Stop the deaths!

Unless you have no respect for human life, especially for those who attempt to escape from their miserable existence to take ‘illegal’ refuge in this country, you will no doubt be saddened by the deaths that occur in our northern waters of those very people who seek a better life in our free land.

But sadness turns to disgrace when politicians and journalists blame the Government for these deaths.  It is gutter politics and it is gutter journalism.  Crocodile tears are shed for ‘despised, unwanted’ people who die in rickety boats, while knowing full well that is favourable to your political fortunes to have them drown at sea.  And why is it favourable?  Because your words endeavour to make it so, that’s why.  Yes, I’m looking at you, Tony Abbott.  This recent piece in The West Australian, Boat people’s deaths to Abbott’s advantage hardens my glare.

Tony Abbott has shut the door on a political fix to the asylum-seeker deadlock, prompting a senior member of the Gillard Government to accuse him of seeking political advantage from boat people dying.

The Opposition Leader said yesterday that unless the Government reinstated Howard government policies, including processing people offshore and towing back boats, the Government could forget any assistance from the Opposition. “That’s our position today,” Mr Abbott said. “It’s always been our position.”

In frustration, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen questioned whether Mr Abbott had judged it beneficial for the coalition for the boats to keep coming.

I’m perplexed that Mr Abbott is so concerned about people dying on boats he wants to stop (the boats, that is).  The number of deaths aren’t small, yet they are small compared to the number of deaths suffered by ‘ordinary’ Australians for which he has not one policy to address.  Perhaps it’s because he can’t grab some political mileage from them, which is the purpose of this post.  Here are some examples.

Almost 1500 Australians a year die on our roads.  How many of these were as a result of poor roads?  Mr Abbott, do you have any policies to address this, or don’t you care?  Please let us know either way.

Over 2100 Australians commit suicide each year.  How many of these people were ignored, neglected or marginalised by society?  How many were the result of bullying?  How many were due to a mental illness?  Mr Abbott, do you have any policies to address this, or don’t you care?  Please let us know either way.

Over 1000 Australians a year die due to drug related incidences. Mr Abbott, do you have any policies to address this, or don’t you care?  Please let us know either way.

Over 1000 Australians a year die at work.  How many were the result of unsafe work practices?  Mr Abbott, do you have any policies to address this, or don’t you care?  Please let us know either way.

I’m not expecting any of these to be addressed as it will actually mean that policies will need to be formulated or services promised.  As Minister for Health under the Howard Government you had no hesitation to heartlessly rip $1B out of health care funding without a single thought of the consequences.  You even tried to justify your actions.  Now all of a sudden you are concerned about the deaths of refugees and I doubt that these concerns are genuine.  Really, you have no compunction about these people dying in their own country.  You might remember you belonged to a government that was quite happy to take the war to them.

Take a look at what’s happening in your own backyard; people are dying from preventable deaths.  Is it too much to ask to stop and think about these?  What’s going to happen when and if you are Prime Minister of this country?  Turning boats around so the refugees can die somewhere else is an act of neglect.  Coming up with nothing to stop the deaths from those cited above is also an act of neglect.

I would be thrilled if you were to show some genuine passion for the victims of tragic deaths in this country.  Show us you care by showing us a policy.  Forget about chanting “Stop the boats”.  Focus on trying to “Stop the deaths”.

Face the truth, refugees will continue to die and it won’t be your fault or Julia Gillard’s fault.  Stop blaming someone else all the time.  Remember how you blamed the Government for those four unfortunate deaths under the Home Insulation Program?  Might I ask what policies have you implemented to create safer work environments or reduce shoddy work practices?  I know the answer: absolutely none.  While you can gain political advantage out of people dying you see no incentive whatsoever to come up with a remedy.  These deaths are a convenience for you.  I find that pathetic.  If you were Prime Minister of this country and nothing was done to address the deaths you currently ignore, except for political mileage,  then guess who I’ll be blaming?  YOU.

You are a person who says everything and does nothing.

NOW would be a good time to pull your finger out.