This week a report was issued about the appalling situation of children being kept in detention with their parents who came over to Australia in boats, generally called the boat people. These arrivals have now stopped because the government used exceedingly harsh methods to stop them. This was mainly centred on deporting them immediately to a poor neighbouring country who were happy to take them in exchange for huge amounts of money to do so. As a result of this, many of them, including their children, are stashed away, out of sight and out of mind, in poverty and detention conditions which would not be acceptable here. The children have very low future prospects.

This recent report into the situation the children are in has been released by very highly qualified professionals, giving the number of children and conditions in this situation. The government’s immediate reaction was to say that there are now fewer children in detention than under the previous government. This is a completely irrelevant response that gets neither us, nor the children, anywhere. We are wrecking these children’s lives and the response is that it is being done less than it used to be, and parallels the wife beater who says in his defence that he is doing it less than he used to. The trouble is that such an unintelligent response is more understandable in the latter case. Apparently the government is not even prepared to tell us what it is doing (or not doing) to address the problem. We are told that they have asked for the resignation of the highly qualified author of the report – a ‘shoot the messenger’ approach.

Of course children in detention are not the only ones whose needs are not being met. Many children across the world are essentially being deprived of their real lives, mainly through poverty, with lack of access to essentials and education, the latter preventing them from taking their true place in the world. At the same time the number of extremely rich people in the world is growing. As I’ve pointed out many times this wealth is actually accrued by taking money off other people, either legally or otherwise. Then the rest of the world admires them.

I wonder if the attitude of the acquirers of this wealth think that because being rich is admired it automatically means that they have no obligation towards those in the world who lack basic essentials, particularly children in all situations, including in detention. If wealth were more evenly distributed many of the problems that people, and the world, face would disappear. Unfortunately we may not find out until the next life that this is what we are intended to work out for ourselves. Perhaps it may even be a test for us. We won’t know until it is too late. Meanwhile the children are the ones who suffer.

We older people have seen it happening for so long.