The incident at the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre was a deplorable event and all Victorians are concerned. Whilst reviews and actions are being undertaken, it is a responsible thing to try to understand the issues facing our young people, regardless of background; not to place blame singularly on some policies of the past.
"We are dealing with humans, and our young people are facing a different world today with unprecedented challenges that even the laws are not able to keep up," says Viv Nguyen, President of VCA Vic.
"As a youth leader for many years, we are trying our best to adapt to the fast changing global environment, and what we need is leadership from the top, not blame game nonsense from one Minister to another that takes Australia nowhere, and systemically creates a sense of pessimism amongst us," says Celia Tran, Deputy Vice President of VCA Vic.
It is worth noting that under Fraser, there was a deliberate strategy to seek bipartisan support by the government and opposition, a relentless effort by the then Ministers Michael MacKellar and Ian Mcphee to communicate to the Australian people, and put in place education, welfare and policies with compassion to assist them integrate, and be contributors to this society. Former PM Whitlam initially strongly opposed the idea but through commitment and belief in the people, bipartisan support prevailed.
As Vietnamese Australians, we are grateful for the leadership, the hard work and the commitment to make it work for newly arrived refugees by the Australian people. We are grateful that we were shown how a civilised nation behaved, taught what freedom tasted, and given hope of a great future where we could integrate and contribute. Integrated and contributed we did and are continuing to do so.
The Vietnamese refugees were the beneficiary of these policies, this willingness and commitment of our leaders at the highest level of office who understood their role and delivered on it with dedication, passion and compassion.
And Australia is the better for that contribution, in the same way that we as a nation are enriched by the contribution from all.
"We are dealing with humans, and youths need help to overcome the challenges facing them that we adults struggle at times to understand," says Viv Nguyen.
As leaders of our nation, we put our trust in our Members of Parliament with our national budget to do the best you can for our nation. We respect your role and authority and look to you for leadership, guidance and vision. We do not wish to see our hard-earned tax dollars be spent on irresponsible comments from our Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.
For further information, please contact Celia Tran on 0411 715 406, Kevin Tran 0402 563 195 or Viv Nguyen on 0412 188 920.