2011-Sep-01, Thursday

thorfinn: <user name="seedy_girl"> and <user name="thorfinn"> (Default)
Apropos of:

I wrote the following to my MP and the Minister for Immigration:

Subject: Asylum Seekers - Let them arrive and be processed humanely, instead of treating them like criminals.

Dear Martin Ferguson (my local member of parliament) and Chris Bowen (Minister for Immigration),

I arrived in Australia aged 7 as an immigrant, having been brought here by my parents under the skilled migration scheme in 1982, and we all became Australian Citizens some years later, and have been ever since.

I know that my parents chose to emigrate to Australia because they felt that their country of origin (Malaysia) was bereft of opportunities for their children, and that they were under significant levels of ethnic discrimination from the Malaysian government.

If that discrimination had been worse (for example, threats of death, rather than merely restrictions in employment opportunities), and my parents had not been so fortunate as to fit within the skilled migration scheme, I have no doubt that they would have chosen to flee the country as asylum seekers, climbing on a leaky boat if that was the only means available.

I would hope that Australia would have welcomed them with open arms, as is our responsibility under the UNHCR conventions, rather than shipping them off to a deserted island, imprisoning them and their children in a stark prison, placing them in isolation for having the temerity to complain, and other such unpleasant treatments that we normally reserve purely for individuals who have been proven criminals in a court of law.

Seeking Asylum is not a crime, and does not deserve criminal punishment. There are several means by which asylum seekers could be given humane treatment and processing within Australia whilst we still retain protection from those rare asylum seekers that turn out not to be actual refugees. Please consider them, rather than simply maintaining the stance that seeking asylum deserves criminal punishment.

The second verse of the Australian National Anthem contains the words

/ For those who've come across the seas,
/ We've boundless plains to share,
/ With courage let us all combine,
/ To Advance Australia Fair.

My family and myself came here across the seas to Advance Australia Fair, and these asylum seekers merely look to do the same, regardless of how they arrive here.

Please end the unjust policies of your government (and the previous Howard government), and allow asylum seekers to be processed within Australia.

Yours Sincerely,


Edited To Add: On a more indirect note that I didn't mention in the letter, all four of my grandparents were taken to Malaya in the 1920s/30s as children by their own parents because they were fleeing oppression and famine in pre-communist China. Rough times, and I hope to never undergo such trials.

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