Refugees are not criminals

[A letter to federal Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, c/o Parliament House]

Dear Kevin, I heard about the demonstration outside your office today too late to attend. I’ll write instead:

Let’s free the refugees. They are not criminals, especially the children. They are at risk of terrible abuse and traumatisation. Anyone who says let them be a ‘deterrent’ should themselves go live on Nauru or Manus Island!

The federal government must take notice that inhumane treatment of asylum seekers may act as a deterrent to people smugglers, but it is cruel and a national disgrace that we’ll have to apologise for in future just like the current proceedings about past child abuse that are so prevalent in the news.

How will you explain your government’s policies to a future Royal Commission? Maybe you can say the government invested in bombing global trouble spots instead of providing sanctuary for the defenseless?

OK, If you must insist on ‘offshore processing’, get it done quickly and provide help with re-settlement In Australia: Then we will benefit from a population improved by people who are grateful for assistance, not deranged by our persecution.

Regardless of the High Court decision that  the camps are ‘legal’, how can you justify locking away people who have not been convicted of a crime? Their plight is to run for safety or at worst to seek a better, safer way of life. I came from USA by boat. Tony Abbott came from UK.  How is that different, except these current boat people are desperate families?

I think that the current government believes we will mostly cave in to fear and call that ‘self-interest’, but I hope you will raise your voice when the chance to input comes.

In the Rainbow Region we will never accept this violation of human rights as a valid policy. Bring the children to safety. Australia may not be Heaven but offshore detention camps are Hell. How can you help

Please don’t pretend that these islands are some sort of resort we generously send them to. Australians may be slack but we are not heartless.

Scott Sledge, president, Northern Rivers Guardians

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