Bring them home

Posted: March 30, 2021 in Writing
Tags: ,

An Open Letter to Karen Andrews the new Minister for Home Affairs

Dear Minister Andrews

I was born and bred in Biloela, and still have my Mum, brothers, nephews and nieces living in the area, so I know the challenges of carving out a life far from the comforts and conveniences of city and coastal living.

The heat melts your thongs in summer. The kitchen tap coughs up ice in winter. The nearest bookstore is more than an hour’s drive away. The picture theatre closed in the early seventies. The drive-in followed suit a decade later.

But this town of only 5,500 people offers two things in abundance:
– the opportunity to work hard (at one of the state’s biggest meatworks or in jobs servicing the local power station, mining and agricultural industries); and
– a deep and abiding sense of community.

For almost a century this has attracted successive waves of refugees to Biloela, starting with the Russians in the 1920s, and continuing after World War Two with Greek, Italian and Dutch immigrants including my own father.

Like Priya and Nades, they all came to Biloela in search of a better life, and those who demonstrated hard work and decency earned the respect of this small tight-knit community.

These are the people that Australia needs, and that the Biloela community desperately wants to keep.

I don’t see a queue of people lining up to move to our small inland communities. Priya and Nades and their Australian-born daughters want to make Biloela their permanent home. Please let them. Let them come home.

Show Australia that your government is capable of compassion for a hard-working and well-loved family who have already endured more than a thousand days in detention. Join the chorus of ordinary Australians who believe Biloela’s Tamil family have earned their right to stay.


Yours sincerely,
Christine Bongers

Comments
  1. Beautifully said, Christine. I hope Karen Andrews listens. Bring them home.

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