Letter to The Age

Vale Labor values

I worry about the values of Julia Gillard’s Labor government in the light of the ‘Malaysia solution’. Instead of striking nonsensical deals with countries that are not signatories to the 1951 Convention on the Rights of Refugees, the government should be working to make the arrival of asylum seekers by boat into a non-issue. I am sick of hearing about ‘boat people’ and ‘queue jumpers’, terms that are meaningless and misleading.

I am also disgusted that 10 years on from Tampa and under a new government, the same scare tactics are used to make asylum seekers into a political football. What happened to Labor’s values? What happened to Prime Minister Gillard’s concept of a fair go? Clearly, it is not extended to those who have arrived in Australia under the harshest of conditions, and who deserve our compassion and care.

Published in The Age on 11 May 2011. It’s the second letter on this page.