Reza Barati 11f - The Fence


The Fence: The limits of accountability

Left: Cartoon by Cathy Wilcox. It shows an illustrated fence topped with barbed wire. Inside the fence the word 'truth' is written. Outside the fence the text 'Scott Morrison's version of events' is written. Right: Illustration by Ron Tandberg. Shows a cartoon of Scott Morrison agressively responding to journalists at a press conference. A speech bubble reads 'If you don't ask any questions, you won't be told any lies!'.[imagecaption] (Left) 2014. Artist: Cathy Wilcox. (Right) 2014, Artist: Ron Tandberg. In the aftermath of Reza Barati’s murder, then Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, immediately sought to blame the attacks on the asylum seekers. On 18 February, he publicly stated, ‘This is a tragedy but this was a very dangerous situation where people decided to protest in a very violent way and to take themselves outside the centre and place themselves at great risk.’ He provided unsubstantiated information, reported widely by media outlets, and did not seek to correct his statements until late on the night of Saturday 22 February. [/imagecaption]


‘I can guarantee their safety when they remain in the centre and act co-operatively with those who are trying to provide them with support and accommodation. When people engage in violent acts and in disorderly behaviour and breach fences and get involved in that sort of behaviour and go to the other side of the fence, well they will be subject to law enforcement as applies in Papua New Guinea. But when people co-operate and conduct themselves appropriately within the centre, then yes I can.’

Former Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison (18.02.14)

The Minister’s discussion locating the fence as the supposed limit of accountability suggested that Reza Barati’s murder would have been permissible had it occurred outside of the boundary. The fence is positioned as the threshold of Australian jurisdiction and authority. The fabricated breach of that authority serves to justify the killing of Reza Barati and alleges, in effect, that he was responsible for his own brutal murder.


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