UPDATE: An astonishing response
7:23 PM (21 minutes ago)
In the face of the damning evidence put forward by the Human Rights Commission’s independent report “The Forgotten Children”, you’d think the government would respond with reflection, remorse and a resolve to address the issue of children in detention.
Instead, our leaders have resorted to base politicisation of an issue that should be above politics – the indefinite detention of children, which for many has been more than a year, in conditions that are leading to extreme suffering, self-harm and prolonged mental distress.1
Today, it was revealed that our government so desperately wanted to avoid facing these hard truths that they went so far as to request the President of the Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, tender her resignation – just two weeks before they released the report.2
Instead of reading the independent and revealing report full of testimony from the children themselves, experts in the field and recommendations for how we can move past this blight on Australia’s recommendation our government would rather play a dirty (and unproductive) deflect and blame game. It’s just one in a series of underhanded attacks designed to discredit the report and distract the public from the real issue at hand.
But that kind of bullish avoidance won’t – and isn’t – working with our community. Whether Labor or the current government is more to blame for the current situation isn’t the issue (they both are), nor is the timing of the report (the evidence still remains the same). What matters, is what we do next. What matters is how we address the issue and work to ensure the release of all children in detention, and their families.
Luckily, the GetUp community get that. As soon as the report was released, thousands of GetUp members rallied into action and dug deep to get this ad on the air. More than 3000 people have chipped in, allowing us to reach hundreds of thousands Australians with this message – but if we’re going to change anything, we’ll still need more people to hear this message.
Click here to chip in to get this message on the air: https://www.getup.org.au/kids-out
The lack of compassion and awareness exhibited by our leaders this week is astounding. When asked on Melbourne if Prime Minister Abbott “felt any guilt” over the suffering of children kept in indefinite detention, his callous reply was: “None whatsoever.”3 He then went on to shift blame, shoot the messenger and claim:
“the Human Rights Commission ought to be sending a note of congratulations to Scott Morrison saying ‘Well done mate because your actions have been very good for the human rights and the human flourishing of thousands of people’.”4
We know that’s not true – we can do so much better. Will you join more than 2000 GetUp members in chipping in to make the sure message Australians need to hear reaches as many people as possible? https://www.getup.org.au/kids-out
Most Australians don’t even know this is happening. Let’s change that.
Erin and Alycia for the GetUp team
~ References ~
 The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention 2014, The Australian Human Rights Commission
 Revealed: Abbott government tried to remove Gillian Triggs as head of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Fairfax Media, 13 February 2015
 Interview with Neil Mitchell, Radio 3AW Melbourne
 Human Rights Commission should congratulate Scott Morrison: Tony Abbott responds to report on children in immigration detention, Sydney Morning Herald, 12 February 2015