Dear Mr Prime Minister

Dear Mr Prime Minister,

I hope this finds you well.

I am sure that you have received, and will continue to receive, many responses to your recent decision regarding asylum seekers coming to Australia.  And I know my little contribution is sure to get lost amongst the plethora of campaigns and organizations that have sprung up around this issue.   But my voice also deserves to be heard.

Before this latest announcement I believed that Australian’s government would ultimately make decisions based on basic human rights, not votes. I think you proved me wrong, Sir. It is beyond disappointing. As a nation we have stooped to a level of cowardice that I did not believe we would.  There are few words to describe how sad and disenchanted I feel about my country at this moment.

So, Sir, here is my question for you: how do I explain this to my kids? How do I explain to my children, who I constantly encourage to be kind and inclusive, that ‘we’ do not welcome asylum seekers? How do I explain that as a country ‘we’ do not choose kindness and courage and ‘we’ do not rejoice in helping the less fortunate? These are not rhetorical questions Sir, I would like some answers.

I want my children to grow up acutely aware of how lucky they are, how much they have, and how privileged they are to live in a country brimming with resources, beauty and possibility. I want my kids to hold these things with open, generous hands. You Sir, are asking my children to hold tight to their luck at being born here, you are asking them to choose fear over courage and you, Sir, are asking them to turn their backs on broken, lost and devastated people.   Mr Prime Minister, you are making my job harder.

Have you sat, face to face, and looked into the eyes of a Sudanese teenager running for his life, and heard his story? Have you listened to a mother’s tears as she tells you of losing her 3 year old and how she will not let that happen to her other children? Have you held the hand of the grandfather who has lost all his children and grandchildren to a regime that ravished his country? Sir, these people deserve our respect and our help. We have much to give. Don’t tell us we don’t. Don’t tell us to be scared. Don’t talk to us of numbers and policies. Talk to us of people.

Mr Prime Minister, please, make a decision based on people, on basic dignity and humanity. Be courageous. Be willing to loose. Be willing to get your hands dirty. Be the Prime Minister who will lead us to generosity and kindness. Be THAT Prime Minister. Not this one.

I sincerely wish you and your family great health and goodness.

Kind Regards

Cat Johnstone

 

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