Monthly Archives: November 2015

Do Unto Others; Changing the Boats Narrative


Christian Leaders call on PM to change the boats narrative, and to do unto others.

Twelve church leaders, meeting in Brisbane today, are calling on the new leader in Australia to show leadership when it comes to discussing the people seeking asylum at Christmas Island today, and an end to the secrecy and dehumanising language used.

The Chair of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, The Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt, said as a country, there is now a National yearning to hear more than just operational, on-water silence. We as a group of church leaders, seek a human response from our Prime Minister to the needs of those who are now floating at sea.

One of the founders of the Taskforce, The Right Rev’d Bishop Philip Huggins, said that “ the Prime Minister has set a new tone in many areas of public debate and policy, that has lifted the spirits of so many  Australians already. We call on him to ensure that those people who were found on a boat near Flying Fish Cove today are looked after, and are asked whether they are seeking protection from Australia .”

Sister Brigid Arthur, Vice-Chair of the Taskforce, today said that “we could take this chance, as country of caring people, to show the Indonesian President and other world and European leaders that the PM has been meeting with him in the last few days, that we’re capable and compassionate enough to protect those who’ve made such a desperate trip across dangerous seas.”

Media contact: Misha Coleman, 0428 399 739

Available for interview: Bishop Philip Huggins, The Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt, Sister Brigid Arthur

 The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce is an initiative supported by the National Council of Churches in Australia, and the Board is comprised of 22 leaders who represent nine Christian churches and three ecumenical bodies. The Taskforce has a further 552 Christian entities who are network members. See

By | 2015-11-23T13:51:30+10:00 November 20th, 2015|Media, Press Releases|

Brave Female Members of Parliament

Press release: 9th November, 2015

Australian clergy support brave female Members of Parliament

A number of senior clergy and heads of faith-based organisations today issued the following statement of support for the five female members of the Australian Labor Party who are backing a motion in their party room tomorrow in relate to the detention of people seeking asylum.

Taskforce Chair, the Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt, said on behalf of the undersigned that: “ it is truly unfortunate that the ALP have not been able to develop nor articulate an alternative policy to offshore detention. However, their National Conference in May 2015 did agree that the ALP’s endorsement of detention of people seeking asylum is conditional.

The motion put forward and supported by some brave women in the ALP highlights that these conditions are not being met, and that as a result, the ALP must withdraw their support for the Manus Island Nauru detention centres and calls on the Government to close them down.”

We, the undersigned, wish to congratulate the women in the ALP who are supporting this motion, including, Melissa Parke MP, Anna Burke MP,  Jill Hall MP,  Senator Claire Moore,  and Senator Lisa Singh.


The Right Reverend Philip Huggins, Bishop of North West Region, Anglican Diocese of Melbourne.

The Very Reverend Dr Peter Catt, Dean, St John’s Cathedral Brisbane, Chair, Churches Refuge Taskforce

Carmen Lazar, Assyrian Resource Centre, Assyrian Church

Reverend Rod Benson, Chair, Baptist Social Issues Committee

Reverend Meewon Yang, Baptist Union of Victoria

Rev’d Dr Lucy Morris, CEO, Baptistcare

Mr Peter Arndt, Executive Officer , Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Brisbane

Sr Brigid Arthur, Vice-Chair, Churches Refugee Taskforce, Co-ordinator Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project.

Reverend Mark Riessen, Mission Coordinator, Churches of Christ, SA & NT

Reverend Canon Richard Tutin, General Secretary, QLD Churches Together

Alistair Gee, Executive Director, Act for Peace

Misha Coleman, Executive Officer, Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce

Ms Helen Lockwood, Director, Lutheran Community Care, SA.

Ms Sieneke Martin, Commissioner, Act for Peace.

Major Sandy Crowden, Social Justice Secretary, Salvation Army

Captain Nesan Kistan, Multicultural Coordinator, Salvation Army

Reverend Elenie Poulos, National Director, Uniting Justice Australia

Reverend Dean Drayton, Past President, Uniting Church Australia

Reverend John Jegasothy, Uniting Church Australia

Reverend Eira Clapton, Chair, CARAD, Uniting Church WA.


Available for comment:         The Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt, Chair of the Taskforce           

Sister Brigid Arthur, Vice-Chair, Taskforce

Media enquiries:                     Misha Coleman, 0428 399 739,


By | 2018-01-04T16:13:47+10:00 November 9th, 2015|Media, Press Releases|