Monthly Archives: January 2014

Taskforce stunned by Immigration Minister’s decision to round up asylum seekers in the community

PRESS RELEASE : The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce can see no justification for the Immigration Minister’s decision to order the rounding up of asylum seekers in the community. Mr. Morrison says there are more than a thousand people in the community who have had their claims rejected and that it’s time for them to go home.

Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce Deputy Chair, Sister Suzette Clark, said, “The minister fails to point out that among that number are people who have yet to exhaust the full appeal process in the courts. It also includes people who are stateless, so there is no country to which they can be deported.”

“These people have no home!” she said.

The minister’s statement is causing deep distress among asylum seekers, with many fearing they could be rounded up at any time and placed in indefinite detention.

“We are particularly concerned that some of this group will be families, women and children,” Sister Suzette Clark said. “The minister has failed to explain how this is in the public interest. Removing asylum seekers from the community is unjustly punitive and cruel.”

A further, overarching concern of the Taskforce is that the inalienable human dignity of all of us, not just of those who come to our shores seeking our protection, is at risk due to the lack of compassion in the current approach to people seeking asylum.

Sister Suzette Clark said, “We are concerned that Australia’s response to the challenges of displaced peoples in our modern era diminishes us as individual Australians and as a nation of peoples”

Media contacts:
Stephen Fenely, Media Advisor,, 0458 550 008
Helga Svendsen, Acting Executive Officer, ACRT,, 0418 536 447.

The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce is an initiative supported by the National Council of Churches in Australia, and the Steering Committee is comprised of 18 senior clergy members who represent eight Christian churches and three ecumenical bodies. The Taskforce has a further 321 Christian entities who are network members. 


Download the press release as a pdf.

By | 2014-01-30T09:46:16+10:00 January 30th, 2014|Latest News, Press Releases|

Scott Morrison cracks down on failed asylum seekers

From The Sydney Morning Herald:  Several hundred asylum seekers whose claims for refugee status were rejected are being returned to indefinite detention or prepared for imminent deportation under a crackdown by the Abbott government. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed rumours of a ‘‘roundup’’ of asylum seekers who are in the community after unsuccessful appeals against adverse decisions on their refugee status. Read the full story.


By | 2014-01-30T08:13:04+10:00 January 30th, 2014|Latest News|

ACRT’s submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee

“An overarching concern of the Taskforce is that of our inalienable human dignity; not just of those who come to our shores seeking our protection, but also what our response to the challenges of displaced peoples in our modern era means for us as individual Australians and as a nation of peoples.” – ACRT Submission.

An inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Regaining Control Over Australia’s Protection Obligations) Bill 2013

The Migration Amendment Bill 2013 seeks to overturn the current complementary protection regime. This regime was the culmination of several years considered work and has had less than two years in which to be tested. The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce is deeply concerned about the Bill and asks that the Parliament reject the legislation in its current form.

Download the ACRT Submission.

Background Material

Download the ACRT Fact Sheet: Introducing the Complementary Protection Model

Download the report: Complementary Protection – the way ahead 2004.pdf



Churches Taskforce Speaks out on Asylum Seeker Abuse Claims

The Chair of the ACRT, Dean Peter Catt, today welcomed the announcement by the Foreign Minister that Australia will cooperate with the Indonesian authorities as they investigate the allegations of abuse made by asylum seekers against the Australian Navy. He also called on the Australian Government to investigate in a transparent manner the allegations. Download full press release.

By | 2014-01-24T15:10:59+10:00 January 24th, 2014|Latest News, Press Releases|