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A letter to Tony Abbott: “Not everybody dies at sea”

Dear Tony Abbott,

Unless you have no respect for human life, especially for those who attempt to escape from their miserable existence to take ‘illegal’ refuge in this country, you should be saddened by the deaths that occur in our northern waters of those very people who seek a better life in our free land. But apparently you aren’t:

One well-placed Liberal source told The Australian that Abbott would rather see Labor continue to bleed politically with ongoing boat arrivals. If that means deaths at sea continue, he said, so be it.

Doesn’t that haunt you?

It is disgraceful that your hence blame the Government for these deaths. It is gutter politics. Crocodile tears are shed for ‘illegal immigrants’ who die in rickety boats, while knowing full well that it is favourable to your political fortunes to have them drown at sea. And why is it favourable? Because your words endeavour to make it so, that’s why. This recent piece in The Guardian, “Is the asylum problem a ‘national emergency’, as Tony Abbott says?” hardens my glare at you.

This “crisis”, in Abbott’s opinion, involves the tens of thousands of irregular maritime arrivals and hundreds of deaths at sea under the Labor government, described by Abbott as a “national emergency” during the policy announcement.

I’m perplexed that you are outwardly so concerned about the number of íllegal immigrants’ dying at sea. The number of deaths aren’t small, yet they are small compared to the number of deaths suffered by ‘ordinary’ Australians for which you have not one policy to address. Perhaps it’s because you can’t grab some political mileage from them, which is the purpose of this letter. Here are some examples.

Over 2100 Australians commit suicide each year. How many of these people were ignored, neglected or marginalised by society? How many were the result of bullying? How many were due to a mental illness? Mr Abbott, do you have any policies to address this, or don’t you care? Please let us know either way.

Over 1000 Australians a year die due to illicit drug related incidences. Tony Abbott, do you have any policies to address this, or don’t you care? Please let us know either way. And should you care to follow the link just provided you’ll notice that there are also 19,000 deaths that are associated with tobacco use. Unlike the asylum seeker deaths I doubt this will concern you. Your objection to plain paper packaging of cigarette packets is well-known. Could it be because between 1998 and 2011 your party received over $3 million in donations from tobacco companies? Personally, I find this a bit odd given you were the Minister of Health in the Howard Government. There wouldn’t be a health professional in the world who disputes the dangers of smoking and I have difficulty comprehending your stand stand when considering your portfolio background and ‘headlining’ commitment to your own good health.

I’m not expecting any of these to be addressed as it will actually mean that policies will need to be formulated or services promised. As Minister for Health under the Howard Government you had no hesitation to heartlessly rip $1B out of health care funding without a single thought of the consequences. You even tried to justify your actions. Now all of a sudden you are concerned about the deaths of refugees and I doubt that these concerns are genuine. Really, you have no compunction about these people dying in their own country. You might remember you belonged to a government that was quite happy to take the war to them.

Take a look at what’s happening in your own backyard; people are dying from preventable deaths. Is it too much to ask to stop and think about these? What’s going to happen when and if you are Prime Minister of this country? Turning boats around so the refugees can die somewhere else is an act of neglect. Coming up with nothing to stop the deaths from those cited above is also an act of neglect.

I would be thrilled if you were to show some genuine passion for the victims of tragic deaths in this country. Show us you care by showing us a policy. Forget about chanting “Stop the boats”. Focus on trying to “Stop the deaths”.

Face the truth, refugees will continue to die and it won’t be your fault or Labor’s fault. Stop blaming someone else all the time. Remember how you blamed the Government for those four unfortunate deaths under the Home Insulation Program? Might I ask what policies have you implemented to create safer work environments or reduce shoddy work practices? I know the answer: absolutely none. While you can gain political advantage out of people dying you see no incentive whatsoever to come up with a remedy. These deaths are a convenience for you. I find that pathetic. Over 200 Australians a year die because of industrial deaths. How many were the result of unsafe work practices? Mr Abbott, I ask again, do you have any policies to address this, or don’t you care? Please let us know either way.

You are a person who says everything and does nothing.

Not everybody dies at sea. Or in a ceiling installing insulation for that matter. Rather than trying to gain political traction over select deaths, show some concern about those deaths that you cant use for political mileage.

Photo courtesy of The Daily Telegraph Pole

Photo courtesy of The Daily Telegraph Pole

29 comments

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  1. Fed up

    Michael, not sure it is not Mr. Abbott’s fault, if the boats keep coming, Why does not ABC 7.30 send a reporter to Indonesia, tp ask the smugglers, and those who say they are still coming, what do they think of the comments of Morrison and Abbott.

