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Comedians fighting for 37 babies -- #LetThemStay

Andrew Hill

A hundred of Australia’s most famous comedians have joined together to fight on behalf of 37 babies.

Why?

To understand the situation, here is a brief primer on Australian policy towards refugees. Historically people seeking asylum in Australia that were able to reach physical Australia were processed inside the country, at times even allowing them to integrate with the population while their requests were processed.

With a rise in asylum seekers over the last decade or so, the government began trying to intercept asylum seekers before they physically reached Australia and sending them to processing camps in other countries. Currently, Australia operates processing camps in neighboring Nauru and the conditions are heavily criticized.

A recent Australian High Court ruling allowed the government to remove some asylum seekers who had actually reached Australia and send them to the camps. The people in question are 267 asylum seekers, 54 of whom are children, and 37 of them are babies.

Many of the asylum seekers were sent to Australia to receive emergency medical treatment after Nauru conditions proved to be a serious danger to their health. Many of the babies were even born in Australia, and some of the children had started attending Australian schools.

The current prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull is not a fan of asylum seekers being resettled in Australia and is most definitely considering the removal of these refugees.

The Australian comedians have unified to prevent the deportation of all of these refugees, especially the 37 babies. 

The comedians are used to making people laugh, but this time they were all about making people look at the cold hard truth--sending those babies back to Nauru isn’t funny. At all.

Their medium of choice? An eloquent letter:

(Warning: this letter was written by comedians so it may have language or phrasing that could offend)


“ Dear Rich White Men Who Are In Charge Of Things,

We the undersigned are professional dickheads. Between us, we have decades of experience in getting away with making people laugh and acting like it’s a respectable living. We say swears and we talk about genitals and farts and Facebook and first world problems and we wear silly costumes and shout our opinions at drunken hecklers in pubs and bars and tents across this great nation.

We ain’t no high-falutin’ city lawyers. We don’t know heaps about the constitution or the intricate details of the Migration Act or international conventions on human rights.

Indeed, many of us often fail to use the English words good and stuff.

But we know when something isn’t funny. At one time or another we’ve all delivered a line that we think is SOLID GOLD, only to be met with deafening silence. This is known as “bombing” or “comic death”. It is the worst possible experience for a comedian. Bombing elicits a sudden and powerful sensation of overwhelming dread and shame. It immediately compels you to reconsider all of your life choices and makes you want to go home and curl up into a little ball and nuzzle a bottle of wine and cry.

To us, the idea of deporting vulnerable people seeking asylum to Nauru to face the very things they sought protection from is a really, really bad joke. Like, no good. At all. We understand that the recent decision by the High Court technically makes this sort of thing legal, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth pursuing. Other things that are legal include smoking and wearing Crocs.

Come on, bros: we’re talking about 37 babies here. You politicians are supposed to kiss babies, not deport them.

As people who wear our hearts on our sleeve and who are often cynical about most things, we’re appealing to your decency and your humanity and asking you to let these people remain in Australia. Here in the community they can receive the support they need, begin to rebuild their lives and hey, maybe even come on down to a comedy show to laugh their cares away.

Yes, it is a super sticky area of public policy. But even we professional dickheads can see this isn’t the way to go about it.

Trust us, Prime Minister Turnbull and Minister Dutton – there’s nothing funny about this shemozzle.

Please get to work on some new material ASAP.

We say: #LetThemStay.


This letter was signed by 100 comedians and they’re not the only ones fighting for these cute babies. All across Australia, a #LetThemStay movement has appeared, full of signs and rallies and people fighting for justice to be served.  

Many believe sending these children and their families back is a form of torture, calling for a conversation about international human rights.

One of the comedians who took a main role in writing the letter to “Rich White Men Who Are In Charge Of Things” participated in one of the rallies:

Many refuse to be silent, so much so that they are willing to take great lengths to get the prime minister’s attention:

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These peaceful rallies, handmade signs, and written letters are a true testimony to what it means to stand up for justice. These refugees are human beings and deserve just conditions that protect their human rights and promote a healthy lifestyle. They are fleeing horrible conditions and deserve to have their claims processed quickly and fairly.

The comedians said it right when they explained that they might not know the in’s and out’s of public policy, but they know that transporting these refugees is inhumane and unjust.

Join the conversation and stay up to date with the hashtag #LetThemStay. Even though Australians have a long journey ahead, the actions of these passionate advocates reminds us that global citizens everywhere have a voice that can be used to create change!

There is strength in numbers. Social media shows that there is power in compassion, and mass compassion can triumph politics.