I had been planning to write about the increasing lack of compassion in the world but was temporarily stymied by the latest words of Peter Dutton (Australia’s Home Affairs Minister) who has made a statement so abhorrent that I was having trouble finding what to say.
“It’s essential that people realise that the hard-won success of the last few years could be undone overnight by a single act of compassion in bringing 20 people from Manus to Australia.” Peter Dutton
While Donald Trump demonises ‘his’ asylum seekers by separating children from parents with hardly a thought as to the damage it will do, our Australian Border Force controller warns of the danger of ‘a single act of compassion’ in relation to 'our' asylum seekers.
An 'act of compassion' spoken of as if it's something almost evil.
For anyone wondering what that ‘single act of compassion’ might have been – it was the act of allowing a dying man to leave his place of imprisonment on the island of Nauru to receive palliative care in Australia in his last weeks of life.
Mind you, this man had been assessed as a legitimate refugee but was not allowed to stay in Australia because he had made the journey here by boat. He was also denied appropriate treatment for his lung cancer and now it has progressed to the point where he is dying. He has been imprisoned for 5 years! And it took a petition signed by 24,000 decent Australians and a letter signed by 2000 Australian doctors (Yes, 2000 doctors!) to finally induce a bureaucrat in the Border Security department to allow this poor man to come to Australia to receive palliative care. Palliative care!
Does that make you at least wonder about the attitude of ‘those in power’?
Empathy is missing. Compassion is missing. Humanity is wanting.
One of the awful things about refugees and our country is that the media is not allowed to visit, let alone photograph what is happening in our off shore ‘processing’ prisons. There is a hefty fine for any journalist who breaches this ‘rule’.
It’s not only this blocking of media that is puzzling, it’s also the lack of reporting true facts that have many of us wondering just WHO is in charge? What part of the media is bending to the whims of the current government by not reporting what is happening - and allowing untruths about refugees to flourish?
No, they are NOT illegal!
And, who could - or should be, but is unable to - even start to work out a humane solution to this horrendous problem of refugees seeking asylum?
We know that the awful (yet obscenely costly) treatment of refugees (in Manus Island & Nauru) has not really ‘stopped the boats’ as claimed by politicians. Boats continue to head for Australia, but are ‘scuttled’ (Border Force expression) or ‘turned around’. Any information as to what happens to the people on these boats is not forthcoming, but I guess it is not a happy outcome.
But, we mustn’t think of that in case we find compassion creeping into our minds, thus undoing ‘the hard-won success of the last few years’ – that is, the mythical ‘stopping of the boats’: the method used to (supposedly) dissuade asylum seekers from seeking help and safety in Australia.
There must be a better way.
I don’t really like cats. There, I’ve said it!
Two reasons: My main concern is that feral cat numbers are now out of control in Australia.
To research statistics provides frightening figures: Although the number of domestic (pet) cats in Australia is estimated at around 2.7 million, it is claimed that there are over 18 million feral cats.
The figures suggest that each feral cat kills between 5 and 30 Australian native species each day.
Think about that! Conservation scientists guess that 20 BILLION native animals are being killed each year by feral cats.
That’s 75 Million a day!
Australian Wildlife Conservancy CEO, Mr Atticus Fleming, investigating feral cats in 2014, found over 40 native frogs in the stomach of ONE captured feral cat.
My other reason is from more personal experience.
A few short years ago, when I lived in the country, we used to delight in watching a group of blue wrens who visited us constantly and lived amongst the native bushes in our garden and in the overhead spreading grape vines.
When a cat-owning family moved into a property just over our back fence, their cat paid us a few visits and decimated the entire blue wren family.
So it’s not only feral cats that kill. Pet cats also kill.
And, in a red gum reserve, about 500 metres from our country house, cats were found stalking and killing little sugar gliders. These were not feral cats, they were pet cats allowed to roam freely.
Now that I live in a more suburban setting, I am not free of cat problems. A neighbourhood cat (there may be more than one) comes and digs in our front garden and leaves smelly ‘messages’ that are difficult to be cope with. It also leaves paw marks over our car, so I know it is walking around at night time. What else is it doing? What is it killing?
Many councils now insist on registering each and every pet cat – but does that happen? And, even when it does, do cat owners make sure their cat remains indoors all day and night?
I can understand people wanting to keep a cat. They are good pets: quiet and (mostly) clean. They need less looking after than a dog; no need for daily walks and they are happy to be left alone. But…but…
We need a huge public awareness campaign about keeping cats
BUT…but…but, the other day when I was shopping in the supermarket, I watched a frail elderly man stop by the cat food shelves and slowly select and examine several small containers of cat food.
To see the concentration on his face as he took a long while to choose the appropriate dinner for his pet cat almost melted my hard cat-hating heart. And I could see how important to some people having a feline companion is. To that old man, his cat may be the only thing that keeps him content; a companion to care for and a reason for living even.
Oh, boy. What a dilemma.
But please people, back the cause for eliminating feral cats and, if you do own a cat as a pet, please don’t allow it to roam free.
I am very pleased to discover that the world's largest cat fence is now being constructed at Newhaven Station in Central Australia.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.