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Immigration workers ask to be charged under new Border Force gag laws

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Suffer the little children: The Government and the Opposition both voted for new laws gagging whistleblowers from speaking out about what they see at detention centres

Scores of current and former workers at Australia's immigration detention centres write an open letter to Tony Abbott, Peter Dutton and Bill Shorten, challenging them to prosecute the authors under new laws aimed at gagging workers from speaking out about abuses in these concentration camps.

TO: The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott; The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton; and Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten

Today, the Border Force Act comes into force. It includes provision for a two-year jail sentence for “entrusted persons”, such as ourselves, if we continue to speak out about the deplorable state of human rights in immigration detention without the express permission of the minister for immigration and border protection. This strengthens the wall of secrecy which prevents proper public scrutiny.

We have advocated, and will continue to advocate, for the health of those for whom we have a duty of care, despite the threats of imprisonment, because standing by and watching sub-standard and harmful care, child abuse and gross violations of human rights is not ethically justifiable.

We are aware that in publishing this letter we may be prosecuted under the Border Force Act and we challenge the department to prosecute so that these issues may be discussed in open court and in the full view of the Australian public.

  • Dr John-Paul Sanggaran, MBBS M.H.Med B.H.Sc, former IHMS medical officer
  • Dr Richard Kidd, BHB, MBChB, Dip.Obs., FAMA, Deputy Chair AMACGP, former IHMS medical officer
  • Dr Grant Ferguson, MBBS B.Sc (Hons), former IHMS medical officer
  • Dr Ben Hew, MBBS B.Sc, former IHMS medical officer
  • Dr Alison Bleaney, MBchB FRACRRM OBE, former IHMS medical officer
  • Dr Merrilyn Williams, MBBS, M. (GP Psych) FACRRM, former IHMS medical officer
  • Dr Ai-Lene Chan, MBBS FRACGP ObsSC MPH&TM, former IHMS medical officer
  • Dr John Vallentine, MBBS MRCP, former IHMS medical officer
  • Dr Jill Maxwell, MBBS OAM, former IHMS medical officer
  • Dr Sally Manuell, MBBS FRACGP, former IHMS medical officer
  • Prof Bernard Pearn-Rowe, BSc (Hons), MBBS, FAMA, former IHMS medical officer
  • Tracey Donehue, secondary school teacher
  • Judith Reen, secondary school coordinator
  • Jane Willey, former secondary school teacher
  • Evan Davis, former senior secondary school teacher
  • Dr Peter Young, MBBS FRANZCP, former IHMS medical director mental health services
  • Steve Brooker, BSc MA, former IHMS director of mental health services
  • Dr Rodney Juratowitch, MBBS FRANZCP, former IHMS psychiatrist
  • Dr Amanda Trenaman, MBBS, FRANZCP, former IHMS psychiatrist
  • Prof Robert Adler, PhD MBBS, former IHMS psychiatrist
  • Ryan Essex, BHSc, Grad Dip Psych, BSocSc (Psych), (Hons), MHL, MPH, former IHMS counsellor
  • James Harris, former case manager and residential youth worker
  • Toby Gunn, former child and youth recreation officer
  • Samantha Betts, BA, former child and youth recreation worker
  • Martin Reusch, former humanitarian worker
  • Timm Knapp, former humanitarian worker
  • Amanda Lloyd-Tait, former humanitarian worker
  • Jennifer Dennis, former humanitarian worker
  • Amy Marden, former humanitarian worker
  • Prof David Isaacs, MBBChir MD FRACP FRCPCH, former IHMS paediatrician
  • Dr Hasantha Gunasekera, MBBS FRACP, former IHMS paediatrician
  • Alanna Maycock, BN RN, former IHMS paediatric nurse
  • Prof Louise Newman, MBBS PhD FANZCP AM, former DEHAG consultant IHMS psychiatrist
  • Dr Micheal Dudley, AM MBBS BD FRANZCP, former DEHAG consultant
  • Prof Caroline de Costa, PhD MPH MBBS BA FRANZCOG FRCOG, former DEHAG consultant
  • Viktoria Vibhakar, MSW, LCSW, AASW, former senior child protection and support worker
  • Ashleigh Millard, former adult case manager and social worker
  • Jaime O’donovan, former social worker, child protection team
  • Hamish Tacey, BBehavSc, former unaccompanied minor team leader and refugee assistance program case manager
  • Serena Hansen, former case manager and residential team leader
  • Marc Isaacs, BA (Com), BA (Int.S), former recreations manager

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