what?" my neighbour said.
She had come over to pick up some peaches and was reaching up to collect one which had fallen into the netting. Her hand stopped. She looked at me.
"Hang on, what do you mean? You've got that wrong. They had the doctor from the hospital on the news. He was talking about it."
"No. That was someone else. He's from another organisation."
"No. Anyway, you've got it wrong. They are refugees and they should be allowed to stay."
It was no good trying to argue with my neighbour. She has firm opinions about such things.
Yes, the family concerned are being called refugees by the media. They are at the centre of the "LetThemStay" campaign which is demanding people not be sent back to Nauru after they have been brought here for medical treatment. The campaign appears to have the support of the Premier of this state and other states but they are not being supported by Labor colleagues in Canberra. The Premiers are doing what they believe is publicly popular and I imagine that their colleagues in Canberra are happy to have them do it. It means votes at election time later this year. They won't need to act on it if they win. I doubt they will.
But what is really going on? Are the family really refugees or is something else going on?
I asked my neighbour if she knew where the family came from.
"Somewhere like Iraq or Afghanistan. I don't know which one but one of those."
They actually come from Nepal.
"And do you know what religion they are?"
"Muslim of course!"
They say they are Christians. I told her this.
"Well they get persecuted too"
Yes, they do. But the tiny Christian minority in Nepal is on the increase. There is no reason to believe that a Christian in Nepal is in grave danger. There is no law against openly being a Christian. I know Christians in Nepal. They work alongside their Hindu colleagues with no problems.
So, what is going on? Why is this family attempting to claim refugee status? And, more importantly, why isn't the media saying where they come from? It won't "breach their privacy". It is simply inconvenient. It doesn't fit the pro-refugee agenda of the activists or the media.
Nobody who is genuinely in need of medical treatment or terminally ill is going to be sent back to Nauru. This is scaremongering by the media. It's a deliberate attempt not to alter government policy - because it is a bi-partisan policy - but to undermine the government. It's an election year. The government has been doing quite well in the polls. It doesn't suit the media.
What the media has apparently not considered is something that alarms me.
It is this. We allow the family currently in the headlines the right to stay because their child was accidentally injured and needed medical treatment in Australia. How many other children are then going to be "accidentally injured" in the hope that their families will be granted the same right to stay?
There was a considerable amount of self-harming occurring when not just the person doing the self-harming but their families were being brought to Australia. It dropped to almost nothing when just the individual was brought for treatment - and then returned. Deliberate harm was occurring because it was being rewarded.
I don't want children to be deliberately harmed so that adults can come here. I don't want those sort of adults to be rewarded.
Perhaps the answer in this case is, if he has been found not to be a refugee, to return the father to Nauru first?