Australian and New Zealand Green parties to lodge complaint with Australian Human Rights Commission

The Green parties of New Zealand and Australia will be lodging a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) about the detention and treatment of New Zealanders in Australia.

Hobart-based barrister Greg Barns will be handling the case on a pro-bono basis.

“We are very concerned about the human rights breaches that New Zealanders are subject to while being detained in Australia, which is why the Australian and New Zealand Green parties will be lodging a complaint with the AHRC,” said New Zealand Green Party human rights spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.

“John Key has said that New Zealanders whose rights have been breached should contact the consulate but we’ve heard from a number of prisoners that the consulate has not been providing enough support. We now have to look at other avenues to ensure Kiwis’ rights are being protected.

“There are appalling stories out of Christmas Island in particular. New Zealanders in detention are being bullied by guards, there is a lack of access to medical treatment, they are not able to access legal support and a number are subject to arbitrary detention.

“All of these are serious human rights breaches,” said Ms Delahunty.

“There has always been a special relationship between Australia and New Zealand, but now the Coalition government is putting that at risk,” the Australian Greens’ immigration spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“This is a real test for Malcolm Turnbull and he will have some serious questions asked of him when he lands in New Zealand today. Will he let the vestiges of the Abbott government’s overreach on immigration law hurt our regional partnerships or will he see sense and let the courts consider these matters on a case by case basis?

“There is serious potential for human rights abuses under these new laws. I hope that the ANZAC spirit isn’t jeopardised by the rashness of the Coalition government’s obsession with political point scoring on immigration.”