Six-year-old Ezekiel Lawler writes to Senator about detention of baby in Nauru

The formidable duo: Kathleen and Ezekiel Lawler.
The formidable duo: Kathleen and Ezekiel Lawler. Photo: Kathleen Lawler

Ezekiel Lawler of Mount Elliot NSW wrote to Senator Muir three days ago regarding Australian-born asylum seeking infant Asha, who was transferred to Nauru despite explicit contrarian advice from a Government contractor, Save the Children.

Excerpts from Ezekiel's naively poignant letter are extracted below:                                           

'The national anthem says we have boundless plains to share but you have put babies and kids like me in gaol. You are not following it and you are letting down the anzacs.

No place for a newborn - the Nauru detention centre where Asha was transported to.
No place for a newborn - the Nauru detention centre where Asha was transported to. Photo: Angela Wylie

'I know that you make some very good decisions but the decision to send kids and babies to a gaol which is unsafe is not a good decision.

'If you are not going to change your decision I want you to send me and my baby brother and my mum and dad for [sic] this gaol to show you that this is not the right thing to do for any family.'

Senator Muir made a personal telephone call to the Lawler family in response and also issued the following statement:

'Senator Muir understands that Baby Asha was born at the Royal Darwin Hospital in January 2015 and that she was taken from Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation to Nauru with her parents on June 4 2015.

'He understands how important it is that every voice is heard, even if they are a child...While he understands that this is strict Government policy, he believes that consideration should be given to a moratorium on all transfers of children and families from the Australian mainland to Nauru.

'His office has made contact with the Minister's office today and he will be following up on this issue with the Minister next week.'

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This is a pleasing change of tune from Senator Muir who last year controversially secured the passage of the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment Bill, which undermines asylum seekers' rights in myriad ways.

In return for his vote, 31 babies born to asylum seekers before 4 December 2014 could remain onshore; a paltry reward for conceding to the bulldozing Bill.

Ezekiel's mother, Kathleen Lawler, says her boy's inspiration to have his say sprung from a conversation with her. "He asked me what my day was like and I said I'd been very sad because I'd been reading about baby Asha and he's a very kind-hearted little boy and he just went 'that's not right. I want to do something too'".

Baby Asha is moved from Melbourne to Nauru detention centre in the early hours of Thursday, 4 June 2015.
Baby Asha is moved from Melbourne to Nauru detention centre in the early hours of Thursday, 4 June 2015. 

His determination also arose from his little brother's death, three years prior. "He knows how much it hurts when he misses his brother. He doesn't want anyone else to feel like that".

The Lawler's bear no grudge against Senator Muir. "It was really good to see that Senator Muir's receptionist replied and recognised that this is an issue...we know that he has been working hard to protect the rights of children that are in the refugee programs," says Ms Lawler.

They intend to keep campaigning for voiceless asylum-seeking kids. "We're just taking up writing to some children that have been detained by Australia in refugee camps", says Ms Lawler. "Australians' view on refugees is so warped by what our Government has said that we don't see them as humans – and they most definitely are".

Senator Ricky Muir is known for his unconventional approach to politics.
Senator Ricky Muir is known for his unconventional approach to politics. 

Ezekiel Lawler's full email to Senator Muir can be read below. 

Hi,

My name is Ezekiel and I am 6 years old and in year 1 at Lisarow public school.You have not followed the national anthem which I have been learning about at school. The national anthem says we have boundless plains to share but you have put babies and kids like me in gaol. You are not following it and you are letting down the anzacs.

I also learnt about the anzacs and that they fought and died so that all people around the world would be free they did it for australians and everyone in the world and they invited people to come here to live. you have to let the anzac down and their dying means nothing if you don't protect the freedom they died for.

I know that you make some very good decisions but the decision to send kids and babies to a gaol which is unsafe is not a good decision. I know that you don't want the australian kids to be unsafe but these kids are just like us. Please don't leave them in the gaol that are not safe. Please bring them into Australia. Please help them to be safe, help their mums and dads to be safe so that they can be free in Australia. I know this is what the anzacs want and the people that wrote the national anthem want as well. I hope that you want Australia to be a place of free people not of people being put in gaol, not a place kids and babies dying in gaol because they're not safe.

If you are not going to change your decision I want you to send me and my baby brother and my mum and dad for this gaol to show you that this is not the right thing to do for any family.

From Ezekiel  Lawler
 

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