98% of Amnesty supporters say the government must lift its game on human rights

Today marks 100 days since the new Turnbull Government Ministry was sworn in. That’s plenty of time to show us its human rights credentials, so we asked Amnesty supporters around the country to rate the Turnbull Government’s leadership in defending human rights.

The results are in – and you’re not impressed

Nearly 5,000 Amnesty supporters responded to our survey, and a whopping 98 per cent rated the Turnbull Government’s commitment to defending human rights as “low” or “very low”.

Not a single survey respondent rated the Turnbull Government’s treatment of people seeking asylum as positive. Not one. A staggering 91 per cent said the government’s leadership in protecting the rights of asylum seekers is “very poor”. This is hardly surprising, given growing evidence of Australia’s shocking abuse of people seeking asylum and refugees on Nauru and Manus Island.

One supporter said: “I cannot be proud to be Australian while our Government is so despicable in its treatment of asylum seekers. You, Prime Minister have it in your power to end their suffering and to make them safe. Please end the awful purgatory that is their existence. This situation goes against everything that I understood that makes Australia unique and generous”.

Another from Turnbull’s own electorate said: “Surely you know better than to support the appalling situation on Manus and Nauru! Bring the refugees to Australia and let them stay.”

Indigenous and LGBTQI rights

Amnesty supporters were also damning of the government’s leadership advancing the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people. Only 3 per cent of Amnesty supporters feel the government is showing positive leadership on the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and only 2.3 per cent rate said the same for its advancement of LGBTQI rights. Not a great result.  

You can see Amnesty’s emoji rating of the government’s performance on human rights the past 100 days here. Fortunately, there is some good news with the government continuing to advocate globally for an end to the death penalty; and the Prime Minister establishing the Royal Commissioninto the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory, after shocking abuses of kids at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre were aired on Four Corners.

Where to from here?

Amnesty supporters are calling for the Turnbull government to lift it’s game. Out of a long list of human rights priorities, our supporters highlighted three in particular for the Turnbull government to focus between now and the end of the year:

  1. Treating people seeking asylum with dignity by ending offshore detention and supporting safe and legal routes for people to find refuge.
  2. Ending the over-incarceration of Indigenous children by implementing national justice targets.
  3. Legislating to make marriage equality a reality immediately.

Messages to Malcolm

Here are just some of the messages Amnesty supporters wanted to relay to the Prime Minister:

“Read the documents we have signed on International Human Rights conventions and make them compulsory reading for everyone in the Parliament.”

“Malcolm, Mal, mate, seriously you can do so much better than this. Be a leader and pull your party into line.”

“Mr Turnbull, show the courageous leadership I believe you are capable of. Leave a positive legacy instead of the current path of a reduction of human rights.”

“Please show strong leadership on fair treatment of refugees, addressing climate change, marriage equality and protecting human rights of all, especially Indigenous peoples and other minority and vulnerable groups.”

“For the sake of basic human decency please bring offshore asylum seekers to Australia and please take the issues of family violence and the treatment of Indigenous people seriously.”

Take action

Amnesty will continue pushing the government to make these things happen. You can help by reaching out to your local MP and telling them how much human rights matter to you.

 

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Stephanie Cousins, Advocacy and External Affairs Manager, Amnesty International Australia