Asylum seekers: my country, my shame
"As a young person I had never thought, as I do now, that I would be ashamed to be an Australian. One of the main reasons for that shame, but not the only one, is our policies towards asylum seekers and Aboriginal people. Both issues directly affected me in my former role as Chief Justice of the Family Court, but today I will discuss asylum seekers."
"It seems that what both parties really want is to appeal to xenophobic views rejecting the arrival of these people in Australia when the solution of receiving them in a humane fashion and processing their applications quickly and efficiently, where necessary after their arrival in Australia is so obvious. The calumnies heaped on the Greens in relation to their immigration policy are pure exercises in hypocrisy because they are the only party with a decent and humane policy towards refugees."
"I believe that we must continue to oppose the government and opposition policies which, taken together or separately, are the real reason that people find it necessary to expose themselves to the horrible risks associated with travelling by boat to Australia."
"It is also time that we put the "problem" in proportion. As The Age columnist Tim Soutphommasane noted in a 2011 St James Ethics Centre paper, Australia received 15,226 boat arrivals, compared with Greece's 56,180, Italy's 91,821 and Spain's 74,317. These are European countries in dire economic circumstances in sharp contrast to ours."
"It is more than time that we got rid of such pejorative and inappropriate terms such as "queue jumping" and "border protection" and brought some humanity to bear on this issue. These are human beings, many of them families with children who are affected so let us stop talking nonsense about "stopping the boats", and "processing" people and get on with helping them."
"How did we get ourselves into this state? Australia is rapidly becoming an international pariah, riding roughshod over solemn treaty obligations into which it has entered like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Refugee Convention and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child."
Alistair Nicholson, The Age, 4 July 2014