Human Rights Violations.
In August 2003, I filed a complaint with the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (hereafter referred to as HREOC) alleging that the policy known as ‘Breaching’ violated 24 basic human rights as set out in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- Eventually I received a long winded response from HREOC which pointed that I was incorrect in that the right to a welfare benefit had been removed from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1986.
- HREOC did not refute the other 23 violations listed.
- I was informed that HREOC’s charter did not allow it to investigate complaints made against the Department of Social Security in regard to possible human rights violations!
- That was the same year that the Social Security (Administration) Act 1986 was legislated with a staggering 66 different ways to deprive a welfare recipient of a welfare benefit.
- It was also the same year that the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission legislation was drafted.
The conflict between the human rights violations contained in the Social Security (Administration) Act 1986 and the HREOC legislation would have been clearly evident to some of the people involved in the formulation of these two pieces of legislation. If HREOC’s charter was framed in such a manner as to prevent HREOC officials from investigating human rights complaints made against the Department of Social Security’s implementation of breaching legislation then the legal ramifications are of enormous magnitude.
A deliberate decision to knobble HREOC in this manner would mean that the human rights violations inherent in the breaching process were a premeditated activity made without regard for the any of the reasonably foreseeable consequences such as breaching triggered fatalities!
- A deliberate decision to perpetrate human rights violations against At-risk welfare recipients would represent a callous and reckless disregard for any and all downstream consequences, whether intended or not intended.
- As I have previously pointed out, a reckless disregard for human life that results in a death is a very serious crime, e.g. Felony Murder or Manslaughter by Criminal Negligence.
- Every act of Breaching/Compliance Measures represents “The targeted, and therefore deliberate, partial or total removal of the only means of support so that At-risk people are either less able or totally unable to meet their critical basic costs of living”.
- With some 3 million people affected by ‘Breaching/Compliance Measures’, this represents some 69 million human rights violations that deliberately targeted “At-risk” victims.
- With some 3 million people affected by ‘Breaching/Compliance Measures’, this also represents some 3 million deliberate acts of Reckless Endangerment.
- The deliberate, premeditated decision to breach “exceptionally vulnerable” welfare recipients represents reckless, dangerous actions that wilfully places lives in serious danger in order to comply with legislation that is of highly questionable merit or legality.
- In recent correspondence to all 226 members of Federal Parliament, I expressed the viewpoint that supporting breaching legislation was supporting an Act of State Terrorism.
- The fact that the death toll from breaching is unpublished, denied, secretly classified as confidential and is the subject of multiple Parliamentary Privilege suppression orders, is exceedingly strong evidence that there is an awareness by both politicians and bureaucrats that Breaching/Compliance Measures triggered deaths are unlawful.
It is an unreasonable presumption to act on the assumption that Breaching/Compliance Measures will enable “non-compliant” people to be successful find a job as the Rudd Government’s Productivity Places Program makes very clear. Getting a job is definitely not easy and after 16 months of operations, 94,263 welfare recipients had been trained at a cost to taxpayers of $265 Million.
Only 5975 people had obtained jobs at a cost per job outcome of approximately $44,378.55. To believe that deliberately depriving welfare recipients of critical financial support will enhance their job prospects is totally inconsistent with this contradictory empirical evidence.
Based upon the above cost per job outcome of $44,378.55, the most humane and most cost effective Compliance Measure is to give people a minimum wage job.
Accountability for ‘machine gunning the welfare lifeboat’.
“The Stolen Generation” was an earlier misguided and inept political ideological policy and as the $775,000 compensation awarded Bruce Trevorrow indicates, the potential Legal Liability-Opportunity Cost of decades of ‘machine gunning the welfare lifeboat’ could be very substantial. Potential class action torts by as many as 3 million members of “The Breached Generation” represents a staggering legal liability that will sky rocket rapidly once one or more (former) welfare recipients win legal redress for their inhumane treatment.
The Mabo case forced the High Court to recognize that misguided policies could have unintended consequences of holocaust proportions. That decision paved the way for the Trevorrow Decision in the South Australian Supreme Court in 2007. In turn, the precedents laid down by the Trevorrow Decision are useful for both the Forgotten Generation and the Breached Generation.
Accountability, whether by tort or by criminal charges, will impact heavily upon those who politicians and administrators who failed to appreciate that Compliance is a two way street.
The rapid advancement in communication technology now enables traditionally slow and/or expensive routes for the transfer of information to be by-passed. High speed broadband has made possible diverse communication tools such as Blogging, Instant Messaging, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, free web pages, video conferencing and VOIP phones. These all provide fast, direct communications that allows information about the validity of compliance measures and illegal hi-jacking of breaching legislation to be passed directly to the people who were adversely affected by Breaching/Compliance Measures.
- The current review of the compliance regime must factor in the realities of “Administrative Compliance failure” and the “Unintended Consequences” stemming from that compliance failure.
- In looking to the future of Compliance Measures it is essential to consider just how strong is any foundation for “good works” that is constructed from callous depraved-heart motives such as Ambition, Greed, Insensitivity, Political Ideology, Corruption, Fraud, Perversion, and Deceit?
- Another reality that needs to be recognized is the simple fact that, following in the steps of the Stolen Generation, efforts are now underway to ensure that the mistakes of the past become a matter for the courts to consider.
Ronald Medlicott (Christian welfare justice activist.)