Decorated Return New Zealand Soldier 'Ko' Imprisoned With No Charge.
Held Without Charge After Being Arrested In Car-Park At Casuarina Prison.
Why Is Ko Being Detained In Casuarina Prison Without Charge?
Former Lance Corporal Ngati Konohi Te Eke Haapu (known as Ko), served in Afghanistan as a gunner. He was awarded three medals of honour and was also a member of the 'Closed Protection Unit'. that seen him act as a personal body guard to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, when he visited the troops in Afghanistan in 2010. For the past several years Ko has been living in Western Australia working as FIFO scaffold worker in the mines. He has a long term Australian girl friend who's child from a previous relationship regards him as her father and until recently, was expecting a child of his own with his partner, however, the stress and pressure of him being incarcerated in Casuarina Prison, and what his partner has endured whilst visiting Ko, has seen her tragically miscarry the pregnancy.
So why was Ko arrested in the car park of Casuarina Prison in the first place?... Quite simply, his visa was revoked upon this day by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on the grounds of 'Bad Character'. How could a man who has never committed a crime, nor served a sentence be deemed as bad character under Section 501 of the Immigration Act? Once again, quite simply, because Ko Rutene is a member of the Rebels Motorcycle Club in Western Australia. Ko who has no criminal record, along with approximately 300 men, who are mostly New Zealander's, are facing deportation under Section 501 based solely on the fact that they are members of the Rebels Motorcycle Club. And as we have discovered, they are being targeted regardless of whether they have criminal convictions or not; Whether they have convictions and sentences served many decades ago, and have gotten on with life as good citizens since, they have been rounded up and detained for deportation.
Peter Dutton is an impudent arrogant little man thieving judiciary power from courts of law, raping democracy and the constitution for his own perverse personal agenda and like any other sufferer of narcissistic personality disorder, he is on his own elite grandiose mission of imposing what he deems as 'right or wrong' regardless of what the law says.
Even the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who is also a member of the same party asked Peter Dutton.
"If you don't have enough evidence to charge them in a court, how can you have enough evidence to take away their citizenship?"
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton's Response,
"You don't need too much evidence. It's an administrative decision"
(source: SMH May29 2015)
Upon being arrested at 'taser' point in the car park at Casuarina Prison on November 2nd 2015, and thrown into solitary confinement for 4 days, deemed a national security risk for merely being a member of a motorcycle club is incredibly hard for Ko and his family to comprehend. It has been hard for many to comprehend. How can an honourable serviceman, who, by his own actions as a war hero, and having access to sensitive national security information whilst serving alongside both Australian and American troops in Afghanistan suddenly, upon the whim of a politician be deemed a threat to Australian National Security for being a motorcycle club member.
I have a right to live like anyone else in this world; freely! I am human and deserve human rights no matter what I wear on my back. I have a partner and children who need me now more than ever. I need to be getting back to FIFO work to support my family. It is my main priority. My children need my help financially and you, Peter Dutton, you greedy man, will not allow it. You are more worried about the patch on my back than the uniform I put on to protect not only New Zealand, but also Australia, the World, against terrorism; and to support my family. Believe it or not, I am all about my family, I love them and I want this to all be over. Let me go home to them. Believe it or not, if I was asked to put on my uniform and do another tour to defend New Zealand, Australia and the world, I would without hesitation. Let me go home to my family, my comrades! My home is Australia, my life is Australia. And what you are doing to me Peter Dutton is an act of fundamental extreme terrorism against not only me, but others like me. (Source: Ngati Konohi Te Eke Haapu "Ko" from Casuarina Prison)
Many Australians and New Zealanders agree, if there is no crime, then there is no representation of bad character. Many feel that Peter Dutton is not a qualified psychologist, so therefore, how is he qualified to assess who is of bad character or not. Australians feel continuously duped by its government and more so in situations like this. These amendments to Section 501 Immigration Act, were presented to the Australian public as tools to address and deal with fundamental terrorism within Australia. They came hot off the collar after issues surrounding young ones being targeted by fundamentalists and the Government's ability to deport them. Since the amendments to Section 501 it has seen many innocent people targeted that do not fall under the National Security sub section nor that of being a criminal. Sadly, even those that have mental illness have also been targeted.
The outrage expressed at the incarceration of Ko has fallen on deaf ears. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has been defiant and said that 'he has a secret file' on Ko. Until this day, and endless calls for this 'secret' file to be tabled, it remains elusive.
Intimidation, Thuggery & Harassment To Break Ko
For Ko to be allowed access to visit an inmate at the prison, as he was on the day of his own arrest, he had to pass a clearance to be allowed access to visit. The Governor has to assess that you are a person of 'good character' and a criminal check done. Consequently, passing this vetting system to merely visit an inmate within the gaol, showed that Ko had no criminal history and was a person of good character, regardless of him being a member of the Rebels motorcycle club. Being a member of a motorcycle club is not an offence nor a crime; perhaps someone needs to alert Peter Dutton to this fact. The elusive 'secret' file Dutton claims to have on Ko remains unshown, yet what is apparently shown is the embarrassment the Western Australian Task Force and Peter Dutton have in this error of their own character and judgement.
