Anzac Day is one of the most commemorated days in Australia and this year marks the centennial. It is supposed to be a day to remember all those who fought and died not just for our freedom but to safeguard the freedom of others. It is a day where we show respect for the sacrifice that so many made and to appreciate the legacy they fought to give us.
Sadly too many of us have forgotten just what it is that these men and women fought and died for. Australia is no longer a country that welcomes those who flee persecution and violence; in fact we have become one of the worst human rights violators in the world. It doesn’t stop there either, with cuts to veterans pensions and a tokenistic wage increase of 1% for our armed services personnel this government is showing a disdain for those who have fought and those who still fight so that we don’t have to and yet Abbott is more than happy use our armed services and the media spotlight that comes with the day of remembrance.
So while our PM uses Anzac day as a means to improve his public image and be seen as supporting our diggers let us have a look at the legacy that he and his government are creating for future generations. At this very moment there is a 5 years old girl who was brought to Darwin from the detention camps in Nauru for medical attention. Her doctors, both physical and psychiatric have advised the Department of Immigration that to return her to the camps would be possibly fatal. This young child, this five year old girl is suicidal and yet despite medical advice our immigration department has ordered her return to the very place she tried to kill herself to escape.
Nor is she an isolated case and nor is she likely to be the last child to suffer in this manner. According to both the Moss Report and the Human Rights Associations The Forgotten Childrens’ report the asylum seekers currently in the detention camps face physical, sexual and psychological abuse daily with little or no recourse. Our governments response to these reports was firstly to hold back the release of the Moss Report, attack the president of the Human Rights Association by accusing her of being partisan in her findings [despite the fact that the report held the Labor party equally responsible] and then send in the federal police to the camps.
The federal police were NOT there to investigate the allegations of abuse, they were sent in to investigate ‘whistle blowers’ amongst the staff and to determine if charges could be laid against them. In addition there is currently legislation making its way through parliament that would allow the use of force, even beatings should the guards deem it necessary. Prominent legal minds have spoken out about this and the implications such legislation would bring. Even Nigel Farge, leader of the most racist and conservative party in the UK, says that Australia’s methods in deterring migrants are too much to stomach and that is without those laws yet being passed. From my perspective that kind of feedback is NOT a good thing.
Our governments lack of care for others does not just apply to those seeking asylum, they also show the same disdain and lack of compassion to those of us who are already Australian and even more so to those who were the first Australians. The blinkered vision this government uses to determine policy and spending has created wide-spread pain and anger, not to mention fear, and it is getting worse not better. Domestic violence is at an all time high, with 32 women killed since January 2015, while funding for shelters and support services are cut to an all time low.
In addition to this our government is implementing the forced closure of 150 Indigenous communities leaving this countries first peoples cut off from their land and the part it plays in their culture. Thousand of people around Australia have rallied to protest the forced closure of Aboriginal communities, with more protest planned for May 1st, clearly demonstrating that this is not something that we as a country wish to see.
Yet that hasn’t stopped our government sending in forces on horseback and with dogs to drive the traditional land owners from protesting these closures. Worldwide condemnation for this act, along with the UN’s support to prevent these closures, does not seem to register with those in power, They are ignoring it in the same way that have ignored censure from the UN, The Human Rights Association and other world leaders in regards to our policies on asylum seekers.
Sadly this government does not confine themselves to ravaging the support network of the Australian people they also seem determined to destroy the land on which we all live. I’ve spoken in the past of this governments blindness when it comes to environmental issues but the recent captains call from the PM’s office to supply $4 million in funding to climate skeptic and proven fraud Bjorn Lomborg takes the cake, especially when weighed against the massive cuts to the CSIRO as well as the Renewable Energy market. Australia’s ongoing commitment to fossil fuels is causing us to lag behind the rest of the world in developing future energy markets and it’s costing us both in environmental damage as well as economic loss.
This is not the country I grew up in, this is not the legacy I would leave future generations and it frightens me just how swiftly these changes have come about and even worse how swiftly we’ve become inured to the rapidly devolving government and their determination to pursue an agenda they were not elected on. I hold no great hope that things would change dramatically if they were to lose the next election as the Labor opposition has done little to halt much of this agenda and has been complicit in some of the worst parts of it. So this Anzac day take a moment to remember those who fought and died to ensure our continued safety and right to self determination and consider just what legacy you wish to leave to future generations. And while you are pondering this take a moment to remember the words in this song, it’s something our government needs to remember also as those words no longer seem to be true.