Monthly Archives: December 2013

Major Brad Halse


Major Brad Halse  has served as an officer within The Salvation Army for more than 30 years.  During this time he has held appointments in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, covering diverse areas of service such as aged care, homeless youth, editorial, community and pastoral work, and senior administration.

His current role at Territorial Headquarters in Melbourne is as the Australia Southern Territory’s Director of Government Relations.

Major Halse possesses  a very broad experience in varied fields of community and welfare service, and has a longstanding and passionate commitment to social justice and the professional delivery of community and welfare services.   He has represented The Salvation Army and the broader community on many Commonwealth and State Government advisory bodies and taskforces.

In recent years Major Halse has also played a significant role in the ongoing national debate around responsible gambling and the efforts to implement significant political reform in this area of social policy.  He is also strongly involved in advocacy issues surrounding asylum seekers and refugees in Australia.

By | 2018-01-04T16:14:32+10:00 December 20th, 2013|Members|

Rev. Mark Riessen


Mission & Community Engagement, Churches of Christ in SA & NT

Mark is the Co-ordinator for Mission and Community Engagement with Churches of Christ in SA & NT. For the past 15 years Mark has pastored churches in Ferntree Gully, Vic and Blackwood, SA. Currently a director for the Stirling Theological College board where he is currently studying a Masters in Theological Studies. Mark is also on the adjunct faculty for the Uniting College in Adelaide, a member of the board of reference for Urban Neighbours Of Hope & Stop the Traffik and co-ordinates Surrender Conference in SA. Mark is a passionate advocate for asylum seekers and for more than 12 years has been working closely with asylum seekers and refugees in detention, campaigning on their behalf and assisting with community integration while in their final stages of processing.



By | 2018-01-04T16:14:32+10:00 December 19th, 2013|Members|

UNHCR and Australian Human Rights Commission Reports

Men, women and children suffering from harsh physical conditions and legal shortcomings at Pacific Island asylum centres: UNHCR reports

In two reports released today, the UN Refugee Agency finds that asylum-seekers who had been transferred from Australia to processing centres at Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG) were living in arbitrary detention in conditions that do not meet international standards of treatment.

Australian Human Rights Commission: Snapshot of key human rights issues that arise from Australia’s approach to asylum seekers arriving by boat. Download here.
By | 2018-01-04T16:14:33+10:00 December 19th, 2013|Non-Government|

Jesus the Refugee

We rarely acknowledge, especially at Christmas time, that Jesus began his life as a political refugee. (Matthew 2:1-23). Yes, Jesus enters human history as a refugee in flight from powerful people who want him dead. From the beginning, Jesus found himself amongst the world’s disposable people and was forced to find his home in a strange land.

Download Greg Elsdon’s full article.

By | 2013-12-19T12:02:55+10:00 December 19th, 2013|Church Policies, Statements and Reports, Resources|

Latifa and baby say thank you.

You will have read about the mother and baby (Latifa and Farus) who were separated after birth in Brisbane. The family have now been reunited thanks to the efforts of Taskforce members and law firm Maurice Blackburn who worked with us pro bono. Sadly they remain locked up in the Brisbane detention centre (BITA). The taskforce met with Minister Scott Morrison on December 11 and implored the minister to protect this stateless family who have already been determined to be refugees by the UNHCR, and who have already spent more than 10 years in refugee camps and jails.

As a result of this case a motion was successfully moved in the senate on December 2 which “called on the government to give parents of newborn babies detained in immigration detention unrestricted access to their children”. An investigation was also ordered by Minister Scott Morrison into why the mother was sent back to detention, separating her from her ill newborn. An application has now been lodged for a protection visa for baby Farus and a citizenship application will also be lodged if the family are able to get access to the baby’s birth certificate.

By | 2018-01-04T16:14:33+10:00 December 19th, 2013|Latest News|

Nelson Mandela’s reconciling leadership shows the way on asylum-seekers

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

Nelson Mandela’s moral authority and reconciling leadership cast a light on our own domestic circumstances. He left the past behind when he stepped free from prison to be a reconciling leader of his traumatised nation. We urge our Federal Government to review its approach to those asylum-seekers now living in Australia in the same reconciling spirit Nelson Mandela displayed.

There are around 30,000 asylum-seekers in our land. Let them belong. Most are young and motivated to make a new life. Let them be educated and able to work. Let them contribute to our Commonwealth, as waves of refugees have done before them. Christmas is a time of peace and goodwill for all. Re-instating Temporary Protection Visas for these people amidst various unwelcoming messages is not necessary, nor obviously in the Christmas spirit. Again, closing down the possibilities for family reunion, through current policies, is also causing great sorrow.

The old wisdom is: “As the family, so the nation”. Hence, these policies just diminish our nation. At Christmas we remember the refugee family of Jesus, amidst these many fractured families. We call on the Government to re-balance current policies with compassion, consistent with our obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention and Protocols on the Status of Refugees. I urge Australians to write to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection reminding him of these obligations and asking for his assurance that he will abide by them.


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

Communications Director Roland Ashby on 9653 4215 or 0418 342 561

By | 2013-12-19T11:30:07+10:00 December 19th, 2013|Press Releases|

Refugees and asylum seekers: Finding a better way

Aus21Australia21 presents Refugees and asylum seekers: Finding a better way. Contributions by notable Australians. Editors: Bob Douglas and Jo Wodak.
The essays in this volume are in response to Australia21’s invitation to people who have been actively engaged in various aspects of asylum-seeker policy to take a fresh look at the current dilemma in its global, regional as well as national contexts, and suggest practical ways in which the Australian community might respond more humanely, more sustainably and more responsibly to it. Download the full document.

By | 2018-01-04T16:14:34+10:00 December 19th, 2013|Non-Government|