Resigned to do nothing

This week in Canberra politicians on both sides of parliament made speeches condemning racism and congratulating each other for them.

This week on Nauru Medical staff reported a 12-year-old refugee boy on a hunger strike for more than a fortnight is close to death.

The boy has been held with his family on Nauru for five years since fleeing Iran. They have been assessed as refugees but refused resettlement in the USA, as are all refugees from Iran.

The boy is being sedated so he can be given fluids intravenously to keep him alive. Peter Dutton’s department has repeatedly refused requests for him to receive medical treatment in Australia.

Also on Nauru a two-year-old infant is in the care of staff as his suicidal parents are too ill to care for him.

A 14-year-old boy has not left his bed for more than four months. The boy’s mental health has deteriorated so badly that he no longer feeds, cleans, toilets or cares for himself. Medical staff say he has muscle wastage so severe he may never walk normally again.

An eight-year-old autistic child, whose mother has been in a catatonic state for over a year, and who requires high-level care not available on Nauru, has been unable to attend school the entire time he has been held in detention. Peter Dutton’s department have ignored over 12 months of requests by medical staff for him to be treated in Australia.

There are currently around 130 children detained on Nauru. Almost all of them have been assessed as refugees.

Since December, at least 14 legal challenges have been brought before the Federal court seeking immediate orders that children be moved from Nauru to a place where higher-level care is available. The government has opposed every single one of them and the Opposition have been complicit in their silence.

Children on Nauru are being diagnosed with severe major depressive disorder and resignation syndrome – a serious child psychiatric disorder where children refuse to eat, drink, talk, walk, or toilet themselves, and in some cases even open their eyes.

I was appalled by Fraser Anning’s speech in Parliament this week, but it was nothing more than the pathetic ranting of a two-bit Nazi. A symptom of our times. It’s is not words, but the actions they inspire, that cause the greatest harm.

So to politicians on both sides of Parliament I say keep your speeches. Words are meaningless when they come from the mouths of the only people who can put an end to this abuse, and who have resigned themselves to doing nothing.

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