Junia Compostella, Lewis M. Fulton, Robert De Kleine, Hyung Chul Kim, Timothy J. Wallington | Transport Policy
Australia’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers has been found to constitute a regime of cruelty and neglect that amounts to torture. This article seeks to answer the question: how did Australia become a state that uses torture on refugees? It uses Freud’s work on mourning and melancholia to suggest the majority of the Australian electorate made a decision to forgo the work of mourning in 1996, to deny the need to bury the myth of the kindly coloniser. This stillborn mourning became melancholia. As a consequence of denying the need to bury the myth of the kindly coloniser, a majority of the electorate reverted to the primitive and defensive split position to create a ‘good’ compassionate and generous Australia to the ‘bad’ manipulative refugees. Isolation, propaganda, law as tactic and privatising detention then led to an operationalising of this defensive melancholia, which ultimately culminated in torture.