Last night I joined a group of people outside Sydney Town Hall. We gathered to bear witness to the situation of Baby Asha.


Asha was born in Darwin to asylum seeker parents. Early in June, her family were awoken in the middle of the night and transferred to Nauru. They were not given the opportunity to contact their lawyer. They were not able to speak with their support network. They were simply taken away. At the rally we heard from an infant feeding specialist who has spent time on the phone with Asha’s mother over the last couple of weeks. The trauma of this experience has had a big impact on mother and baby. There was a period where Asha was not able to receive enough food, as her mother was unable to feed her and the only formula available made her sick. On Nauru the family live, as all in detention live, in a mouldy tent. We already know that the conditions in the Nauru detention centre are very poor. We also know there are more babies and their families who the Government plan to transfer to Nauru.

How did we get here?


brian brown

We heard from a paediatrician who has visited the centre on Nauru. He shared what he saw and his experience of the horrors of the centre. Along with teachers, nurses, psychologists, and others who are contracted workers at onshore and offshore detention facilities the consequences for speaking out about his experience are different today than they were yesterday. Today the Border Force Act comes into play. Passed with bipartisan support, there is now a risk of up to two years in jail for those who speak out about what they see in immigration detention. What are we afraid of, when we try to silence those who offer their lives up for the care of others?

How did we get here?


I was incredibly moved by the rally. My eyes welled up with tears as I listened to the stories shared. My heart filled with anger, with shame, with sorrow as former NSW/ACT Moderator Brian Brown asked how it is that the electorate, once filled with horror by the idea of children-overboard, can now so easily dismiss the human worth of little ones like Asha.

How did we get here?


Today I am find hope in the courage and conviction of the more than 40 current and former workers at Australia’s detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island who refuse to be silenced. They write:

We have advocated, and will continue to advocate, for the health of those for whom we have a duty of care, despite the threats of imprisonment, because standing by and watching sub-standard and harmful care, child abuse and gross violations of human rights is not ethically justifiable…Evidence of the devastating effects of institutional self-protection and blindness to child abuse has been presented before the current royal commission. We are determined not to collude with a system that repeats these same mistakes.

Their full letter can be read here.


Will our voices be silent in the face of what can only be described as evil?

It’s a word we don’t use often, but there is no other word for what we see happening.

How did we get here?


Here is where we are.

But we don’t have to stay in this place.

We don’t have to accept this absurd reality.

We cannot be silent.

Learn about what is going on around you. (You could start here or here)

Write a (real, handwritten, snail-mail) letter to your local member. Write to the Prime Minister. Write to the Leader of the Opposition.

Turn up at rallies and protests and events that bear witness. Be an advocate. Welcome the stranger.

We must take up our courage and conviction to find another way.

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