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My letter to Chris Bowen

Courtesy of the Australian Greens Senator, Sarah Hanson-Young, there is a letter writing campaign to Chris Bowen, the new minister for immigration in Australia. Here's my letter:

Dear Minister,

It’s time to fix our immigration system.

Our current immigration system is failing the world’s most vulnerable people.

As an Australian business person living overseas, it is shocking how badly the Australian government's treatment of asylum seekers is seen in foreign countries. Australians are no longer identified with the concept of a "fair go"; we are now associated with "stop now": xenophobia, racism, religious intolerance, authoritarianism and servitude to American imperialism. This directly impacts foreigners readiness to collaborate and trade with Australians, it is directly impacting our foreign trade opportunities.

Australia has overly low unemployment, with skills shortages, yet we are spending money to turn away people with the most need for a new home and the most capability and skills to escape to Australia.

As a new Minister please use this opportunity to adopt a more humane and practical system. We need an immediate end to children in detention, a lifting of suspension of claims and a shift away from off-shore processing.

Please treat asylum seekers and refugees with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Yours sincerely,

Leigh Smith

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