue I imagine that developing strategies in exactly that area might help affect change in the result we currently see.

  3. The problem here in the UK is more of a very small island with far too many people than anything about who is trying to come here or why. Sixty million plus people on an Island five hundred miles by less than two hundred and fifty is crowded to say the least. These shores seem to be the go to place for refugees and, while I have sympathy for their plight, the island sometimes feels as if it might sink under the weight. It’s a conundrum about protecting the lives of the indigenous population as opposed to helping the needy from other places. I’m not sure we have got it right but I’m not sure how we can. Maybe the answer is to help people change the situations in the countries they’re fleeing from.

    • Oh Crap, I just wrote a long response and lost it! *grumbles*

      I agree that providing further assistance (non military focused) to those countries people are fleeing from may help the situation.

      Understandably, that is going to be very challenging and would take years of relationship building.

      In another comment I wrote:

      ‘People are fleeing from countries where we played an active role, implementing military operations to some degree. Whether Peacekeeping, Logistical Support or administrative surface level alliances.’

      I don’t know a great deal about the situation in the UK, so appreciate your comment.

      In relation to Australia, more must be done when we have children in detention centres being sexually abused. Babies being born and not being provided with Birth Certificates. A government ILLEGALLY calling them illegals (which they are legally NOT), people being assaulted and in some cases killed by the very bodies meant to be caring for their well being.

      We haven’t got it right yet (for Australia) and I too don’t have the perfect solution, but I do know, we certainly have not got it right. Not even slightly.

    • Yes! I follow Michael Leunig work. He does some amazing cartoons that really capture the sentiment many Australians (and people from the world generally) feel about this situation.

      I did see some links through to Thomas Keneally recently on my Facebook and Twitter feed. Remarkable man. Very passionate about this issue.

  4. I concur! As well, there is something quite devious about the way the government has implemented a code of silence regarding the whole ‘debate’, shrouding the matter in secrecy to keep the general public in the dark. And the way they are scuttling around the globe, looking for other poor developing countries like Cambodia to take our refugees, is just cringing! Makes you ashamed to call yourself an Aussie! 😦

    • Agreed. Those countries do not have the resources to be able to provide a safe and supportive environment for those people.

      It’s in very bad form on the part of our Government (for the reasons outlined)

      I honestly feel great embarrassment for our country’s government when this is discussed in social circles, either online or not.


      • #ThreeWordSlogans

        #WhatAJoke – there’s one for ya.. lol

        We’re dealing with people here.

        Honestly, I don’t know the magical answer. But I do know that ‘Stopping the Boats’ wont stop people from loosing their lives.

        People are fleeing from countries where we played an active role, implementing military operations to some degree. Whether Peacekeeping, Logistical Support or administrative surface level alliances. We’ve got a duty to help these people. At the very least we NEED to conduct reasonable assessments to determine Status

        I’d be thinking it’d be good to build more on policy that involves communicating with Asylum seekers in their country of origin. Support them to apply for asylum in a safer way, educate about process. – Please note that I do not mean showing people videos in language that scare the pants of them or intimidate.

  5. I could not agree with you more Miss Lou. If the shoe was on the other foot and this was happening to Australians we’d all be outraged. What is even more shocking is that both main political parties in this country now essentially have the same policy so we have absolutely no choice at the ballott box. Evidence shows that immigration is good for the economy – we should focus less on the desperation of the measures people take to get here and more on being a compassionate nation and adhering to all the agreements we’ve signed. This government will be voted out at the first opportunity – bring it on.

    • The Greens has a policy that is more consistent with my own views.

      I generally vote based on my research of policies – both at a national territory level (I live in the NT). Last year I was so concerned with the lack of detail in the Liberal policies as well as the ‘gaffe’s’ and other outrageous comments from Tony Abbott that I voted to supported candidates that meant that the Liberal party got absolutely NONE of my preferences. This meant Labor got the most benefit.

      This Government are acting in a manner that indicates they think they are not even accountable. Scary Stuff.

      Yes, I’m with you. Election please.


  6. Interesting post, Miss Lou. We’re having some of these same disagreements here in the States. While there’s no easy solution, I do believe that we’re all bright and creative enough to come up with something that’s kind and fair and reasonable — without panicking!

    • Yes, I absolutely agree! We’ve gone through a period of 12 months where the government has stopped providing information to the public.

      They have forcefully dictated that all government departments call asylum seekers ‘Illegals’ (which is not legally correct)

      We have men, women and children in both onshore and offshore detention where sexual, physical and emotional abuse is occurring.

      We have babies that are being born that are not being issued with birth certificates or names. Just numbers.

      and reportedly we currently have assessments taking place via video up-link that consist of 4 questions.


  7. We are having that same problem here. Children from Central America are trying to excape a terrible life there and they are attempting to get to safety in The US. We have these right wing loons who block the buses carrying them telling them to go home. My god these are children. Not adults.. It says on The Statue of Liberty, bring me your weak and huddled masses… That is bull!

    • Our country is in a very healthy financial position. We have resources to be able to help and we have the legal and moral obligation to provide support.

      I feel frustrated at the blatant disregard our Current Government demonstrates.


  8. It happens so often that treaties are signed or laws are passed without any real consideration for what it means to be “obligated” by those concepts. We pass laws all the time over here that we later discover/decide that we can’t afford to uphold. We pass laws with no funding mechanism and we pass the obligation onto lower governments (fed-to-states states-to-cities). Unfunded mandates and ignored obligations are a sad part of the political landscape.

    • Yes, very valid points Dan.

      It seems that so often we see inter-government negotiations presented in media releases – good news stories.

      Snippets of glossed over moments, lacking in detail aimed at providing the general public with the notion that decisions have been made with great purpose in mind.

      Policy on the run.

      I agree, unfunded mandates and ignored obligations are very much a part of the political landscape.

      Sadder will be the day that we do not hold our governments to account.

      Thanks for dropping by Dan.


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