Dean R. P. Edwards
Volume 4, Issue 1, (Originally Published on Monday 29TH July 2013)
Word is that an election is imminent. I don’t remember the date of the election, but I’m fairly certain that’s not my fault.
But it’s pretty apparent an election is near. For what other reason would politicians be afoot, spruiking forward-thinking policies that electrify the voting population?
Of course, forward-thinking is one way to characterise the Australian Government’s latest asylum seeker and refugee policy. By that, I mean the policy is looking beyond the present state of affairs, without answering the real demands of a situation in which thousands of human beings are being embroiled in personal and financial catastrophe.
One would hope that the continuing plight of millions of innocent human beings, robbed of their homes and any chance for a dignified life in their countries of origin, could raise the bar of Australian politics above electioneering and slogan-based policies.
Instead, what Australians on either side of this issue get is a crisis on top of a crisis.
The Papua New Guinea ‘Regional Resettlement Agreement’ forebodes legal challenges, a lack of effective planning and serious doubt about its long-term viability.
What’s more, this government has shamefully spent taxpayer money – at least $400,000 at last count – on pushing this policy in Australian media. So much for a cleaner politics, a little more than a decade after the Tampa incident.
As human rights advocate David Manne opined, as reported on page one, will this poorly designed, thinly veiled election ploy lead to another stolen generation of downtrodden human beings? One to whom we, as a nation, will have to apologise in twenty years’ time?
One hopes not, but only if our politicians came to their senses immediately and reverse this deplorable policy.
However, that may be wishful thinking, and what we, as citizens with voices and votes, can do is protest this policy and the mindset behind it and similar ploys.
And with our vote (on this issue and many others), we might send to Canberra politicians and ideas that speak to our virtues, and not to an enduring but shameful record of ignoring the plight of human beings in need.
Dean R. P. Edwards