For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 25 Aug 2013.
To many Australians, the asylum seeker policies of both Labor and the federal Coalition are reactionary, hugely expensive, and severely lacking in compassion.
What’s all the more shameful about the stance taken by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, is that both men claim to be Christian.
But if blame is due, it’s also due to the parents, teachers, priests and pastors in critical marginal seats in western Sydney and Queensland, who have failed to instil an ethical compass in the next generation. That’s the target of the immigration policies of both major political parties.
The government ads aren’t warning would-be people smugglers – they’re seeking to reassure voters in marginal electorates. The Coalition would do exactly the same, only with an even more extreme policy designed to punish those who deserve protection. There are no easy solutions, but surely compassion is preferable to cruelty.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.