‘ Il­le­gals’ should re­pay

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

YES­TER­DAY Queens­land ac­knowl­edged a new sport­ing hero. Next week the state will farewell a re­tir­ing great.

Newly crowned world box­ing cham­pion Jeff Horn was ac­claimed on the streets of Bris­bane yes­ter­day with thou­sands turn­ing out for a tick­er­tape pa­rade.

The hum­ble hero has seem­ingly come from nowhere to take his place on the world stage with his gutsy win over Manny Pac­quiao at Sun­corp Sta­dium last Sun­day.

Coin­ci­den­tally, an­other packed crowd at that same venue will farewell rugby league star Johnathan Thurston next Wed­nes­day.

Thurston should have been play­ing in the de­cid­ing Ori­gin game for his beloved Ma­roons.

In­stead, he will be on the side­lines be­cause of his sea­son- end­ing shoul­der in­jury sus­tained in Game Two.

Thurston does not want the oc­ca­sion to be about him, how­ever his re­mark­able achieve­ments for Queens­land over a 13- year ca­reer will be ac­knowl­edged dur­ing a pre­match pre­sen­ta­tion. His Queens­land team­mates can make the oc­ca­sion more spe­cial with a se­ries win over the Blues.

It would be fit­ting to see Thurston join his tri­umphant team­mates on the field cel­e­brat­ing a vic­tory.

While some of our coun­try’s elite sports stars have been at­tract­ing at­ten­tion in re­cent days for all the wrong rea­sons, Queens­land should feel proud to be able to claim ath­letes like Horn and Thurston as our own.

While they are at op­po­site ends of their re­spec­tive ca­reers they are both de­serv­ing of all the ac­co­lades that come their way for their in­spi­ra­tional achieve­ments.

Reef re­port good news for all

RE­PORTS of the im­pend­ing death of the Great Bar­rier Reef ap­pear to have been greatly ex­ag­ger­ated.

The tourism in­dus­try breathed a sigh of re­lief yes­ter­day when it was re­vealed the Reef was left off UNESCO’s “in dan­ger” list fol­low­ing a meet­ing of its World Her­itage Com­mit­tee.

The com­mit­tee was im­pressed with steps be­ing un­der­taken by the Fed­eral Govern­ment with its Reef 2050 Plan.

Neg­a­tive re­ports on the health of the Reef have re­ceived in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion fol­low­ing back- to- back bleach­ing events.

There were fears in the tourism in­dus­try that those re­ports would turn people off visit­ing the nat­u­ral won­der. The UNESCO de­ci­sion is a tick of ap­proval for the health of the Reef and the steps that have been put in place to pro­tect it into the fu­ture. LIKE many in this coun­try I am be­yond be­lief and so an­gry at the de­ci­sion that the ‘ il­le­gal’ im­mi­grants on Manus Is­land are now to be com­pen­sated.

The Manus Is­land so- called refugees are in­car­cer­ated be­cause it has taken our govern­ment so long to vet them to en­sure they have no con­nec­tion with ter­ror­ism and are not a threat to our way of life. They are so called ‘ eco­nomic’ refugees. Well that ti­tle will no longer ap­ply once they are paid out with our hard earned tax money.

I call upon the Govern­ment to now in­sist that these people who are be­ing com­pen­sated, pay back their share of the coun­try’s money that was used to save them from their treach­er­ous sea con­di­tions ( in a sit­u­a­tion of their choos­ing), re­turn pay­ment for their ac­com­mo­da­tion, and se­cu­rity, re­pay the money used to en­sure they re­ceived pri­or­ity health care, en­ter­tain­ment and travel, as well as cig­a­rettes and mo­bile phones.

Now that they will no longer be ‘ eco­nomic’ refugees they will also be able to pay for their own flights back to where they came from.

Ap­par­ently the age of en­ti­tle­ment is over for us the work­ers, pen­sion­ers and vet­er­ans of this great coun­try, those that toiled, fought and stood for the pro­tec­tion of their land be it of birth or by adop­tion. These Aus­tralian people are the true eco­nomic refugees where, to this day, they strug­gle to pay their elec­tric­ity bills, have a govern­ment that has lit­tle con­cern for their wa­ter se­cu­rity and crim­i­nals be­ing sup­ported while the vic­tims of crime have to pick up the pieces.

I feel the anger and hear the frus­tra­tion from friends, fam­ily and fel­low work­ers. I hear the change in their voices as day after day our money ( which ap­par­ently the Govern­ment doesn’t have) goes over­seas to for­eign coun­tries who give no fi­nan­cial sup­port to us in times of need.

I see the ac­tions of many who now want to tear down this present govern­ment which has turned its back on its own people while sup­port­ing those for­eign­ers and over­seas gov­ern­ments that do not care about the strug­gle of Aus­tralians. So if this frit­ter­ing of our money con­tin­ues, then the people of Aus­tralia must in­sist that the cof­fers be opened to match lo­cally.

May I sug­gest that the Govern­ment, which seems to find money from thin air, match dol­lar for dol­lar, any money that goes over­seas or to non cit­i­zens who did not fol­low the le­gal process to en­ter the coun­try. This can then go to health care, fund­ing of health re­search, build­ing of in­fra­struc­ture such as dams and roads, and, re­duc­tion of crime in our own coun­try.

Char­ity does be­gin at home. Pay the Aus­tralian people first then let’s see if there is enough in the till to as­sist out­side coun­tries, and then, and only then, when all Aus­tralians have good health care, when our el­derly can sleep safely at night in their own beds, when our wa­ter is se­cure, when power costs are re­duced, when food is lo­cal and plen­ti­ful, and when man­u­fac­tur­ing con­tin­ues in this great coun­try, can we con­sider send­ing money over­seas.

If our govern­ment can­not af­ford to look after its own people, it cer­tainly can­not af­ford to pay out com­pen­sa­tion to Manus Is­land refugees.

A thought for our politi­cians: “If you want to change the world, go home and love your own fam­ily.” How much good could a fur­ther $ 70,000,000 do for as­sist­ing in se­cur­ing our wa­ter sup­ply. MAR­GARET BELL,


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