Editorial August 13th 2021

Welcome to this week’s editorial,

It is clear from the chatter on social media that the exodus from Canberra yesterday, ahead of the 5pm ACT lock down, has raised the anxiety levels of our community and opened old sores in the relationship between Eurobodallians and Canberraites. Let’s call them the Yellow and the Blue (based on the colour of their number plates).

The Blue people were seen streaming out of the ACT yesterday towards the snow, the north, the west and to the South Coast. Fair enough. They were worried. There was a highly contagious COVID case in their community and, for the safety of themselves and their family the fled. They knew the Greater Sydney area was a No-go zone, they knew Victoria was off limits and they were aware that there were already western towns that were locked down.

They also knew that they could only leave if they had a legal loophole. As it turns out there was a loophole for those who were lucky enough to have a holiday house on the coast. So they came, with whatever worldly goods they could pour into their cars, and they drove, desperate to flee their homes ahead of The Rona.

The Yellow plate people saw what was happening and immediately became angry and also fearful. They raised their concerns about the loophole but that fell on deaf ears. They demanded the police set up roadblocks and turn back the tide. That too was ignored as the law was the law and the Blue people were allowed to come if they met set conditions.

The problem we have on the South Coast is that we are seen to be #allkindsofnatural. We have wide empty beaches, vast forests and not many people. The most important thing at the moment is that we don’t have The Rona.

The Rona is scary. It kills without discrimination. For that reason alone it is understandable that the survival instinct of a family would be to try to escape it. To flee. Imagine if, during the bushfires, our borders were closed and we, as a community were told we were not allowed to leave without “an exemption”. There would have been massive outcry. There would have also been an exodus by any means for those who put themselves and their family above “the law”. The exodus away from harm would have seen locals flee via state forest roads, by foot if need be, and by boat if thy had access, or could pay for a passage to safety.

What we have now in the Eurobodalla are Blue people, fleeing the threat and coming to what they consider to be a safe place. Blue people, and at their core, just like you and I. Human, Fearful. Fleeing. Should we turn them around. Should we round them up and send them home. Maybe we could round them up and lock them in our evacuation centres to then process, one at a time, to determine if they do have reason to remain. With holiday homes it is arguable as to why they should have preference over those arriving with tents or a caravan. And what of those arriving by sea?

In the past it was fires, this time the threat to life is Rona. Around the corner is Climate Change. How will we react when we have an influx looking for water, looking for work to feed their family, looking for a new life and arriving with just the clothes they have on? Maybe they began their journey in the Northern Territory or Western Australia and have been rejected, one state, after another, and told to move on. And what of those Metropolitans who will be escaping Financial Calamity and Destitution, unable to find food in the Concrete Jungle, looking for simple shelter and survival? What of our lack of services and inadequate infrastructure. We can barely manage for ourselves. Will we turn them away saying “If we let you in it will open the flood gates. It will affect our way of life. We are not prepared. We can not cope”.

Maybe we need a policy. Maybe we could call it Operation Sovereign Borders. Maybe we could patrol the borders of the South East to ensure only those we permit are able to enter, and, under new rules, able to leave as well. But we know already that even if we warn people from the ACT, from the west, the north and the south, that if they come they will be prosecuted (and persecuted), they won’t Stay at Home.

On a global level Australia looks like a safe haven, free of war, with clean air, clean water, land to grow food, land to build a humble home, adequate medicine and reasonably free of Rona. As the planet warms, They Will Come, by whatever means possible to survive. From the Sub Continent, Asia, and the Pacific. Will we turn them away if they come? And what if it is us who needs to flee? Should we be turned away from trying to survive and finding security for those we love? Food for thought. Until next—lei

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