Last Monday night, I was honoured to be able to attend the Light the Dark refugee rally alongside 5000 other grieving Sydney-siders. It was a truly remarkable rally with some inspiring and heartfelt speeches. Notably, the Pastor from the Gosford Anglican Church, known for his compassionate and strong social views, delivered a memorable speech condemning the callousness of Australian Government. The rallies were held across many major Australian cities on Monday evening, demonstrating the strong community outrage of Australia’s formidable refugee policies.
Like many people around the world, I was deeply saddened by the images of drowned refugee children that recently emerged. They are the very confronting proof that sending people away only condemns them to die elsewhere, and leaves me bitterly disgusted in how inhumanely Australian governments have treated this issue. As it has unfolded, I welcome the Federal response to increase funding to the UN to help Syrians, and to take a one-off additional 12,000 refugees. However, Government’s authorisation of air strikes on Syria demonstrate how out of touch they are with the outpouring grief that many Australians feel. This is an action that will create further devastation for innocent people who already suffer unimaginable hardship. Bombs do nothing but destroy and kill, and I am left aghast to know that the Australian Government is so callously responding with military warfare, in the midst of this devastating situation.
In my great consternation around the unfolding events, I drafted a Notice of Motion which was incorporated with a fellow Councillor’s Motion. I am pleased to report that my recommendation, to write to the federal government to encourage a revised humanitarian-based policy on refugees, was incorporated into the Lord Mayoral Minutes.
I commend the pressure that the Australian people continue to put upon the government, to ensure that we do our part to help during these despairing times.