Asylum seekers, Australia, Australia celebrities, Australian Detention Centres, Australian Politics, charity work, Compassion, Conversation, Family, Friends, good works, Home, Immigration Policy, Leadership, Refugees, WBTTAUS
Please join in me in sending a message of hope to our political leaders. A message that says we truly believe we’re better than this. Who knows what we might end up creating together and how proud we may all feel to be able to tell our Grandchildren of the role we played in making our country a more compassionate place?
While I wouldn’t usually repeat a blog topic I thought, given the huge amount of ground made in this movement in just the last 7 days, in this case it was warranted.
It’s a fact that I have always been drawn to high adrenaline deadlines but to think that just over 2 weeks ago we didn’t even have on operational website is really to shine a light on what can be achieved when people truly pull together – personal agendas and egos aside.
…to think that just over 2 weeks ago we didn’t even have on operational website is really to shine a light on what can be achieved when people truly pull together
The reality is this has very much been a group effort. Thirteen incredibly experienced, ordinary Australians have given their time and skills, completely free of charge, to get the #WBTTAUS movement off the ground. Interestingly not only have we given time though – the individuals involved in the movement have also covered all of the unavoidable out-of-pocket expenses – and there isn’t even a tax advantage!
In addition, over 30 high-profile Australians, from all walks of life, travelled to Sydney and gave most of a day to record and produce the amazing single that has been released on iTunes tonight. See WBTTAUS.org for further information and to help us send a clear message to people in power – we believe we are better than this.
See WBTTAUS.org for further information and to help us send a clear message to people in power – we believe we are better than this.
With all that said, the focus now is really on what comes of this and where it goes? We didn’t do this to just create something you can hum along to (although I’ve got to say the tune is more than a little catchy!). In the end it is absolutely about driving change in Australia’s current policies around holding children, who are seeking refuge with us, indefinitely in detention camps.
Given this I wanted to share some of the things that I have learned in the last little while with you as I honestly believe that, once they are known, it’s that much harder to turn your back on the truth. The truth is:
- There are currently over 700 children being detained indefinitely in detention camps at the behest of the Australian Government. That’s our Government!
- Independent health experts agree these centres are damaging both physically and emotionally. These kids are routinely in poor health. Psychologically they are exposed to extreme stress across the detention population including their “grown-ups” and peers. Many of the kids self harm.
- Many also don’t even get a regular nights sleep as they are routinely woken twice a night by a light shining in their face to determine their identity.
- These innocent kids are denied the everyday freedoms we, as ordinary Australians, take for granted: walking where we like; sharing space and time with our friends and family unmonitored; being educated consistently and knowing that if we are unwell we have access to one of the best medical systems in the world.
- Perhaps most shockingly for me though was learning that upon entry these kids are given a number and many of them are then only known by that number for the during of their internment. Not their names – their numbers!
There is no question these environments are simply not suitable for anyone, let alone kids, but that’s where we have deliberately focused this movement because it is in the children that the behaviour seems so much more abhorrent. Who else can advocate for these voiceless people?
These kids are only here because someone loved them enough to either run with them or send them away from an environment where they were truly fearful for their lives.
So why do we, as ordinary Australians, allow this? I want to believe it is simply because we are currently afraid. I want to believe it is fear, and not just selfishness and ignorance, that has got so many of us worrying about letting these 700 kids into our country.
I want to believe it is fear, and not just selfishness and ignorance, that has got so many of us worrying about letting these 700 kids into our country.
Fear of what? I guess fear we will be overwhelmed by people seeking help; fear that the customs they bring won’t be aligned to what we’ve come to expect; fear that in having to actually deal with these people we are in turn are acknowledging that, no matter how far removed we are, things happening on the other side of the world do affect us and will continue to affect our children.
I’ve also come to believe fear though is the lowest of human emotions. It stops us from being the best we can be and ultimately, it is frequently proven to be unfounded.
Whether we like it or not every single one of our forebears were, at some point, effectively “boat people” or “refugees”. We’ve all come to Australia looking for something more.
Anyone who knows anything about Australia’s history knows the first white settlers were indeed criminals removed from their home country as undesirables. Now, descendants of these people, detain others taking the same trip; not because these new people have been charged and found guilty of a crime but simply because they naively thought that Australia was somewhere to aspire to be: a place of freedoms and dreams.
Please join in me in sending a message of hope to our political leaders. A message that says we truly believe we’re better than this. Who knows what we might end up creating together and how proud we may all feel to be able to tell our Grandchildren of the role we played in making our country a more compassionate place.