by Greg Spearritt
Australia’s Immigration Minister Scott Morrison gave his maiden speech in 2007. Fairfax’s Peter FitzSimons recounts some lines from it, including Morrison quoting Desmond Tutu and claiming “These are my principles”:
‘We expect Christians . . . to stand up for the truth, to stand up for justice, to stand on the side of the poor and the hungry, the homeless and the naked, and when that happens, then Christians will be trustworthy believable witnesses.’
Seven years later those sentiments stand in stark contrast to what the Minister and his Department are doing to asylum-seekers, and not least to their children. ‘State-sanctioned child abuse’ is what some Church leaders have called it.
Even the Oz, renowned as in a class of its own when it comes to biased political reporting, can’t ignore the evidence of child neglect and abuse revealed by the Australian Human Rights Commission inquiry into the treatment of children in Australia's immigration detention centres. (It can, of course, do what it does best: attempt to sully the reputation of the Commissioner in that case and accuse the most trusted media outlet in the country, yet again, of bias.)
Julia Baird explains, persuasively, why “the Church has a duty to speak up” on this distressing issue.