Thursday, June 18, 2015

Boundless Plains?

Well, Imogen didn't get an answer from the PM to her last letter.. She's phoned his office (yes, really) but heard nothing. She's still really angry and upset about the way we are treating children in asylum detention, so she's written another letter to the PM.

Perhaps we need to listen to children more.

Please feel free to share widely.

To the Hon Tony Abbott PM,
I am usually proud to be an Australian. Proud to live in a country where we have freedom of speech,
proud to live in a country where we won’t be killed for speaking out against the government. But
recently, I have been becoming less and less proud of my home. Less proud of the government that
is supposed to represent our nation’s views. Less proud of a country with ‘boundless plains to share’.
A country that doesn’t seem to be able to help anyone whose life is in serious danger.
Because right now, despite how much you insist that you ‘stopped the boats’, despite the
government’s little tale that you are ‘helping’ these people, despite your continued reference to
these people as statistics, men, women, and children are dying out at sea as they try to reach what
they believe is a safe refuge, here in Australia. Little do they know, the few people who actually
make it here will be locked up in the equivalent of jails, men, women and children alike.
Their crime, you might ask? Trying to find a place where they won’t be murdered for having their
own views, for being a woman, or for having a different religion to their government. Seeking a
country where their children can have a proper life, free of fear of death when they wake up each
day. Is that so evil of them that we have to lock them up in prisons, where they are abused by
guards, where 5 year olds self-harm? A place that most Australians would not think fit for their pet

I am sure, that in their position, you would have done the same. Because would you stay in a
country where your family could be brutally murdered every day? Where people are whipped, or
worse, for speaking out against their government? Is it such a crazy dream to live in a place where
you can properly appreciate life?

Recently, I heard a story about a 5 month old baby, born in Australia, who was sent back to Nauru.
Yes, we are talking about the place where 5 year olds have tried to commit suicide, guards treat
people abominably, and human beings sleep in tents not fit for a dog. Just think about the situation
from the point of someone other than an Australian who lives a sheltered little life. This baby is
going to grow up in Nauru. It is going to be the only world it knows. Instead of having a normal,
happy childhood, like I am having, and you have had, she will have a broken childhood. Many
experts have said that Nauru is not safe for infants, and certainly not suitable.

I believe that Australia needs to open its eyes and see the horrific things that are being done right
now, because in the future we will look back on it and be ashamed of our inhumane, cruel and just
plain evil things that we have done.

I will conclude with the second verse of our proud country’s national anthem, because it seems as
though our government has forgotten the words.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

I look forward to hearing your response,

Yours sincerely,

Imogen Senior (13 years old)