By Ashley Geelan with the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), The Saturday Paper‘s Martin McKenzie-Murray, current Manus Island refugee and journalist Behrouz Boochina (Iranian/Kurdish) and The Guardian Australia.
Anyone seeking his or her asylum from ANY country is a genuine refugee and deserves to be treated such.
Under the charter of the United Nations it’s not illegal to seek asylum and hasn’t being since various accords and charters were signed following World War II when the United Nations was founded with the signing of the Paris Peace Treaty in 1947.
What if it was your family or friends? Many Australians came here as ‘five pound poms.’
What about the Greeks and Italians that came here to work on the Snowy River Hydro Scheme and helped Australia be the country it is today, ran all all of our fish and chip shops, and are now a massive part of -and helped build- our successful multicultural society, recognised as the best multicultural society in the world?
Do we turn our backs on the next immigrants?
Over 40 Rhodes scholars today sent letters to [Prime Minister] Turnbull, expressing ‘disapproval, horror and shame’ at treatment of detainees currently on Manus Island.
Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton said several months ago that “It’s a matter for the government of Papua New Guinea, it’s not up to us to police it.”
Yet, today and yesterday it was Australian Federal Police helping remove detainees (see refugees) from Manus Island. If Australia doesn’t police it and it’s PNG’s responsibility, what are the Australian Federal Police doing there now suddenly policing it?
We all live in this world, together. A world that gets smaller every minute.
Sure, we don’t want people drowning at sea as they seek asylum but the so-called ‘boat people’ of John Howard’s 1990s election campaign with the ‘children overboard’ scandal were inaccurate reports, just Liberal party spin to win votes.
How is the treatment these men are receiving today any better? It’s not. Many are being beaten to death, committing suicide themselves or dying too, but we don’t have any stories about that coming from either major political party rooms, or published in the Murdoch-owned press.
Manus Island and Australia’s current immigration polices are a national shame. After all, unless you are of Aboriginal descent then each and every Australian -most of us- [this reporter included] is an immigrant or descended from one.
The Iranian-Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochina was one of the first removed from Manus and suddenly ‘disappeared’ this weekend after providing first-hand information to Australian media outlets during his five years in detention. Wonder why he was first to go.
Refugees, who already have nothing but the clothes on their back, get punished yet again for simply fleeing tyrannical countries, dictatorships and oppression. What happened to real Australia were everyone gets a “fair crack?”
Both major political parties, Labor and Liberal, are equally responsible for this mess with bipartisan policies as they wonder why they’re losing votes to the Greens, Nick Xenophon and Jacqui Lambie. The Victorian by-election where the Greens won the seat of Northcote from a predicted Labour victory points to this.
These refugees aren’t responsible for the hospital waiting lists or traffic congestion and many other issues we all deal with every day, yet both major parties try to convince voters otherwise with worrying about refugees.
You can tell our leaders what you think as the lives of these men are being traded for the -ever diminishing- votes of rich privileged old white men.
“Their torture no longer serves a purpose … they are being killed with indifference” (Editorial, The Saturday Paper, November 25, 2017, p.14).
The government has forgotten these men. Will you?
Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minster. (Liberal Party)
(02) 6277 7700
(02) 9327 3988
Bill Shorten, Opposition Leader. (Labour Party)
(02) 6277 4022
(02) 9326 1300
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Labour and Liberal Party representatives didn’t respond to continued phone and email requests all Saturday afternoon for comment.