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The Christmas Island riots

Written By: - Date published: 2:18 pm, November 10th, 2015 - 99 comments
Categories: australian politics, International, john key, national - Tags: , ,

Christmas Island

On a remote island a number of Kiwis are being held in detention by a foreign state.  They are being held because they have been convicted of crimes.  But they have already served their sentences.  As an additional punishment they are to be deported back to New Zealand, even though they have been in their new country for decades and have established homes and families and jobs.

The conditions they are being held in are barbaric.  They have no meaningful contact with their families and loved ones.  The pace of processing of their appeals seeking to be able to remain in this foreign country is slow.  And many of them do not pose security risks to their country of source.  Instead of this they have been transferred far away onto a small island in what seems to be a calculated move to break their will.

Conditions are that bad some of them have rioted.  They have barricaded themselves in one of the compounds and are armed with chainsaws, machetes and petrol bombs.  The management of the centre have refused to negotiate a peaceful back down.  This is going to get really ugly.  The situation was sparked by the death of an inmate.  The fear is that other deaths will follow.

And the Governments response?  Pitiful in the extreme.

Of course I am talking about Australia’s treatment of New Zealanders who through a recent cruel law change find themselves where in some cases their home of many decades is now no longer welcoming of them.

This is how our Prime Minister should be responding.

But unfortunately he is relaxed about the situation. From Radio New Zealand:

Mr Key said incidents at the detention centre were a matter for the Australian government and he would not be intervening.

“I’m always concerned about New Zealanders but they are in a corrections facility [where] actually they are free to leave… They are staying there voluntarily.”

If any of the detainees had concerns they could contact the New Zealand Government, he said.

As far as he understood, the process was being speeded up and New Zealand detainees given priority.

“I can’t tell you exactly what the pathway was but the assurance we got from the Australians is they’re putting in a lot more resources… but the question is how quickly [they] can deal with those appeals.”

At least Marama Fox is being staunch.

Mrs Fox dismissed the suggestion detainees could leave whenever they wanted.

“It’s almost a ridiculous statement because they have to sign away their visa rights in order to do that. “These are people whose lives have been established in Australia. They want to go home to their families who are in Australia – not in New Zealand.”

And Key’s claims that the processing of applications has been sped up appear to be, ahem, not correct.

An Australian lawyer who acts for New Zealanders in detention, Greg Barns, said tensions had been building for some time over delays.

“I’m not aware of any acceleration whatsoever and I’m relatively close to the situation. John Key needs to pick up the phone to Malcolm Turnbull and say, ‘you gotta fix this’.”

Christmas Island was a “desolate place” and the centre should be shut down, he said.

“You’ve had people who have been effectively taken from their families, placed in detention, and in some cases, as we know, they’ve been living in Australia for long periods of time.

If you feel incensed at the issue there is to be a protest outside the Australian Consulate tomorrow at 1 pm orgainsed by Joe Carolan and the Unite Union.  The Facebook event is here.

And this tweet by Morgan Godfery neatly sums up Kelvin Davis’s performance on the issue.

I am finishing this post while watching Parliament. John Key is reaching a new loan by suggesting that all of the detainees are sex offenders and murderers and the opposition has rightfully expressed outrage.  Some twitter traffic follows.



Update: Video of question one follows.

99 comments on “The Christmas Island riots ”

  1. M. Gray 1

    The pm is all kaka its too late to protect Nzers his government has already allowed killers to come back here and not just one or two either. So what is the point having parole hearings here in NZ when National have already let in some MEAN AND bad people. Keys argument saying we have to look after NZERS is outright lies and rubbish talk trying to cover his own backside when he sat around knowing of the Aussies policy of sending back NZ crims. His policy is too late and it makes a mockery of our justice and court systems

    • aerobubble 1.1

      The PM, or opposition have no control over what Oz does, so its rank stupidity for the Speaker to suggest tht the opposition can be called all manner of names by the PM for what nobody in nz has control over, worse, it make parliament a laughing stock when the opposition is doing everythinto argue that kiwis with nasty records are not returned to nz, where Key will have to ignore their foregn offending as we all know how Aussies treat kiwis as second class citizens, denying basics while taxing kiwis for those basics, as supporting criminals in oz. Two farces doeth not making a PM statement of fact true enough for the speaker to allow it.

