December 06, 2003


This ABC report sounded reasonable enough, if any riot can be considered reasonable:

Police in full riot gear were called to the Port Hedland detention centre in West Australia after a protest by detainees turned violent.

A small group of detainees protesting about visitor restrictions jumped onto the centre roof yesterday afternoon, supported by a passive demonstration by 30 other detainees on the ground.

Then the full story emerged:

A failed school excursion to the Port Hedland Detention Centre sparked an overnight riot that left two centre staff with suspected spinal injuries.

The detainees hurled concrete, sticks, rocks and broken pipes at specialist Australasian Correctional Management (ACM) staff before 16 WA police in full riot gear moved in and restored calm about 2.30am.

Jackie Rehmani, whose Afghani husband of six months has been held in the centre for almost three years, said the detainees were angered that students from Mandurah Catholic College, south of Perth, were denied access to the centre after travelling about 1,700km.

"They (detainees) were fairly insulted about being told that the Catholic schoolgirls would be unsafe in their presence," Mrs Rehmani said.

So the detainees set out to prove how safe the girls would have been ... with concrete, sticks, rocks and broken pipes. Maybe they would’ve suffered spinal injuries, but that sort of thing happens all the time on school excursions. Especially school excursions that have already been vetoed:

The immigration department said teachers at the college had been informed in November they would not be permitted to visit the centre because of an imminent change of management.

"The teacher ignored the letter and brought her students ... to Port Hedland," the department said in a statement.

"It is understood that trouble began at the centre when the detainees were informed by an outside party that the students had arrived but would not be allowed into the centre."

Wonder who that outside source was. Could it have been the same person who dragged a bunch of Mandurah Catholic College chicks 1,700km to meet hostile detainees in defiance of a warning that none of them would be allowed inside?

Maybe Amnesty International will find out. They’re on the case!

Posted by Tim Blair at December 6, 2003 10:43 AM

Some people just need a good smack in the head.

Posted by: Dave-26x at December 6, 2003 at 11:18 AM

Take one part catholic school girls add 30 parts convicts and a pinch of stupid horny school marm. Shake vigorusly = riot.
It's a simple recipe. No need to get Amnesty International up, unless they are having a slow week.
Not enough Christians hanging naked upside down in Saudi jails for them to investigate?

Posted by: papertiger at December 6, 2003 at 01:33 PM

Are they saying that Catholic girls can't take a punch? How chauvinist.

Posted by: arlo at December 6, 2003 at 01:44 PM

Amnesty says, "They're in remote parts of Australia and people are incarcerated, detained there without trial or charge and it leads to situations such as this," Mr Doherty said."

No Mr. Doherty, the riot was not *caused* by people being detained (lawfully one might add), but by the actions of a teacher who was irresponsible enough to disregard the authorities and place the lives of students in his/her charge at risk.

One would also like to know whether said teacher acted with the knowledge and permission of the College, and of the parents of the girls concerned.

Posted by: James Riley at December 6, 2003 at 02:02 PM

Umm, why didn't they let the girls in?

Remember - a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged.

Posted by: Andy Freeman at December 6, 2003 at 02:10 PM

Any reports of injuries to the "detainees"?

Any reports about kickbacks to the immigration dept for deporting prostitutes who blow the whistle on the trade in illegal sex slaves from Asia?

Any reports of fucked up doubled standards come to hand lately?

Posted by: Miranda Divide at December 7, 2003 at 06:44 AM

Who gives a fuck about the detainees? They can piss of back to where they came from any time they like. It's not like they are genuine refugees or anything - they are just lying scum immigration rorters.

Posted by: TFK at December 7, 2003 at 07:55 AM

Heads wll roll at Mandurah Catholic College over this one. A 3 400 km round trip to start a riot and get the school into the news so badly.
Please post any follow-ups to this amzing affair.
Who, and what, was the teacher behind this?

Posted by: David at December 7, 2003 at 10:50 AM

The phrase is "A Neoconservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality." That is quite a different matter from the misquotation you give. It refers to the liberals who moved in the 1970s from the Democrats or from socialist pasts to the conservative position (many did not join the Republicans until much later, despite becoming conservative, but remained Democrats) when they realiszed the liberals were wimping out on opposing Soviet Communism and that liberal and socialist policies were failing to accomplish what they were intended to achieve.

Posted by: Michael Lonie at December 7, 2003 at 10:52 AM

"This is Liberty Hall - you can spit on the mat and call the cat a bastard."

Posted by: mojo at December 7, 2003 at 12:03 PM

A letter in today's SMH:


I am in my 60s, and a grandmother of four. There are several young men in Port Hedland Detention Centre I consider friends. We have been communicating by letter and by phone for the past three years. They are polite, respectful, and appreciative of the friendship and support of an increasing number of Australians.

The denial of a visit by a school group to their penpals in the centre, on the grounds that as the detainees had not mixed with women for some time they have become potential rapists, beggars belief. Most have received visits from young Australian women and, as far as I know, there have been no reports of attempted gang rape in the visitors' centre.

How can I describe my reaction to the news that the protests generated by these unsubstantiated insults were broken up by police and guards using tear gas and batons, against both men and women? Appalled, horrified, angered - all these and more.

Jean Jordan, Eltham (Vic), December 5."

Blair is nothing but a low mongrel obfuscating liar, breeder of race hatred, and apologist for state-sponsored brutality.

And TFK is just another of the bloghead's sheep, who must, by his silence, be perfectly at ease with the "scum immigration rorts" being played out in the sex industries of Australia's major cities.

You people are beneath contempt.

Posted by: Miranda Divide at December 8, 2003 at 01:45 AM

But you just keep coming back for more.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at December 8, 2003 at 02:29 AM

What an extraordinary letter.(11)
The writer makes no attempt to address the issue of how the girls came to be there, after their school had been advised not to come.
The rioters seem a different bunch to Jean Jordan's polite and respectful pen-pals.
Jean is suitably appalled, horrified and angered.
No doubt she is also ashamedtobeanAustralian, as her ilk usually are.

Posted by: David at December 8, 2003 at 05:17 AM

As a student at Mandurah Catholic College, I am apalled at the accusation that one of our teachers would ignore such a letter! How do you know for sure that the school even received the letter? The mission group went to Port Hedland in order to help the refugees because hardly anybody else in this country will! The girls and teachers have been working their asses off just so they could get to Port Hedland and as soon as they get there people accuse them them of being irresponsible and disregarding authority. That sort of behaviour is below our school. I suggest everybody get their facts right before they go and open their mouth. What is wrong with this country if an innocent school group and teachers get penalised for just trying to help!!!

Posted by: Vanessa at December 8, 2003 at 05:30 PM

They were told not to go, Vanessa. What part of "do not bring your students here" was so hard to understand?

Posted by: Andrea Harris at December 8, 2003 at 09:45 PM