Efforts to 'break' Ko whilst he is incarcerated have been relentless. Along with visits from his partner and child being interfered with. Even the treatment of his partner Teresa is intimidating and sheer thuggery on behalf of the Gatehouse guards and the W.A. Taskforce. So much so, as mentioned before, Teresa has miscarried hers and Ko's unborn child.
Dates booked for visits have been cancelled and/or denied by gatehouse guards. One particularly upsetting day was the Christmas Party Visit, where it was stated by Gatehouse Guards that Ko's child's name was not on the list so therefore she could not attend. It was shockingly apparent to Teresa that if her name was there, then so must be her child's.
"...I am furious the W.A police force is now back to harassing my family while I am locked up. They are just trying their hardest to find something to pin on me. Something they will never find as there is nothing to find. Last time this harassment happened, pulling over my partner numerous times for licence checks then never actually checking her licence, following her to work, sitting outside of my home the extreme stress on us resulted in us losing our unborn child, now you want me to hurt all over again? We lost our baby and have to start all over again because Peter Dutton wants to put us through this emotional roller-coaster by keeping me away from my family? Has the minister Peter Dutton gone this low to do this? Obviously he has, he does not care for what is right and wrong like he preaches to the Australian people and the media. He does not care about family being important and always coming first like he preaches to the Australian people and the media. If he did care, he would not have me, an innocent man who has committed no crime, in prison, detained for bad character. If Peter Dutton did care about family and the extreme 'black & white' ethics he has on right and wrong, he would not have me, a man who has never served a prison sentence, a man who has written a blank cheque with his life to serve his country, alongside Australian Diggers in Afghanistan; A decorated soldier who was personal bodyguard to Prime Minister John Key during his visit to his troops in Afghanistan, detained in an Australian super-max prison to wait for deportation..." (Source: Ko's Open Letter from Casuarina Prison)
Interestingly, the intimidation to break Ko, to force him to 'lose the plot' just may be a strategic one by the Western Australian Task-force and the Immigration Office.
Section 6 of the Character test states:
(6) For the purposes of this section, a person does not pass the character test if:
(a) the person has a substantial criminal record (as defined by subsection (7)); or
(aa) the person has been convicted of an offence that was committed:
(i) while the person was in immigration detention; or
(ii) during an escape by the person from immigration detention; or
(iii) after the person escaped from immigration detention but before the person was taken into immigration detention again;
Whilst Ko maintains that many of the prison guards are in shock that he is in their cells, and the Governor himself is in shock, it cannot be said that the WA Task-force and Peter Dutton is feeling remorseful of their actions. Ko, his family and many of his comrades he served in the army with are adamant that steps are being taken to force Ko to 'muck up' whilst in detention. They feel that this is the only way the Western Australian Task-force and Peter Dutton can wipe the egg from their faces in this circumstance.
"...Enough is enough my family has been through so much, as have I. The emotional pressure you have put upon us is something a childish weak man like you will never understand you have tried and tried to rip us apart but that won't happen. Is it fair to take me away from our little girl? Please explain to me how that is fair? Is it fair for an innocent child to suffer the hurt and feel the burden we do? Is it fair to burden my child and my partner with your whim? Is it fair to burden my de-facto wife and my child with the financial stress of me being in this prison? This burden made worse by the loss of our baby? Now, to try and get me to muck up, to justify you Peter Dutton and your lies of why I am in here, and the W.A Task-force's renewed harassment of my partner all over again by trying to keep us apart when she has booked visits at the prison for the gatehouse guards to sneer and deny her entry; to comment on how she is dressed to make her feel dirty and imply she is of loose morals as a reason to deny her the booked visit, to do this again and again whether it's the W.A Task-force..." (Source: Ko's Open Letter from Casuarina Prison)
It would be better for both the task-force and Dutton to admit they have mucked up than to continue to try and save face by acting as perpetrators of thuggery and intimidation themselves by trying to get Ko to make an error of judgement whilst he inside Casuarina Prison. They would do well to remember that Ko is a highly trained soldier, a highly decorated one at that, and with the help and support of his fellow army comrades he will invoke all that training to assist him against task-force and Dutton's torments.
