But I’m so proud of my mother. She’s 85, and as bolshie as they come. On Friday night, she slept out on the corner of Lonsdale and Spring streets, at the front of the DIMIA offices (or Immi, or whatever they’re called now) with other members of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. The sleepout was a protest against the Temporary Protection Visa, which as you Aussie readers know, is the policy of “OK, you can stay, but you can’t have permanent residency or bring your family here, and your education and employment options are severely limited. In other words, you’re screwed. Hopefully, you’ll die, or find some way to escape to another country.”
I wasn’t seriously worried about her, because she had the support of a tight group of friends and a portable mattress and other useful gear. Also, the immigration offices have a vast atrium thing, so they weren’t sleeping under the stars exactly. Still, I was glad when I rang the next day and she was safe. She told me the young security guard freaked out a bit when he learned that the protesters would be there all night– apparently his employers hadn’t thought to tell him. He insisted on taking her into the building to use the loo and do her nightly contact lens routine, because she has had a cataract removed and needs to wear them. It was lovely of him.
Not so lovely was the unknown person who egged the sleeping bags of many of the sleeping protesters in the night (not my mum’s, fortunately.) Mate, what a miserable waste of space you are.