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Manus Island children’s study & lives to be undermined by “Pacific Solution”

On Monday 29 July, 2013 the 7.30 Report broadcast an item on a processing plan.

One concern raised is that East Lorengau Primary School will be disrupted considerably, and hence the education of the children. This will include loss of land. The people have not been consulted.

Western Sydney: I understand that one reason why our political leaders are concerned to find an asylum seeker solution is to win the votes of people in western Sydney who understand that their services, etc. are being limited because many asylum seekers move there.

One area of complaint is that there is a limited number of school counsellors (who do counselling as well as prepare educational programs), because of urgency of asylum seeker children’s needs.

Manus students disadvantaged too: The current Manus Island plan suggests that Lorengau students are going to be disadvantaged for the sake of western Sydney voters.

Failure to consult Aborigines too: Failure to consult the people of Manus Island follows the same pattern that Australian Governments have followed in Northern Australia relating to Aborigines:-

  • Taking over land to suit the purpose of its supporters.
  • Failure to consult and ignoring advice relating to employment, education and health issues.

NAIDOC leaders asked us to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Yirrkala Bark Petitions during NAIDOC week. The Petitions were needed because the Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, gave approval for the excising of Aboriginal land for a foreign (in this case) mining company. The Methodist Church mission committee was silent about this. It was only when it was made public that other Methodists acted to support Aboriginal people.

All church people can now be aware of what is happening on Manus Island.

Other Australians who believe Australia value fairness, hopefully will express their concern. Their silence will encourage the present Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and future prime ministers to promote policies which have disastrous effects on innocent people to meet the selfish ends of Australians - eg disrupting school children, and failing to consult the children’s community.

Possible Action : Letters to the Prime Minister and your local MP expressing concern about the problems children of East Lorengau face would be encouraging. Web address of the “7.30 Report” could be included in the news sheet for a Bible study group, and the local newspaper to help inform.

A separate letter asking when funding is going to be made available to train additional school counsellors to help present children of refugee status and Australians would be of help. Other action that you are comfortable with.

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