The following is the text of a letter I wrote to the Australian Minister for Immigration, Chris Bowen, regarding the intention to send newly arrived 'boat people' (illegal immigrants) to Malaysia for 'processing'. These immigrants include unaccompanied children as well as families with children.
Please feel free to use the text of this letter in your own submissions- copyright is waived. There is a link on my Facebook page which will allow you to send your own letter.
I have worked with children all my life. The 'Malaysian solution' makes me ashamed ever to have voted for your party and ashamed to be identified as an Australian.
I am not immune to the logic of the idea on paper; I realise that at some level it has been designed as a deterrent to people-smugglers and that this may even work in the longer term. But I cannot and will not accept that the end justifies the means. It is morally reprehensible to sacrifice vulnerable children at the altar of political gain. Face it, Alan Jones et al would immediately find something else to moan about even if this strategy were to make a difference.
And for this momentary- MOMENTARY- political gain, you are prepared to risk the lives and the innocence of small children.
Would you do this to your own children? If you wouldn't, if you cringe at the thought of your own children in the care of the Malaysian government, how do you sleep at night as you inflict this fate on other children?
These children are no less human than yours. They are no less vulnerable than yours. They are no less human than yours. They have faces. They have smiles. They have tears. They feel pain and they feel fear. They come from a place where their parents decided that paying their life savings and putting their children into a leaky boat was a better option than staying where they were; parents do not take such decisions lightly, and you should not delude yourself that these parents are somehow morally inferior to you. Australia represented hope to these parents, and a better future for their beloved children.
By sending these children to Malaysia, you extinguish both innocence and hope. Shame on you.