Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Sharrouf Children Deserve Our Help

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Sharrouf Children Deserve Our Help

Article excerpt


I THINK it would be hard for anyone who watched ABC's Four Corners on Monday night, documenting the attempts by an Australian woman, Karen Nettleton, to get her grandchildren out of Syria, not to sympathise with her plight.

However Scott Morrison's handling of the situation in which the children of terrorist Khaled Sharrouf find themselves, has been sadly predictable.

Mr Morrison immediately ruled out helping because he did not want to "put one Australian life at risk to extract people from these dangerous situations" and conflated their situation with the sins of their father.

Sure, what their parents did was a horrific act, but surely it is now irrelevant because it is not them who are sitting in squalid conditions in a refugee camp in Syria.

Mr Morrison's "softened" stance is to now help the children if they can get to an Australian embassy or consulate which would most likely be in Turkey.

This is a hypocritical position given the history of his party's stance on people smugglers. How is he proposing they get to the consulate?

The Australian director of Human Rights Watch, Elaine Pearson, has said it is unlikely the children will be able to leave the camp and get to an embassy.

Not to play down the security concerns the government has, but as we all saw on Monday night, an Australian grandmother was able to make it in to the Al-Hawl camp and reunite with her grandchildren.

Perhaps the situation of Zaynab, Hoda and Humzeh will lead to a wake-up call for the major parties, along with the many supporters of our harsh refugee policy, and force a re-evaluation of how we view refugees.

For years the narrative has been people who travel on boats are "queue jumpers" who have reached our shore unfairly, in front of genuine refugees who come through the "proper channels". …

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