Last Children off Nauru … credit where credit’s due

The Australian government has just indicated that the final four children who had been left on Nauru have been accepted for resettlement in the US with their families.

Good news? Probably more relief that at least one vulnerable group is soon to be no longer subjected to a punishment they never deserved.

It is always important to give credit where credit is due, to acknowledge positive achievements. So …

if the Australian government – or even members of the ALP who also adhere strongly to the vote-grabbing policies of mandatory detention and offshore processing – do/say ANYTHING even close to self-congratulation on this issue, they bring even more shame upon themselves.

They created the appalling situation in the first place.
One that continues for many displaced people who aren’t children.

The facts tend to indicate that the Liberals, Nationals and – AND preceding Labor governments – have done nothing positive with offshore “… solutions” to ‘save lives’. However they have certainly achieved the development of a tide of misinformation, racial/cultural division and unnecessary fear amongst the population they prefer to manipulate for votes rather than to serve in order to improve the lives of Australians within our global community.

The ‘crimes against humanity’ are still being committed and the damage still being inflicted on innocent people whose only objective was to live in safety will have serious long-term ramifications.

The CREDIT for ensuring there will soon be no children left stranded offshore DOES go to those who fought so hard to make sure that children would no longer have to suffer in an inappropriate environment in limbo simply because their families had been trying to take them to a life WITHOUT severe suffering. These include:

  • The National Justice Project, a coalition of pro bono lawyers
  • Case workers at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
  • The Human Rights Law Centre
  • The multiple advocacy groups – whatever their size and reach – and expert individuals like Julian Burnside who have given of their time and energy to educate the public, provide forums and approaches for citizens to voice their own concerns as well as supporting the needs of refugees and standing up for human rights and justice.
  • The politicians who have consistently opposed the cruel policies i.e. Nick McKim and his fellow members of the Greens, those MPs and Senators who are independents or belong to minor parties and
  • YOU – you, who have supported the #KidsoffNauru initiative and who have contacted a politician or attended a rally or simply spoken to a friend about the issue. You stood up and said what you wouldn’t tolerate from your government and they have been forced into doing something they never had any intention of doing.

We know the government have resisted the urgings of many via the #KidsoffNauru movement because “at least 92 children required legal intervention” to force the Australian Department of Home Affairs to evacuate all the critically ill children and ensure US resettlement for others.

And even Murdoch’s “The Australian” has today indicated that Scott Morrison’s new pledge to set up an independent medical review panel to vet medical transfers of asylum seekers from offshore detention is an attempt to head off a historic parliamentary defeat over the bill to give doctors more power to have critically ill offshore detainees evacuated introduced by MP Kerryn Phelps (due to go before parliament next week). The government strenuously opposes the bill, claiming it is the first step in dismantling its treasured (but expensive in every respect) offshore detention policy, but fears it will lose the vote against Labor, Greens and cross benchers. So this is yet another politically motivated move by a government whose focus seems to solely be on the ambition of its own members and not on the betterment of the lives of the 25 million Australians or of a minuscule fraction of the world’s 68 million displaced people.

Perhaps the key message from these recent developments should be:

  1. Australia’s major political parties will persist with the human and economic travesties of mandatory detention and offshore processing as long as they can keep enough voters intimidated by the myths that there are serious risks to their and their families’ safety and quality of life if those policies are not in place; and
  2. We, the people, have the power to change things if we unite and utilise constructive and peaceful means to demand our government represents our true values and the principles of knowledge and collaboration that will enable us to grow with the inevitable changes, harnessing our diversity and understanding as the strengths they are.

Huge congratulations to all those who contributed in any way to changing the lives of those children left on Nauru.  

But let’s remember:

CHANGE IS POSSIBLE.
BUT SOMETIMES WE NEED TO KEEP ON PUSHING FORWARD.

 

 


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