In 1992, the Australian Labor government introduced indefinite administrative immigration detention to block non-white refugees from coming to Australia by boat, and last week the Australian high court declared it unlawful.

The news of the high court decision triggers traumatic memories for many of our community members, and RISE eX-detainees receive this news with unease. This law has been in effect for over two decades, during which time ALL succeeding Australian governments tortured, mistreated, and forcibly deported thousands of refugee ex-detainees back to danger.

RISE eX-detainees, including the founder and members of the board of directors in our organisation, have all directly witnessed and experienced the cycle of Australia’s detention torture of asylum seekers (especially those who arrived by boat) in all its forms.

We call on those who aspire to be true allies of refugees to support our fight for justice for our community and continue to be informed and directed by the expertise of those who have been most directly targeted by Australia’s brutal refugee detention torture machine over more than a decade.

Breakdown by RISE eX-detainees: What can we anticipate in the wake of Australia’s high court decision regarding “illegal” indefinite detention?

With knowledge and direct experience of Australia’s white supremacist detention torture system, here is what we eX-detainees have a foreboding about:

  • Refugees who arrived by boat and are stateless or unable to be deported back to danger will be subjected to indefinite community torture without any hope.
  • The Australian government is likely to “release” detainees to the community without proper support services, barring them from social security rights, employment, medical, and study rights that are available to permanent residents and citizens (including ex-prisoners). The Australian government will be eager to start fast-tracking the remaining refugees in the detention centre and in the community and, from past experience, start forcibly deporting them to danger without any accountability.
  • Refugee detainees will be released to the community to either “community detention” put on “removal pending visas” (for example, in 2007, the Labor government released several refugee eX-detainees under removal pending visas when they decided to close down Baxter detention centre in Port Augusta, South Australia) and/or barred from a permanent protection visa.
  • Australia’s white supremacist government will begin to explore ways of changing the law to negate the high court decision, and there will be bipartisan support to do so in Australia’s white supremacist parliament. (For example, in 2013, when the Australian Labor government was in power, parliament voted to exclude mainland “Australia” from the migration zone for asylum seekers who arrived by boat after a group of refugees landed on the shores of Geraldton, Western Australia.)

To those who think this decision is a “victory” and “welcome”, especially lawyers and non eX-detainee led organisations, – you have to be ashamed that it took this long to challenge the immigration policies at the expense of our torture and abuse in front of your eyes. It has exposed that you had all the necessary tools and have been paid to work in organisations that have received funding to “change” the system, and you have failed us.  You have failed many adults and children who have been suffering decades long trauma.  Have you been sleeping on the job for this long?

Australian anti-refugee policies are a resource library for many countries in the world.  We cannot call it a mere coincidence that the current British ruling political party is keen on cloning Australia’s anti-refugee policies at the moment, by barring refugees seeking asylum by boat. The inactive slowness of the refugee saviour do gooders in so-called Australia paved the way for countries like Britain to adopt the very same refugee torture policies. The savior complex in Australia needs to answer to our community members who are struggling to survive the mandatory indefinite detention torture system. The accountability of torturing us in and outside the detention walls is not just in the hands of successive Australian governments but also of those who are in the refugee sector who let the government systematically discriminate against our rights.

As eX-detainees, many of us are surviving mandatory indefinite detention. We get angered, and it triggers our traumas when we realise this type of result could have been achieved years ago, rather than waiting while you work in your air-conditioned offices.


There are thousands of eX-detainees in the community who have been subjected to Australia’s abusive indefinite detention regime. The media are bootlicking well-paid lawyers, refugee complex saviours, and non eX-detainees for sound bites instead of centring eX-detainees. This is just another tactic used by corporate media along with their friends to silence us and make us the “subject” rather than an active agent in our own lives.

RISE eX-detainees