An­other side of Aus­tralia

The Guardian Weekly - - Reply -

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

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