Unions vow to stand up (again) to keep baby Asha safe

Queensland unions say the federal Turnbull LNP government’s latest attack on asylum seekers is a desperate tactic to distract from its self-inflicted wounds.

Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Ros McLennan said the union movement stood against the Turnbull government in the #LetThemStay campaign and would do so again.

Advocates have confirmed that baby Asha and her parents – the young family at the centre of last year’s 10-day community vigil outside Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital – was subject to the government action and at risk of being sent to Nauru or Manus.

“This government would prefer to starve young families before it owns up to its poor performance,” said Ms McLennan.

“Removing support for these families will not deter people smugglers.

“It’s not about national security, it’s a cruel attack on a segment of the community powerless to fight for their rights.”

The Queensland union movement and Australians from all walks of life fought for these people to be allowed to stay in Australia before and stands ready to fight for them again.

“It’s how this government rolls – it attacks working people, it attacks the groups that stand up for working people, it will attack anyone if it thinks it will take the focus off its pathetic efforts to address day to day concerns of Australians,” said Ms McLennan.

“It even attacked New Zealand in the last session of Parliament!”

“Now it’s attacking the most vulnerable as a desperate smokescreen for its woeful performance, and its failure in acting to bridge the widening inequality gap in Australia.

“The 400 people were evacuated from Australia’s offshore detention camps for critical reasons.

“Some like baby Asha needed urgent care and medical professionals agreed their health would be at risk if they were sent back to offshore detention,” she said.

“Some women were pregnant. Other men, women and children were evacuated because they were too sick to stay in the camps. Their babies have been born in Australia, and there are children and families from this group living across the Australian community.

“They are our school-mates, team-mates, and neighbours. If they can remain in Australia and be allowed to work, they could be your teacher, your doctor or your colleague.

“This is a callous, cynical and cruel decision. It deserves scorn and condemnation. It will be resisted.”