What happened to the Australian fair go?

Elizabeth Farrelly believes the Aussie fair go is dead. In a recent Sydney Morning Herald column, the prominent author asked “what happened
New Zealand

Elizabeth Farrelly believes the Aussie fair go is dead. In a recent Sydney Morning Herald column, the prominent author asked “what happened to us? Australia used to be the land of the fair go”. She goes on to make some interesting points about domestic violence, institutional child sex abuse, and the treatment of asylum seekers in Australia. Farrelly’s points have got us wondering where you stand.

Last week Farrelly wrote, “increasingly Australian-ness seems to involve the strong beating up on the weak. Rich on poor, male on female, citizens on refugees, priests (and others) on children, white on black, developers on communities, private schools on public, big mining on fragile ecosystems”. She went onto argue that “if we took the fair go seriously, none of these battles… would exist”.

In regards to domestic violence, Farrelly pointed out that 79 women have died violent deaths this year alone. One in three women in Australia have experience violence perpetrated by men, whilst one in five has been stalked. Domestic violence rates are also expected to spike during Christmas, as alcohol abuse and financials stresses surge. As Farrelly points out, this is “hardly a fair go”.

Farrelly also highlighted the plight of child sex abuse survivors, especially as Cardinal Pell has delayed giving evidence to a Royal Commission. “Abuse of a child by a religious leader is an especially profound betrayal of trust”, observed Farrelly before describing other cruel and unchristian responses to the survivors. “A fair go? Really?”, she wrote.

Meanwhile, Australia’s bid to join 47 members of the UN Human Rights Council has been critiqued based on our mandatory detention of asylum seekers. Specifically, critics have taken aim at detaining more than 200 children. “Our adherence to mandatory indefinite detention – is not just immoral but to a significant extent illegal”, argues Farrelly.

“The common ground of all these battles is that single, shared principle, Australia’s founding ideal and primary point of difference; the fair go. Be it brief, humble and colloquial, the fair go is both our true constitution and our closest approach to a bill of rights”, writes Farrelly. She certainly has some contentious thoughts, and we are wondering what your take is.

Is the ‘fair go’ in Australia alive and well? Or have Australians forgotten this important principle?

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