      • The PM can absolutely object in strong terms to Australia at the least, or warn them of actual policy consquences for their unlawful actions.

        We could also pull our support for their entry to the UN Human Rights Council, which was laughable before the riot, let alone after.

        These are the absolute MINIMUM things we should be doing in this situation.

        Even if Key doesn’t actually want all the NZers here, he can still object to their treatment, or to the lack of release for non-offenders and nono-violent offenders.

  2. DoublePlusGood 2

    Marama Davidson should also have raised a point of order for her second question, as John Key did not answer it at all.

  3. mary_a 3

    Today FJK accuses Opposition of supporting rapists.

    Does he not remember supporting the ” prominent NZer?”

    • gsays 3.1

      hi mary,
      well put.

    • McFlock 3.2

      And making jokes about the sexual offender who fled to South America.

      And extending diplomatic immunity to an alleged sexual offender when the nation he represented was okay with us arresting him.

      Key is in a pretty small glasshouse to be throwing that particular stone, especially as he refuses to talk about individual cases so it’s possible that none of the NZers involved in the unrest are sexual offenders.

    • Hami Shearlie 3.3

      And the public still haven’t been given all the details of what Mr Sabin former National MP is facing charges for either!

    • linda 3.4

      key appointed graham chapels best friend mike Sabine to the law order committee can say what prominent new Zealand did or do still have dance around the edges

  4. RedLogix 4

    Australia is getting it’s arse kicked on this:

    One hundred and ten countries spoke at Australia’s session in Geneva overnight, putting forward 300 recommendations for the country to improve its human rights record.

    Because of the large number of countries who wanted to comment on Australia – more than half of the countries of the UN – each nation had only 65 seconds in which to address the broad issue of Australia’s human rights regime.

    The issue of asylum seekers dominated concerns.


  5. BM 5

    Labour is handing the next election to National.

    Being the sugar nazi and now this, the lack of political nous is quite hard to believe.

    • vto 5.1

      If the people of NZ back John Key over this then they are shitheads. The majority of people will be shitheads.

      Would John Key have told the jews in 1930’s Germany there was nothing he could do and suggested they were “free to leave”?

      No surprise if the majority are shithead arseholes – after all, h1tler got voted in too. That’s your kind BM. How does it feel?

      • BM 5.1.1

        Of course they’ll back Key, no one likes crim huggers which is what Labour is doing.

        Hone must have a smile a mile wide.

        • vto

          “Of course they’ll back Key”

          My point is unaffected by this

        • marty mars

          ‘crim huggers’ – lol – don’t know any ‘crims’ eh bm, sure mate I believe you.

          and what has Hone got to do with it – you can be sure he supports any campaign to help people put in desperate and horrible situations.

          • BM

            The way Davis is behaving he’d be in with a good chance of reclaiming his seat.

            All you’ve seen of the guy is him batting for the criminal under class, all the serco union shilling and now this MP for the Christmas Island crims lark.

            Read a lot of comments online from people who are really disappointed in the way he’s been behaving.

            • weka

              oh fuck off BM. Most people round here have respect for Davis because of his activisms (plural) on respect for women and anti-violence. The issues with the Christmas Island detainees are clearly ones about family and belonging and natural justice (not to mention the base principle in both countries of having done one’s time and being allowed a second chance). Many of Davis’ constituents will share his values around that.

              How about you link to some of these ‘alot of’ comments so we can see what people are saying in context?

              • BM

                Most people round here have respect for Davis because of his activisms

                Well, that’s .00000000001% potential voters for Kelvin, wow, isn’t he doing well.

