On the way into work this morning, I heard some great news on the radio. It seems that Australia has been picked up by the UN over human rights issues.
The first is the political discrimination against Sri Lankan and Afghan asylum seekers. With all the insane political noise being trumpeted by both the major parties regarding asylum seekers and “boat people” (as I discussed yesterday), it’s great to hear that the United Nations are calling the pollies up on what is an exaggerated and largely xenophobic issue that has been sparked for political points, but has ended with a wildfire (ie. Julia Bishop said, “I’ve travelled to nearly 40 electorates across Australia, since the 10th of July, and it is an issue of concern to people. I know and they know it’s not the numbers, so much as a symbolism of a government that’s lost control and the people smugglers are now determining who comes to Australia.”).
Enough is enough! There is no “swamping of boat people”. There are no hoards of terrorists out to destroy the Western world. There are thousands people pleading for help and a second chance. We are obliged to assist as much as we can. As for the xenophobe worried about our culture; we are multicultural. The hard-yakka Aussie will stand proud and strong and will always remain if, and only if, it is a person worth preserving. That won’t happen if we tell the world that we’re nothing but ignorant racists. I’m proud to be an Aussie and I see, as part of that to be someone willing to stand by a mate and to stand up for what’s right – the ANZAC’s showed us that. This political noise against asylum seekers is Un-Australian as far as I’m concerned.
The second call by the UN is one I’ve longed felt an important and necessary crossroad in Australian history that finally began with Kevin Rudd’s apology; a treaty between the Indigenous peoples of Australia and the new Australians. Only once we have addressed this inequality and given the first Aussies their correct status and importance as part of our country, we can start to bridge the gaps between life expectancy, education, standards of living and most importantly a sense of worth between first and new Aussies. Too long have we refused to understand the first Aussies and that the UN has given the Australian government a kick in the rear on this is at first a fail, aimed squarely at a sloppy government and second an open and powerful call in the right direction!
In both cases, I had to say that neither party can be excused from blame. Both are as bad as the other on these human rights issues.
Within 24hrs Australia will respond. Needless to say, I’ll be watching this closely!