You know it. We know it. So let’s fix it.

Digression into politics follows. Apologies. Normal ranting transmissions to return shortly.

But. Something MUST be said.

The asylum seeker situation as it stands in this country is just not right. You know that slightly off-kilter feeling when you read about this? That would be the innate knowledge that it is not right.

I get that there needs to be a way of preventing boats. The boats themselves are not an option. They are dangerous, and cater to criminal activity. By which I in NO way mean those seeking asylum.

They are people. People whose situation has become so bad that they choose to leave their homes, their families, their work, their lives and undertake dangerous journeys in the hope that somewhere else it will be better.

What would it take for you to find leaving EVERYTHING you know and EVERYTHING you own, let alone the everyone you love, to seek refuge in another country? How desperate might your circumstances be that this becomes an option? Don’t. You can’t. In your world, this is not an option. It is beyond conception. Outside the bounds of your imagination.

So don’t you dare dismiss out of hand the travails of the people in this position. Don’t you dare file them away as economic migrants, or queue jumpers, or ‘illegals’. I don’t question your right to an untrammelled existence on the basis of your faith or lack of it. Don’t you dare use such an arbitrary concept to judge the rights of another human to a safe life.

Line up your excuses to deny people a place in this country which would benefit from hard working people who spend in their community, and support those around them. Go on. I cannot wait to shoot them down.

Who are these people who deem themselves arbiters of the rights of others? These commenters. These voices. Not in my name. Never in my name.

Our politicians are game-playing. Saying that stopping the boats is only about stopping the deaths at sea. Congratulations. Job well done. Except they haven’t. They have been diverted. Sequestered. Contained on islands not Australia. Camps. Without adequate healthcare. Or schooling for children. Or education that they might assimilate WHEREVER they end up. This technique has rapidly filed these people – valuable, worthwhile people – as “not-our-problem”.

But they are.

And not a problem, so much as an opportunity.

Not an invasion, a plea for help.

Not an imposition. Not a threat. Not a danger.

Just people. People in need.

Why is this so tremendously difficult to just understand?

And do not get me started on this appalling new position of refoulement. Messers Morrison and Abbott – how does this sit with your Christian beliefs? How do you reconcile this abhorrence with the basic tenets of humanity? I’m not accusing, nor berating. I actually want to know. Saying this is saving people from dying at sea makes no sense. Sending them back to unquestioned imprisonment by a regime the world does NOT endorse is malicious. We know little of what occurs when they are returned. But what we know is reprehensible.

Dear Australian government: kindly stop. This is not right. This is not good. This is no way a positive action. You must find another answer.

And the fact that the majority of polled people seem to think that we are not being harsh enough? I do not even know where to begin. We are better than this.

I KNOW we are better.

Hey, Labor party? I know much of this was incited by you. If not begun, then at the very least endorsed and pursued by the party last year. You excised AUSTRALIA from AUSTRALIA. And you know this is wrong. Now is the time to stand up. Admit you were wrong. And work toward an alternative. Be the Opposition a desperate nation craves.

Be better.

Oh please. Be better, Australia. This is not the country in which I was raised. This is not my religion, my ethos, my sense of right.

This is wrong. Even those endorsing this have that nagging, contaminated feeling.

We can be better.

We used to be better.

We are a better people shouting “NOT IN MY NAME” to this travesty.

Don’t make me a liar.

13/3 update from the UNHCR: http://www.unhcr.org/53b550239.html

Advertisements

12 comments on “You know it. We know it. So let’s fix it.

  1. Bob Colman says:

    Bravo! Hope you don’t mind- I’ve shared this around the place. I’m sure there are many around the country very disturbed by what’s going on, no matter what political colours they may have.

    • I don’t mind at all, Bob. I just need to find a way to turn it into something. Words are just words. I need to turn them into action somehow.

      • Bob Colman says:

        I don’t know either. Many seem quite apathetic, hoping perhaps that someone else will fix it

      • Hoping for someone else to fix it won’t do it.

      • Bob Colman says:

        Agreed. Intensive lobbying of your local member might be a starting point. We’ve had some success in our area lobbying our State member, who is of a different political persuasion to my wife and i, in regard to some local issues. The trouble with politicians is whether or not they are prepared to disagree with the Party philosophy on certain issues. Persistence in a calm but methodical and slightly annoying manner rather than aggression and confrontation seems to work best.

      • Good words. Shall pass them on to others if you don’t mind.

