Time for compassion

The asylum seeker debate is not a debate - everybody knows it is an exercise in political point scoring. The waffle and piffle coming from Australian politicians is shameful.

Asylum seekers will continue to come to Australia by sea and by air. No matter what our politicians say or do they will come to us: it is their desperate need and their right to do so. Apropos this: Australia's political parties have locked themselves into solving a problem that cannot be solved. Stopping the boats is the wrong problem. Wars and poverty have created the real problem.

If I lived in a country where it was hard to find enough to eat, where my life and the lives of my family were under threat, where health care and education were virtually non-existent, where the political rule was discrimination and repression… then I too would seek a safe haven. Millions of people are on the move and wars and poverty have caused this to happen.

Caring for these people will be hard. Stupid slogans like 'Stop the boats' disguise the complexity and difficulties that must be dealt with - world-wide population shifts that are distressing and disruptive. Australia has an obligation to help. It is time for Australia to grow up, to speak with a mature, compassionate and wise voice, and most of all to accept that it has humanitarian obligations.

Michael Brooke

Kyogle


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