Tony Abbott rules out reviving 18C changes

Dear Prime Minister,

We are very happy that you will not revive RDA 18C as we do have free speech but everything, there is a limit.

Yours respectfully,

Eddie Hwang


Unity Party WA (published)     (published)

Fax/hone: 61893681884

Safe the trees – Use email

UPWA is the only political Party that calls a spade a spade. 


Tony Abbott rules out reviving 18C changes

TONY Abbott will proceed with unpopular policies such as raising the pension age after the next election, but has ruled out resurrecting changes to the Racial Discrimination Act.

After dumping changes to section 18C of the act last year in a “leadership call’’, the Prime Minister effectively told journalist Andre­w Bolt, who was prosecuted under the law, that he would not revive them.

“I absolutely, passionately believe in free speech,’’ Mr Abbott told The Bolt Reporton the Ten Network yesterday.

“I think we have free speech in this country. I think the episode that you suffered was an aberration and I don’t believe we’ll ever see anything like that again.’’

Last week parliament’s joint standing committee on human rights found proposals by Family First senator Bob Day to remove the words “insult” and “offend” from section 18C would not breach Australia’s international obligations.

Discussing last week’s attempt to force a leadership spill, which he defeated 61 votes to 39, Mr Abbott said he had been so focused on economic security and national security issues he had not had enough time to talk to colleagues.

And he said he regretted breaching commitments not to cut ABC funding but said that, on coming to government, he discovered the fiscal position was much worse than Labor had revealed at the last election. Instead of being $18 billion, the deficit was $48bn.

“There were some gymnastics, if you like, in the budget, to avoid breaking promises. By the time of the … mid-year statement at the end of 2014, yes, we did have to break some promises, including the promise not to reduce funding for the ABC,” he said.

Mr Abbott said he would press ahead after the next election with legislating to raise the pension age to 70 by 2035, with indexation pegged to the cost of living.

“If we don’t encourage people to work, to extend their working lives, we are going to have the situation where we simply have too many retirees and not enough working people to support them.’’

However, he said the government would not propose changes to Medicare unless they were supported by the medical profession.


“Detention “harms children and violates law”

Dear Prime Minister,

Time to do something about it as it is inhuman to say the least.

Yours respectfully,

Eddie Hwang


Unity Party WA  (Published)      (Published)

Fax/hone: 61893681884

Safe the trees – Use email

UPWA is the only political Party that calls a spade a spade.

Australia asylum: Detention ‘harms children and violates law’

Australia’s policy of detaining the children of asylum seekers causes them harm and violates international human rights law, a report says.

A third of detained children had developed mental illnesses of such severity that they required psychiatric treatment, the Australian Human Rights Commission (HRC) said.

It called for all detained children to be released immediately.

PM Tony Abbott has called the report a blatant attack on his government.

Mr Abbott said the commission “should be ashamed of itself” for being so partisan.

Under his government the number of children in detention has fallen. Mr Abbott questioned why the HRC did not launch an inquiry when the Labor government was in power and there were almost 2,000 children in detention centres.

Successive Australian governments have been criticised over their harsh asylum policies, under which asylum seekers are detained for long periods in offshore camps while their applications are processed.

Opinion polls show that such policies are popular with voters concerned about asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat.

The Human Rights Commission report features drawings by children which depict the misery of the camps

‘Cruel and illegal’

The long-awaited report, entitled The Forgotten Children, was completed late last year and released by the government on Wednesday.

It argues that there is no sensible explanation for the prolonged detention of children which is “in clear violation of international human rights law”.

“The overarching finding of the enquiry is that the prolonged, mandatory detention of asylum-seeker children causes them significant mental and physical illness and developmental delays, in breach of Australia’s international obligations,” the foreword says.

The report found that:

  • Detained children have significantly higher rates of mental health disorders than children in the community.
  • Children held offshore on the Pacific island of Nauru are suffering from “extreme levels of physical, emotional, psychological and developmental distress”.
  • Multiple reports of assaults, sexual assaults and self-harm involving children “indicate the danger of the detention environment”.

It calls for the closure of immigration detention facilities on Christmas Island, an end to indefinite detentions and the replacement of the immigration minister by an independent person to act as guardian for unaccompanied children.

“The aims of stopping people smugglers and deaths at sea do not justify the cruel and illegal means adopted,” Commission President Gillian Triggs wrote.

“Australia is better than this.”

Refugees are kept in detention centres waiting for their claims to be assessed

The island of Nauru is home to hundreds of asylum seekers awaiting decisions on their refugee claims

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said many of the recommendations in the report were unnecessary, while others “would mean undermining the very policies that mean children don’t get on boats in the first place”.

Attorney General George Brandis said that the government did not accept the commission’s conclusions.

Australia currently detains all asylum seekers who arrive by boat, holding them in offshore processing camps. Those found to be refugees will not be permanently resettled in Australia.

It also has a backlog of cases – about 30,000 – relating to asylum seekers who arrived before the current policies were put in place. Those people live in detention camps or in the community under bridging visas that do not allow them to work.

The opposition Labor party, the Greens and human rights groups have called for significant changes to the immigration detention network following publication of the report.