Government using Nauru detainees as pawns 9

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As pawns in a Government policy to stop people smugglers from smuggling people to our shores, Nauru Detention Centre houses about 543 detainees in conditions that some say are third world and others say satisfactory.

Some detainees have been in detention for up to three years without knowing what fate awaits them. Others, particularly children, have been given temporary visas, or are in community detention, whatever that may mean.

For three years detainees have lived in limbo, without identity and without country. Their requests seem simple but their arrival has caused public servants complex problems. Our current Government has made it clear that none of the detainees remaining on Nauru will be settled in Australia but they are welcome to go back from whence they came or go to Cambodia with whom Australia has done a deal.

Detainees have allegedly fled from persecution in there homeland fearing death, imprisonment torture or rape by invaders or insurgents. Some are people of means others are poor but personal circumstances are not important, the fact is they all have their own reasons for attempting to enter Australia as a place of safety. All have paid people smugglers to make the trip with no guarantee at the other end.

Most Australians are immigrants from any number of countries around the world, if not the current generation the one before. All have made the journey for their own reasons and have settled into the Australian way of life accepting Australia’s culture whilst maintaining some traditions of their past. Many ‘ten pound poms’ remember the journey with their parents arriving in Australia and being housed in hostels no more than corrugated sheds prior to finding their way across and settling Australia. Take away the persecution there is only one difference between these immigrants than those on Nauru and that is they came through proper channels by making correct application and awaiting the decision.

Our judicial system gives defendants less than three years detention for rape, serious assaults, burglary and child offences, surely three years in detention with minimal facilities for attempting to escape persecution is more than enough, it has become inhumane. After three years the Department responsible for assessment of detainees would have sufficient details and antecedents and Security Departments have had more than enough time to offer an assessment on each detainee as to risk, there can be little left to do but for the Governments stubborn determination to send a message to people smugglers using these detainees not as human beings but as an example of Government power.

There has to be a humane solution as Australians can not accept this situation much longer. Australians must not cloud their opinions with thoughts of terrorism or radicalisation it is purely a humane issue.

Legal immigrates go through a process that takes only a relatively short time in most cases. Having been in detention for three years detainees have surely done more than their fair share of waiting time, they can no longer be considered as queue jumpers so why can they not be put through the the normal process of application to come to Australia and be accepted. They should be given a time frame and the time frame kept.

Australia is a country that, all but the eastern board, is sparsely occupied and many towns would welcome new residents and given the opportunity the detainees would welcome the chance and, like us all, win or loose by their own efforts. Forget the politics, the name calling, the point scoring, these people deserve a chance of life and we have ample room to accept them given the circumstances.

People migration from one country to another is a world wide problem as is people smuggling. Whilst Australia should maintain a zero policy on the latter they must also remain open to the plight of genuine people in need. Remember it is in our DNA. Detainees should be brought to Australia with open arms in the true Australian spirit that we found when we came here and to hell with the politics.

How do we get our Government to think of the welfare of the detainees before their political games? Do you agree that the time is right now for these detainees to be granted access to Australia?

What are your thoughts on this issue? Share them with us.

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Paul Goldfinch

Married with two children retired to the Valley Of Peace, Kongwak, Victoria. Formerly a Detective Sergeant, The Flying Squad, New Scotland Yard, before coming to Australia almost 40 years ago carving a career in small business and within the Corporate arena as a senior manager, including the establishment of WorkCare Victoria. Retired as Licenced owner/operator of an independent Real Estate Agency and Business Brokers in Queensland. Now dividing time between family and travelling Australia by caravan with a passion for the plight and lack of support for aged pensioners.