In 2012, when Sri Lanka’s human rights record was reviewed by the UN, the Australian government told the Sri Lankan government to eliminate all cases of abuse, torture and mistreatment by police and security forces. Two years later, we are directly returning asylum seekers to those forces.
At the very least, as a country we should not be handing people back to their oppressors. Either as a nation we value human life or we don't. Either we are willing to help or we are not.
Of course there are nuances. There are ways to help and there are ways to not help.
What the government has done in this situation is the opposite of helping and so much worse than the absence of helping. We know that these people are likely to be harmed and we handed them over into that situation.
Our government has lost site of what it means to be human and to have humanity.
Humanity shouldn't end at one's borders (no matter how obscurely you define them, or migration zones or whatever boundaries you put on your country).
You can hear Emily Howie discuss this topic in greater detail on the first episode of Devil's Avocado: 'Regugees, Asylum Seekers and Boat People'