    I am sure, what they are saying, is well reported in the region.

    After all, we know if Abbott gets them in, they will be allow to come, with TPV, which after three or more years, will end up permanent. At least the families will be together.

    I believe that most would have worked out, it is unlikely that Abbott will be in a position to do a deal; with PNG, or Indonesia for that matter.

    Just a fact, pulling up what the Opposition is saying, that they will keep the numbers at what they are today. 13,000. This is not true, the number is 20,000 to be increased to 27.000. Yes, I believe 14, 000 less than the Opposition’s figure.

    I am sure those in the regions, will appreciate Abbott taking that many less.

  2. dazza

    the one who caused this problem and so far failed to accept responsibility is kevin rudd, maybe your pen could be pointed at him Michael taylor, or are you and your fellow journalists still indebted to the pm for all his leaks to the press during Julia gillards tenure.

  3. Möbius Ecko

    Just how did Rudd cause the problem dazza, wasn’t it Howard who lied to illegally invade another country that is in part the cause of the refugee problem worldwide?

    Did Rudd cause the wars, famine etc, and isn’t it Rudd whose trying to do something about global warming which is another growing cause of refugees?

  4. Michael Taylor

    Gosh dazza, you’ve found me out. I’ve tried to keep it a secret that Kevin Rudd phoned me at least once a week in order to get a few rumours circulating. Like they say, you can’t fool everybody. You’re too smart for me.

  5. Dan Rowden

    So, quotes from un-named “well placed” sources from pseudo-journalists working for a Murdoch rag become legitimate all of a sudden when they suit our purposes, Michael? Excuse my cynicism with regard to your use of that. The rest of the article is beyond my capacity for comment because I have no idea if the Coalition have policies with regard to the issues you raise or not. I suspect you don’t either. Maybe someone should ask them. Isn’t that what journalists do? I mean, in all seriousness, did you write to a single Liberal or National candidate or party source to see if they do before putting this to “print”?

  6. Fed up

    “I have no idea if the Coalition have policies with regard to the issues you raise or not. ”

    I think this might be the problem, No one has any idea, including Mr. Abbott himself I suspect.

  7. Fed up

    Yes we know Abbott has aspirations propositions. We know he is going to send all to the Productivity Commission. Yes there will be plenty of White papers, maybe even Green ones.

    As for policy, that we have no idea.

  8. Dan Rowden

    Hey “Fed up”. Let’s not be lazy about this stuff. If we want to know if they have actual policies regarding any particular thing you can just ask the candidate in your electorate about it. You’ll soon know if they do or not based on the reply – or lack thereof. But we can’t just imply they don’t when we don’t really know. That’s cheap-shot territory. I mean, we of all people should know better than to rely on the media for information. Go to the source, like journalists used to do, back in a day, you know, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and stuff…

  9. Fed up

    I do not know about being lazy., I do listen to every interview that Abbott and co gives. I listen to their speeches. I read Battle Lines. I have read that pamphlet, that Abbott holds close to his chest. I even get their new letters.

    Yes, I have seen very little policy.

    Yes, I am a glutton for punishment, when I seek out what Abbott is really about.

    Just when I think I have it, he changes course.

  10. Fed up

    Dan, maybe you can explain some to us, show us why we should support Abbott.

    if you can, you will be the first to these sites that can. We have been asking for years, for someone to do so, with not one taker.

  11. Dan Rowden

    Why the hell do you think I support Abbott? Honestly, if you interpret a call for reasonable levels of intellectual standard as support for Abbott, I have to wonder about this place. Abbott is a religious nutter who must be stopped. He makes my skin crawl, as do all members of the Christian faction of the Liberal Party. I have no philosophic empathy or sympathy for or with any “conservative” political philosophy. I’ve been involved in serious philosophical endeavours for 20 years so maybe I expect a higher standard than exists in general political discourse, but I am what I am.

    I will be volunteering my time in my local Labor member’s electoral office this election so as to keep Abbott out of power. I’ve never done that sort of thing before; that’s how much Abbott scares me.

  12. Roswell

    Dan, with an election coming on don’t you think it odd that journalists should be digging to find out what Tony Abbott’s policies are? And do you think that Tony Abbott is trying to get political mileage out of deaths? In my opinion he only does this as he has nothing to offer.

