A resident of Niddrie in Victoria had the stamina to write to 45 Senators and to Bill Shorten about some basic facts concerning boat people.

She asked just two simple questions:

1. In your personal opinion, are asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat treated humanely?
2. Do you consider that people who arrive in Australia informally and seek asylum should be called “illegal”?

For those in doubt on the second question, it is important to note that people who arrive in Australia informally and seek asylum commit no offence under Australian law.

The results of her efforts were disappointing, for two reasons.

First, because most simply did not reply.  You would hope that our elected representatives would have the courtesy to reply to a letter from a member of the public, espoecially on an issue which is so divisive.

Second, because most of those who did reply simply did not answer the questions.

Here are the ones who did not reply at all.  Note their names.  When they ask for your vote, ignore them:

Senator BACK    LNP (Lib)
Senator BERNARDI    LNP (Lib)
Senator BILYK    Labor
Senator BIRMINGHAM    LNP (Lib)
Senator BRANDIS    LNP (Lib)
Senator BROWN    Labor
Senator BULLOCK    Labor
Senator BUSHBY    LNP (Lib)
Senator CAMERON    Labor
Senator CANAVAN    LNP (Nats)
Senator CARR    Labor
Senator CASH    LNP (Lib)
Senator COLBECK    LNP (Lib)
Senator COLLINS    Labor
Senator CONROY    Labor
Senator DASTYARI    Labor
Senator EDWARDS    LNP (Lib)
Senator FAWCETT    LNP (Lib)
Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS    LNP (Lib)
Senator FIFIELD    LNP (Lib)
Senator GALLAGHER    Labor
Senator JOHNSTON    LNP (Lib)
Senator LAMBIE    IND
Senator LAZARUS    IND
Senator LINES    Labor
Senator LUDWIG    Labor
Senator MACDONALD    LNP (Lib)
Senator MADIGAN    IND
Senator MARSHALL    Labor
Senator MCEWEN    Labor
Senator MCGRATH    LNP (Lib)
Senator MUIR    AMEP
Senator RONALDSON    LNP (Lib)

Senator MASON

Senator LUNDY

The following senators replied, but did not answer the questions asked:

Senator CORMANN    did not answer questions
Senator DAY    did not answer questions
Senator FAULKNER    did not answer questions
Senator KETTER    did not answer questions, but says we must treat refugees in a “dignified, humane way”
Senator LEYONHJELM    did not answer questions
Senator MCKENZIE    did not answer the questions, but refers to people entering the country “illegally”
Senator MCLUCAS    did not answer the questions but says Labor is driven by “compassion, fairness and generosity”
Bill Shorten MP    did not answer questions, but says we must treat refugees in a “dignified, human way”.  Several paragraphs are identical to corresponding paragraphs in Sen Ketter’s letter

These three are in categories of thir own:

Senator HEFFERNAN    said it is illegal to enter Australia without a visa (he supported this by reference to international instruments, not Australian law
Senator RYAN    said it is illegal to enter Australia without a visa (he supported this by reference to international instruments, not Australian law, says the government is “committed to treating (asylum seekers) in a fair, respectful and humane manner”

And finally, Senator ABETZ answered yes to each question!

The bottom line is that most of the Senators are too discourteous to respond, and the rest are too ignorant of the facts to answer truthfully.

And it is distressing to think that some senators are so blinkered that they can take shelter behind the tired old line that we treat asylum seekers in a “fair, respectful and humane manner”.