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An open letter to our politicians on Immigration Detention

At the ACT Group, we do our best to minimise engagement in the political. We see our role as needing to focus on the best outcomes for infants, children and young people.
 
That said, we are greatly disturbed by the abuse of children in immigration detention. I am not sure how the debate about “human trafficking” has been used to punish those people who are genuine refugees escaping atrocities and seeking safety for their infants and children.
 
My father was a refugee from war-torn Europe after Wold War II, having spent time in a concentration camp in Romania. Countries such as Australia and New Zealand opened their arms with compassion and understanding to people like my father. More recently, at the end of the Vietnam War, Australians went to great lengths to support the then-“boat people” to give them new hope.
 
How have we so quickly lost our sense of who we are as a people, and become so afraid and blinded by the nonsensical propaganda coming from those who wish to scare us into believing that there will be “terrorists under our beds” if we “don’t stop the hordes”?
 
Shame on you Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten and our other parliamentary representatives for not having the courage and statesmanship to demonstrate leadership on this issue. If you think in retrospect our country and its people will look back on this time and view your actions with admiration, you are sorely mistaken.
 
You may have “stopped the boats”, but you have done nothing to solve the problem of the harm done to refugees as a result of giving them no hope for a future. THIS is “un-Australian”. We treated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders this appallingly 200 years ago – now we are doing it to our fellow citizens of the world, all over again.
 
Gregory Nicolau
CEO, Australian Childhood Trauma Group

 

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