  13. Fed up

    Dan, I am glad you fear Abbott, as many others do. Saying that, I have no idea where you are coming from with your remarks, or what you are trying to prove.

  14. Ricky Pann

    Micheal apparently your pen is mightier than Julia’s sword?

  15. Dan Rowden

    Roswell,

    Opposition parties historically get something of a free ride from the media with regard to policy and costing. It’s just how it is. It’s exaggerated this time because of the blatantly transparent agenda of the Murdoch press, who own so much of Australia’s media. The others are piss-poor, but not as bad. Our media are struggling financially so they will naturally gravitate to what grants them the easiest profit. We have a role in that as consumers and we shouldn’t forget that.

    As for Tony Abbott trying to get political mileage out of deaths, yes, he is. But then so is everyone in reality. It’s the nature of the beast. It’s ultimately the facts that matter. The question is how many Australians care about those facts and will thereby arm themselves against the manipulation of those facts. It really does boil down to how much the individual person gives a shit.

    Fed up,

    If you don’t know what I’m on about, then we have a problem. 🙂

  16. Fed up

    Maybe I took you too literally. I see where what you say, could be ironic.

  17. Roswell

    Dan, I think you’re right. Nobody cares, sadly. Take road deaths, for example. Nobody bats an eyelid if 40 die over the Xmas break. It’s an expected statistic. Like I said, sad.

  18. Todd Gordon

    Abbott is just not a fit and proper man to represent this fine country as our PM, he is a disgrace as a man and a politician. Rudd however is an exceptional man, an inspirational leader who makes me very proud of my Prime Minister.

  19. I Don't Know

    I’m with Dan Rowden, Fed Up, Roswell, you missed Dans original point and then missed it when he tried to get you to see his point And Then assumed the worst. I’m shit scared of Abbott and his cronies but I have asked what Dan has asked in the past. If we are to keep Abbott out, we can’t use ” well placed sources ” as the means to write an article. We need to be better than that, better than what Abbott and Co do all the time ‘ A reliable source said ” the MSM and Libs use that all the time.
    . I’m worried as well if some on here are all too ready to slam someone for asking an in telligent question or bringing up and intelligent point even if it means we have to ask questions of ourselves. That’s what makes great people, asking if you could have done it better for the better of everyone.
    Don’t be so cheap and easy, you come off like the Telegraph.

  20. matt

    Brilliant read.
    Bet that’s not in ‘the pamphlet’.

  21. CMMC

    Once again, the refugees in Indonesian camps get the same internet and news as we do.

    What would influence their decision to set out for Australian shores? Well, they would be getting Abbott telling them on a daily basis that the Govt has completely failed to prevent boat arrivals so just “Come on down!”.

    He knows this, he is the pull-factor.

  22. Michael Taylor

    I Don’t Know, that was a direct quote from The Australian. A link to the article has been provided.

  23. Möbius Ecko

    CMMC that is an important point that I once heard canvassed not long after Rudd changed the asylum seeker policy on gain government.

    I wish it were taken further but there seems to be some credibility to the pull factor of the opposition of quite deliberately shouting long and hard that Australia had gone soft on border protection and had opened its doors to asylum seekers.

    I hope one day a quantitative study is done on this with information from people smugglers and asylum seekers and Abbott’s role in encouraging asylum seekers fully explored.

    http://www.sauer-thompson.com/archives/opinion/2011/06/17/MoirA%2C%20Abbott%2C%20boats.jpg

  24. doctorrob54

    Dazza what a brilliant man,what do you people actually read ?.

  25. hannahquinn

    Reblogged this on The Kettle Press and commented:
    Anything and everything is fair game to Tony Abbott’s ambition to be PM

  26. rossleighbrisbane

    I notice that the front page of The Australian has details about the Coalition’s plans for Nauru. Scott Morrison refers to their “5 year plan”.
    But isn’t Abbott going to “stop the boats”? Why will we need to be in Nauru that long?

  27. opinionatedintrovertdoc

    I am so sick of the point-scoring and race to the bottom this election campaign has become. There will always be refugees from somewhere in the world. Australia’s response should be bipartisan and informed my people who understand the global complexities. Three word slogans and appealing to fear and xenophobia just shames us all.

    Yes Yes let’s hear some actual policies designed to improve the lot of us ordinary Aussies.

  28. diannaart

    Michael

    It is well researched and presented articles such as this that will continue to keep me from the MSM rhetoric.

    Nor do I see Rudd as much better – but it is rather difficult to fit two such enormous… egos in one article.

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