Went to a public meeting at Brisbane’s City Hall tonight. Subject? Australia at the Crossroads.

The meeting was an initiative of JustPeace Queensland, a secular, non party-political group concerned about the increased level of conflict in the world.

Kevin Carmody opened the forum with a song and also shared a few words. He also closed the meeting with a catchy song he wrote alongside Paul Kelly called ‘From little things, big things grow!’

Jim Soorley MC’d the evening. Other speakers included refugee and asylum seeker advocate, Julian Burnside QC; Michael Raper from the Australian Council of Social Services; Professor Ian Lowe from Griffith University; Julie Bignell from the Australian Services Union; Mary Graham who spoke about indigenous issues; and Ann Matson from Oxfam Community Aid Abroad.

Julian Burnside’s accounts of what’s happening inside Australia’s detention centres were truly heartbreaking to hear. It’s not easy stuff to listen to without shedding a tear. That said, we should all take time to discover more about it. Remember, the media cannot tell these stories because the media aren’t allowed inside the centres.

I’m certain the majority of Australians would be ashamed if they knew about the very real human cruelties that are occurring. I’m certain the ‘fair go’ culture I was brought up to be part of still exists in the hearts of most Australians. It’s just a matter of getting the stories out there in the mainstream media – and I don’t just mean on Big Brother!

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