|Image from a protest in Perth http://goo.gl/Sz7ga|
This afternoon I went to the rally in Melbourne to end mandatory detention. Passing the anti-carbon tax rally, we eventually found our way there.
Julian Burnside spoke of the hypocrisy of Tony Abbott’s policies. Abbott, a self-identified Catholic, is more than happy to see vulnerable people used as political weaponry in a bid to gain votes. The logic behind offshore processing of asylum seekers is that it will exploit the vulnerable to stop more people from coming. Adam Bandt, the Greens member for Melbourne had this to say about the offshore processing "No one's ever accused me of being an economic rationalist before but what is very clear is that it [humane processing of asylum seekers] is also the cheapest alternative, when we have a government spending a billion dollars on offshore processing while we can't find enough money for schools and we're having to stop putting drugs on the PBS system.” Why are we wasting money on mistreating people?
While I was listening to Bandt speak, I got talking with the lady next to me. She was holding a ‘We Welcome Refugees’ balloon… and also a walking stick. She told me how three of her grandparents were boat people from Europe. This lady had no problem with welcoming vulnerable people into our country, she even applauded it. Volunteering at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre teaching English, she had really reconciled what her Catholic faith means for the treatment of ‘the least of these’.
At 85 years young, she had done well to make it to the rally. Her passion inspired me. She told me she wasn’t sure whether she would make it all the way, but she will stand up for the vulnerable for as long as she physically can. Inspiring.
So what makes you stand up? What makes you take action? What causes are worthy of your time?