Weekly media round-up No. 41

Tamil asylum seeker Leo Seemanpillai died after pouring petrol on himself and setting himself on fire in Geelong. Mr Seemanpillai lived in the community under a Temporary Protection Visa. Friends of Mr Seemanpillai linked his suicide to a fear of being deported to Sri Lanka. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said no one was in a position to speculate about Mr Seemanpillai’s reason for self-immolation.

Guards ended a week-long protest at the Christmas Island Detention Centre where four detainees were admitted to hospital. Detainees said guards used excessive force to break up the protest. Minister Morrison attributed the injuries to ‘non-compliant behaviour’.

An employee at the Nauru Detention Centre was dismissed for allegedly sexually assaulting a child asylum seeker, in an event that raises concerns for children in offshore detention. A Nauruan magistrate handed down a two year and five month jail term to an asylum seeker involved in a riot at the Nauru Detention Centre in July 2013. The magistrate said the sentence was intended to deter other asylum seekers in Nauru considering similar action.

The Australian Immigration Department sent a letter to asylum seekers facing deportation stating that they had 14 days to outline how the accidental online publication of personal details –  including names, nationality and dates of birth – could impact their safety in their home country. The letter further indicated that if the recipient does not respond within the given timeframe they will be ‘expected to depart Australia and removal planning will be progressed’.

An annual poll conducted by the Lowy Institute showed 71 per cent of Australians support the Australian Government’s boat turn-back policy.  Treasurer Joe Hockey said in Parliament, ‘As a result of all the action of this Government, there are no children floating in the ocean between Australia and East Timor’.