                • weka

                  you’re the one making the acusation that people here like Davis because he supports criminals. I just pointed out that you’re full of trollshit.

              • JC

                kia ora e weka

            • thatguynz

              You are truly a scumbag BM. I’m ashamed to even share a country with you.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              That is some really lightweight commentary right there. Grow a brain and stop being a law-and-order basher.

        • mickysavage

          Of course National would never dream of protecting a criminal.

        • keyman

          bm what do you think about final solution for none natz would be an election winner up on planet key

      • Nessalt 5.1.2

        did you just compare the convicted criminals in australia with the jewish diaspora from europe pre wwII? can you please explain the similarities more clearly to me? i think i must have missed the part where the jews actually committed the crimes the media accused them of.

        and the voters of new zealand are shit heads? for not agreeing with you? this is the puerile problem with the left and it’s most vocal supporters. The dialogue consists of screaming and tantrums, followed by insults then most likely threats to hold their breath. winning seems a long, long, long way away for your team vto

        • vto

          What, you think the jews were not accused of crimes in 1930’s Germany? The voters supporting the German government certainly believed the jews deserved what they were given. A bit like you and BM now.

          The two situations are more identical than it bears to think about… Australia is heading down the white supremacy road. Always has been. It is an ugly country for this.

          H1tler screamed “you support the rapists, we support the Aryans” just like John Key did today.


          Fucking ugly


          not to mention dangerous

          • Nessalt

            The jews were accused of all sorts you muppet. 99.9% was bullshit and designed to sway public opinion against them.

            your move dumb dumb. tell me how this situation compares when australia are deporting criminals that have been committed by foreign residents? these aren’t crimes by australian citizens.

            • vto

              “The jews were accused of all sorts you muppet. 99.9% was bullshit and designed to sway public opinion against them. ”

              …. exactly

              …. you can’t see it can you

              dumb dumb yourself

              • Nessalt

                accused is way different from convicted.

                oh wait, you keep calling john key h1tl3r therefore he must be.

                small wonder labour can’t get anywhere in the polls when it’s online activists are fucking deluded……

                you just went full retard VTO.

                • vto

                  “accused is way different from convicted”

                  No it is not. But you can’t see that can you.

                  You’re a retard

                  • Nessalt

                    so you are guilty from the moment you are accused of a crime VTO?

                    if the government accuses you of rape then you are automatically convicted?

                    • vto

                      wtf that have to do with the price of fush?

                    • Nessalt

                      “accused is way different from convicted”

                      No it is not. But you can’t see that can you

                      -in memory of VTO, who went full retard and now can’t come back.

                • keyman

                  key has no morales except power and money fucken john key i guess the prick would wouldn’t have phoned old Adolf either iam relaxed about final solution but only target the poor

            • Nessalt

              oh and things can’t be more identical or less identical. the description you are looking for is similar.

              hurrrr durrrrrr dont vote joooon keeeys durrrrrr

            • JonL

              They are deporting people who have been accused – and then discharged. Over here, an accusation is enough, if your face doesn’t fit!

              • Nessalt

                I call BS on that. Australia doesn’t break the law just to facilitate your week hit on john key

                • JonL

                  It’s in the papers and on TV over here mate – there are a lot of Aussies who feel pissed off about the whole sorry debacle as well – with that simian retard Dutton as minister, anything could happen. How about Ko Rutene – no criminal convictions in NZ or Aus at all – just “associated” with a bikie gang……….that doesn’t stop Dutton and his pack of goons from the Border Farce!

          • Nessalt

            john key screamed he supported the aryans?

            haha. really?

            or did he yell that labour were on the side of criminals? technically, he’s not wrong you know.

            it’s not ugly. it’s not interfering in another sovereign states domestic policies.

