An excellent and yet damning piece regarding what I see as virtually the complete erosion of Australian government ethical and morally defensible actions. Whilst, sadly, this erosion is demonstrated across all areas of our government, it has rarely if ever sunk as low as in relation to refugees and asylum-seekers travelling in rickey boats to seek safe haven and a chance at a better life in a supposedly safe, caring and democratic community.
Instead, what these unfortunate and largely dispossessed people found was a government headed by a Prime Minister, John Howard, who excised parts of off-shore Australian territories from being considered Australian, solely for the purpose of preventing those landing on our off-shore islands from claiming to have arrived here! So parts of Australia are not Australia … hhm?
Since that time, governments of both major party persuasions have treated these unfortunates to abominable treatment, including imprisonment of children, indefinite detention in offshore centres and other countries, ill-treatment by people employed to supervise these detention centres, denial of access to the centres even to Senators of other parties in our parliament, and the threat of severe sanctions on doctors and others if they were to speak out about the abominable conditions in these centres.
Australia is one of the richest countries in the World so this is not an economic problem for it. In any case, it has spent on its inhumane policy many more times what it would have cost to resettle these people in our community and it continues to do so.
Even the current government’s rhetoric about trying to find safe haven outside of Australia for these people is clearly hypocritical for New Zealand has made repeated offers to take 150 of these detainees and its largesse has been repeatedly rebuffed by Malcolm Turnbull, our current Prime Minister.
As someone involved in the 1970’s push for peace and acceptance, abandonment of aggeression and war and an aura of hope for a better and more peaceful world, I cannot help but ask, as the title of Ms. Loughnans article does: How did it come to this?