Julia Gillard Grilled On Al Jazeera About The “Toxic and Inhumane” Conditions She Forced On Asylum Seekers on Nauru


So far, we can only see a short highlight of what promises to be a riveting interview, but 57 seconds is still enough to get the blood flowing. Chris Graham reports.

As Julia Gillard continues her global victory lap, of sorts, basking in the cash-soaked international adulation that comes with being a one-time world leader, every now and then, she bumps into a real journalist, who asks real questions.

And then this happens.

Gillard was being grilled by award winning journalist Mehdi Hassan, for Al Jazeera’s Up Front program. It’s part of a much longer interview which will be broadcast over the weekend.

In it, Gillard is being asked about the “toxic and inhumane” conditions that her government forced on asylum seekers.


HASAN: “Amnesty said asylum seekers on Nauru were subjected to toxic and inhumane conditions with human rights completely sidelined. The UN Human Rights Committee found that Australia, on your watch, had breached the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights by detaining refugees arbitrarily and indefinitely. Pretty strong stuff?

GILLARD: “And I would dispute a number of those things.”

HASAN: “Amnesty’s wrong, the Human Rights Committee is wrong?”

GILLARD: “We’re talking about past history. The current government has its own sets of policies…”

HASAN: “I’m not asking about the current government, I’m asking about your government.

GILLARD: “Yes, and I’m happy to answer it.”

And that, we’ll have to wait for, because all Gillard managed to get out before the promo clip ended was “realistically, we’re talking about past history where I understand people will debate…”

Indeed they will.

The full interview will be broadcast here at 6:30am Sydney daylight savings time, or on Al Jazeera if you have access to it.

It should be required viewing for all Australians, particularly those partial to #womenforgillard (as distinct from those partial to #womenforrefugees).


Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. In more than three decades of journalism he's had his home and office raided by the Australian Federal Police; he's been arrested and briefly jailed in Israel; he's reported from a swag in Outback Australia on and off for years. Chris has worked across multiple mediums including print, radio and film. His proudest achievement is serving as an Associate producer on John Pilger's 2013 film Utopia. He's also won a few journalism awards along the way in both the US and Australia, including a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards. Since late 2021, Chris has been battling various serious heart and lung conditions. He's begun the process of quietly planning a "gentle exit" after "tying up a few loose ends" in 2024 and 2025. So watch this space.