We’ve heard your stories one and all.
Widow, orphan, soldier amputee,
And how you strive to reach landfall
Here beyond the Arafura Sea.
You know that if you come by boat
People smugglers charge a hefty fee;
No guarantee you’ll stay afloat
To journey’s end across the Timor Sea.
If Tony Abbott now held sway
He’d stop your boat. That’s his policy.
He’d turn you round, have you towed away,
Deaf to your cries, back to the cruel sea.
A plan to lessen your suffering
Has now come from the ALP,
Anxious to find a buffering
Between Oz and the surrounding sea.
It’s been proposed by PM Gillard,
Wherever your starting point may be,
Boarding leaky boats will be barred.
You may not risk your life at sea!
There now will be an orderly queue
For you to join, perhaps certainty
That at last we might welcome you.
Though for that, you’ll have to wait and see.
Be patient. Understand you’re seeking refuge
In a land already sanctuary
To people whose anxiety is huge,
Girt as Australia is by sea.
Things here aren’t what they used to be
When we had endless plains to share
With those who came across the sea.
So forget all that, and – ‘Come By Air!’
NOTE: This was written for The Political Sword in response to Ad Astra’s post about political sloganeering so skilfully used by the Opposition. It was a day when PM Gillard’s agreement with Malaysia on boat people was all over the media. I suggested to Ad Astra perhaps we should have some simple slogans which would help asylum seekers ‘get the message’ Australians seemed to want to convey to them.
Feral Skeleton, 09/05/11. Spiffing! Yes, if only the wider populace would/could get access to our intelligent and exceptional musings.
Ad astra, 09/05/11. That is a very clever poem, and so apt.
NormanK, 09/05/11. Very very clever! I had no idea where you were going with that. I love a good sting in the tail.
Lynchpin, 22/06/12, PatriciaWA, do you mind if I take your verse and put it to some music. It would be a country/folk ballad style ala Dylan or Springsteen?
Patriciawa, 22/06/12, Go ahead, Lynchpin, and feel free to change lines/ words/verses etc. where necessary. Thanks for the compliment!
Patriciawa 07/02/16 Has anyone found a solution? We had had hoped that Malcolm Turnbull, PM, might be open to ideas. It seems not. This sort of article keeps coming
Patriciawa 28/12/16 More written and said in the past year, this summary may help too.
Patriciawa 30/12/16 A further PS – just met a delightful new neighbor of mine, Fatya , who might almost have read my ‘pome’ with its advice in the last few lines of verse above, ‘to come by air!‘ She told me that decades ago she flew to Australia as a tourist to visit her sister and that once here, she applied to stay. Initially she was rejected, but she persisted and applied, again and again, every three months, over the next seven years and finally became an Australian citizen.
She told me of how gradually demoralizing that had been since she had no working visa and therefore was unable to take regular employment in her trade as dressmaker. More of this later when I talk to her again. I am hoping that she will perhaps comment here and tell us the story in her own words. An important feature of this for me was about those lost years of ambition and talent wasted while young people try to gain legitimate working visas. Are refugees and boat people really taking our jobs?