            So once again, how does does australia deporting foreign citizens convicted of crimes compare to the jewish diaspora from europe pre and during wwII?

            what’s ugly is your rabid hate and bullshit. get some perspective.

            • vto

              H1tler “you support the rapists, we support the Aryans”

              Key “you support the rapists, we support the New Zealanders”

              H1tler vilified the jews

              Key vilifies the 501s

              Don’t know if you realise, but once you have been convicted and done your sentence, be it not paying parking fines or some such, then you are free and have the exact same rights as anybody else. Do you know that?


              fucking ugly

              • Nessalt

                H1tler “you support the rapists, we support the Aryans” citation needed

                You do realise that you are talking about Australian criminal law, written and passed by their parliament that says Australia has the right to deport criminals who aren’t residents and have been sentenced to longer than 12 months in prison? full fucking retard you are

                so New Zealand should pressure another sovereign nation to change their laws to protect New Zealand criminals within that nations borders? imagine if another country leaned on the NZ government to change our laws to protect their criminals. you’d be screaming from the roof top.

                the only thing ugly here is the rank hypocrisy and dismal failure to understand the situation. you think this is nationals fault too? it’s no fucking coincidence and small wonder Stuart Nash thinks this place and those who dwell here are a complete fucking balls up that labour has to get past to win.

                • JonL

                  The only thing “New Zealand” about a lot of the deportees, is their birth place. New Zealanders who, for the main part, have grown up in Australia and are as much or more a result of Australian laws, regulations, society, as a New Zealand society many know next to nothing about, having spent 90% + of their lives here!
                  NZ is not their home – only their country of birth.

    • weka 5.2

      yawn, pretty boring trolling there BM, despite the edit to add the second poke of the stick.

    • linda 5.3

      bm you really are a maggot it john key who is complete hypocrite here and if there wasn’t court order in place over prominent new Zealander it would be all over his face

  6. weka 6

    “As far as he understood, the process was being speeded up and New Zealand detainees given priority.”

    Oh that’s alright then. Cronyism rulz ok. You can treat people like shit so long as they don’t have friends in the right places.

  7. Clean_power 7

    An own-goal inflicted by K. Davis. The public neither care nor have time for common criminals held in Australia, even if they are New Zealanders.

    • weka 7.1

      you do realise they’re not criminals any more right? or do you think that people who’ve been to prison should be branded for life?

      • vto 7.1.1

        weka, people like clean power don’t think that far through things… that is why they vote for shallow celebrity

        • Nessalt

          hahahahah omg i love this one. where someone disagrees with you so they must be a class traitor. it’s the best

  8. Macro 8

    “Mate-ship” is far more important than defending human rights.

  9. Trey 9

    Exactly Mary_ A, It is a pity that the opposition were not allowed to ask dishonest John about his support for the “prominent” New Zealander. Pot calling kettle black much?

  10. srylands 10

    Labour will get no traction on this issue. Zero. It is not news unless you listen to RNZ.

    In Australia these “riots” are getting scant coverage. Look at today’s Sydney Morning Herald. Nothing.


    And even if you are outraged by it what do you want the New Zealand Government to do about it? Stamp their feet?

    There is so much that labour could offer to win the next election. And they are simply sleep walking to another defeat. New Zealand deserves a much better alternative.

    • vto 10.1

      Its called doing the right thing

      something you know nothing about

    • McFlock 10.2

      Are you back living in Australia then, sucklands? Because JK’s little dummy-spit has put it on the index page of the websites for stuff, one news, 3news…

      I can see how you might think that lack of coverage in an Australian paper will result in no traction for the New Zealand Labour party, though. It’s a very perceptive insight you made, there, me old cobber and chuzzwuzzah, crack yourself a Foster’s under the shade of a coolibah tree…

    • Expat 10.3

      If you want the real news in Australia, you need to go to the ABC, most of the papers, like in NZ lack CREDIBILITY.

