I’d be happy to tell you why I choose to visit the detention centre in Broadmeadows.
I began visiting after hearing Julian Burnside QC speaking of the atrocious and sub-sub-standard conditions within the offshore centres. I simply couldn’t believe the media were not reporting on it! After all, we hear of every Kardashian update, or The Block eviction, why do we not hear about our own government’s treatment of these people in need?
We asked Mr. Burnside afterward if there was anything we could do, as only a few members of the public, with no means to change laws or make any noticeable difference. He replied simply “Yes, visit them, let them know they are not in it alone and that people in Australia care for their wellbeing and futures”.
We arranged to visit in the following weeks, and since then, I have always done my best to leave my everyday baggage outside, listen to their troubles, help them when I can and always offer them a hug.
So in answer to the original question, I visit the people at Broadmeadows because they have become my friends, and a part of my family. I have since taken my mother to visit them, and now she is always asking how they are, as they ask about her. She cares for them as she would care for her own children, even knitting them winter clothing. They all ask “How is mum?”.
The Negatively assessed Tamil guys at Broadmeadows, as well as all other people I have met there, are some of the nicest, most sincere, caring and kind-hearted people I have ever met. This country would benefit from their compassion, humour and many talents, if only they would stop hearing the word “Illegal” and actually spent the time to meet with the real people in these situations.
These innocent people have been detained for six years without charge, without sentencing, and with no end in sight. ASIO have vowed to keep them detained until circumstances change. They will not disclose their reasons for incarcerating these people, making it virtually impossible for them to defend themselves in a court of law. In another cruel twist, the asylum seekers cannot return home, as they have been granted Refugee status here in Australia. They are permitted to stay, but only as prisoners in the care of Immigration, never being charged with any crime.