One year ago, the arts community came together and spoke out about the ongoing trauma of those detained for nearly six years in Australia’s offshore detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru. 

More than 1200 professionals from the industry joined the call to get the women, men and children still then detained on Manus and Nauru brought to safety for the urgent medical care they need. 

Following this, the Government announced all children held offshore would be brought to Australia, and in February this year the life-saving Medevac bill passed. Since then it has been doctors, not politicians, determining offshore refugees’ medical transfers for treatment. Nevertheless, nearly 500 people remain offshore, after almost seven years of offshore detention.

And now, after the election of a new Parliament in May, the Morrison Government is trying to repeal the Medevac law. In less than ten days the Medevac repeal will go to a vote, and it will go down to the wire with the critical Senate votes as yet undecided. 

The arts industry stands to reiterate the same call made last year at this crucial moment in Parliament. In a season when we are once again celebrating Australian stories at the forthcoming AACTA Awards, there is still one story we can’t celebrate. Our Australian story of indefinite detention on the islands of Manus and Nauru.

·       Twelve months ago, more than 1200 industry professionals signed an open letter calling on politicians from all sides to act.

·       Many actors and filmmakers wore blue ribbons to the 2018 AACTA Awards in December to show their support.

·       Since then, all children have been removed from offshore, and the Medevac bill passed, which means that doctors, not politicians, decide medical treatment for their patients offshore.

·       Before Medevac, there were 12 deaths offshore. 

·       Dozens of medical whistleblowers have come out with stories of politicians and bureaucrats overriding clinical decisions and putting people’s lives at risk. 

·       The repeal vote on this life-saving Medevac legislation is expected in less than ten days. 

·       Once again, the arts community is coming together to call on parliamentarians to ensure safety for the over 500 people still detained offshore, and for the life-saving Medevac law to remain.


The open letter with signatories can be found at: https://www.blueformanusandnauru.org.au/