Politics

Peter Dutton Says Behrouz Boochani Will Never Be Let Into Australia

Peter Dutton keeps being Peter Dutton.

Peter Dutton Behrouz Boochani

Peter Dutton is still insisting that Behrouz Boochani — an award-winning journalist, author, associate professor at UNSW and refugee — will never step foot in Australia.

Apparently, the immigration process is a bit more complicated when you’re not an au pair for one of Dutton’s mates. Behrouz finally tasted freedom last week after six years in Australia’s immigration detention centres.

He has always been vocal critic of Australia’s offshore detention policies — as someone who’s suffered through the consequences of those policies, he has every right to be.

“We can see there is some kind of dictatorship in Australia,” he said after his release.

Now the Kurdish-Iranian journalist and refugee is currently planning his next move after arriving in New Zealand on Thursday night, following six years of limbo on Manus Island.

Behrouz is in New Zealand after being granted a one month visa so he could speak at the upcoming World Christchurch festival. It took him 34 hours to get here via the Phillipines, since he could not transit through Australia.

He has been accepted for resettlement in the US, but has said he is also considering applying for asylum in New Zealand. But if he does, and is granted asylum there, Peter Dutton has said he will never be allowed into the country that detained him for years.

“He wouldn’t be permitted to come to Australia — we’ve been very clear about that,” he told media today.

Before leaving Iran, Behrouz had already been arrested once for his work at a magazine which supported Kurdish independence, in defiance of Tehran.

He left in 2013 and eventually ended up on a boat to Christmas Island in July, before being transferred to Manus Island a month later. It was bad timing. Offshore detention centres had only just been reopened in late 2012 by the Gillard government after a surge in asylum seeker boat arrivals.

In July 2013, the same month that Behrouz arrived on Christmas Island, the Rudd government announced that Australia would never accept asylum seekers arriving via boat.

Four months later the UNHCR reported that the people stuck in Australia’s offshore detention centres were living in conditions that did not meet international standards.

They dished out similar criticism in 2017 and 2018.

It’s probably no surprise then that Behrouz had no time for Labor Senator Kristina Keneally when she welcomed the news of his release.

People are welcoming the news of Behrouz’s arrival in New Zealand, praising our neighbour while simultaneously criticising our own hardline immigration stance. For six years New Zealand has maintained an offer to resettle 150 refugees a year, but Australia has continually rejected the offer.

There are hundreds of people still being held in detention by Australia.