More than 105,000 Australians belong to The Invisible City, says Tess Lawrence, and some of them may be people you know.
Many Australians and tourists may not have heard of The Invisible City.
And yet it has more people than the cities of Bendigo, Burnie, Ballarat, Bunbury or Bundaberg.
The Invisible City has no infrastructure. It exists without political representation.
Unlike the Great Wall of China, it cannot be seen from outer space.
It has no post code.
It has no telephone prefix.
All roads lead to it. Few roads lead from it.
The Melways doesn’t even list The Invisible City as a dead end. Nor does Gregory’s list it as a cul de sac.
Your GPS will bombard the satellite, but to no avail.
The Invisible City does exist outside of the walls of our imagination.
It is no stately pleasure dome; no Xanadu.
The Invisible City is without borders of any kind. You need no Passport. No Visa. No ID.
You are free to visit and to come and go at any time of your choosing — or to forever stay.
The people of The Invisible City are drawn from all walks of life, religion and ethnic origin.
It is multi-lingual.
It does not discriminate by gender or sexual preferences, or ‘marital status’
There are singles, couples, families with children and babies, preteens, teenagers, groups, gangs and tribes, urban, suburban, city and people from regional and outback Australia.
Wealth is no less an impediment than poverty.
More than 105,000 Australians belong to The Invisible City.
In Australia, like its many Sister Cities throughout the world, The Invisible City has a diaspora throughout this wondrous continent and its islands.
Many Australians will have heard of the people from The Invisible City, and many of them will be related to us even if we no longer relate to them.
The homeless are the people of The Invisible City.
They are our homeless children, our sisters and brothers, our nieces and nephews, our mothers and fathers and yes, our grandads, nans and nonnas.
They are us and we are them.
If you think being homeless will never happen to you, think again. No-one is exempt from the vicissitudes of life.
Surely we have learned that by now.
Tonight, St Vincent de Paul will put on their annual CEO Sleepout.
This is more than a one night stand with the homeless.
And it’s not a quick fix to salve the conscience.
The CEOs and all who participate and sponsor them, draw widespread public attention to the realities and rigours of the daily existence of our homeless people.
Many of the executives who initially get involved with this project — stay involved.
Yesterday, I got an email from Malcolm Turnbull’s office and he has used his nouse and mailing list to call for sponsors for tonight’s Sleepout.
So, I’m making a humanitarian – and not a political – endorsement of Turnbull.
Independent Australia is doing what we can in our own way – and that is to lend support to St Vinnies for the fab and non-judgemental work they do — and to support Malcolm and/or any other participants in the CEO Sleepout.
The thing is that participants will be able to pack up and go home to a warm bed after the open-air sleepover.
But for tens of thousands of us, we have to find another bridge to sleep under, another dumpster to crawl into, another derelict place in which to squat— as well as deal with all the awful issues impacting upon our lives.
If we have not love in our hearts for homeless strangers, let us find compassion.
If we cannot condone their lives, let us not judge.
If we are frightened or disgusted of such people, let us help fund those who are not — such as Vinnies
If we feel we are hopeless and cannot make any difference to the lives of others, then at least support those who are more optimistic of the human spirit and the capacity of the individual to change their lives around.
There are thousands of us who still cannot call Australia home. And many who never will.
But it is true that there but for the grace of your god and the godless, go you.
And most certainly, I.
Re: Tess, Please Help Australia’s Homeless Get Through Winter
|Dear Tess,Sydney’s inner city houses some of the richest and poorest members of our community, often living within metres of each other.Tomorrow night [Ed: tonight] I will take part in the Vinnies CEO sleepout — an opportunity to better understand the daily struggle that the homeless face and their battle to maintain dignity in our city.
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That battle would be much harder if it were not for the amazing work that a handful of charities do, among them the St Vincent de Paul Society.
I would encourage everyone to visit their website here and donate to this important cause.
|Yours sincerely,Malcolm Turnbull|