All sorts of things can happen to you when you’re pregnant; there are stories of women losing hair, teeth, balance. For my part, I lost my words: I was hit with a comprehensive case of writer’s block.
There is a clear disconnect between what community radio represents for the public and the government’s obvious ambivalence towards the sector.
A few years ago I received a phone call from the current Energy and Resources minister, Josh Frydenberg. He called me in response to an email I had sent only hours earlier on behalf of Jews for Refugees (JFR), drawing his attention to the case of the MV Struma. The Struma was a ship carrying 781 Jewish refugees from Romania that, on 23 February 1942, was towed from the harbour in Istanbul to the Black Sea, leaving the ship adrift. The next day the Struma was torpedoed and sunk by a Russian submarine.
Until last Friday, around twenty homeless people had set up camp in Melbourne’s City Square, creating shelter where it elsewhere eluded them, as a public petition for more secure, affordable housing in Australia’s second most populous city. The presence of the camp was also a visceral risposte to claims, which appeared in the mainstream media last week, that homeless people had been behaving unpalatably, including asking passers-by for money in an aggressive fashion.
Yes, Dutton’s comments were insulting. But more inclusive language won’t change the brutal reality of the detention regime. Refugees don’t need an apology from the immigration minister and they don’t need verbal acknowledgements of their capabilities. They need release from the camps in which they’re languishing.