SOMETIMES in this world the end does not justify the means.
I know that a majority of the Australian people voted in this government to “stop the boats”, but I wonder did those same people ever imagine what a terrible situation this would actually lead to, with this struggling boatload of humanity stranded on the high seas at present...people just like you and me?
From any angle, what our government is doing in our name is neither humane nor compassionate.
Can we continue to allow the handover of these most desperate of refugees, some who are escaping certain death if returned to their country of origin, when they have been put through only the most rudimentary of assessments that are neither fair nor thorough? Four questions that can mean the difference between life and death.
Deaths and torture in Sri Lanka are tidier and more convenient for Scott Morrisson, the Minister for Immigration, than deaths at sea.
The Sri Lankan government has little sympathy for their own people fleeing their country. Torture, execution and long periods of incarceration await them.
Should we be sending people back to that uncertain fate?
There are millions of people around the world who are seeking a better life for their families, who simply want jobs, a safe environment for their children, better health and education. Who can blame them for seeking to find that better life?
Put in their position, what would be your choice? I merely say to the people of Australia, “What would you really do yourself, given the opportunity to escape your country at war and the constant fear of your family being killed?”
Look at your children, and ask yourself whether you can turn on that television at night and watch the faces of those families fleeing from the daily violence. We see mothers with babes in arms, small children terrified, with no way of understanding what is happening to them. Can you walk in their shoes?
The “process” by which refugees are reviewed in the first instance is often flawed.
That process must be scrupulously fair, or the integrity of the Australian government, and therefore all of us, is questionable.
I look at the men who are maintaining this incredibly harsh regime. They have a fanatical air of righteousness about them – hard men who still go home to their families at night.
Do they hug their children? Will history treat them kindly or will their inheritance be a shameful one that their families will not speak of in the future?
Could a comparison be made between sending Jews back to Germany during World War II to their certain death and sending the Sri Lankans back to their possible death?
This treatment that the Abbott government is imposing on refugees will demand an apology at some point in the future, just as did the treatment of the stolen generations and the children of single mothers.
The heroes at the moment are the pro bono human rights lawyers who give up time and money to speak for the helpless refugees and plead their case in the High Court.
Neither major party in Australia today is prepared to speak up for these desperate people. It is a story our historians will record in due course. It is a story that will reflect very badly on the government of the day and its leaders.
Tony Abbott said recently, “We will not give in to moral blackmail”. No morality is being shown by our leaders.
I would be delighted to see them give in to moral blackmail.
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