Letter to my local MP, Wayne Swan, about Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers

I’ve just sent this email to Wayne Swan. Not much, I know but I needed to do something.

Dear Mr Swan,

I’m writing out of sadness, frustration and disgust at the treatment, at a federal level, of asylum seekers.

I despair in general at the degenerate state of Australian political leadership currently – something which I believe Tony Abbott in particular has to answer for. In every single portfolio area, his government is failing the country dismally in its pursuit of ideology and its narrow focus on sectional interests.

However, the issue of our treatment of asylum seekers in the name of ‘border security’ and ‘the public interest’ is of particular concern to me. Events of the last 24 hours (during which Scott Morrison claimed on ABC’s 7:30 that all is well on Christmas Island and questioned the integrity of Gillian Triggs and immigration officials demonstrated an appalling failure in their duty of care; particularly for the children for whom they are responsible), not to mention the missing Vietnamese refugees in South Australia, the entire period since the 2013 election or the entire post-Tampa period, leave me feeling utterly dismayed.

How can people be treated with such callousness and how can we as a society allow our public servants to conduct themselves with such contempt for our fellow human beings? This kind of treatment would not be tolerated in other institution in Australia, be it a family, a business, a church, a prison, a hospital, or a school – why should we tolerate it any further from our Immigration Department? How can we permit such an egregious double standard? I don’t think ‘state-sanctioned abuse’ is an unreasonable description of what’s being done to our fellow human beings.

I also think that DIBP as employers are failing their own employees by asking them to participate in such treatment – surely it must be taking an emotional toll on them? What of their mental health? Why should it be acceptable for an employer to place an employee in the position that Martin Bowles and co were in today, for example? Is that not negligent?

I am deeply saddened and offended that our elected officials could tolerate this, let alone actively and unashamedly pursue it as policy. I’d like to ask you two things:

1. Is there any action that I could take, in your opinion, that would be a constructive response to this?

2. Could you please do everything in your power to bring attention to this, and increase pressure on all our politicians – LNP, ALP, Greens and PUP – to end this shameful treatment of asylum seekers?

Yours sincerely, Kyle Smith.

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