Development requires modification and transformation of the environment… the planet’s capacity to support its people us being irreversibly reduced by the destruction and degradation of the biosphere and the need to understand the problem and take corrective action is becoming urgent.
People die because they find living too painful.
Life wasn't meant to be easy…
The asylum-seeker debate in Australia is demeaning and miserable. The politicians who participate in it have contempt for the Australian people. They believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that if they appeal to the fearful and mean sides of our nature, they will win support. They are showing that they believe we won’t know enough about the world to know that for the most part what they are saying is plainly false. Australia should not seek to avoid its obligations.
The great task of statesmanship is to apply past lessons to new situations, to draw correct analogies to understand and act upon present forces, to recognise the need for change….
Many who fled from Eastern Europe or the Soviet Union in the postwar years would have had to pay people for some part of their journey which ultimately led them to Australia. What has been forgotten in this debate is that desperate people will go to any lengths to get to a country that they believe to be safe and that they know will give them, and more particularly their children, a future.
If a need for a sense of independence is important for Australia, there is a need to our politicians in Canberra to start to kill the view that we are a racist nation. At heart, I don’t believe the great majority of Australians are racist, but the government has behaved as though we are. The government has really demeaned us, not just the government, but the government and the opposition, the political process. Both sides of the equation have really done Australia an enormous disservice.
At the moment people get on boats because they flee terror at home and believe the many years’ long wait in UNHCR camps is not a valid option, especially if they have children in their care. After the Vietnam War, Australia took a larger humanitarian intake than at any other period in our history. The Australian community accepted that. They were told why we needed to do it, and why it was the only ethical decent policy that a wealthy advanced country should adopt.
Most asylum seekers do get permanent visas, so the earlier they receive the appropriate help, the faster they will become part of the community. They’ll get jobs and start paying taxes too. They will see Australia as a nation with a sense of care and concern. That’s so important for a cohesive society. It helps build a sense of belonging. And in terms of common decency, it’s what should be happening… For God’s sake, this is Australia, people should be treated with decency and humanity.
Reconciliation requires changes of heart and spirit, as well as social and economic change. It requires symbolic as well as practical action.