My Faith Will Heal

Being a Sunday, I thought I would write about my faith. No, I’m not talking about religion, although at times religious groups have been against my faith, while at the same time rejoicing in all it h done for them. No, I’m not going to rant about rights and wrongs. All I’m doing here is talking about my faith, and how it affects my life, and why I believe in it, when most of the time it gets things wrong.

Yes, I love science. Not scientists in particular, but the art of science itself. The asking of a question, the search for the answer, the countless number of times things go wrong, but in going wrong, it’s an achievement, because it’s a step closer to possibly knowing what is right.

Think of science in this way. You have a phone number, but need to know the address. Reverse telephone directories don’t exist, the Internet doesn’t exist to find the number, the only way you can find it is to look it up in a telephone book.

There in lies the first problem, working out how you are going to search for the number. Let’s say the number is 8866-5544. There are a variety of ways you can try to cut down the workload required. You could only look on pages where the first number on that page starts with 88. You could decided that because it’s an even number, you only look on even numbered pages. You may decide the the only way is to look at each number, check it off, and go through the entire book that way. A very long process indeed.

A good starting point would be to find out what research other people had done in the area of telephone numbers, and see if that research is or isn’t relevant to what you are researching. Through that process you may find that someone else has worked out that the telephone numbers that start between 86XX-XXXX and 89XX-XXXX are all in the town of Dumdorey, and that town has a telephone book with just those numbers in it.

So before you have wen started to physically looked for the number, you’ve done a hell of a lot of research and checking. You haven’t just blindly said “Well I’ve been told the answer is in this book, so I better start looking randomly”.

It’s this research that has me marveling at the work scientists do. They are the ultimate optimists, who keep going when things go wrong, because being wrong means being successful. Don’t get me wrong, there are crackpots out there doing scientific research, or people researching stuff claiming to be scientific, and even others who claim that the mystic wonders of unknown origin are all the science we need. Please, people don’t get confused.

Yes, I put my faith in science not because it is always right, but because it is always searching for the correct way, and usually better way. I say usually better way because they may find eating a kiwi fruit is better for you, but it certainly tastes better when sliced up and on top of a pavlova.

I feel I must also point out that science is very humble. Recently there was a discovery of things moving faster than the speed of light. This is a major breakthrough in science and discovery, that has wide ranging ramifications across so many walks of life. But what did the scientists do who discovers this amazing thing? They said they had to check. Even though they discovered it, they were not convinced, so they checked over everything, and found out they were wrong. Through failing to prove something moving faster than the speed of light, they did discover an error in a computer that caused them to think they had made a major discovery. But that error was a success, because now they have fixed that computer problem, they know that future experiments will give a more accurate finding.

You see, even through failing, we learn, we don’t just accept failure as the way it is. That’s why I put my faith in science.

A Three Hour Tour

Righteo, for the Sunday Light this week, let’s look at the dreaded Boat People.


To start off with, let’s move right away from that scaremongering term Boat People, or for that matter, Illegal Immigrants, Asylum Seekers, Terrorists, Unwelcomes, or any other kind of negative term you want to put on these people, and let’s just call them people. There you go, it wasn’t hard to humanise these people was it.


The number of people who arrive in Australia each year is a (excuse the Tampa pun) drop in the ocean, compared with other countries around the world. We’re a pretty hard place to get to, which is why the vast majority of people who are in this country illegally fly here. Yep, about 50,000 a year, compared to a couple of thousand, if that, by boat.


But I wan to get away from the “How did they get here?” Debate, and look at the “What are we going to do with them?” Debate.


Now I am for compulsory detention when people arrive here after a bloody long trip on a boat, but that’s because of this little thing we have in Australia called quarantine. We are unique in the world, in that we are a country of such diversity, yet so isolated. It is that isolation that has kept out many diseases that cause havoc all around the world. Now if you’re running from a war torn country, fleeing for your life, I’m pretty sure one of the last things on your mind would be to check off the Unwanted Goods card before you arrived here. It’s not only the stuff people carry with them, but also diseases that people have too. A few months in isolation, getting medical treatment for any ills, and being checked for any known diseases would be a good thing for this country as a whole. But I think the more important aspect of that, is these people might be getting the first real medical care of their lives.


Now people who arrive here fall broadly into two categories, those who can be verified, and those who can’t. Verified means someone has all the checks and balances to say who they are, others basically have no paperwork.

Regardless of verified or not, let’s get these people active in the community as fast as possible, with only a slight difference between the two. Here’s how the plan works:

Let’s say three months to get all the medical and other checks done. After that, let’s get these people into the community, under a work for the dole type scheme. All school aged kids go to school, while their parents work and get educated. They could work for three days of the week, get English and social lessons the other two days, giving them the weekends off to spend with the kids. During the three days they are working, well that’s time spent doing work which benefits Australia. It could be creating a parkland, building community facilities, helping newer arrivals. Basically a job that gives back to the community as a whole, oh, and when I say community, this is not lumping these people all together in the one suburb, this is right across the country. This work scheme then runs for at least the next year, allowing people the time to learn English, learn the Australian way of life, give them some support in a new place, and basically be people.


Now after a year, we don’t just toss them out on the street and say fend for yourself. No, the support structure is still there, but they are now free to seek employment as they choose, move to another area, do what they want as any other member of the Australian society. The benefit being, they already know what is required in this country to make a go of it, and can hit the ground running in getting their life back on track, armed with the skills they have learnt over the previous year.


For those who we can’t verify, there is only a slight change, and that’s electronic monitoring. I’m thinking along the lines of an electronic anklet, which is used to monitor the movement of someone. Once their identity can be verified, the tag comes off.


I don’t know if this all sounds like too simple a solution to an issue. The issue not being people arriving in this country, but what we do with them when they get here. I don’t think locking people up long term is the way to go about it, but we still do need to do some level of checks and balances. I would prefer to give these people a supported start, so they can make a go of it. If they do stuff up, send them on the first plane back, and make it very clear to them we wont tolerate them bringing the issues from their homeland. But let’s at least given them the chance to call Australia home.