The Politics    Thursday, April 23, 2015

Just fix it

By Sean Kelly

The five-year-old asylum seeker in Darwin
Sometimes the right thing to do is obvious

A little girl has post-traumatic stress disorder. She’s five years old. The PTSD appears to be the result of her experiences inside the Nauru detention centre. A report from Save the Children says she is displaying sexualised behaviour. She is in Darwin right now, with her family, due to her father’s poor health, but will soon be returned to Nauru.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said: “The minister is torturing this little child and I don't use those words lightly.” The Minister, Peter Dutton, said: “That's a repugnant statement, even beneath Sarah Hanson-Young, particularly given that 1200 people died at sea while the Greens were in government with Labor.”

Asylum seeker policy is complex. There are people who think it’s simple, but push them a little and you usually find there’s a moral ambiguity they refuse to face. I’ve had many conversations with people who have spent years of their working lives struggling with it. It’s difficult to know what to do.

Not this time, though. This matter is very simple. There is a girl – who should be starting school this year – suffering pain most of us cannot imagine, caused by her stay in a detention centre run by a government we elected. Minister, don’t send her back. 


A couple of interesting leaks from the government’s budget process. Joe Hockey is under attack for missing a razor-gang meeting. I don’t think it matters that he did – his flight got delayed and it clearly wasn’t his fault – but it is noteworthy that somebody decided to leak it. And somebody on Christopher Pyne’s side has told the press it was Tony Abbott and his office that decided to fund the controversial Bjorn Lomborg climate think tank, and not Pyne.

Accusations that girls at an Islamic school in Victoria have been banned from running because the principal believes it may cause a loss of virginity.

New research shows company boards perform better with more women on them. 

A new survey has found Australians use twice the average number of alcohol-related emoji.

Spy news: Gloria Steinem does not regret working for the CIA, and how the FBI faked an entire field of forensic science.

Peter Jukes on the newspaper politics of the UK election.

Lenore Taylor goes on the road with Malcolm Turnbull, where they watch a drag show in Birdsville and listen to community concerns about internet speed.

Allan Fels on what needs to change in mental health policy.

Drones are being used to drop contraband in US prisons.

A full list of this year’s Pulitzer winners and links to their work.

Sean Kelly

Sean Kelly is a columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, and was an adviser to Labor prime ministers Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd.

@mrseankelly

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