Mandurah Coastal Times - - OPINION -

OUR Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment pun­ishes refugees. We only need to con­sider Aus­tralia’s Re­gional ‘Pro­cess­ing’ Cen­tre in Nauru, la­belled by Amnesty In­ter­na­tional Aus­tralia’s Is­land of De­spair, or look at what has hap­pened on Manus Is­land to see how our Gov­ern­ment be­lieves it is morally ac­cept­able to aban­don refugees in a coun­try fac­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal de­struc­tion, whose gov­ern­ment, busi­ness and hu­man­i­tar­ian groups con­sider to be one of the world’s most cor­rupt and au­thor­i­tar­ian, where jour­nal­ists can be at­tacked by po­lice and plain­clothed men with sling shots and sten guns: Cam­bo­dia.

Do the words in our na­tional an­them “for those who’ve come across the sea we’ve bound­less plains to share” have mean­ing any more?

Does Aus­tralia re­ally de­serve its new seat on the UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil?

It’s all very well to com­paign for hu­man rights but what cred­i­bil­ity can a na­tion hold when it treats those who flee op­pres­sion, civil war, ter­ror­ism and per­se­cu­tion so dif­fer­ently from the stan­dards it rep­re­sents out­side its bor­ders?

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s cur­rent pol­icy around refugees can no longer be sus­tained, it is found morally want­ing.

When or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Amnesty In­ter­na­tional are crit­i­cis­ing Aus­tralian pol­icy and prac­tices there is some­thing se­ri­ously wrong.

We need to have a thor­ough and open de­bate in this coun­try around these is­sues and also how we recog­nise and treat the First Peo­ples of our na­tion. SASHA TOD­HUNTER Wan­nanup

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