In the absence of real leadership on the asylum seekers issue, it takes some non-politicians to say what our elected leaders should have been saying since 2001.
An extract -
As the Vietnam War came to a chaotic end, Australia faced the prospect of a huge influx of refugees from the conflict. Fears for the well-being of asylum seekers, as well as concerns about whether Australia could successfully deal with such an influx, were well founded. A balance was struck however, and a humane and effective bi-partisan solution was put in place. Both Government and Opposition rose above party affiliation to act in the face of initially negative opinion polls.
Australia’s elected leaders created a system that worked with regional partners, ensured basic human rights protections and created an efficient and effective system which, over 20 years, dealt with the needs of more than 2.5 million Indochinese refugees. The system initiated by the Fraser Government ultimately resulted in some 250,000 Vietnamese refugees and immigrants being taken in. Many of these people were fleeing a war in which Australia was a combatant. We had a moral responsibility to assist them, and we did.
Somehow, our national values have been shouted down by politicians since Howard, using xenophobia as a weapon, and we have forgotten this.
It's time someone knocked Abbott's and Gillard's heads together.