I recently wrote an essay, ‘A home among the peach trees’ about refugee settlement in regional Australia and I wrote it for two reasons. One was because while I care and am vocal about the cruelty with which Australia treats refugees, especially those in offshore detention, I also believe not enough time is spent discussing solutions. The other reason was because I genuinely believe that refugees and regional Australia can help each other to have a brighter future.
I am fortunate that today Right Now Magazine, the ‘independent, volunteer-run, not-for-profit media organisation focused on human rights issues in Australia’ has published my essay. While I am of course happy to have my words sitting alongside great writers, experts and thinkers, I am mostly pleased that one idea for a solution and way forward can be shared around a little more.
Below is the opening, and you can read the full essay on the Right Now Magazine website.
If driving into the regional Victorian city of Shepparton from the east, it is difficult to find a route that doesn’t take you through a corridor of fruit orchards. Resembling a low-rise forest, the fruit trees stand in perfect rows, their branches reaching out into the country air, changing as they adapt to the seasons. Woody and skeletal in winter, wearing glamorous coats of blossom in spring, and shading the ground below with large emerald-green leaves in summer before shedding these in the autumn. Apple trees, pear trees, apricot trees and peach trees. While the exact origin of these plants has been debated in the past, they aren’t native to Australia. They aren’t from here.
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