Monday, October 24, 2016

GetUp ! – Win in High Court case against the Border Force Act.

Doctors4Refugees and Fitzroy Legal Service have announced a major win in their High Court case against the Border Force Act. 

In a huge backdown, the Turnbull Government has dropped the gag rule that stopped doctors and health professionals speaking out against the child abuse, sexual abuse and medical negligence they witness on Nauru and Manus Island.

This is incredible news for medical staff – and it happened thanks to the donations of GetUp members like you, and with the support of the Grata Fund, a new legal fund initiated by GetUp to hold power to account in our courts.

It's a massive win. But it's also a cowardly legal manoeuvre. The government left the gag rule in place for all other potential whistleblowers, like teachers and social workers, just because they weren't part of the case. 

By removing the Border Force Act gag rule from just a fraction of the carers who could speak out, Minister Dutton hopes he can still hide incidents of abuse and mistreatment from public view. That's at the core of the government's strategy to keep people in detention and get away with abuse.

But some brave people are still risking two years in jail just for speaking up – and every time they do, we'll be there to support them.

Just last week, through ABC's Four Corners and an Amnesty International report,9 teachers and service workers spoke out about incidents and conditions of abuse on Nauru.

It's appalling that they are still at risk of prosecution. But the backdown in the case of medical staff means the government fears gagging whistleblowers is not just immoral and undemocratic – it could be unconstitutional. 

It's yet more proof that we're on the right side of history – and we have to keep up the fight.

So take a moment to celebrate the progress we've made together, and then get ready for round two, because we need to double down on this success. 

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