New Act Criminalises Whistle-blowing on Detention Centres


By Sasha Pei-Silovo – EM TV, Port Moresby 

A new Act introduced by the Abott government will see the criminalising of whistleblowing against Australia’s detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.

The Australian Border Force Act 2015 creates a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment for up to two years for any person who speaks out against conditions at Australia’s offshore refugee processing centres. 

Persons, who speak out against Australia’s offshore refugee processing centres on Manus and Nauru, are likely to face imprisonment, once the Australian Border Force Act 2015 comes into effect next month.

The law was recently passed by the government of Australia, thus criminalising the act of whistleblowing against Australia’s controversial asylum centres. The new law will make it a criminal offence for persons working directly or indirectly with the Australia’s immigration department, to disclose information about the facilities.

Offenders who reveal to the media or any other organisation outside of the government and its departments and agencies, of the affairs of the detention centres could face a jail term of up to two years.

That means any worker or contractor who speaks to the media could face prison for up to two years jail.

Immigrations workers will now be required to work under oath, according to the Australian Border Force Act 2015, however, the contents of the oath are not detailed in the legislation.

The Australian Lawyers Alliance spokesperson on asylum seekers, Greg Barns, told the ABC that the law will have a chilling effect on what any employee or contractor of the centre, including NGOs and doctors, can say.

The Act comes into effect on the 1st of July.

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