Some welcome news has come out of Malcolm Turnbull’s attendance at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York this week. Australia has announced it will increase its humanitarian intake of refugees to 18,750.
However that was the limit of any good news. It was extremely disappointing that Prime Minister Turnbull did not mention the 2,000 asylum seekers stuck for months, even years, in limbo on Manus and Nauru. Phil Glendenning, President of Refugee Council of Australia, referred to the omission as the “elephant in the room in the form of our offshore detention system”. Most of these people have been assessed as refugees and need to be treated as such. And was I the only person horrified as our PM lectured the member nations of the United Nations about border security? Surely not.
The wonderful Tim Costello wrote a thoughtful blog recently published in the Huffington Post Australia called Looking the Other Way is no Longer an Option. It ends with these powerful words:
“Conscience doesn’t always win, and it rarely wins quickly. Most often those who stand up in the public square on matters of conscience face long and lonely battles, even if ultimately vindicated.
But it is nonetheless to be treasured and promoted because it remains one of the major engines of change for good in the world, and in our own country.
There has never been a better time for an earnest and honest national conversation about where our collective conscience is pointing.“
You can read the full blog here.