On the drive to school this morning folks on the radio were talking about Christmas Island. Of course, all my girls heard was Christmas Island.
“There’s no such thing!” declared the Little Sister.
"There is", I said, "but it’s not like the North Pole".
“It’s a beach where people go to have Christmas” announced the Big Sister.
"No", I said, "it’s just an island north of Australia. At the moment the Government have a temporary jail there. They’re keeping people who want to live in Australia there until they decide what to do with them."
"Why do they want to come to Australia?"
"Because their homes aren't safe anymore because of wars and fighting."
"Why are they keeping them in jail?"
"Well some Australians are frightened that they’re not good people."
“They’re not respecting the national anthem!” declared the Big Sister for the back seat.
She began to sing “for those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share.
“That bit Mummy, they’re not respecting that bit.”
“I know darling”, I said. “You should tell the Prime Minister.”
We pulled onto the road to school and the topic passed.
The drive home from school this afternoon was nothing special. I certainly didn’t raise the topic of asylum seekers, I’ve been trying to shelter my kids from news I think they’re too little to process.
Then, out of nowhere, she remembered, got out her textas and started to pen a letter to the PM. I helped with the spelling but the words are hers.
“Dear Prime Minister Turnbull,
The jail on Christmas Island isn't respecting the National Anthem of this part. For those who’ve come across the seas we’ve boundless plains to share.
So please let the refugees come to Australia.
From Lillian Smyth. age 7 ?"
She posted her letter this afternoon. I heard her chatting with Nan later.
“Writing to the Prime Minister is a bit scary”, she said.
“It is”, agreed Nan, “but if no one swallowed their fear and wrote to him, he’d never know.”
do you think the PM will answer her letter?