[This letter appeared in the Melbourne Age today. Miriam is an AJDS member. Joe Hockey, is the Shadow Treasurer]
Joe Hockey’s comment that parents who sent unaccompanied minors in boats to Australia were engaged in an act of bastardry shows an unbelievable lack of empathy (”Young asylum seekers pose quandary”, The Saturday Age, 6/8). Has Hockey not heard of the Kindertransport, for example, when desperate Jewish parents in Germany sent children as young as six with strangers to the UK?
Others, like my then 16-year-old aunt, were sent unaccompanied as au pairs, and still others were escorted by people smugglers over the border to Switzerland. Many of those parents never saw their children again, but this was an act of love and sacrifice on their part, not bastardry.