Politicians shame children for caring about others.

17 Dec
A Children's Introduction to UN Global Goals

A Children’s Introduction to UN Global Goals


You may have noticed yesterday’s minor furore over primary school children sending a petition to various politicians protesting the vileness, criminality and inhumanity of off-shore detention policies.

The children didn’t use those words of course, rather they asked that politicians show concern for children in off-shore detention and resettle them. They also sent drawings expressing their distress on behalf of detained children.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten claimed that eight-year-olds should be writing to Santa not getting up petitions, and federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham expressed his wish that the teachers involved be hunted down and disciplined for aiding and abetting the children’s budding awareness of human rights. Children should not be “politicised,” it was bipartisanly agreed.

Off-shore detention policies are inescapably political: it is impossible to “politicise” what is inherently political. Shorten, Birmingham et al should be owning the shamefulness of their policies, rather than shaming children for objecting and protesting.

Of course politicians don’t want children knowing, let alone caring, about the crimes and misdemeanours they continue to commit against humanity in the interests of attaining and maintaining power. However, in my experience children are far more aware of the world than most of us give them credit for. They need tools with which to deal with the deceits and duplicities of politicians, and politicians have only themselves to blame for this parlous situation.

What is most wickedly deceptive and destructive is the conflation of concern for the welfare of others with so-called  “politicisation.” We’ve had decades of contempt for “lefty bleeding hearts.” We have now reached a stage at which anyone expressing concern over the state (and compliant media) treatment of refugees, asylum seekers, Indigenous Australians, those struggling with poverty, mental health, disability and the myriad other challenges people face in a country in which increasingly the only concerns that matter are those of the alpha white male and his consort, is immediately accused of the manufactured offence of “politicisation.” Or my particular favourite, Political Correctness Gone Mad (PCGM).

Do we really want to grow children who believe that caring about the fate of others is something to be ashamed of?

The abysmal legal and moral failure by both major parties to fulfil their responsibilities to asylum seekers and refugees under both international and domestic law is the core problem, not children or anyone else protesting this failure.

If you want your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, children you know and or teach to become aware of the human rights of others, I recommend this rather lovely book, titled 2030 Not a Fairytale. In 2015 world leaders adopted the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, setting seventeen Global Goals to be attained by 2030. These goals are simply explained to young children, and are an excellent introduction to caring about the world they’ll inherit and the people in it.

I know I’m being dangerously subversive, suggesting the politicisation of children. Shoot me.

As for whether or not the 2030 goals will be attained, and the usefulness or otherwise of world leaders at the UN setting them, that’s another story we have to tell children at another time. First, let’s brainwash them into caring.








18 Responses to “Politicians shame children for caring about others.”

  1. townsvilleblog December 17, 2016 at 11:31 am #

    For the politicians tis the season to be jolly, not a season for giving.


  2. paul walter. December 17, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

    I had to laugh at the opening dealing with Shorten and Birmingham..Wilson just has that knack for flair in her writings and my ribs are hurting just now, bar humbug.

    I think kids doing that has been round for as least as long as I have, part of community pushback against the nonsenses of the people running things.
    This ruminating on Xmas put the writer in mind of:


    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 17, 2016 at 2:06 pm #

      Ah, PW, a great friend read that at mine & Arnie’s wedding. Much loved piece.


      • paul walter. December 17, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

        Its haunting.


  3. mish of the catlady ascendancy December 17, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

    “Do we really want to grow children who believe that caring about the fate of others is something to be ashamed of?”

    I stopped at that and re-read it a few times. Wow.
    Thanks, Jennifer.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mish of the catlady ascendancy December 17, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

    Oops, hit ‘post’ before I was done. This has obvious parallels with Dutton earlier in the week – his “blood boils”, he said, at the idea of a school changing the words of xmas carols, whereas many of us feel this same blood-boiling rage in response to his treatment of refugees. Priorities…
    (yes, I am moral high-grounding and I don’t care at this point) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • paul walter. December 17, 2016 at 5:14 pm #

      Hundreds of thousands of folk are wondering at this. Nutters, asylums…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson December 18, 2016 at 6:39 am #


        PW, I can’t remember if I’ve given you this link at some other time, or if you’re already familiar with Brain Pickings.
        If not, I think you might enjoy it.
        As might anyone else here.


