If you’ve been following the government’s attack on Human Rights Commission President Gillian Triggs and the commission’s report, The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, then you’ll know that her cardinal political sin has been to be partisan and politicised.
As Prime Minister Tony Abbott asked:
Where was the Human Rights Commission during the life of the former government when hundreds of people were drowning at sea? Where was the Human Rights Commission when there were almost 2000 children in detention?
Being partisan doesn’t mean party-political
Those who have come to Triggs’ defence have correctly pointed out that the Forgotten Children report takes Labor to task as well as the current government. And Triggs herself has denied that her report is politicised or partisan.
It’s true that Triggs’ report apportions responsibility for Australia’s brutal detention policies to both sides of politics. But in trying to deflect the government’s criticisms, we shouldn’t throw out partisanship and politicisation entirely.
In fact, a Human Rights Commission that isn’t partisan or politicised isn’t worth having.