How Dutton and Molan justify the heinous

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Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton and Senator Jim Molan.

Senator Jim Molan's appearance on Q&A last night (28 May), during which he devised new and improved justifications for Australia's illegal and prolonged imprisonment of innocent refugees, suggests that he is deluded.

Delusion is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as:

‘An idiosyncratic belief or impression maintained despite being contradicted by reality or rational argument, typically as a symptom of mental disorder.’

This is not to say that he (like his idol, Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton) has delusions of grandeur – though there is also evidence of this – but that Molan, in attempting to justify the heinous, has created an alternate reality.

Before we consider Senator Molan's comments, for those who may not be au fait with the status of Australia's current refugee policy under the Turnbull Government, let's first examine a few salient facts:

  • The people held on Manus and Nauru exercised their human right under international law to seek asylum
  • The United Nations has identified Australia's treatment of refugees, under this Turnbull Government, as "inhumane".
  • Nauru is a kind of real-life 'Hotel California' where the people held on Nauru are "free" to walk around the island but they are not free to leave unless they go back to the horrors from which they fled.
  • 'There are currently 253 people living in the regional processing centre on Nauru and 686 living in the community [on Nauru]. (Source: Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee.)
  • 'There are 137 minors currently on Nauru. The number of families in the regional processing centre with minors is 15 families —18 adult males, 15 adult females and 22 minors.' (Source: Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee.)
  • Although Minister Dutton has claimed that he was responsible for removing 800 children from the offshore detention camps, the Rudd Government actually removed most of the children.
  • While Minister Dutton says he is responsible for closing Manus Island, he omits the fact that it was closed only to forcibly relocate the refugees to another (unfinished) facility in the hostile Lorengau township.
  • When Manus Island refugees peacefully protested against being moved from the Manus camp to an unfinished building site at Lorengau, Minister Dutton discontinued their food, water and medical supplies and refused access to aid agencies.
  • New Zealand has offered on multiple occasions to house at least some of the people illegally held on Manus but the Turnbull Government has repeatedly refused their offers of assistance.
  • As a ten-year-old refugee repeatedly tried to kill himself to escape his horrific life in prolonged mandatory detention, Minister Dutton denied the child urgent medical treatment in Australia, fighting medical professionals, aid agencies and even magistrates for two whole years — almost literally, to the death.
  • Contrary to the Government's claims that asylum seekers held in detention are "illegal", Cabinet documents evince then Minister for Immigration Scott Morrison first asked his department to advise how asylum seekers could be prevented from ever receiving asylum, before deciding to intervene in ASIO's security procedures and delay security checks for 700 asylum seekers back in 2013, until visa provisions could be tightened.

This reality is continually ignored by Turnbull Government Ministers such as Molan and Dutton, however, in a seemingly tireless campaign to hijack the political discourse about asylum seekers. 

Some of the children currently held on Nauru (Screenshot via Q&A)

Exhibit A is Senator Molan's response to a question which identified Nauru as "an open-air prison", in which – despite repeated Government claims to the contrary – many children are being held and are unable to leave:

"Of course we acknowledge the children are there ... Of course they [the children] can't leave the island — unless their parents decide to go home."

Um, no ... it's a mystery, sure, but Minister Dutton – towards which Molan had just professed his unerring faith – claims:

"I've got every child out of detention."

Regarding the ability of these "non-existent" children to leave the island should their parents "decide to go home", there is the slight detail of how they came to be there. These children and their parents came to Australia in search of asylum from persecution and almost certain death — they are refugees. Sure, they could just book the next first class flight out to New Zealand, except the Turnbull Government won't let them leave!

Senator Molan later took great pride in proclaiming that 32 out of 1,600 people held for approximately five years "have gone home". This, in Molan's alternate reality, is apparently a great accomplishment.

Rounding off his ill-informed, if not outright false, representation of the asylum seeker policy of his Government, Molan asked and then proceeded to answer his own questions:

Who started this? Rudd/Gillard started it.

Who keeps them there? Naive activists.

In response to a question from the audience as to why Dutton removed a Tamil family, including two Australian-born children, from their Biloela community and placed them in detention, despite a 12,000-strong petition and no available details as to the reason for their removal, Molan – after admitting to having no actual information on this – replied:

"There must be some technical reason as to why these good people were taken away." 

Fellow panellist Father Rod Bower's response articulated what many thinking, caring Australians are surely feeling:

"How did we get to a place where we're raiding family homes at five o'clock in the morning?"

Here is an excerpt from the Holocaust Encyclopedia, detailing the deception and hijacking of the political discourse by the Hitler regime:

The Nazi leadership aimed to deceive the German population, the victims and the outside world regarding their genocidal policy toward Jews. What did ordinary Germans know about the persecution and mass murder of Jews? Despite the public broadcast and publication of general statements about the goal of eliminating “the Jews”, the regime practised a propaganda of deception by hiding specific details about the “Final Solution”, and press controls prevented Germans from reading statements by Allied and Soviet leaders condemning German crimes.

At the same time, positive stories were fabricated as part of the planned deception.

Despite Senator Molan's repeated gushes about how he "happen[s] to have great faith in Peter Dutton" and that Dutton "is a man that I believe in", Minister Dutton, aided by the delusion of fellow Coalition politicians, is attempting to create a public discourse which paints him as a benevolent overlord and the Turnbull Government's asylum seeker policies as logical and acceptable when they are, in fact, simply heinous.

You can follow senior editor Michelle Pini on Twitter @vmp9.

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