Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Should relatives attend a baby's funeral?

Should family members attend the funerals of a 3 month old and an 8 month old baby?

Should family members be able to choose where the funeral is held?

If the family had no money to cover the costs associated with the funerals, should the taxpayer pay some costs associated with a funeral?

These were some of the questions that have been raised by certain politicians in the last 24 hours, most prominently Tony Abbott and the opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrisson. Of course, their view has been influenced by the fact that the funerals were for Zahra El Ibrahimy and Sam Husseini who were drowned, along with their mothers (whose bodies were never recovered) and about 30 other people while scenes like this were underway:

It disgusts me that this debate had to be a debate at all. We are in a country that already provides bereavement payments to the poorer members of our society; why does this even have to be a question? Let the families grieve.

I am relieved that some members of the Coalition have come out against this dirty piece of politics, and that the mood in the mainstream media (and even The Australian!) seems to be one of compassion (and common sense and decency).

Rest in peace with your mothers, Zahra and Sam.

Image from

Postscript- there is a much more thorough discussion and a lot of insightful comments at the only politically-skewed blog I read, Grog's Gamut. One anonymous comment I found particularly pertinent was:

I understand the Defence department paid travel costs for 60+ soldier colleagues to come from Darwin to Launceston for the memorial service for Corporal Richard Atkinson on Monday. Two of his closest mates were flown back from Afghanistan to be there. This seems as appropriate to me as flying seven people from Christmas Island to Sydney for the funerals of their families.

Hardly accurate to suggest there is something strange about the Australian Government paying for funeral travel costs in such cases.

1 comment:

veggiegobbler said...

Totally agree with you. Sickening.

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