Another side of Australia
The Australian government will take heart from Ben Doherty’s enthusiastic account of a New South Wales refugee resettlement programme (30 June). A senior bureaucrat promotes the nation’s acceptance of more than 500,000 refugees since the second world war (that’s 82 years). Australia – a wealthy country – has benefited handsomely from their labour.
No mention of the shamefully small numbers of recently displaced Syrians settled and the long waiting times for even these lucky few. No mention of the bipartisan policy of indefinite detention of 821 refugees on Manus Island. Well, they are “free to leave” their prison – just not the island. Good news stories such as the programme in western Sydney should at the very least be placed in this context. Margaret Jacobs Aireys Inlet, Victoria, Australia
• Ben Doherty is an excellent journalist. But the good news story on Australia’s “can do” capital for refugees is not the one that needs to be told. The one that the world needs to know about is of defenceless people, refugees, human beings, being held hostage for years on the prison islands of Manus (part of Papua New Guinea) and Nauru, by the Australian government. That is apart from the thousands of asylum seekers being held in camps around Australia for months and years.
It is not easily to reconcile this with most people’s image of Australia as a friendly, sunny country. But it is true. Please do not take my word for it. Please check it with Amnesty International or the UN.
Please help us by shaming Australia, by making this story known. Stephen Langford Paddington, NSW, Australia
The British electorate, a year ago, heeded false prophets (Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson) and false premises (an extra weekly £350m to the NHS). What is now clear is that as Britain leaves, Britain loses; from an already eroded sterling, lost trade, lost respect from Ireland and the Europeans, a potential Scottish succession, and geopolitical isolation.
Since the wafer-thin Brexit result a year ago not a step has been concluded, yet Britain is already significantly poorer and bereft. Then came last month’s spot-on general election. The voters, importantly younger voters, rallied to the cause.
Poleaxe hubris, pally-up to Merkel, Macron and Tusk, get Britain back on track, exit Brexit. Robert Riddell Helensville, New Zealand