Resources

1. The Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT) of which Melaleuca Refugee Centre is a member, has released a Statement of concern about the Australian Border Force Act 2015.

2. On Tuesday 29th September 2015 Melaleuca Refugee Centre was delighted to host Father Frank Brennan for his address ‘The Ethical Challenges of Stopping the Boats Upstream, closing the Camps Downstream and Opening up Community Services.

3. Australian Mosiac Sept 2015 magazine article

1. The Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT) of which Melaleuca Refugee Centre is a member, has released a Statement of concern about the Australian Border Force Act 2015.
See below or go to the FASSTT website http://fasstt.org.au/media/
Statement of concern about the Australian Border Force Act 2015
The Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT) expresses its profound concern that the Australian Border Force Act 2015 has created a serious criminal offence for people providing services to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) to publicly disclose information about damaging effects of government policy on individuals in detention and other asylum seekers.
FASSTT is a network of Australia’s eight specialist rehabilitation agencies that work with survivors of torture and trauma who have come to Australia from overseas. We are contracted by DIBP to provide services to people of refugee backgrounds in the community and in places of detention.
FASSTT acknowledges that there are important areas of DIBP policies and operations which are properly the subject of strong confidentiality requirements.
However the provisions of the Border Force Act appear to extend well beyond what we consider are legitimately prohibited matters for public disclosure.
FASSTT notes that a significant number of health, legal and other commentators have made strong representations that the legislation may constrain the reporting of cases of abuse of individuals in immigration detention.
Legal advice secured by FASSTT members indicates that the following actions (among others) which we have ordinarily undertaken for years might now breach the law:

· A counsellor prepares a report to a client’s lawyer which describes that the client’s wellbeing is adversely affected by the conditions in which they are detained;
· A staff member conducting a professional development course uses scenarios based on actual circumstances to inform participants about the experiences of asylum seekers which may be pertinent to the provision of services to their clients;
· The CEO of a FASSTT agency writes an article for a newspaper or gives a television interview about immigration detention conditions.

The government has sought to provide assurances that the legislation does not criminalise the reporting of abuse, disclosure about conditions of detention or other matters which people about which people should be able to speak without fear.

However, having reviewed the advice which its members have received, FASSTT considers that the legislation is seriously flawed and will deter people from reporting and discussing matters of importance.

FASSTT requests the Government to remedy the situation as a matter of priority through legislative and other measures or both.

2. On Tuesday 29th September 2015 Melaleuca Refugee Centre was delighted to host Father Frank Brennan for his address ‘The Ethical Challenges of Stopping the Boats Upstream, closing the Camps Downstream and Opening up Community Services.’
If you missed the event you can hear a summary of what Frank presented in a subsequent media interview with Territory FM’s Daryl Manzies http://www.territoryfm.com/podcasts/father-frank-brennan-sj-meddling-priest?2068091594=1 or read the article that Father Brennan submitted to Eureka Street based on his address in Darwin. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=45527
Father Brennan makes some valuable and pertinent points about the cruelty of continuing to detain people on Nauru and Manus now that the boats have ‘stopped’ as well as an important point that history can play an important part in how we frame our arguments and understand why we got to where we are now.
If you would like a copy of the full speech from Tuesday 29th September by Father Brennan contact Melaleuca at admin@melaleuca.org.au

3. Please find attached article written for submission to the next issue of the FECCA/MHiMA edition of Australian Mosaic – “FASSTT : The case for specialist mental health services for refugee survivors of torture and trauma”. Click here