  2. Dave Carter says:

    In case some have forgotten, at the election of Howard, our annual humanitarian refugee intake was under two thousand. At the end of his decade, it was over fourteen thousand. In six dreadful years of green-left Rudd-Gillard-Rudd, the annual intake dropped below three thousand… there were over four thousand in immigration detention, and one thousand, one hundred and sixty-two souls had died at sea attempting an illegal entry.
    The Liberal party abolished Labor’s White Australia policy; the Libs welcomed the original South Vietnamese Boatpeople that Whitlam’s Labor had damned; the Libs expanded our humanitarian intake to the hitherto neglected conflict areas of the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.
    In other words, although the spluttering Left think they’re the sole ticket holders, Conservative Australia has solid form on the side of compassion and humanitarianism. Yep, open your heart to it: Australia is better for having the lucky bedrock of Conservative Christian outreach at it’s heart, and that’s why the voters keep voting for it. Remember, Conservative with a capital C. Look it up.
    I’m looking forward to the day when detention centres are mothballed, and our annual humanitarian refugee intake gets in to five figures again… hell, it’ll get to twenty thousand under Abbot’s watch, and I’ll phone you up and say: ” Hey Katie, how’s about that bottle of Hill of Grace you owe me?”

    • Not at all saying any one party had it right in the past or now, Dave. Am deploring the current state of affairs. I welcome the great things done in the past. I simply wish that right now were different. This is NOT about parties.

    • And by the way, Dave, I’m not entirely sure why this has riled you, but I’m not anti-left or right or Liberal or Labor. I’m not Green, nor a PUP. I’m against these PARTICULAR actions.

      These actions I find to be damaging to us as a nation. Let alone to the people affected. The Conservative Christian heart having done good on the past? Sure. But is this Christian? Or even Conservative? Or at all good?

      Because it is not to me. But this is not about voting preferences. Not at all. It’s about something I know is wrong.

  3. Bob Colman says:

    I didn’t think the article was about politics either but don’t get me started about “Christianity”

  4. Torsten says:

    Katie, while I understand your position, I think you have totally misread the issue.

    I would argue the ‘best’ (read fairest, most efficient and safest) means of dealing with the humanitarian crisis is through a recognised body such as the United Nations.

    Globally there are 45.2 million forcibly displaced people worldwide at the end of 2012, the highest number since 1994. Of these, 28.8 million were internally displaced persons, 15.4 million were refugees and 937 000 were asylum seekers. (www.unhcr.org)

    Clearly too many to settle in Australia, but we should do our bit. Australia’s 2012-13 Humanitarian Programme was increased to 20 000 places from 13 750 places in 2011–12, although in 2012–13, a total of 50 444 people lodged applications under the offshore programme component.

    The UN has a good understanding of the refugees needing resettlement, and who should take priority. The simple equation (under your model) is for every asylum seeker arriving by boat (irrespective of their humanitarian need) displaces a person the UN identifies as a priority.

    It perplexes me why we have lost sight of the bigger picture and would rather focus on the zeitgeist.

    To this end, I support the Government’s actions in trying to prevent the ‘pull factors’ that encourage asylum seekers chancing it by boat. I would much prefer they entered Australia in the comfort of a commercial airliner directly after they were identified and processed by a UNHCR representative.

    • Many thanks for your comments.

      In no way am I’m disapproving the UNHCR method. In no place do I mention that. I purely mention the Australian current method of dealing with the people looking for refuge, and the government and popular response as being currently inappropriate.

      In the optimum world, no-one requires displacement. But these people do.

      The problem as I see it is the indefinite mandatory offshore detention. It appears to be in breach of our obligations, arbitrary and occasionally malicious. The treatment of children in particular sends shivers down my spine.

      I do not want ANYONE to be forced to pay money to people smugglers. Or to risk their lives. But simply to say that there is a system is to ignore the breadth of the horror before these people, and their presence here, as our responsibility

      The fact that the system is overloaded and unable to cope with refugees is a bigger issue.

      I in NO way claim here to have a ‘model’ and object to your claim that I might do so but I do wish that we might amend the current system. I have a moral issue with our method of implementation of mandatory offshore detention.

      Irrespective of their humanitarian need? Bloody hell. I accept clearly that there is a problem and do not claim to have an answer.

      I simply want our government to accept that the current system is not valid and is very likely damaging the people it processes.

      Focusing on the zeitgeist? I’m not actually sure what this means. I am simply stating that there is a problem. Which needs fixing.

      It is all very well to say you would prefer them to enter via a comfy plane after processing by a UNHCR representative. We ALL want this. But they are not. For any number of reasons.

      There is a bigger problem. But there are also people now being held in mandatory detention in offshore camps. Where there is tb, a lack of health care, no real schooling for children. Children who are being held in camps. How is this ok?

      This. This here is the problem that refugee intake figures, and UNHCR processing in other countries does NOT impact. This is our problem now. These people.

      Who deserve better.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s