Aotearoa has a proud history of protesting human rights abuses on the world stage. Now that means pushing back against our traditional trade partner
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern Composite: Getty Images/AFP via Getty Images
Today a 15-year-old waits alone in a New Zealand quarantine facility, facing an uncertain future. Deported from Australia, he is not ordinarily resident here, and government agencies normally engaged for child protection are making plans for his care. Although Australia was his home, he was not Australian enough to be simply sanctioned in that nation for whatever infraction he is deemed to have committed.
This dehumanising treatment is what passes for necessary hard-line immigration policy in Australia. In its very high human cost, failure of binding child rights standards, and international criticism, it is very much in line with Australia’s longstanding approach to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Australia has been thought of as outside human rights norms and any moral standard of fairness for some time. In fact, our neighbour has been repeatedly found to be enforcing policy that amounts to literal torture on its offshore prison islands.