Tony Abbott’s old school hits out at asylum seeker stance as ‘betraying moral values’

August 21, 2013

The St Ignatius advocacy group : Henry Gallagher, Dan Weber and Andrew Bouffler.The St Ignatius advocacy group : Henry Gallagher, Dan Weber and Andrew Bouffler. Photo: Jacky Ghossein

If Henry Gallagher, a year 12 student at Saint Ignatius’ College, Riverview in Sydney, reduced his heartfelt message to Tony Abbott, one of the school’s best-known old boys, to a five-word slogan, it would be something like: “Remember where you came from.”

As Tony Abbott and another Riverview alumnus, Barnaby Joyce, prepare for the prospect of filling two of the most senior positions in a Coalition government after September 7, students at their alma mater are alarmed that they have forsaken the Jesuit values that underpinned their educations.

We feel compelled to express our disappointment that, as graduates of our Jesuit schools, you would allow those principles, cultivated in our common tradition, to be betrayed.

Led by Henry, 17, the students have expressed their dismay at what they say is the betrayal of those values by both sides of politics and appealed for policies that promote “a more moral, and a more just Australia”.

Tony Abbott in 1975, his final year at St Ignatius College, Riverview - he played in the school's 2nd XV rugby team.Tony Abbott in 1975, his final year at St Ignatius College, Riverview – he played in the school’s 2nd XV rugby team.

To ensure that the message hit home, they sent a letter penned by Henry and a petition of 450 signatures (most of them Riverview students) by courier to the electorate offices of the two old boys and three other prominent MPs with a Jesuit education: the Liberal Party’s Joe Hockey and Christopher Pyne, and Labor’s Bill Shorten.

Advertisement

Mr Abbott is a former senior vice-captain of the school and completed his studies in 1975. Mr Joyce did not hold a leadership position and finished in 1985.

“We feel compelled to express our disappointment that, as graduates of our Jesuit schools, you would allow those principles, cultivated in our common tradition, to be betrayed,” Henry writes.

“We look for heroes among our alumni, for insignes (generous and influential people, as Ignatius styled them). Instead we see only allegiances to parties that trade human lives for political expediency, that choose the lowest common denominator to woo the populace, and that speak of economic problems rather than the dignity of the human person, especially the most vulnerable.”

The letter says the policies of the Coalition and Labor “betray our national character of being large-hearted, of giving someone ‘a fair go’, and of ‘helping the battler’. They lack moral courage and, in the light of our international obligations, may be illegal”.

In between trial exams, Henry told Fairfax Media a catalyst for the action had been hearing the stories of refugees who are attending Riverview on scholarships. “Knowing first-hand the direct conflicts they have faced and seeing politicians making decisions that aren’t taking into account humanity made us very upset.

“We wanted to evoke the feeling of what they experienced at Riverview and try to remind them that, when it comes right down to it, it’s not about making decisions based on politics. It’s about trying to come back to core values.”

“We think it’s important to remind Tony Abbott, as a very outspoken Catholic, that he should take Jesuit ideals into account in his decisions.”

Although he did not expect to change the policies of the major parties before the September election, he did hope to encourage a conversation inside the party rooms on both sides on the need for moral courage and generosity of spirit.

He also urged the politicians to apply Jesuit principles to other policy questions.

“This is a very disheartening time for us. But your stance on this issue simply impels us to live out our Ignatian heritage in a more authentic way,” Henry writes in the letter.

“It is imperative that we show our support if we want to push for a more moral, and a more just Australia. Remember how Jesus said our lives would be judged: ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me’.”

One less than encouraging omen is that, two weeks after writing, he is yet to receive a reply from any of the politicians

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/tony-abbotts-old-school-hits-out-at-asylum-seeker-stance-as-betraying-moral-values-20130821-2savt.html#ixzz2ccBkC4C5

3 Comments

Filed under Asylum Policy, Public Reaction/Perception Towards Asylum Seekers

3 responses to “Tony Abbott’s old school hits out at asylum seeker stance as ‘betraying moral values’

  1. Tony Abbott is utterly unfit for public office. This vilest of men stands in front of a camera and states “I understand my gay sister’s feelings’ and then he personally opposes gay marriage by not moving to immediately make it party policy, this is discrimination, discrimination is gay hatred, do this to your own sister is the vilest level of hatred a man can stoop to. This vile anti-gay and ‘gay-hating’ man by this duplicitous behaviour is an abject LIAR, a pathological liar. To stand in front of a camera and publicly state asylum seekers escaping are a ‘peaceful-INVASION’ is the vilest of racism and demonization of tragic circumstances that befall our sisters and brothers. He also stands beside Scott Morrison who wants asylum seekers living in the community ‘targeted’ and made ‘known to authorities’, this was done to the Jews in Hitler’s Germany it is the vilest of demonization and discrimination. Finally this man Abbott ‘fully-agrees’ with John Winston Howard killing 1 million Iraqi citizens of Iraq in an illegal war and has a deep hatred of women by being part of an organisation that deeply discriminates against women by barring them ordination. This is hatred of women. To not vehemently oppose these fundamental rights of the modern world is discrimination, it is hatred.
    Glenn Floyd Victorian Independent Senate Candidate
    http://www.glennfloyd.org/tertiary.pdf
    http://www.iccaction.com/ROXON.pdf

  2. Gratified to read this story. I have a young relative who goes to a Catholic Boarding School and his school also condemns Labour and Liberals’ stance on asylum seekers. Unfortunately, there seems to be a generation who are unmoved.. Something went very wrong…

  3. Mo

    Yes it did, Abbot also has the ‘right’ to his own opinion and not to be attacked if he doesn’t agree with gay marriage. Just because his sister is gay doesn’t mean he has to agree. He also has the right to believe he wants to keep Australia’s borders safe, to allow the country to choose who arrives in it!
    What about the poor people in Syria, so many now suffering…can we really solve the problem by bringing them all here? There is also the problem of Sudan, they live in appalling conditions where refugee camps are so basic…should they be here too?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s