Campaign urges appeals to MPs for kinder refugee policies
An online action from Synod’s Social Justice Forum invites emails to Federal MPs in the election lead up, urging an end to offshore detention and a boost in Australia’s refugee intake.
The action, titled “Australia, don’t drop the refugee ball”, is the next phase in the Give Hope: Uniting for Asylum Seekers campaign by the SJF. It builds on a groundswell of community support for more compassionate, less punitive policies.
Petitions to #LetThemStay, church sanctuary offers, well-attended Palm Sunday rallies and public statements by church and other community leaders have brought early signs of positive reaction – notably in recent government moves to release some children and their families from closed onshore detention. But much remains to be done – with more children set to be packed off to Nauru, where conditions in a recent UnitingJustice Australia report are described as “totally inappropriate”.
The SJF action at https://socialjusticeforum.good.do encourages instant emails to federal members urging their support for closing the cruel offshore camps and boosting Australia’s Humanitarian Programme intake to at least 25,000 for 2016-17, and to 60,000 by 2020. This is in line with Assembly targets set in its 2015 report on refugee and asylum seeker policy, Shelter from the Storm.
The campaign suggests the best way save lives of people seeking asylum and to deter “people smugglers” is not to turn people back into danger or lock them up in isolated and harmful camps – it’s to provide a more secure path to a safer place, by approving and admitting more refugees who can play a productive role in building the common good.
The Forum argues that having committed to playing its part in the worldwide resettlement effort arising from the Syrian crisis, Australia should not now “drop the ball” by shrinking our intake back to previous ungenerous levels – but should play a role befitting our advantages as one of the world’s wealthiest nations per capita.
In addition to emailing MPs, Uniting Church supporters are asked to share the campaign through church networks and social media, quiz election candidates on refugee policies and publicise the responses to better inform voters.
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