By BONNIE CAMPBELL
Remember a few years back when Kevin Rudd was garnering his media tart reputation and he appeared on Sunrise to deliver a particularly dorky duet with Joe Hockey?
Rudd rapped his aspiring political heart out to The Black Eyed Pea’s humanitarian hit ‘Where is the Love?’ – bleating out lyrics like: “People killin’, people dyin’ / Children hurt and you hear them cryin’ / Can you practice what you preach / And would you turn the other cheek?”.
Well Kevin, we now know the answer to that question is a resounding, yes.
You can turn the other cheek. In fact, you can actively ensure that people in need do not find ANY love in Australia. Not even a little bit. Where is the love? Definitely not here.
Shirking Australia’s humanitarian responsibilities for political gain is nothing new but this new ‘Papua New Guinea Solution’ for asylum seekers coming to our shores by boat, is a disgusting new low. To out right-wing Tony Abbott is a serious achievement.
It’s a bit like that scene in Bridget Jones’ Diary when Mr. Darcy loses the plot with rat-bag Daniel Cleaver and beats him to a pulp in one of cinema’s best fight scenes ever. Bridget turns to Mr. Darcy, shocked and aghast she says to him: “I though you were normal, and nice, and helpful in the kitchen!”
Well Kevin, we though you were relatively normal and nice and helpful when it came to abiding by the tenants of the UN Refugee Convention. Turns out we were wrong.
Rudd lulled us into a false sense of security. Kevin 07 was seen as the globally-minded yin to John Howard’s Bush-centric yang.
In 2008, Hilde Johnson, the deputy director of UNICEF, said the Rudd Government had shown “stronger support” for the UN and the “multilateral system overall”.
Watching Rudd converse in Mandarin was awesome. Our Prime Minister had a sharp intellect, and wasn’t ashamed to use it. He also appeared to believe Australia had to be a responsible part of the global community the UN is working to achieve.
Rudd’s 2008 Sorry Speech was a compassionate gesture that further endeared him to the nation.
In it he said: “We apologise for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians”.
And yet, now, he is implementing his own government’s policy that will inevitably inflict the same grief and suffering on the poor, the disenfranchised and the desperate people fleeing for their lives.
We should feel the same shame we felt over our treatment of Indigenous Australians about how we are currently treating refugees.