To Tanya

light the dark

I pretty much gave up on the ALP some time ago, as it seems they gave up on many of the values they stood for. However, they still hold some power, and perhaps it’s worth petitioning them sometimes in the hope that they stand up for justice in some way … some of the time, perhaps, maybe …

Anyway, I wrote to Tanya Plibersek this morning:

Dear Ms Plibersek,

I’m writing to you today because I am increasingly angered and saddened by the way our government treats people who flee to Australia as refugees. Last night, like hundreds of others around Australia, I attended a candle light vigil to mourn the death of an asylum seeker in Australia’s care, and to register my continuing distress at the way we treat those who come to us for protection.

At the very least, you must aggressively hold the current government to account for their increasing cruelty, and the disdain with which they treat the Australian public by their misinformation.

I see that the ALP is in a tricky position here – it was your government which re-opened these offshore centres, and in some ways it is the direction your government took on this issue that has allowed the Abbott government to go so shamefully far in their actions. I understand this is a complex policy area, but there are other policy options available, the ideas written about by Malcolm Fraser in his article “Manus Island: so many questions, one simple answer” in the SMH last Friday are an example: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/manus-island-so-many-questions-one-simple-solution-20140220-333sn.html. There are many other policy alternatives too, and no doubt you are aware of them.

My hope is that the ALP might have the moral courage to change direction on this issue and show leadership that demonstrates the values of fairness the party so often says it stands for, and as you said in your maiden speech “to be a thinking party … of reform and progress”. I would urge you to listen to the stories of people who flee for protection and listen to those of us in Australia who want to cultivate a spirit of welcome rather than ignorance. I would also urge you to consider that history will, I believe, judge those in power during these dark times very very harshly.

Even though I have never met you, and I have only ever seen you speak via the media, I suspect you are a person of thoughtfulness and compassion. We can’t let this situation go on in the name of Australia. I urge you and your ALP colleagues to take some action.

Regards,

Cameron Tero

Belmont , etc

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7 Comments on “To Tanya”

  1. Richard Beavitt Says:

    Hi Cam,
    Great letter and I’m inspired to do the same. Annie and I were at the vigil last night too and whilst it was good to be there I was still left with feelings of powerlessness in regards to having my voice heard and counted… The march all those years ago against the Iraq war left its mark on me.

    Your letter was a call to keep at this, that it is valuable to make these gestures in the face of apparent arrogance and disdain for what I consider to be ‘normal’ rules around human rights.

    Cheers,
    Richard

  2. Cam Says:

    Thanks Richard, that’s why I shared it; if more people wrote, maybe they would listen. It’s worth a shot.

  3. Dave Says:

    Hey Tanya my partner and i think you are a spunk. (All the blokes and sheilas we know wanna give you a pash). But more than that we think you are smart. But more than that we think you are fabulous the way you smash it to the Tories. But more than that we think you are clever in the way you use metaphor to remind us that we should care more like out mothers, aunties, grannies and good men in our past. But more than that we think you are kind. But more than that we look forward to the day when you can bring back into the Aussie lexicon words like “you blokes are just being mean c@#$s”

    Dave and Jen xxx

  4. Garth Hammersliegh Says:

    What a crock of shit. We should be sinking these boats full of illegal aliens at sea. Thats all we need more bloody muslim scum in this land.

    • Cam Says:

      Garth,

      As offensive as I find your suggestions I figured I’d leave them up for now.

      What an even more horrific world we would live in if you had your way. Perhaps one day you might take the time to actually listen to the stories of people who flee their homes looking for hope – children and women and men who have their own hopes and dreams, their own families, people with skills and knowledge that very often end up making a terrific contribution to the place they go to.

      Perhaps one day you might have a yarn with someone who’s a muslim, and not be so afraid.

  5. Phil Says:

    Good words Cam. Write more!
    It’s nice being back here in Kabul, a place you know. But it is hard hearing so many stories of people who want to leave, because of violence, because of hopes for their children, because of such loss. The precursor stories to those told by those now in detention…
    Phil

    • Cam Says:

      Hi mate. I’ve enjoyed reading your stories from Kabul again too, even if they are hard ones.

      As you would know, the Australian approach to welcoming people (not welcoming them at all), gets worse and worse, even over the time you’re away. I rang some parliamentary offices on Monday morning to register my disgust at the latest episode.


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