Allegations say more about Dutton than baby Asha and family

The Queensland union movement has applauded the community #LetThemStay alliance that resulted in baby Asha and her family being released into community detention.

he #LetThemStay alliance of health care professionals, unions, community organisations, faith groups and ordinary Brisbane residents maintained a 24‐hour vigil outside Lady Cilento Children’s  hospital for 10 days.

There is little doubt that without the intervention of these community groups and health professionals that baby Asha would have been sent back to Nauru.

It was truly heart‐warming to see the diverse group of people who gathered at the Lady Cilento Hospital to support baby Asha and those health professionals who took such a principled stand in  her defence. The level of support from passers‐by was also uplifting.

In a far cry from the division and hatred that has been associated with the issue of migration and border protection, this alliance provided support for the courageous decision not to release baby Asha until her safety could be guaranteed.

The federal government’s attempts in recent days to smear the motives of doctors and baby Asha’s family are reprehensible and say volumes about the Liberal Party’s contempt for the human rights of asylum seekers.

Minister Dutton’s veiled hints of deliberate harm is contrary to medical evidence and a blatant attempt to incite hatred towards a young family facing desperate circumstances.

Unfortunately the division caused by migration policy has made any rational debate impossible. Both major parties now appear to be locked in a position of not wanting to appear to be weak on border protection – but at what cost?

There is a sense that the case of baby Asha is demonstrating the absurdity of our current policy. A child who has been seriously injured in the appalling conditions of off shore processing is expected to return to that dangerous environment. Any compassionate person knows that detention is no place for children.

It is understandable that people think there is not enough to go around in Australia when our penalty rates and Medicare are under attack.

We all understand the importance of protecting our borders but clearly baby Asha poses no threat.

by Ros McLennan
General Secretary, Queensland Council of Unions

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