    • JonL 10.4

      Yes – it’s “strange”, how all the Murdoch papers, and most of the Fairfax ones as well are totally downplaying or ignoring the situation – like they downplay anything to do with the detention centres, other than to demonise the people therein!
      The ABC and Guardian (surprise, surprise) have the news featured prominently.

  11. Expat 11

    For most, the issue of human rights is the essential aspect, not who or what the individuals ‘might’ have done, that is why the govt needs to stand up and defend the rights of these people.
    For goodness sake, Australia vigorously defended the rights of the Bali nine smugglers in Indonesia, drug dealers, but again, that’s not the point , it’s the perceived denial of human rights which had to be defended, as we know, it made no difference to the outcome, but the Aus govt was admired for the effort, not condemned, ironic, really, considering Australia’s own record on human rights is absolutely appalling.
    Key playing the discrimination card, shows his shallow and deceitful, manipulative manner, the issue that should be being debated, is HUMAN RIGHTS, because that is the issue, not the side show we’re seeing, someone needs to hold them to account.

  12. reason 12

    Both BM and clean-power support the party that promotes and protects ‘sex offenders’……..

    I bet BM even calls that winning ……………..

    Please BM please explain why the Nats voted down Winstons proposal that convicted sex offenders should not have name suppression if the victims wanted them named ?????????

    Why does National want to protect sex offenders ??????

    What are they trying to hide ………………..

  13. johnm 13

    don’t expect this rubbish gov. to do anything accept bend over for the Australian fascist state. They’re scum. Australia is a foreign piece of shit.

  14. Naki man 14

    22 murderers, 34 child sex offenders and 16 rapists or sex offenders are on the list to be deported. Just the type of scum Kelvin Davis and the Labour party want to support.

  15. Trey 15

    I heard Keys stooge Paddy Gower quote those figures too but then I heard the Australian corrections minister say that there were only 50 New Zelanders held on Christmas Island and the numbers just didn’t add up

    • McFlock 15.1

      Apparently the centre currently has 203 inmates, all adult males.

      So assuming naughty naki’s numbers are correct, that’s 82 out of 203. So most NZers would likely not have convictions for any of those offences, even if we didn’t care about prisoners who had already done their time.

      • weka 15.1.1

        Is that 203 NZers or total people being detained?

      • Bill 15.1.2

        As at early October, the Christmas Island detention centre housed 285 people. Of those, 125 had had their visas cancelled, and 101 were asylum seekers who had arrived in Australia by boat or by plane. Another 57 were visa overstayers who were being sent home.


        And from early August

        There are eight children in the family groups – aged from seven weeks to four years-old; three of the children have been born in Adelaide.
        “It is criminal that the government intends to transfer these families to Christmas Island, “said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.


        • weka

          I haven’t been able to follow it all, but on twitter there’s been conversation along the lines that the numbers of sex offenders is low and that Gower was probably fed figures from the PM’s office that are highly misleading eg they’re total figures not the NZ ones, or they are the NZ ones but they’re not detained on Christmas Island etc. In other words a deliberate clusterfuck by NACT.

          • Bill

            The government played Labour. Worked a treat. I mean even this site has given the b/s a full post. JK’s fucking laughing.

            • weka

              Nevertheless it’s not something that the opposition could just ignore.

              Besides, if the prominent NZer gets convicted on sexual assault charges I would hazard a guess that the footage from today will get a fair bit of reairing.

    • Gangnam Style 15.2

      On planet Key they do, the magic numbers at the bottom of the fairy garden.

  16. barry 16

    imagine if while Key was in opposition and he was in his Hellensville office and a convicted rapist came in with a legitimate complaint about the way he was treated in prison. Would he have helped him?

    Of course he would have. It is his job as electorate MP. Someone doesn’t cease to be a constituent when they commit a crime.

    John Key doesn’t have any defense to Labour’s attacks and is just raising the volume so that people won’t hear what is being said.

