Lunchtime is letter time…

Some excellent speakers at yesterday’s rally, and I will try to write about it at some point.

But in the meantime, it’s lunchtime, which means it’s time to ring and write to the politician of your choice!  I rang my local member, and spoke to a lovely woman who told me that he is already against returning children to Nauru (onya, Kelvin!), but because I find phone calls terribly intimidating, I’m writing to the PM, Shorten and the various Immigration types…

As usual, these letters are very imperfect, but if they help you find a place to start, then they have done their job.  I do want to write at some point about the adult asylum seekers – we do focus on children, because they are an easier sell – but frankly, I don’t think anyone belongs in a detention centre on Nauru for years on end, regardless of age or gender.  If someone is a refugee, they deserve to be resettled somewhere safe.  If someone is not a refugee, then maybe they need to go home.  And if someone is a criminal, well, that’s why we have a legal system.  But holding someone indefinitely and without trial is never OK.

Email to Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton:

I am writing to ask you not to return the asylum seekers currently in Australia to Nauru, and to begin resettling asylum seekers in Australia.

It is not right to punish children for their parents’ choice to seek asylum in Australia with lifelong imprisonment on an island where they are not welcome, where they have limited access to education and medical care, and where they face very real possibility of abuse.  The goal of stopping people from drowning is laudable, but we must not do this by being worse than what people are fleeing from.  Above all, we cannot send people back to a situation where they have been abused, and where their abusers are still at large.

It is increasingly clear that conditions on Nauru are unsafe for children – and indeed, for anyone – and that the Nauruan community does not have the resources or the will to support the asylum seekers who have been settled there.  At the very least, it is imperative that we have transparency in our detention centres and on Nauru outside the centres, so that we can be assured that asylum seekers are not being harmed.

Please do not let these children and families be sent back to Nauru.

Sincerely,

Catherine

 

Email to Bill Shorten and Richard Marles

Dear Mr Shorten,

I am writing to ask you to oppose the return of any asylum seekers currently in Australia to Nauru, and to support policies that would allow asylum seekers to be resettled in Australia.

It is not right to punish children for their parents’ choice to seek asylum in Australia with lifelong imprisonment on an island where they are not welcome, where they have limited access to education and medical care, and where they face very real possibility of abuse.  The goal of stopping people from drowning is laudable, but we must not do this by being worse than what people are fleeing from.  Above all, we cannot send people back to a situation where they have been abused, and where their abusers are still at large.

It is increasingly clear that conditions on Nauru are unsafe for children – and indeed, for anyone – and that the Nauruan community does not have the resources or the will to support the asylum seekers who have been settled there.

All moral considerations aside, this is an opportunity for Labor to show leadership and provide a viable alternative on an issue that is important to many Australians whose own families arrived on boats and in need, rather than remaining in lockstep with the Coalition.

I urge you to oppose moves to send families and children back to Nauru, and to support transparency in our detention centres and on boat turnbacks.  If the policy of offshore processing must continue, it is imperative that we know the conditions under which it is occurring, and that we can assure the safety of the vulnerable people who have come to us for help.

Sincerely,

Catherine

Edited to add: My friend Gillian B wrote a letter of her own, along rather different lines, and gave me permission to quote it in full here, in case you want another approach.

Letter to Malcolm Turnbull:

Dear Mr Turnbull,

I am writing to you to ask you to change the way Australia treats asylum seekers, especially those who come as refugees, desperately seeking our help.

I am asking from the point of view of economics and rational action. I’m asking for these people to be brought to Australia to be processed in the community, supported in the community, and welcomed into the community.

Banishing them to offshore processing centres and locations is not cost effective. It costs a great deal more to place refugees in the camps on Manus, on Nauru, and at Christmas Island. Sending the asylum seekers to Cambodia has also been an incredibly cost-inefficient action.

There are plenty of places in Australia where whole families could be brought into a community, housed, and treated like human beings for a great deal less than the cost of sending them to these other places. They could get effective preventative and timely health care that would cost a lot less than trying to treat them on the islands. And they could contribute to the communities, especially out in those Australian towns where the injection of funds and support services could revitalise places that are otherwise fading away.

Most of all, if Australia is seen as treating asylum seekers and refugees as human beings, this will greatly decrease a lot of the enmity and outrage in some of the local and overseas communities. This is costing Australia in trade, in defence and in our own sense of security.

Surely the onshore intake and community processing of the small number of asylum seekers and refugees is a tiny price to pay, in comparison to what it is costing Australia now in dollars, in power, and in goodwill.

Please bring these people out of the offshore camps and bring them to Australia.

Sincerely…

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Lunchtime is letter time…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s