"...They are doing their best in here and outside to get me to lose the discipline I have learned in the army, by the ill treatment I endure in this maximum security prison as I am an immigration DETAINEE but the encouraging words and support I received from a former Superior Officer from the military have helped,
"…from one red diamond to another red diamond, do not lose discipline …"
I am trying not to lose discipline, I am trying not to fold to the vile treatment being dished out, but at times it is hard, but I will continue to do so and exercise the strength of my mind to overcome this situation, because Peter Dutton, I will not give you the satisfaction nor the cronies that do your work, to yield and justify the detention of me. Because the crux of the matter is, I am detained by your government illegally. W.A Task-force and you Peter Dutton have been caught with your 'pants down'. Your W.A Task-force and their 'intelligence gathering' is that out of control, they have unintelligibly failed to do their 're-con', you all have egg on your faces because, you have me Ngati Konohi Te Eke Haapu a member of the Rebels Motorcycle club detained for deportation simply because "…he is a member…", as far as Task-force and you were concerned. But you in fact have me Ngati Konohi Te Eke Haapu member of a motorcycle club, and a decorated return NZ soldier who was a bodyguard to Prime Minister John Key, who has never committed a crime, a devoted father and partner who works hard to support his family and his community imprisoned and now you make me rot here, trying to break me, as a means to cover up your gross ineptness and extreme prejudice..." (Source: Ko's Open Letter From Inside Casuarina Prison)
Many have questioned whether Peter Dutton's stance on what seems to be predominantly Maori residency visa holders is personal. It is no great secret that back in his days as a Detective in Brisbane, that he was relentless in the pursuit of an alleged child rapist/home invader Sonny Paul Graham. Dutton made it his own personal mission to find this alleged offender and quickly brought him before the courts.
Graham, allegedly a victim of his own circumstance and substance abuse, namely alcohol, had been charged and convicted for 12 and a half years for break and enter and the rape of a ten year old girl. Dutton was quoted as saying,
"..It was devastating... That family [would] never be the same."
(Source: Good Cop Bad Cop by Madonna King Sydney Morning Herald)
Dutton was adamant that the sentence was too lenient and didn't fit the crime, whilst most of us would agree he is right, there are many of us that do believe that the horrors he seen chasing some of the worst offenders in his time as a detective, has left him with a bitter taste in his mouth and a personal scarring that sees him with a personal hatred towards Maori's.
With 300 New Zealander's currently in detention centres throughout Australia, most of them being Maori, awaiting deportation for no crime, accumulated time from decades ago, or minor petty crime, one cannot argue with the opinion of those that are affected by these horrendous administrative decisions being made by Peter Dutton. We have a constitution and a court system for a reason, a system that provides "innocent until proven guilty in a court of law", yet these detainees are not seeing the inside of a court room, and it is evident that there is a gross misrepresentation of judiciary powers. This misrepresentation being that politicians and police officers seem to have the judiciary powers and that our democratic right of our innocence or guilt being represented in an Australian Court is no longer existent.
Dutton put out a press release in 2013 where he demanded that,
Tanya Plibersek, as the then federal health minister, take responsibility for getting dangerous drugs off Australia's streets. Achieving this, he said, "should have been an absolute priority for the Health Minister".
(Source: Good Cop Bad Cop by Madonna King Sydney Morning Herald)
He knew that drugs did not fall within Plibersek's realm, but many within the ranks of Plibersek's team would go on to say that it was a personal swipe at her because her husband had a drug charge from his youth. This is an example of Dutton's personal stance on what is right and wrong, he personally attacks members of the parliament as being 'responsible' for the drug epidemic within Australia. His distaste extends to not even recognising nor addressing Plibersek appropriately in title. Rather than address her as "The Honourable Member for Sydney" he merely uses her name.
Peter Dutton was the only sitting member of Parliament who refused to say "sorry" to Indigenous Australians under the Rudd Government's Day of National Recognition for the Stolen Generation and their subsequent abuse.
Whilst we cannot say with any clarity whether the deportation of Maori's from Australia is personal for Peter Dutton on a racist level, what we can say is that we understand why many thousands of Australians and New Zealanders feel that it is personal. The headlines in Australian newspapers has done nothing to quell the racism thought, if anything, they have inflamed it.
The non-elected Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is good mates with the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. They used to be merchant bankers together. So it was always going to be evident that John Key would side with the slanderous remarks and frontier mentality of the Australian Government. So much so, John Key even wore the wrath of Parliament in New Zealand for saying that detained/deported New Zealanders were " rapists, child molesters and murderers" . What a thing for a Prime Minister to say about his own people; Especially when the statistics do not represent that at all.
At the end of the day, Australians and New Zealanders alike feel that this amendment and deportation of New Zealanders is a slap in the face to the ANZAC spirit forged by the two countries during the bloodshed of Gallipoli, and that sentiment has doubled since Ko's detainment.
Australian Newspapers are being racist and vile in their endorsement of these gross acts against human rights. New Zealanders and Australians are calling for this to stop immediately!
John Key's peers are angry and disappointed in him, and it would seem he will be very lucky to make it another term as Prime Minister. And it seems Peter Dutton and Malcolm Turnbull may just not make it another term here in Australian Government either. But, will that see the end to this madness?
Casuarina Prison is already grossly overcrowded. The union has been asking for sometime for something to be done about its gross under-staffing and handling of the prison. It would seem ludicrous to any straight thinking person to have innocent men ( a total of 5 including Ko) locked inside Casuarina for deportation when they have done nothing to warrant being imprisoned in the first place.
But then again, this entire situation and Dutton's enforcement of it is nothing short of delirious fanaticism.