Last year, Kylie Beach was arrested for peacefully protesting Australia’s stance on asylum seekers. Today, she faces court for the first time.
Today, I will face court for peacefully protesting in the Prime Minister’s office last year. It was the last week of Parliament sitting before the Christmas break and I, along with five other Christian leaders, was calling on the Government to pass amendments that would see all children out of offshore detention centres in time for Christmas.
Unsurprisingly, the Government were unmoved by our requests. We were arrested when we refused to leave, and I went home to tuck my own kids into warm and safe beds that night.
That’s the reason for me. It’s the tucking in of my 8-year-old son every night. It’s the trying to make him stay in bed when he gets up for a million reasons over the next hour. It’s telling him that he needs sleep so that he can concentrate and learn at school the next day.
Meanwhile, there are parents on Nauru who are also tucking their kids into bed and hoping that they sleep. And those parents have had to fight much harder than I have for their children’s safety. They are much more courageous than I am. They are the kind of people I want to be my friends and neighbours.
Yet our Government has made their lives a political point scorer, pressing on Australia’s fear of others button that they know rarely fails. They’ve created a whole language that demonises vulnerable people who have come to us looking for safety and a place to make a new home.
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I’ve written letters and Facebook posts and signed petitions and gone to rallies. The UN has condemned our country’s policies and almost every sectors’ professionals have made statements – even our State Premiers have spoken up. All to no avail.
So what’s an average mum to do, in the face of such injustice? How can I advocate best for the brave parents on Nauru, who have been left with so little hope and whose voices have been silenced?
I don’t actually know, to be honest. But in November, it was sitting on the floor of the PM’s office, praying for change and refusing to leave until the police escorted me out.
And today, it’s going to court to answer the charge.
You can find out more about what Kylie Beach and Love Makes A Way are doing, here.