Harmony Week? More like Irony Week
Updated: Jun 29
It's Harmony Week. A time to celebrate Australia's cultural diversity. At least that's what the Department of Home Affairs has published on its website. It’s about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone, reads the federally-funded site.
Video from harmony.gov.au
Harmony Week celebrates the multi-culturalism Australia is so proud of. Did you know that 45% of Aussies were either born overseas or have one at least parent who was? The Department of Home Affairs encourages workplaces to hold a morning tea, and celebrate diversity this week. The deeply ironic tagline is 'Everyone Belongs'. It's ironic because two days ago, a minor from New Zealand was deported as part of Peter Dutton's (who is the Home Affairs Minister. The same Home Affairs who spruiks Harmony Day) 'taking the trash out' program.
Kiwi minor deported
The 15 year old was reportedly the first minor to be sent away, and New Zealand's PM Jacinda Ardern was apparently unaware of the event until she received calls from the media requesting comment (that's happening a lot these days isn't it). One Australian lawyer has gone on the record to say that the federal government has breached international laws by sending the teen to NZ. It is currently unclear why the teen was deported, it's reported he had a 'complicated' and 'messy' background and a criminal history, which Dutton's team have argued is the cause for his deportation. Australia and New Zealand currently have an agreement making it easier to move between the two countries with significantly less paperwork and hassle than moving elsewhere. Read more about it here.
Dutton's medevac handling possibly unlawful
With the shit show that has been the media cycle over the past couple of weeks, Peter Dutton managed to avoid mass coverage about his handling of refugee medevac cases. A federal court judge found that the handling of some cases were 'disturbing and potentially unlawful'. Some refugees told lawyers that they had not received the treatment they were brought to Australia for, and had been waiting up to nine months. Read more about it here.
The Australian Way
A few clicks through the website will take you to another site, australian-values.gov.au, which will then direct you to the Australian Values Statement, a required document for all visa applicants to agree to. The statement emphasises the importance of 'a fair go for all' in Australian society, which, the website states, embraces:
compassion for those in need,
equality of opportunity for all
While the federal government requires anyone entering the country to agree to this list, it doesn't seem to be particularly interested in following these values itself.
Mutual respect? The Prime Minister and Minster for Women refused to speak with, meet, or even show face to protestors in the nation's capital during this week's March4Justice.
Tolerance? The only people receiving tolerance by the Australian government are the likes of Christian Porter and Linda Reynolds, who the government refuses to investigate and hold accountable (respectively).
Compassion for those in need? Two medevac refugees who spent more than a year detained in Darwin were flown back to Nauru this week. The ABC reported that the two "asked to go back to Nauru because they could not tolerate being detained any longer." You can only imagine how bad conditions were if they chose to go back to the detention centre.
Equality of opportunity for all? There were three Indigenous deaths in custody reported over the past two weeks, one of which was found to be caused by a 'confused, unreasonably delayed, and uncoordinated medical response,' whereby guards took 11 minutes to respond.