This Sunday marks the start of Refugee Week, with plenty of events around the country to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution refugees have made and continue to make to our society, culture and economy. I’m speaking at a rally being held in Brisbane Square this Sunday from 1pm to mark World Refugee Day.
I have attended many refugee week events over the years, and they often involve people from a wide spectrum of society, which is a good thing. However, one thing I have found inc0ngruous is seeing politicians attend these events and saying lots of nice things about refugees at they same time as they tolerate and in some cases actively participate in political tactics which deliberately inflame community fear and antagonism towards refugees and asylum seekers.
The Liberal National Party in Brisbane has been doing their bit in the lead up to Refugee Week, seeking to stir up some hatred in the local area around the location of the northside motel where the federal government has placed a number of asylum seeker families.
I’ve written a bit more about it in this piece at Crikey’s website. I have no problem with people having different views to mine about what the best policy approach should be for responding to asylum seekers – all sides of the debate would benefit from acknowledging this matter raises some difficult and challenging issues. But there is no excuse for deliberately inflaming community division and actively impeding the effective settlement of refugees living in our suburbs.
A copy of a leaflet that’s been letterboxed in the area is below.