20 October, 2015. 8:20

CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | Contact

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ormer Prime Minister Tony Abbott has today come forward publicly, for the first time since his leadership spill, with an emotional tribute to his family, supporters and colleagues.

This comes in the shape of an open letter, penned by Mr Abbott, as he and his family prepare for a life void of scrutiny – commuting between Forestville in his home electorate and Canberra – where he now sits three rows from the front in Parliament House.

Intercepted via News.com.au, the letter also adds speculation to rumours that suggest Tony Abbott may be making a move towards column-writing for NewsLimited, where he would be joining the likes of Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine as the “more moderate” voice in their stable of opinions.

While the open letter does a good job of explaining Mr Abbott’s current head space for all those concerned, it also presents itself as a way for Mr Abbott to clean his slate… and more importantly, wash his hands.

The former Minister For Woman has surprised political commentators with his heavy focus on human rights violations in off-shore detention. An issue he says was gravely misunderstood by his government and something he regrets.

Former Prime Minister Abbott’s letter reads:

“I find it shameful how ignorant most Australians are in regards to our immigration policy. Most turn a blind eye to the human rights abuses committed by successive Governments, and have little to no idea of the statistics surrounding refugees, let alone the reasons for their exodus.

However I must confess that it is hypocritical of me to lecture anyone on the refugee issue, as I truly believed that ‘boat people’ were foreign monsters from the blood-stained plains of the endless war.

This misconception arose from a misunderstanding of the phrase ‘boat people’ and what it truly referred to.

Like many Australians, I found the invasion of ‘boat people’ terrifying.

This was mainly because I pictured ‘boat people’ as great hulking beasts, monstrous diesel spewing giants, with propellers for tails and rudders running up their spines, smoke stacks rising from their shoulders and heads like great demonic horns, huge webbed wings made of sails, and steering wheels for nipples.

Any reasonable person would be mortified by such a monster, and I more than anyone I knew, passionately argued that they should be killed, or at least detained on some great fortress archipelago in the Micronesian phosphate colony of Nauru.

When people spoke to me of ‘boat people’ swallowing razorblades and waving protest signs on the roof of a demountable I thought they were mad. “Swallowing a razor would be nothing to such a mighty beast!” I’d retort, and “a small demountable would be crushed into dust and rubble under the sheer might of such a daemon!”

It is only since I found myself relocated to the backbench of Federal Parliament that I realised that ‘boat people’ were not Titan-like Goliaths, but refugees. And very vulnerable refugees at that.

I made this discovery after accidentally reading The Sydney Morning Herald while staying the weekend at my cousin’s Western-Style guest cottage in Petersham.

Never have I been as relieved and confused as I was in that moment of realisation. This lady who has been ping-ponged back and forth from detention while carrying the unwanted child of a rapist, is in fact not a half-human/half-machine robot – but a scared Somalian Asylum seeker.

A young woman who has fallen victim to one of societies lowest predators.

So I implore people to stop using the phrase ‘boat people’ and stick with the much simpler ‘refugee’ for fear that there is more people like me out there mistaking the former as terrifying monsters.

As far as I now know, there are no continent-hopping titans intent on obliterating government house with their whirring propeller tails.

That leaves us only with the mysterious omnipotent ‘Death Cult’, which steals baby faced teens and transforms them into Vampyric undead shadow-warriors. But that’s a not a problem in our backyard, yet.

And when it does become one. It will be a problem for Mr Turnbull.

Don’t give up on me. I’ll be back.

Your mate, Tone.”


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