About the book
What has happened on Nauru and Manus since Australia began its most recent offshore processing regime in 2012?
This essential book provides a comprehensive and uncompromising overview of the first three years of offshore processing since it recommenced in 2012. It explains why offshore processing was re-established, what life is like for asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru and Manus, what asylum seekers, refugees and staff in the offshore detention centres have to say about what goes on there, and why the truth has been so hard to find. In doing so, it goes behind the rumours and allegations to reveal what is known – and what still is not known – about Australia’s offshore detention centres.
About the author
Madeline Gleeson is a lawyer and Research Associate at the Andrew and Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. She holds a Master in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, which she completed after being awarded the prestigious John Monash scholarship in 2012.
Madeline also holds a Bachelor in International Studies and Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours from the University of New South Wales, and a Diploma of Political Studies from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Aix en Provence, France. Previously, Madeline worked with the UNHCR and the International Catholic Migration Commission in Geneva, with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Cambodia, and as a solicitor in Australia. She also has human rights and refugee experience in South Africa and Indonesia. Madeline’s research areas include State responsibility, extraterritorial human rights obligations, offshore processing, and the protection of children.
Offshore is a rigorous and comprehensive narrative on one of the central challenges of our times: the care of those who seek asylum in Australia when life in their own countries becomes untenable. The book is an extended exposé of the machinery of offshore processing in a context that does not always encourage visibility or, indeed, community confidence. The Regional Processing Units on Nauru and Manus Island are revealed as places of desperation, enabled by impersonal international agreements over the disposition of displaced adults and children. This book offers a potent challenge to Australia’s asylum-seeker policy by detailing the locations and procedures of offshore processing of asylum seekers, and the desperation experienced by those who seek safe haven in Australia.
‘Gleeson writes in a remarkably lucid style, which is both articulate and free from the sentimentality that usually feeds into writing on this issue. This isn’t to say that her writing is without passion or agenda; Offshore simmers with undertones of palpable accusation from the beginning to end. It is uncompromising in its portrayal of Australia’s offshore policy. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, her writing allows the key figures to emerge at the forefront of the book, quoting liberally from her sources as well as government documents. Gleeson’s writing is strengthened by her ability to let the evidence and facts speak mostly for themselves.’ Alyssia Tennant, Right Now
‘This compelling book is essential reading as Australia grapples with one of the most conflicting moral and political issues of our time: how we respond to people seeking asylum in our country. Madeline Gleeson presents a comprehensive view of the first three years of Australia’s offshore processing policies and practices from 2012. She draws on official statements, media reports, parliamentary inquiries, and interviews with those who’ve seen or experienced the brutal human cost first-hand. The damaging effects of Australia’s offshore processing are made clear in this important book that informs, but also asks questions that still demand answers.’ Judges comments, 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards