MDC WATCH - Archived Version

A site devoted to the Immigration Detention Centre at Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Australia, and its inmates

This site is an archive of the original MDC Watch; the current site is at Because this is an archive only, some or more of the links may not work. In the gallery/actions section some photos are represented by thumbnails only; larger images are available on request, using the email address given at the foot of this page. Please be patient, however: work on this page cannot at present be given a high priority. Note Source of photos on this site - except where otherwise noted, all photos posted here were taken by the webmanager; the few exceptions were made available by the owners for use on MDC-Watch.

There is an archived version of the first year of the RAC-VIC website here.

"Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution". Article 14(1), Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948.

"Can you fence people off? The fact is that in a liberal democratic society like ours, you cannot put fences around people." Philip Ruddock, welcoming the 6 millionth migrant to Australia, 18 March 2002.

News Photo Gallery Messages Conditions inside Archive Further reading

MDC Greetings Cards - view/download  here

Shadowland revisited - click here for details
This is my Case, a Public Forum - click here

"A person is a refugee within the meaning of the 1951 Convention as soon as he fulfils the criteria contained in the definition. This would necessarily occur prior to the time at which his refugee status is formally determined. Recognition of his refugee status does not therefore make him a refugee but declares him to be one. He does not become a refugee because of recognition but is recognised because he is a refugee." Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status under the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees. Geneva, January 1992. Part One, Chapter 1, paragraph 28.

Selected links: Visiting MIDC || Nauru Wire || Melbourne Protests || The Justice Project - Standing up for a Fair Go

Barbed wire Australia   Proud to be a bleeding heart


From Rita Judah to John Howard:

“Dear Mr Howard, (or Mr Howards secretary)
One month ago I wrote to you about the detention centers ...
I did not belive all the words in the response nor did my class ...”
To read the whole of this correspondence to date, click here

"A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all Heaven in a rage"

Blake, Auguries of Innocence

From ABC Online 25 Aug 2002:

"Meanwhile, Mr Ruddock marked "Refugee Sunday" by commenting that all Australians should welcome refugees to Australia."

[Philip Ruddock is Federal Minister for Hypocrisy and the Re-election of the Howard Government, as well as a prominent member of Amnesty International and an outspoken advocate of refugee rights.]

From The Age, 2 Aug 2002:

"But Mr Howard defended the government's policy.
'I defend what the government's doing as being the only course we can take in the national interest,' he said."

From Paradise Lost, Book IV, 393-4:

"So spake the Fiend, and with necessitie,
The Tyrant's plea, excus'd his devilish deeds."

Who sups with the devil should hold a long spoon - English proverb


From Asylum by Mehmet al Assad (The Age 18 May)

Through the wire
one last time
please observe
I am sewing my lips together
That which you are denying us
we should never have
had to ask for.

Petition regarding access to grassy space

Background and names here


Miscellany 2

Ruddock embarrassed ...

[...] While the families of the children from Baxter who were performing at the festival were “permitted” to attend the evening performances, they were seated in the VIP section so they could be “monitored”, which, bizzarely, put them alongside Ruddock. One family placed their baby on the seat next to Ruddock, visibly disturbing the minister. The family politely asked why they could not be accepted into Australia, as they are “good people”. They were eventually escorted to a separate area by Ruddock's goons. [...]

Full story by Angela Pink in Green Left Weekly September 17, 2003.

Quiz question (tricky):

Who said: “I donít think the Australian community would be happy if we were returning people who had well founded fear of persecution”? For the answer,click here

Disturbing echo

“On account of to-day's behaviour of the prisoners they will get bread and water only to-morrow instead of the regular meals.” Click here for a copy of this order of the day from a Nazi prison ship in 1940.

One for the fridge

Ruddock warning poster
If you're wondering what he's looking at, click here for a possible answer...

Who do you think you're kidding, Mr Ruddock?

In his own words - a profile of Philip Ruddock. From Project Safecom - read this and marvel.

Daybreak in Detention - a report and photo. Click  here

New rules regarding visits - see  here

Maribyrnong Christmas cards

New card for 2002: click here

Speech by Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO - see   here

High School protest 28 June

For report and photos of the start of the Maribyrnong Festival, click here

- and for the second day of the festival,click here

ACM rules for Visitors

To see what visitors may and may not take in with them - subject to the whim of the guards on duty - click  here .

Photos taken inside the centre

For a rare chance to see what detainees see every day, click here

Open letter from Iranian detainees

In February 2002 a group of Iranian refugees in detention around Australia issued an open letter to "all social works organisations, social welfare and volunteer organisations" seeking support for political prisoners in Iran. The text of their letter and a scanned copy of the original can be seen  here. Please take the time to read this letter and forward it to anyone you think should see it. Thank you.
More about Iran ...

Another letter from Iranian detainees

The following letter was released at the beginning of March, calling for support for striking teachers in Iran - as before, a scanned copy of the original and a transcript of the text can be seen by clicking  here.

Maribyrnong in the 70s - the Midway Settlement Centre

For a first-hand account of what was possible thirty years ago, click here.

Inside Port Hedland:

"... dedicated to ... the people inside the centre." To visit, click here.

Refugee Action Collective - Victoria:

To visit the new site: click here.

Baxter Watch:

“Tearing down the fences of the Baxter detention centre ...”. To visit click here.

A Ribbon for Refugees
A Ribbon
for Refugees

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