Use of Force

I first read Guest Author Kate M’s excellent piece last Wednesday, at AIMN, and decided almost immediately that it was worth republishing for a whole host of reasons – in particular, because it illustrates so well the way this disgusting abbottled regime is sending Australia down that long and slippery slope to perdition. Given the way the topic has been overwhelmed by discussions of “domestic” violence, the Canning by-election etc., I am even more determined to ensure that Kate’s searing analysis gets more exposure than I suspect it has received.

(Image Credit: Progressive Conversation)

As most people know, laws came into effect on 1 July this year making it a crime for an ‘entrusted person’ – such as a doctor – to talk to the press about what’s going on in detention centres like Nauru or Manus Island, with a threat of two years imprisonment if they do.

Having put up a shroud of secrecy around detention centres, there is now a Bill in the senate which, if passed, will allow the use of deadly force by guards in those detention centres. The bill is called the Migration Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2015 – or the ‘Use of Force’ Bill.

Despite the fact that Human Rights bodies have huge concerns about this Bill, it has received very little press. Here’s why you should be concerned about it.

The Bill will allow the use of deadly force by ‘Authorised Officers’

If passed as is, the Bill will allow ‘Authorised officers’ – basically guards – within Detention Centres to inflict ‘grievous bodily harm’ where they personally believe it is reasonably necessary to protect life or prevent serious injury. And the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill spells out that:

“grievous bodily harm includes death or serious injury”

It specifically states that Authorised Officers may kill.

And the test to whether it’s legal for them to use deadly force is a subjective one. This means it’s legal for an Authorised Officer to kill where they believe it was reasonable to do so in order to protect life or prevent serious injury. This may sound logical, but the problem with a subjective test – rather than an objective one – as argued by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre is that:

it’s very difficult to prove what someone subjectively believed.

So this means that if a guard in a detention centre does use deadly force against an asylum seeker, he doesn’t have to show that any reasonable person in his shoes would have done the same thing – which is the normal legal test – but only that he thought using deadly force was reasonable. It is completely irrelevant If nine out of ten people in his shoes would not have used deadly force in the same circumstances. The only test is what he thought.

Authorised Officers get only four weeks training

The current training provided to Authorised Officers of these centres is a four week course. They get a very similar level of training to that provided to Shopping Centre security guards or Night Club Bouncers.

Contrast this with a sworn police officer – who has less power than an Authorised Officer in one of these detention centres – but has at least three more years of training.

There’s a good chance we won’t hear about it if deadly force is used

As I mentioned above, from 1 July workers like doctors and nurses can no longer legally disclose what is happening in the detention centres to a journalist.

So hypothetically, if an Authorised Officer saw a young asylum seeker coming towards him, and mistakenly thought that asylum seeker was carrying a weapon which could cause him harm, that Officer could shoot that asylum seeker. Not only would that guard not be prosecuted for this – under the Border Force laws, there’s a good chance we wouldn’t even hear about it. And if we did hear about it because a doctor spoke out – the person going to jail wouldn’t be the Authorised Officer who killed the asylum seeker, it would be the doctor who reported it.

Authorised Officers in detention centres don’t exactly have a stellar record

Reports of horrific incidents in Detention Centres almost barely make the news these days. Gillian Triggs and the Human Rights Commission released a report earlier this year outlining the treatment of kids in detention. In particular the report spoke of the sexual abuse of children. And yet there was more press about Abbott and co attempting to discredit Gillian Triggs than there was about the children.

The UN Human Rights Commission also released a report in February which detailed circumstances of torture in our detention centres. And still there was very little response from the media.

Recent evidence to Senate Estimates hearings indicated that there have been 15 more sexual assaults between February and May this year, two of which were of children. And just this week a Guard has come out and alleged that asylum seekers have been water boarded.

This is what’s happening in our detention facilities now. The government is clearly unable to guarantee the safety and good treatment of detainees under the current laws – and yet they want to give Authorised Officers the power to use deadly force.

What next?

The Bill is currently before the Senate. There were discussions about it today – with Liberal senators arguing in favour of the bill and Labor and the Greens arguing against it. David Leyonhjelm has also publicly stated that he will not support the bill. Its fate now rests in the hands of the remaining crossbenchers.

This is another one of those news stories that just seems to be passing the main stream media by. If you care about our Government giving this type of power to a private contractor – the power to use deadly force without risk of prosecution – then it’s up to us to spread the word.

We are all separated by only six degrees – true, it’s been proven – so if you care about this, tweet about it (#UseofForce), talk about it on FaceBook – or if the mood takes you, contact one of the cross-benchers:

Senator Jacqui Lambie (Tas) (02) 6277 3063
Senator Ricky Muir (Vic) (02) 6277 3040
Senator Glenn Lazarus (Qld) (02) 6277 3204
Senator Nick Xenophon (SA) (02) 6277 3552
Senator John Madigan (Vic) (02) 6277 3471
Senator Bob Day (SA) (02) 6277 3373
Senator Zhenya Wang (WA) (02) 6277 3843

613 thoughts on “Use of Force

  1. Overlooked in all the ‘Get Gillard’ hysteria – the lady made her opinion public a year ago, and no-one noticed.

    Former Labor prime minister Julia Gillard says she accepts it is a matter of time before same-sex marriage is legal in Australia.

