Kids before political careers.

Imagine this scene. A beat up boat chugging into Australian waters. Mechanical condition? Well, lets just say it doesn’t have a 5 star rating and room service. Among the passengers are several children but their parents are not wealthy enough to come too so they are left to their own resources on the vessel. Effectively they are at the mercy of whomever they encounter, the health of their fellow passengers, the limit of the food supply and even the possibility of other vessels who prey on refugee boats.

Such is the lot of these children.

In the Christmas Island boat disaster on December 15, 2010 the risks were highlighted when the SIEV-221 was dashed upon the rocks at Flying Fish Cove costing the lives of at least 30 passengers despite the best efforts of the Aussie patrol boat and the local residents who battled the terrible weather.

Where had they come from? In this case it was mainly Iran and Iraq but some would have us believe that “boat people” are Indonesian. Indeed some of them will be due to the nature of their many races and internal politics but more likely the passengers are many trips down the long path from their country of origin and from much further afield.

The motivations? I’m sure they are many and varied and folk will argue endlessly about the fine detail, but what I am concerned with is the children.

The political arguments drag on but what about the children?

To my horror and disgust when the Aussie Government came up with the Malaysian Solution which is designed to deter unaccompanied minors by returning the passengers by air, the politics kicked in.

The kids became just some “collateral damage”.

I’m sure there are almost as many different ideas about the “best” result as their are contributors but quite simply I don’t care about the subtleties. Compared to the risk of a lonely death of a child, those details come a very distant second.

Most frustrating of all is political folk have been able to deflect the attentionabbott-carbon-tax away from the kids as they push their own agenda. Sure politics can be a heated business, but do we seriously want to put a party line ahead of kids welfare?

Both The Greens and the Coalition had the numbers to pass the Malaysian Solution by voting with Labor to amend the legislation and cut the High Court out of the game. Both declined. To crudely summarise their positions, The Greens wanted a more generous outcome and the Coalition a solution with their name on it.

By all means I’m happy for them to play for their own aims, but for goodness sake don’t risk the kids in the meantime. Get the solution in place then you can go back to the talkfest.


13 thoughts on “Kids before political careers.

  1. I am pretty much without words at a world where, first of all, parents are living in such horrible conditions that they can have no choice but to send their children alone out to sea in a raft. To send them out with only a hope that they will even find land at all, and then to find land that has people who will allow them in and care for them.
    What have we become?

    1. I have just had a grueling FaceBook discussion with a couple of people who are locked in to the same old media crap about how optional being a boat person is and where they come from. Totally missing the point of protection of children.

      The most bizarre suggestion being “I can send you a link to get a job in immigration so you can help directly.” My suggestion of “solving the problem instead of picking up the pieces makes more sense” was basically ignored.

      I can’t tell you how frustrating it is see such inane responses which come from throwaway lines in a hostile media. I wish they could dump the politics and see the problem.

      1. I know that these people obviously have NO empathy. Can’t they imagine the horror that so many peoples’ lives are? Obviously they’ve never imagined themselves having to send their own children out to sea in a barely floating garbage barge. My heart breaks.

  2. Have you seen this graffiti yet?

    To me it summarizes how immigration policies like the Malaysian Solution affect the very young. I was glad when Obama finally came out in protection of young people who were brought to the US illegally as small children and have known no other country but this one. Parents break the law not because they’re criminals, but because they want a better life for their children. Politicians in the US and Australia seem to miss that point.

    1. No. I hadn’t HG and it is a powerful image.

      Is it enough to break through? Perhaps it can help. A couple of brilliant but graphic images managed to end the war in Vietnam but embedding reporters with the troops seems to have “sterilised” the imagery we get these days.

      Perhaps we need a big budget movie to break through?

    2. There was a sad story on the news about a Detroit man. He was brought to the US by his parents from Mexico when he was 10. He is now married, has two beautiful children and a job. He and his wife have spent over $50,000 trying to get himself through all the proper channels to become a legal citizen. And still the immigration department is shipping him back to Mexico July 7th.
      He is quite a bit over the age of 30…..I don’t know where they came up with 30 as the endpoint.
      This man has no idea how to live in Mexico. And to be without his wife and kids.
      Where is people’s common sense and compassion???

      1. Jeeze. I thought family conditions overcame this stuff? Oz used to have a family reunion clause. The killing off of that clause is the root cause of the current tragedy.

    1. I just wish I could get this through to those who set party politics but no chance of that. We even had the Opposition spokesman on immigration, the honorable(?) Scott Morrison, complaining bitterly about some of the survivors being flown to the funerals of some of the victims of the Christmas Island tragedy.

      Not so many years ago it would have been political death to say so. Now it simply got a reprimand from the party leader and he kept his job.

  3. I could never understand this ‘Malaysian solution’…after all that country does not have the greatest human rights record in the world.
    We are all ‘immigrants’, even the aborigines who arrived here tens of thousands of years ago. We should be less precious and more compassionate.

    1. Here here. But in the meantime nothing has been done. Sure it’s not the best solution but currently we are doing nothing to stop the kids being sent alone. By flying them to a place that isn’t as agreeable as Oz it removes the incentive to do this to the kids.

      Ideally we would restore the family reunion program but that is a political football and meanwhile the kids keep coming. It’s a horrible. Most startling of all is New Zealand accepts them and their processing takes only a matter of months. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

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