  17. greywarshark 17

    We don’t want to lose sight of the bulldozer tactics that Oz is using. The stuff about murderers and sex offenders is just stats without context.

    New Zealanders are now the second largest category by nationality being detained.
    The number has risen sharply since the Australian government tightened the laws in December 2014, meaning a 12-month prison sentence, rather than a two-year term, now triggers visa cancellation.

    This is one woman from May this year.
    The mother of five, who moved to Australia from Christchurch as a 16-year-old and is now 43, has spent more than three months detained at the Yongah Hill Detention Centre near Perth….
    Her crime, using a steak knife to stab an aggressive man in the arm at a party, happened in 2010 and the court process stalled until she agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
    “This was my biggest mistake and I have to leave the country and my children have to suffer. It just doesn’t seem fair.

    Before being sent to jail on a charge of unlawful wounding, Bradnam lived in Brisbane with her children, three under 18, and extended family.
    Kelly Bradnam with her family, who were all born in Australia. Bradnam is facing deportation back to New Zealand after spending time in an Australian prison.
    Kelly Bradnam with her family, who were all born in Australia. Bradnam is facing deportation back to New Zealand after spending time in an Australian prison.

    She served 10 months of her three-year sentence, before being released on parole. She breached her conditions after being caught drinking alcohol, and was sent back to jail to serve a further sanction period.
    But four days before her release date earlier this year, she was told she would be sent to the Perth detention centre and likely deported back to New Zealand.

    In the 2011 census, there were 483,000 people living in Australia who were born in New Zealand. Of these, it has been estimated anywhere from 150,000 to 280,000 hold SCVs. Non-permanent Special Category Visas for NZs.)…

    …concerns about an entrenched “permanent second class” of Kiwis in Australia. Studies have shown few New Zealanders ever attain permanent residency or Australian citizenship, because they do not have skills or resources to pass Australia’s strict eligibility requirements. Advocates say this has led to a self-perpetuating cycle of Kiwis kids growing up in Australia with little state support and a university education that could lead to permanent residency out of financial reach. There have also been reports of high levels of homelessness among Kiwis in Australia. Some Kiwis have fought back, with several court battles waged with mixed success against “unfair discrimination”…

    Also http://www.nbr.co.nz/opinion/nz-politics-daily-illusions-trans-tasman-partnership
    Keith Rankin on NZ relations with Australia historically.
    New Zealanders came to live and work in Australia as denizens, not as Anzacs; and were looked upon generically as the English looked upon the Irish. While I like Australia, and I like the Australians who know me, I also understand that Australia has become as much ‘another country’ as any other ‘other country’.
    We are now seeing the full playing-out of this new ‘guest worker’ relationship. New Zealand-born Australians have become substantial victims of a process within Australia in which a clear divide is growing between denizen workers and citizens. The Saudi-isation of Australia.
    New Zealand has to accept that it is not a much-loved bastard sibling of the former Australian colonies. Rather New Zealand is just another foreign nation dealing with an essentially xenophobic neighbour. We need to get used to this.
    – See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/10/03/australias-ireland-what-exactly-is-new-zealands-relationship-with-australia/#sthash.LBimgiQb.dpuf

    The president of the Australian Lawyers Alliance says 5000 New Zealanders have been jailed in Australia in the past 10 years, and the majority could be deported back here.

  18. sabine 18

    I don’t know, but I think the Labour Conference over the weekend must’ave been a smashing success….

    All that brouhaha, and shouting, and insulting, and crowing and hoveling and not answering questions and such, oh Dear Leader must not be amused. Poor thing.

  19. infused 19

    Anyone who thinks Key lost it today seriously doesn’t have a clue.

    Will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  20. sabine 20

    Minister of Immigration for OZ who states this


    “Dutton said of 199 on Christmas Island, 113 had a criminal history, including 11 armed robbers, five child sex offenders and four rapists.”

    Not sure where dear leader got his number from, but apparently he did not get them from his mates in Oz.

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