Australia has an awful record in the way it treats and processes asylum seekers and refugees. The government and media have tried for a long time to keep the stories of the people who flee to Australia secret and ensure that they don't have a human face. Increasingly though there is a realisation that they are just people like you and me.
Whatever your views and whether you think Australia's policy of 'turn back the boats' is effective or not (remembering that there's about 80,000 people who arrive in Australia by plane and overstay their visas but mysteriously receive very little media attention by comparison) I believe that compassion is the first approach anyone should take towards people fleeing persecution.
Whether you believe people are simply arriving because of economic opportunism (although it's hard to imagine why you'd put your small child on a rickety boat in order to further your career) or whether you think that people have a basic human right to safety, my opinion (for what it's worth) is that we should show care towards others first and then figure out the rights and wrongs of their situation later. I accept that it's a complex issue, but deporting refugees to offshore detention centres which have a documented history of child abuse isn't really much of an answer. The way I figure it is if you're fearful of someone because they have a beard and dark skin, it's you that has the problem not them.
Anyway, Sunday marked a series of 'peace marches' across Australia and me and the kids went along. It's sad that counter terrorism and border protection are much more likely to be issues ahead of Australia's impending election rather than looking at policies protecting peoples' basic human rights.
|#Devil Dutton (immigration minister)|