        • paul walter. December 18, 2016 at 4:13 pm #

          Its a gentle nudge and helps me reconcile to failed conversations with others here and elsewhere.

          The Hat story suggests that not everything has an easy solution, sometimes an effort of engagement must be applied which is unglamorous for the work involved and again, to not expect a subjectively desired solution in a real world.

          With the Tortoises and the Hat, whatever satisfaction derived comes from an unexpected quarter, not ownership of the hat itself, but in the effort of working out a fair solution that obviates the original blockage and allows for the satisfaction of a clear conscience instead.


    • Jennifer Wilson December 18, 2016 at 6:03 am #

      Yes, I came to the conclusion that this was Dutton dog whistling again.* We can’t have proper carols anymore cos Muslims* sort of thing. I can’t believe he actually cares about carols, ad anyway, there’s no chance shopping centres will be persuaded to stop playing them, unfortunately.


  5. Sands Ellis December 17, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

    Excellent article Jennifer.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. helvityni December 17, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

    The bastards contaminate every aspect of our lives, and the spineless Shorten goes along with them with his weak ‘me toos’…

    Didn’t he say the other day that he and Mal are not all that different…


    • Marilyn December 17, 2016 at 8:04 pm #

      Two rich spoilt catholic brats

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Cat December 17, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

    Well said Jennifer.

    Bill Shorten should be ashamed of himself. He attended Xavier College, a Jesuit school which places a high value on social justice.

    As a general point what is wrong with school children learning to debate and inquire from an early age; to learn how to think and challenge.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Stephanie Cornwallis December 18, 2016 at 9:06 pm #

    I came across this quote in Peter FitzSimons’ column in the Sydney Morning Herald:

    “Are you truly incapable of shame? Is there literally nothing that can shame you?”
    Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN, to Syria as reports came through of civilian massacres in Aleppo.

    It’s from Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN, to Syria as reports came through of civilian massacres in Aleppo.

    OK. One could argue life on Nauru and Manus are not quite as bad as in Aleppo. After all, the only things going awry on Australia’s offshore detention gulags are the occasional rape, a murder or two, intimidation, some bashings, widespread despair and depression especially amongst children, the occasional death owing to inadequate medical intervention, children living for years behind razor wire, the intolerable heat and humidity, the failure of the current government to expedite the asylum processing of the detainees despite their naming Nauru and Manus “offshore processing centres”, the never-ending disingenuousness about saving lives at sea, oh look, make your own list, I’ve frankly run out of steam.

    Just how long do we have to continue living with this eternal bullshit? It started way back in 1989 under the Hawke government, yes, 27 years ago when they started to incarcerate asylum seekers because their arrival by boat might have embarrassed Gareth Evans while he was trying to carve out his place in history and solve the Cambodia crisis. Then the Keating government in 1992 discovered it had been breaking the law for three years and hastened to implement retrospective law to make locking the poor buggers up legal. After a fashion.

    Then we got Howard and his post-9/11 “children overboard” lie and his “we will decide” election campaign, and another six years of Ruddock/Vanstone/Andrews bullshit.

    Then we got Gillard and her vile Malaysia proposal, Rudd and his reinstatement of the Howard Pacific regime, then the appalling Abbott/Morrison “stop-the-boats” atrocity, and now we have potato-head Dutton and, well, you know as well as anyone what he does and thinks.

    I AM SICK TO THE FRICKING BACK TEETH OF THIS. 15 years, this has been going on. 27 years, if you count from the Hawke regime’s first compulsory lock-up. It really has to stop somewhere.

    Can we really not start confronting our politicians regularly with the question “Are you truly incapable of shame? Both of you? Both major parties? Is there literally nothing that can shame you?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 18, 2016 at 9:38 pm #

      Yep. 27 years of it, Stephanie. And no end in sight.
      At least not as long as Australians keep voting for the major parties and their refugee policies.
      As for them feeling shame – I believe they are capable of feeling shame, but even more capable of denying that shame in the interests of power.
      Not a pretty picture.


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