Australia's Detention Centre and the Erosion of Democracy in Nauru

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    Abstract

    Since 2013, the Nauru government has undermined democracy by reducing the independence of the judiciary, treating opposition MPs as potential traitors, curbing freedom of speech and restricting visits by variously defined groups of people who include journalists, Australians and New Zealanders. New Zealand responded by suspending its aid to Nauru's justice and border control department. Australia, by contrast, has said little. The Nauru government would not have acted so boldly in curbing civil freedoms and weakening the rule of law if Australia had been less dependent on its goodwill to act as host for Australia's Regional Processing Centre, which houses asylum seekers who have attempted to reach Australia by boat. Australia's reliance on Nauru-driven by urgent domestic political considerations-has fostered an atmosphere where the principles of good governance can be flouted with little fear of significant criticism from Canberra.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)286-300
    JournalJournal of Pacific History
    Volume51
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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