It might be legal to indefinitely detain children on Nauru, but it is not moral, and that should be a good enough reason to stop.
Malcolm Turnbull now has a choice.
Is he a compassionate, positive, thoughtful leader who is carving out a different legacy to his predecessor? Or is the substance of his government no different to the last?
I hope it’s answer A, but I’m pretty worried it’s answer B.
The High Court’s decision to throw out a challenge to the Government’s offshore detention model opens the door for the Turnbull Government to send 267 asylum seekers back to Nauru.
Thirty-seven of those people are babies.
Some of those babies were born in Australia. If those babies were born to any other mothers, they would be Australian citizens. Because of the decisions made by this Government, they face a bleak future.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
It is time for Australia to stop torturing asylum seekers to make a point.
What point are we making anyway ? Is it that we are as brutal as the regimes, wars and oppression that asylum seekers flee?
Think I am exaggerating?
Doctors and other health professionals that have worked on Nauru are so concerned about the conditions there that they are risking jail to speak out.
David Isaacs, a respected senior paediatrician who heads the Refugee Clinic at Westmead Hospital says what’s happening on Nauru is akin to torture.
“It’s a deliberate harm and it’s torture. And there’s a real viciousness about that that is incredibly worrying,” he said.
“That’s not what you expect of a caring country, of a county that prides itself on being civilised.”
Professor Isaacs spent five days on Nauru, children (and adults) are spending an average of 417 days.
“The way we treat asylum seekers is truly reprehensible. It’s shameful and we should be ashamed of that. And I am ashamed of it,” he said.
“It makes me shamed to be Australian and I’m proud to be Australian generally. I don’t want to be treating people in that way.”
Watch David Isaacs talk about the conditions asylum seekers face on Nauru (post continues after video):