Monthly Archives: August 2013

Misha Coleman and Rev Elenie Poulos on radio Hope 103.2

MishaColemanThe Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce is calling on both the Labor Party and Coalition to adopt a more compassionate approach to refugees and asylum seekers.

“I can’t wait for this election to be over because none of the policies announced in recent weeks especially by either of the two parties are designed for a compassionate approach or response to asylum seekers,” says Misha Coleman, Executive Officer of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce.

Read the full story at the Hope 103.2 station website.

By | 2018-01-04T16:14:40+10:00 August 29th, 2013|Latest News|

Rudd and Abbott must respond to damning UN Report: Bishop Huggins

RANForum260813_074_Dunn13_b“How shameful it is that Australia has been found guilty of almost 150 violations of international law regarding the indefinite detention of refugees (UN Human Rights Committee, reported 23/8/2013).

This week I visited and prayed with some young people who have been detained more than four years. One had just heard his father had died overnight in Sri Lanka. He has not seen his father in years. His grief was heartbreaking.

Months back, I went in a delegation to Canberra and met the then Minister for Immigration and Citizenship. He promised us a decent review process for the claims of these long-term detainees, recognising a failure of natural justice. Most of them are still in detention, stripped of their youth and their hope by a miserable failure of civilised political leadership. It is time for some grace and some restorative initiative.

Instead of continuing to punish those asylum seekers awaiting assessment, including those who are the focus of this UN Report, release them. Let them belong. Let them study, work, enjoy a normal life. Let them look forward to something better: weekends with family and friends and finding meaningful work in this great south land of Australia.

Both sides of politics are sure they have the policies to control people-smuggling. It is time now, as the election approaches, for some gesture of decency towards a world of 40 million displaced people. Draw the line. Let those already here, however they arrived, be invited to stay as full citizens – starting with those already detained more than four years and the subjects of this UN Report.

When Mr Rudd and Mr Abbott next meet in debate, may they announce together such a drawing of the line, repairing our nation’s soul and international reputation for decency.”

-Statement by Bishop Philip Huggins, Chair of the Melbourne Anglican Social Responsibilities Committee

Contact: Bishop Philip Huggins on 9653 4243 or 0418 799 515

By | 2018-01-04T16:14:41+10:00 August 29th, 2013|Latest News, Press Releases|

Stop the mass deportation of Sri Lankan asylum seekers planned this week by Australia

The Australian government is planning to deport scores of Sri Lankan asylum seekers to potential danger from Christmas Island over the next week WITHOUT allowing them to apply for asylum through the proper legal process. Since June 2012, Australia has deported over 1000 Sri Lankans in this manner. Most of these asylum seekers have only been interviewed for about 30 minutes in total by a DIAC official without being informed that they have a right to legal representation and “screened out” for deportation. This process is called the “enhanced screening process” and is similar to a policeman interviewing a crime suspect, charging them outside a court of law and jailing them without giving the suspect any access to a lawyer.]

A former immigration official Geoff Lake has called the enhanced screening process dangerous and said that he fears the use of this process has resulted in the refoulement of asylum seekers who would have been recognised as refugees under the convention. (,
ACT NOW and ask for the mass deportations to be stopped by

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd:

Immigration Minister Tony Burke: and
(has worked probono as a lawyer representing refugees!-but seems to be more interested in grabbing votes than protecting lives or legal rights)

Opposition leader Tony Abott:

UNHCR Australia:

UNHCR Geneva:

Twitter: Politicians:
@KRuddMP @Tony_Burke @TonyAbbottMHR @ScottMorrisonMP @JulieBishopMP @bobjcarr


UN Human rights committee SECRETARIAT

By | 2013-08-29T16:45:19+10:00 August 29th, 2013|Latest News|

Issues and Questions for the 2013 Federal Election Process

From the Public Affairs Commission of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia

We need a Government who will determine the truly critical issues that should be addressed for the long term national and global good and then go about achieving progress collaboratively. Social cohesion based on core values is important for the wellbeing of individuals and communities, and beyond that for effective democracy. For a democracy in which many politicians espouse Christian faith and/or values, as they do in Australia, it will be a source of strength if politics and conscience informed by religion can work together in the public arena. We present some key issues and values we consider important for this relationship and this election… read the full document.

By | 2018-01-04T16:14:42+10:00 August 29th, 2013|Church Policies, Statements and Reports, Resources|

Ms Sieneke Martin

SienekeCommissioner, Christian World Service

Sieneke is currently a Commissioner of Christian World Service and is an experienced program manager in international development and emergency management, with experience across Quaker Service Australia, Caritas Australia, and Oxfam Australia, having lived and worked in Cambodia, Indonesia and East Timor. She’s also a new Australian, having been born and educated in Holland, a grandmother and a Quaker.

By | 2018-01-04T16:14:45+10:00 August 29th, 2013|Uncategorized|

Ms Helen Lockwood

HelenDirector, Lutheran Community Care, SA/NT

Helen is Director of Lutheran Community Care in South Australia and Northern Territory and is a member of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce. She is a member of the Lutheran Church of Australia’s Commission on Social and Bioethical Questions and has worked within the South Australian Council of Churches, contributing to the Theology and Welfare in Conversation group. Originally trained as a teacher, she most enjoys listening to the stories and experiences of people and learning from them.

By | 2018-01-04T16:14:45+10:00 August 29th, 2013|Uncategorized|

Alistair Gee

AlistairExecutive Director, Act For Peace

Alistair is Executive Director of Act of Peace, the humanitarian protection agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia and has been involved in humanitarian, peace and human rights work for over 15 years. He can remember supporting Act for Peace initiatives, such as the Christmas Bowl, from a very young age.

He has been Co-Convenor of Make Poverty History, a coalition of 60 aid agencies campaigning to halve extreme poverty globally. Prior to joining Act for Peace, Alistair practised as a lawyer and was a doctoral candidate in International Law at the University of Sydney, focusing on protection of displaced persons. He has also served as Chair on a number of Boards of protection-related initiatives, such as: the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect; Thai-Burma Border Consortium, providing humanitarian assistance to 240,000 displaced Burmese; the Australian Council for International Development’s Advocacy and Public Policy Committee; and the Refugee Advice and Casework Service.

By | 2018-01-04T16:14:46+10:00 August 29th, 2013|Uncategorized|

The Reverend Canon Richard Tutin

General Secretary, Queensland Churches Together

Born and raised in Queensland, Richard was ordained an Anglican priest in 1977, and has served in parish ministry, theological education and ecumenical ministry activities, including as a broadcaster on Christian radio. Richard is now General Secretary and was previous President of Queensland Churches Together. He is Chaplain to Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane, the Most Reverend Dr Phillip Aspinall, with responsibility for Diocesan and Provincial matters and Residentiary Canon of St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane. He also serves as a member of the Ministry Education Commission and the Anglican Committee for Ecumenical Affairs.

In addition to his years of parish ministry, he has also served as Vice Principal, Dean of Studies and Lecturer in Biblical Studies at St John’s Theological College, Morpeth NSW and as Regional Representative for ABM in Queensland. Richard holds a Bachelor of Divinity from the University of Queensland and a Masters in Professional Communications from the University of Southern Queensland.

By | 2013-08-29T14:53:45+10:00 August 29th, 2013|Uncategorized|