    Ms Gillard has given a rare interview to Channel Nine ahead of the release of a memoir she has written about her time in the top job.

    As prime minister she opposed same-sex marriage and maintained she believed in the “traditional” definition of the union.

    She told Channel Nine she now accepted things would change.

    “I’ve got what may be in the modern age a kind of old-fashioned, feminist view about, can we take the traditional institution of marriage and stretch it? Or do you create some other way of solemnising relationships and recognising them as of worth and status?” she said.

    “When I was a young feminist I would’ve said overwhelmingly the gay community was on that track too, but things have changed.

    “I accept the course of human history now is that we are going to see same-sex marriage here and in, you know, most parts of the developed world.”

    Pretty much what she said the other night, the only difference being she once assumed there would be a vote in parliament to legalise same sex marriage but now that assumption has changed because Abbott won’t allow that vote.

  2. No-one would have noticed Julia Gillard’s opinion on a vote on same sex marriage if she had not tweeted a link to her speech.

  3. Rudd’s sudden Road to Damascus conversion to approval of same sex marriage in May 2013 was a political ploy, designed to giver him a point of difference from Julia Gillard. Unkind persons (and unkind lionesses) might say it was a deliberate attempt to atttract media attention, boost his leadership chances and also to hint at an election promise should he be returned to the leadership.

    Rudd, idiot that he was, talked about having a plebiscite ot a referendum if Abbott refused to allow a conscience vote for his MPS. I wonder if Abbott realises he is now copying a Rudd brainfart?

  4. For the record I was very skeptical about Rudd’s sudden conversion and had he won the election the only action would’ve been the private members bill that would have been doomed to fail as the Liberals wouldn’t have allowed their side to have a conscience vote, and after that failed Rudd would forget all about same-sex marriage and go back to courting the Christian lobby.

  5. Al Palster

    I got that stomach grinding feeling when I read that on twitter a little while ago. It is so scary. I wonder if Dan Andrews has been told, I would be very disappointed if he has had any part to play in this. I don’t think he has. I know many people have likened Toxic to Hitler, and the more of this stuff that he is doing is apparently how Hitler got his traction in Germany. I also know I’ve said before I was scared about what he was doing, now I’m terrified.

  6. What have we become?

    AFP stopping anyone they don’t like the look of and asking to see visas, or picking on what they consider ‘anti-social behaviour’.

    This is terrifying, really it is.

    What next?

  7. Visited the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam this week and was struck by how the Nazis used tactics “gently, gently” at first – no big deal – get registered, get a card ….. Etc but the slippery slope then gets nastier and nastier. Unions played a big part in Resistance. Reading this about Border Force in Melbourne – WTF?

  8. I am sorely tempted to wrap one of my pashminas around my head and shoulders hijab-style, don a pair of sunnies, and venture into the CBD this weekend.

  9. Ah Fiona, Tony’s Border Farce would be left humbled and beaten and cowed if they perchance stumbled upon your good self in full regalia. I think you should proceed!

  10. Wearing armbands with insignia indicating Country of Origin and Religion the next Step?

  11. A nice pic on twitter reacting to Bordering on Farce cancelling their presser due to protestors .

  12. Why don’t they just call it Protection Squad (Schutzstaffel) and be done with it?

  13. Border Farce’s Run Away Run Away has spread. Operation Round Up Foreign Devils has been canned.

  14. Yes!

    Reckon Premier Andrews had a word?

    Operation Fortitude now cancelled

    Well, that was a very short-lived police operation. Victoria Police have now just sent out another release after the confusion surrounding Operation Fortitude this weekend.

    They said on Facebook that this decision was taken due in part to a “high level of community interest” in the operation.

    Here’s the full statement:

    Victoria Police has made a decision not to go ahead with this weekend’s Operation Fortitude.
    We understand there has been a high level of community interest and concern which has been taken into consideration when making this decision.

    Victoria Police’s priority is the safety and wellbeing of the whole community and we will continue to work with our partner agencies to achieve this.

  15. ;Community interest and concern; – pfffft. Why not call it like it is – ‘community ridicule’?

  16. Next step for LNP. is to arm their covert militias..You remember all those weapons and flack-jackets and such forth missing from the AFP. stores…?…They will be needed to keep the streets “clear of undesirable elements”.

  17. Bugger ! forgot the text

    Liam Mannix ‏@liammannix · 6m6 minutes ago
    Holy moly! The border Force are actually TRAPPED in this building by the crowd!!

  18. Just wondering if the Border Farce stormtroopers were going to be armed while doing their thing.

  19. So what was happening today that was intended to slip under the radar while everyone looked at ‘Operation Fortitude’?

  20. What the Victorian police commissioner will be wearing if there is a joint presser with Dutton and the ABF

  21. FFS Bill!

    Opposition Leader Bill Shorten questioned why Operation Fortitude was announced to the media ahead of the blitz, however he said Labor supports efforts to target crime.
    “I do hope that any of these actions are done to try and protect Australian laws, to make sure that people are not overstaying their visas, to make sure that temporary guest workers are not being exploited,” he said

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