Another day dawns in what was once an open, egalitarian country. This is a country that has endeavoured to overcome a racism and bigotry that has dominated the major part of its history since white settlement in 1788.
To-day racism and bigotry is proving to be still alive and well and being promoted - even being promoted by legislation in the Australian parliament. Australia's wickedness seems to know no bounds.
If these paragraphs seem to you, the reader, to be hysterical hyperbole then you might like to note the authors of this article: two respected names in contemporary Australia: Malcolm Fraser and Barry Jones.
This legislation includes:
It is also of interest that so many of the senior ranks of the Liberal-National Party Government claim to be Christians, and practising Christians at that. Yet all of this severe treatment of refugees and asylum seekers goes against the teachings of the Judaeo-Christian tradition. The Australian Government is susceptible to the lobbying of the conservative Australian Christian Lobby. The ACL has on its site a number of statements seeking increased refugee intake. It would be good, considering the ACL so frequently has the ear of the Australian Government, if it could use its good offices on the matter of immigration, 'sovereign borders', and the turn back the boats policy.
[denying] permanent protection to those found to be refugees, simply because of their mode of arrival to this country. Even babies born on Australian soil to parents who arrived by boat will be denied protection, rendered stateless and detained offshore until being "resettled" in squalor and risk of attack on Nauru. We should rightly ask, if the government is prepared to be so cruel and give itself this much unchecked power over refugees, who's next?The bill narrows the definition of a refugee. This makes it easier to send more people back to harm, rather than offering them protection. This is a particularly insidious step which will render obsolete decades of legal precedent and stack the odds against refugees. For example, if it's considered that a refugee can simply "modify their behaviour" to avoid persecution or harm at home, they'll be sent back. Would you expect the inspirational Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who fights for girls' right to education in the face of Taliban opposition, to "modify her behaviour" and simply retreat indoors?
Some of us want back the Australia we knew; the Australia we helped to form; the Australia that opens itself to others - to refugees, to those we once kept out of the country under the White Australia Policy.
Under the leadership of the Australian Government, Australians are losing themselves, their humanity, their spirit of adventure and openness; their ideals of equality and a fair go for everyone. Australia could well be on a descent into hell reminiscent of Dante's Inferno.