Federal MP’s Demand Answers From News Limited
Federal MP’s Rob Oakeshott and Steve Georganas have joined Welcome To Australia and Letters For Ranjini in challenging the Daily Telegraph and reporter Gemma Jones to justify their front page story on healthcare provided to refugees and asylum seekers.
“I am interested to learn what The Daily Telegraph is suggesting Australia does with pregnant women and people with poor eyesight in asylum.” Said Mr. Oakeshott.
“If the point they are making is to encourage an even better standard of healthcare for all Australians, then I totally 100% agree. But if it’s to bang the drum of xenophobia and, by doing so, marginalise asylum seekers and refugees more than what is already done, then I disagree. So I’m left wondering what the point of the article is and am genuinely interested in the response.”
Labor MP Steve Georganas said that he was deeply disappointed with the article.
“Health care is a human right” he said. “But the Daily Telegraph appear to have decided that some people in this world deserve human rights more than others”.
“It is an unsettling to read an article suggesting that a new mum with a mental health condition struggling to take care of her baby should be denied assistance” he said.
“Anyone choosing to sow fear and division instead of building tolerance and understanding should understand that they are damaging the Australian community as a whole” he said.
The MP’s comments were echoed by multicultural organisation Welcome To Australia and refugee advocacy group Letters For Ranjini.
“The use of fear and prejudice to sell papers shows contempt for Australians by prioritising profit over social harmony and community health” said Brad Chilcott, director of Welcome To Australia.
“The more we dehumanise others in our words, policy and attitudes, the more we dehumanise ourselves. Our complicity with prejudice is costly socially, economically and ethically. Is there any level on which an article like this builds a more inclusive, harmonious Australia?”
Letters For Ranjini founder Anthony Bieniak was disgusted by the further demonisation of an already vulnerable group.
“In a period where the demonisation of asylum seekers and refugees has become increasingly intense, Gemma Jones has lowered the bar even further. I never thought I’d see the day where the provision of basic health care to vulnerable people would be criticised on the front page of a major newspaper.
I would urge Gemma Jones to consult her conscience and consider the impact that such a virulent and divisive campaign has on the people she has targeted” he said.
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