A comment about Australia’s Refugee Policy
There’s an interesting topic about Australia’s shameful refugee policy (which has now been significantly amended), at ABC online, and I found the following comment particularly noteworthy.
In 2001 I escorted 49 mainly women and children from Larrakeyah to Fossey’s Pavilion, Darwin. Most of the men of these families would follow and remained at Ashmore Reef. The boat was the “Samson Explorer.”
That’s all I’ll say here about it.
The way these people were treated was poor – I will not elaborate here – because to do so may identify me, and I reveived 3 death threats, or threats against my family if I carried out my plan to report the behaviour of those charged with the escort’s security. I have a witness to this.
After 3 days I received a visit from a higher-ranking person from Villawood, who asked me about the episode, and insisted I write my report – I had 6 foolscap pages of notes – and still do have them – which I drafted the night I got back from Woomera, of everything that happened.
I wrote the report at this insistence, but abstained from making it an emotional blurb. Instead, while noting the incidents and events, I also made recommendations to attempt to prevent further such things.
I later found out that my “report” was in the bin somewhere! I received (and still have) a “thank-you” letter from the then Centre Manager, but that was it.
No one has ever asked my about my experiences at Woomera, and if they did I would hesitate to become embroiled. This is because I am cynical about anyhting good coming from it.
Rather I am more inclined to believe this would be fodder for the media, and leave me exposed, unprotected, and seen as disloyal to mates.
However I would be happy to give a photocopy of the report on this section of my rotation to Woomera to an appropriate enquiry, under strict conditions that would protect myself and family from the threatened recriminations.
Needless to say I did not return to Woomera for another rotation after that. Few would remember me, or even care, but I did care, and I did speak up. I did keep some notes which I still have.
I sat on my bunk in the old “six-pack” buildings on quite a few nights and cried – speaking out loud at how God could allow this to happen in my country.
And if anyone is listening, I can tell you that the seeds of malcontent were sown the minute the refugees made contact with Autralian security personnel who abused their station.
But apart from the media – no one will notice … and in time this too shall pass.
I still have no idea where to tell my story, or indeed even if it is relevant anymore.