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Tukaki faces off with Australian Border Force Minister - files human rights complaint

Image: Matthew Tukaki faces off with Australian Border Force Minister, Peter Dutton

The Executive Director of the New Zealand Maori Council, Matthew Tukaki, will be paying a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission abut the treatment of New Zealand citizens, former Australian Permanent Residents, deported recently on a flight from Australia who were paraded in front of television cameras while handcuffed and being led to an Australian Government chartered flight bound for New Zealand.

A report by Australia Television Network Nine News shows the reporter questioning them as they crossed the tarmac, asking, "How does it feel to be kicked out of Australia?" and, "Our country doesn't want you, are you excited to go home?" to a handcuffed woman being escorted by two guards holding her. Tukaki has said he is also considerably concerned at the number of Maori being deported who have few family or whanau links.

“The very fact that an Australian Government Department, Border Force, allowed this sort of inhumane treatment like some sort of tin pot banana republic is one thing but the for the Minister to take to the cameras and say he was taking the trash out? They are not trash Peter Dutton they were resident in your country for the majority of their lives, were products of your operating environment and are your problem – but then again Peter Dutton would know what a beating heart was if it slammed dunked him in the middle of a pandemic.” Tukaki said

“I can tell you now that it is one thing to deport people but to make a media stand up over it indicates to me that Australia needs to very much grow up and start addressing some of the inherent problems in its own country, a country where I spent more than twenty years and led their suicide prevention sector -because this is not the way to treat anyone. I would have though that Mr Dutton would have learnt that by now in the way Aboriginal people have been treated in his prisons and youth detention centres.” Tukaki said

Nearly 2000 people have been deported to New Zealand since Australia began hardline enforcement of a populist immigration policy in late 2014. Tukaki said that he is concerned that not only is the Australian Government failing to reocgnise what has been a longstanding relationship but politics are played with little regard to human rights:

“These are human rights issues as much as they are political and this sort of behaviour is nonsense. More to the point I get that Australia has this policy and I get that people who commit crimes need to do the time – which many of them have done. But where do we stop when it comes to the acceptance that these crimes were committed by people who were largely bought up in the Australian environment not here – and where their families live and who are always best suited in the process of rehabilitation.” Tukaki said

Tukaki said that the complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission would be filed today.

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