Just a quick, happy post today, because I’m feeling more optimistic about Australia and our treatment of refugees than I have in some years. And while I suspect what I’m going to write will be not news to most of my readers, I want to put this on record, for next time I feel that there are no mainstream politicians who are willing to show compassion on this subject.
Yesterday, the Labor Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, wrote an open letter to Malcolm Turnbull offering to take in the 267 asylum seekers who the High Court has ruled can be returned to Nauru.
Annastacia Palaszczuk, the Labor Premier of Queensland, has said that Queensland is ready and able to house these asylum seekers, and she will be ringing Malcolm Turnbull tomorrow to tell him that it’s time to put politics aside and think closely about these young children.
The Labor Chief Minister for the Australian Capital Territory, Andrew Barr, was then ask by Twitter followers whether he had seen the letter from Daniel Andrews, and whether he would take the same pledge, and replied ‘Yes and Yes‘. He will release a statement tomorrow.
Jay Weatherill, the South Australian Premier, also a Labor Party member has written a letter offering South Australia as an alternative home for the 267 asylum seekers.
Thank you, State Labor Party leaders.
(I trust this is giving Bill Shorten something to think about.)
But here’s where I truly start feeling optimistic, because it’s not just Labor.
While Liberal state leaders are a little more cagey about these specific children, Mike Baird called Daniel Andrews a good man, and while he said he was more focused on resettling the Syrian refugees, he also said that if the PM had any additional requests, New South Wales was prepared to help.
And Will Hodgman, who is the Liberal Premier of Tasmania, while also avoiding the #letthemstay campaign, has said that Tasmania will welcome an increased refugee intake, and will push for this to happen as soon as possible.
Not precisely a statement of support, but both of these statements sound a lot like they are really itching for permission to offer help, so good on them…
Not a peep out of Colin Barnett (Lib, WA) or Adam Giles (Country Liberal, NT), but this is already amazing and wonderful and beyond anything I thought would happen. I love the Greens and the cross-benchers to bits, and the Greens in particular have been consistent in their efforts to keep kids off Nauru and bring some transparency to conditions there, but the reality is, we need a major party, a party that has a realistic chance of Government at the next election, to take up the cause of not torturing refugees.
In other words, Labor, this is your opportunity to win back those votes you are losing on your left flank.
Make the most of it.
As for me, I’m going to enjoy getting to write some thank you letters for a change.