Click on subject of interest shown on the right under the heading "labels" to see all relevant posts

To look at letters (and some replies) sent to politicians and newspapers, scroll down the index on the right hand side and select the appropriate heading.

Note the blog allows multiple labelling and all letters to politicians are under "letters to pollies".

If you scroll down and cannot go further, look out for icon "Older Posts". Click on that to continue


Letter to Richard Marles concerning Labor Party Policy at the Labor National Conference in July 2015

Dear  Mr Marles,

I understand from press reports that the Labor Party will discuss the Party’s policy on asylum seekers when it holds its conference later this month. I welcome that, and I earnestly hope that the ALP will adopt a principled policy stance which properly reflects our international obligations  under the UN Refugee Convention and which recognises  the immense harm that the current Coalition policy, largely supported by the ALP, is inflicting on innocent people, many of them children.  That harm includes the emerging evidence of the sexual abuse of women and children in the Nauru detention centre.

In an interview on Sky News in early February, you stated that: “We need to be doing everything practicable to get these children out of detention as quickly as possible.” So what does that mean in ALP policy terms? To date, we have not been told, though your recent comments on Q and A don’t offer much hope for a change in policy. 

In relation to Nauru, it has to mean the closure of the detention  centre and an end to the pretence that releasing families into the Nauruan community constitutes a solution to the problem. It also has to mean putting an end to the veil of secrecy surrounding the treatment of asylum seekers, together with  amendments to the Border Force Act to enable support staff working in detention centres to report their concerns about the abuse they observe without the threat of prosecution. How can we countenance a situation where  people on mainland Australia face prosecution if they fail to report any suspicion of abuse, and yet accept that the opposite rules apply in relation to detention centres? That simply cannot be justified. 

Save the Children, which has considerable experience of the situation, has repeatedly stated that Nauru is not a sustainable long-term option for the resettlement of refugees.

It is surely time for the ALP to recognise that the current policy stance is deeply flawed, is in contravention of our international obligations and is inflicting intolerable harm on a group of already-traumatised people. It’s time to move on from the sloganeering of “stopping the boats” and from the convenient lie  that the policy is all about saving lives at sea. 

The ALP should work with other nations in the region to develop regional solutions to a complex problem that is not going to go away, and that a civilised nation cannot turn its back on. There are many Australian citizens in our communities who are looking to our political leaders to rediscover their roots by adopting principled, humane and fair policies that can be confidently explained and promoted to the electorate.

I do hope, therefore, that the ALP  will listen to those voices within its ranks who are advocating a change in policy; a policy which is rooted in sound principles, international law and common humanity.
  Yours sincerely,

No comments: