I have developed a deep love for our Queenscliff-Point Lonsdale coast along which I walk every day. This has been part of my routine for over twenty years. I’m impacted emotionally by the passage of large vessels as they negotiate The Rip. My walk is where emotion and history seem to collide. For me, walking the coast is a daily reminder we live in a troubled world.
One of the earliest moments in my “psycho-historical” walking of the coast was to see a large vessel, akin to the Norwegian MV Tampa, come through the heads in the months and years after the famous confrontation off Christmas Island back in 2001. https://theconversation.com/australian-politics-explainer-the-mv-tampa-and-the-transformation-of-asylum-seeker-policy-74078
That reminded me then, and the memory of it reminds me now, of my responsibility as a member of this polity. I am reminded of the way Australian Government policies have changed the way our coastline looks to those coming by sea in fragile crafts in their bid to make Australia their “safe haven.” Political parties of “both sides” have swallowed the false view that they will get more votes if they demonstrate “hairy-chested” protection of our “sovereign borders”. And as a result, the status of our polity as an Indian Ocean and South West Pacific safe haven has been severely compromised. Even after their asylum claims have been found to be valid - whether in Nauru or Manus Island - such fleeing people are not going to be settled amongst us while this cruelty prevails for electoral purposes.
So, in my regular walk I have had to get used to the fact that our coastline has undergone a profound change and my walk in its aspects of “psycho-historical sentiment” cannot shake off political responsibility. I only have to look at ‘The Rip’ to be reminded that there are many in our midst who are wanting to stay in this “safe haven” who need our assistance.