Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - OPINION -

WITH a long elec­tion be­hind us, it is time to re­flect. Many mi­grants to Aus­tralia never fail to marvel at what a lucky coun­try it re­ally is. They marvel at liv­ing in a coun­try where they can vote, where they don't have to sup­ply iden­ti­fi­ca­tion to vote, where they can vote in peace with no guns at polling booths and where no one is killed. Vot­ing is con­ducted in a friendly spirit with maybe a sausage siz­zle or school fundraiser thrown in. Many born in Aus­tralia may take th­ese priv­i­leges for granted. How­ever, con­sider how few coun­tries in the world are sim­i­larly priv­i­leged. Many mi­grants come from coun­tries where there are no elec­tions, where there is civil war, maybe a dic­ta­tor­ship or mil­i­tary rule. They have seen vi­o­lence and blood­shed. They have lost fam­ily mem­bers. Some have left close ones be­hind to flee to the free­dom and wel­come of Aus­tralia. We should all em­brace that free­dom, pro­tect it and en­joy life in the lucky coun­try. Mike Polk­inghorne - sub-ed­i­tor

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