After living and working in Australia for nine years, Monash University academic Biswajit Banik and his family have been told to get packing. The immigration department has refused the family’s application for permanent residency on the basis that their 12-year old son – who has an autism diagnosis – will be a burden on the Australian economy.
Biswajit, his partner Dr Sarmin Sayeed and their son Arkojeet now face the prospect of being forced to return to Bangladesh. Since submitting their application in December 2014, Biswajit and his family been kept in a hellish limbo.
“My son still had a visa until July this year, so we thought it would not be a problem. After July, though, everything changed. That’s when I thought ‘Oh, god. Everything could go terribly wrong’. That’s when I really felt the desperation.”
“I wake up in the middle of the night, thinking ‘What would happen if the minister said no?’ It’s taking control of my mind, of my life.
“Now he [Arkojeet] is on a three-month visa, and when it ends he will have to leave the country in 28 days. There are conditions attached. If he travels, if he leaves Australia, he won’t be allowed back in for three years.
“As a father, it would be a shame that when my son most needed my support I could not give it.”
A public campaign has begun in a frenzied push by students and colleagues of the Baniks to overturn the department’s decision through an appeal to immigration minister Peter Dutton.
Solidarity photograph actions have been held at numerous university campuses, with more than 150 students and staff gathering at Monash’s Clayton campus to take a stand against the planned deportation. The crowd heard speeches from tertiary union representatives, Aboriginal activists and students with autism. One student spoke out against the government’s deportation powers. “Will you deport me, Mr Dutton?”, he asked after explaining that he was a person with autism who arrived in Australia at age five.
Academics have signed an open letter calling for the family to be allowed to remain in Australia, with union officials and delegates also signing in a showing of solidarity.
“Five! Four! Three! Two! One! Zero!”
Two record-breaking union meetings at Melbourne University have voted overwhelmingly for another week-long strike, starting on 2 October.
Jacinta Nampijinpa Price could well become as synonymous with the far right as Pauline Hanson. Four weeks out from the referendum on the Voice, she cemented her position as one of Australia’s leading white supremacists with her comments at the National Press Club about how colonisation has been a wonderful thing for Aboriginal people. She railed against “separatism” (any acknowledgement that Aboriginal people are oppressed) and implored people to recognise that Aboriginal disadvantage is not due to racism but is the result of something “much closer to home”.
Refugee women desperate for visas are walking 650km from the office of Immigration Minister Andrew Giles in Melbourne to Parliament House in Canberra.
Dan Andrews, who has just resigned after nine years as Victorian premier, was probably the most controversial Labor leader since Gough Whitlam or indeed Jack Lang. Andrews was detested by the right as “Dictator Dan”, a man out to destroy all the “freedoms” so beloved by arch reactionaries and libertarians, such as the right of business owners to put profits above basic health measures.
A couple of weeks ago, Marcia Langton—usually one of the more conservative voices in Indigenous politics—became overnight a figure of hatred for Australia’s frothing right-wing journalists and politicians. Why? Because she said something mind-numbingly obvious about the upcoming referendum: “Every time the No cases raise their arguments, if you start pulling it apart you get down to base racism—I’m sorry to say that's where it lands—or sheer stupidity”.