Friday Forum

Your views on the news

At Crosslight, we love to hear what you think. So on Friday, it’s over to you.
protest sign

The News

The #Letthemstay campaign has dominated headlines and opinion pieces for the past fortnight.

Are the public protests backing the Turnbull government into a corner? Would more be achieved by working quietly behind the scenes?

Politics is about perception. While Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s style might be different from that of Tony Abbott, he has, so far, retained many of the policies put in place by the deposed leader. Abbott supporters within the Liberal Party cite the former PM’s tough stance on asylum seekers and his success in ‘Stopping the boats’ as a key achievement of his time as leader. If Turnbull were to publically back down now, he could been seen as ‘weak’ by members of his own party.

Writing last year in The Australian, Chris Kenny suggested that protesters do more harm than good for those they seek to help.

“Ideally, Australia would, again, gradually and quietly, resettle most of the refugees in Nauru and Manus Island on our shores. This would be compassionate and cost effective. And if no one made a song and dance about it, Operation Sovereign Borders wouldn’t be compromised. But in the present climate of confected hysteria, this can’t happen; the compassionistas have made it impossible.”

Your view:

Is it time for all those who signed petitions, marched the streets, painted placards and declared defiance to take a deep breath and ask “are we making a difference?”

Are the public protests actually backing the Turnbull government into a corner? Would more be achieved by working quietly behind the scenes?

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2 Responses to “Friday Forum”

  1. I think you’ll find that churches and other community groups have been working quietly behind the scenes for years – and the situation just continues to get worse. Did anyone ever imagine that we would be in a situation in which children born in Australia to refugee parents would be at risk of being removed to detention camps on Pacific islands? How on earth did this happen? Because the government knows that the majority of Australians just don’t care. So those of us who do must do everything we possibly can to show that this is an issue for us; that we’re not going to sit down, be quiet, and let the LNP and ALP continue their human rights abuses in our name. And given the quote comes from Chris Kenny – the only journalist the Nauruan government allowed in Nauru because they knew he would parrot the government’s lines – I don’t think we need to take anything he says seriously.

  2. Barry Gittins

    I believe that the past 15 years of intermittent yet growing pressure from churches, parachurch groups such as Love Makes A Way, peak bodies and NGOs is making a difference. Not as big a pressure to move govt policy, at this point, but a reinforcement of the few politicians honest and courageous enough to publicly admit it’s a fallacy to use cruelty and neglect for ‘the public good’. Fearmongering and pandering for political influence always hides behind secrecy and obfuscation. When (not if) the Royal Commission is convened into the roles and choices of governments and other players, it is the placard wielders and advocates that will be able to look the commissioners in the eye and testify to sticking up for abused and neglected children and vulnerable adults. Do we need more deaths, more rapes, more mental health breakdowns, more self-harm, more suicides, to get to that tipping point? It’s an indictment on our nation and it will remain so on the historical record.