Uncovering the darker side of Australian society


In his latest CathBlog, Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Social Justice Co-ordinator Evan Ellis says the holding of three Indonesian boys as alleged people smugglers in a high-security Brisbane jail uncovers an 'ugly nexus' in contemporary Australian society.

"The boys were lured from their village by people smugglers, who offered them a princely sum to work as cooks and deckhands," Evan writes.

"The real people smugglers left before reaching Australian waters, leaving the trio to sail into Ashmore reef with 41 Afghans and one Iranian aboard.

"After stints in immigration detention centres in WA and the NT, the boys were manacled and sent to Brisbane's high-security Arthur Gorrie jail to await trial. They were considered adults on the basis of the dubious technique of wrist X-Rays, which assigns an age on the bone maturity visible from an X-Ray.

"As they awaited trial they received a taste of what this would be like. One of the trio, Ako Lani, a 16-year-old orphan, sobbed uncontrollably when his lawyers asked him behind the prison walls whether he was being mistreated by prisoners.

"This story uncovers an ugly nexus in contemporary Australian society, with the politicisation of asylum seekers scuttling in one direction and the monotonous violence and humiliation of our prisons in another direction. Comprehensive reform in either area seems far away."

Read Evan's blog in full at CathBlog

Go to Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Social Justice Office

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