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Letter to Bellingen Courier Sun published 18 October 2017

From: Mike
Sent: Sunday, October 8, 2017 12:04 PM
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Mark Swales’ letter (“refugees incompatible” 4.10.17), repeats a number of common distortions, untruths and defamatory statements about refugees.
Of course, we expect the government of the day to take the necessary steps to protect its citizens from danger, from whatever quarter that might come. Mr Swales might be interested to know that, in 2015, 195 people died as a result of workplace accidents, 1,209 people died on our roads, 80 women were killed in domestic violence incidents and 1 person died as a result of a terrorist attack. Each and every one of these deaths was a tragedy for those involved, for their families and their loved ones.
The myth about immigrants not integrating into Australian society has been around for decades. The Italians, the Greeks, the Vietnamese, the Chinese, and then the Indians were all deemed by sections of  the white Australian community to be unable and unwilling to integrate. The reality is that, over time, these immigrants have demonstrated their ability to integrate and to contribute to Australian society, and our country is much the richer for their involvement. The more recent arrivals  from African countries, from Myanmar  and the Middle East will be no different, given time, empathy and support.
The refugees on Manus and Nauru have fled violence and persecution in their own countries and have sought asylum in Australia, as is their right under the Refugee Convention. They have suffered enormously for the past four years at the hands of the Australian government. They are seeking a hand up, not a handout. They are human beings – men, women and children, just like us. They both deserve, and have the right, to be treated with dignity and respect.   To label them as “pests” and “parasites” is utterly disgraceful.
Mike Griffin 
Valla Beach NSW 2448

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