Our previous post encouraged Australians to vote for ‘the things that matter’ – for values, for a legacy that will inform a more inclusive future for the global community, ….
And many of you did that.
Many voted too it seems to demonstrate dissatisfaction with the major parties.
And many voted because they trust what they are told by high profile individuals and organisations who have less than altruistic reasons for proliferating misinformation, maligning some to instil fear in others. (Power, it would seem, can, in some, create a thirst for more of the same. Fuelled by the prospect of greater personal influence and wealth.)
But power doesn’t just lie with those who will use it for themselves and those who will facilitate their ambitions.
Most of us have some kind of power and in this case, the power to help those we had hoped would benefit from a government with a different understanding of how to carry out their obligations in relation to those less privileged.
Despite what we may feel following the outcome of the recent federal election, many of us still have the power to contribute to the lives of those our government seems dedicated to demeaning, ignoring and sometimes destroying. Sherrine Clarke, the Director of Humanitarian Services at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said in her most recent email to supporters:
“Do you ever feel helpless in the face of politics sometimes? I know I do. But the thing is, I have work to get on with. We all do. The situation is urgent. Donating to the ASRC is a really practical way of making meaningful change happen. You’ll be giving someone their medication. You’ll be making sure someone is supported during pregnancy.”
And we can’t overlook the fact that that is powerful.
The latest communications from the organisations dedicated to supporting people seeking asylum reflect the feelings of all those who had hoped for a significant policy change in this area by a new Australian government. But these agencies also remind us that we, anyone, can STILL DO SOMETHING to change the lives of those who continue to need all the help that they can get.
Quite a few people reading this might find that their immediate response is ‘but that’s the government’s job … they should be using our taxes to meet their humanitarian obligations’. They should. But sadly they won’t.
However that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t make efforts ourselves. That we shouldn’t model the attitude we want our political representatives to reflect. And, in practical terms, not only is any contribution better than nothing but, in terms of what it represents, any support is a demonstration to people who feel overlooked that they HAVE NOT BEEN FORGOTTEN. And that means something.
There are just over 200 politicians in the Australian parliament. But in a 2017 survey, 45% of Australians were found to believe that those held on Manus Island and Nauru SHOULD be resettled in Australia. (On that basis, it’s reasonable to assume that more than that percentage are likely to have an expectation that refugees in limbo offshore and those based in Australia struggling with imposed restrictions, challenging paperwork and reduced resources to facilitate the most basic requirements of living should be enabled to exist day to day without incessant and punitive bureaucratic stipulations and hurdles. Care and due caution should be taken but treating people who are fleeing trauma like the worst kind of criminals would surely be seen as unreasonable by more than those who advocate Australian resettlement for offshore detainees.) 45% of the current population is almost 11.5 million people. Clearly some of those are children and some are not in a position to help others due to the constraints on their own lives. And not everyone who cares about the plight of refugees can afford to donate money. But those amazing agencies and organisations focussed on the world’s displaced people want to continue to do whatever they can. So it’s worth considering how some of us can do what WE can to assist.
- If you have money to buy a daily coffee or spend a few hours at the pub regularly, what if you had two beers instead of three at the pub on the weekend? What if one coffee each week was replaced by the inferior free drink options at work?
- If you have Uber Eats every weekend, what if once a month, you boiled some pasta and stirred through a pre-made sauce instead?
- What if you had a evening with Netflix instead of at the cinema?
- What if just ONCE, you didn’t buy that app that everyone has or indulge in those extra fries or that spontaneous chocolate bar you suddenly began to crave?
You see where we’re going here …
a little saving here and there
organisations dedicated to supporting refugees
a HUGE difference in the lives of people in desperate circumstances
But you can think of better ways than we can.
And you can find ways in your lives to channel just a little help towards those for whom any gesture will mean more than that coffee you finish before you even taste it, that movie that you’ll be able to stream in a few months ….
- What if every school/sporting club/community group running a Bunnings sausage sizzle in Australia this weekend donated a quarter of the proceeds to the ASRC?
- What if your school cake stall donated $1 to the ASRC for every chocolate cake sold?
(Uniforms and equipment are important but aren’t the lives of innocent people?)
There are ways. WE have some power. It might even feel good to get creative in thinking how to use what you have to help those who are totally powerless.
Just something to consider if you’re feeling “helpless in the face of politics”.