Shooting the messenger on kids in detention

For weeks, in the run up to the publication of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) report into children in detention, The Australian has been running a witch-hunt against its President, Gillian Triggs.

But when the damning report, The Forgotten Children, was finally tabled in Parliament, the government went ballistic. Abbott called it a “transparent stitch-up” and a “blatantly partisan exercise”.

Coalition MP George Christensen, the chair of the social policy and legal affairs committee which is considering whether to investigate “systemic bias’’ at the HRC, called on Triggs to step down, even before the investigation. Now it’s emerged that Attorney-General George Brandis tried to get Triggs to resign two weeks before the report was tabled.

Under the Migration Act, the Minister for Immigration is the guardian of unaccompanied under-age asylum seekers. But the government deliberately sent unaccompanied minors to Nauru because, “the best interests of such children are outweighed by other primary considerations…”

Over 300 children remain in closed detention, 119 on Nauru.

In 2011, the Australian Medical Association told a joint parliamentary committee that “detention of asylum-seeker children and their families is a form of child abuse”.


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