More than 250 Kids Off Nauru supporters from around Australia rallied on 27 November outside Parliament House in Canberra to protest the indefinite offshore detention of children.
The Member for Wentworth, Dr Kerryn Phelps delivered a petition to the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader, containing the names of more than 170,000 individuals and 400 Australian organisations.
“Unless the children are brought here to Australia, never to return, we will see a death…and that must not be something that rests on the Australian people,” Dr Phelps said.
Dr Phelps was joined at the rally by other members of parliament from across multiple parties. These included Andrew Wilke, Tim Storer, Rebekha Sharkie, Derryn Hinch, Greens Senator Nick McKim, and ALP Senator Lisa Singh.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie told the rally that the fact that there are still children on Nauru was, “an abomination.”
Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie said, however, that there was momentum for change. Ms Sharkie highlighted that while the campaign had seen “many children off Nauru”, there was still much to do, with 11 children there, as well as pregnant women, older adults and men on Manus.
Australian rock legend Jimmy Barnes also spoke, telling the crowd that he was personally “ashamed” the government had allowed the detention of children to happen, “and I’m ashamed of myself, because the government represents us.”
“We have to stand up and demand that this be changed,” he said.
The Kids Off Nauru coalition draws members from multiple prominent organisations. The campaign calls on politicians to end the indefinite detention of refugee children and their families on Nauru
Only forty percent of Australians knew children were detained on Nauru when the campaign launched in August. A recent poll published in the Sunday Telegraph, found that awareness had risen to eighty percent.
The campaign is calling on those interested in participating to call their local MP.
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor