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Press Release: Bans on refugees to be enshrined in bad and sad legislation, and call on the Senate to block it

30 October 2016: New laws, to be rushed into parliament when MPs return to Canberra next week, mean that many people who have been found to be refugees will be banned from ever obtaining an Australian visa of any kind, even as a tourist.

The legislation will create further fear, uncertainty and trauma to anyone who has ever been transferred to a regional processing centre.

Misha Coleman, Executive Officer of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, which represents over 930 Christian entities around Australia, said today that “the Government clearly has no plan. Mr Turnbull has just not been able to find a solution, an alternative nor a long term plan. Introducing legislation to keep people locked up forever will never be a solution that the Christian members of the Taskforce will accept”.

She said that “there ARE alternatives, and we’ll be releasing a package of policy options, which the government has failed to find itself, in the same week as this draconian legislation will be introduced into the House of Representatives”.

She also said that “this legislation will drastically affect 310 people seeking asylum that I speak to regularly, here in Melbourne and in suburbs around Australia, who are largely young families with small children.

The legislation is called The Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing Cohort) Bill and Christians around Australia will be called to action to prevent the passage of this bill and to support alternatives.

She said that “The Government’s policy of offshore detention is in disarray – they need to find a resolution for people who are withering away in the offshore camps, but the government can only come up with punitive plans to distract from the fact that they don’t have a plan, they don’t know what they are doing.”

“In the meantime, churches around  Australia will call on their elected Senators to block this legislation.”

Media Inquiries and comment:

Misha Coleman, Executive Officer, Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, 0428 399 739

Peter Stahel

Client Manager

T. 02 8280 9108   M. 0408 584 439   

Press Release: #LetThemStay coalition’s response to Turnbull’s Pledge at Obama Summit

21 September 2016: Today’s announcement by the Australian government at the Obama Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis doesn’t address the future of around 2000 people currently languishing in offshore camps on Manus Island and Nauru said the Human Rights Law Centre, Getup and the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce.

The Human Rights Law Centre’s Director of Legal Advocacy, Daniel Webb said that while the Australian government’s pledge to keep the planned 2018 increase in the refugee resettlement intake to 18,750 per year and offer $130 million in increased financial assistance is a step forward, “showing decency to one person seeking asylum doesn’t justify or require cruelty to another.”

“Right now there are 2000 innocent people in our care who are suffering. I’ve sat face to face with women who have been sexually assaulted on Nauru. I’ve seen a man in our care collapse unconscious after being beaten on Manus. I’ve spoken with families desperate to begin rebuilding their lives in safety but who still languish on a painful road to nowhere after three years. Last night’s announcement doesn’t end their suffering.”

Matthew Phillips, GetUp Human Rights Director, said the Australian government has been humiliated at an international summit to help people fleeing conflict by it’s cruel policy of indefinite detention.

“Today’s announcement is a bad attempt at a cover-up. No other country in the world has deliberately and illegally held children, women and men for years on tiny remote island camps. It’s shameful that the PM can’t seem to resolve that situation and is instead making promises about 2018.” said Mr Phillips.

Mr Webb added, “Deliberate cruelty to innocent people is fundamentally wrong. Maintaining the planned intake and signing a cheque doesn’t make it right.”

Misha Coleman, Executive Officer, Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, said there are safe, viable and humane alternatives.

“We should be working with the UN and countries in our region to develop safe and orderly pathways to protection for people who need to seek it,” said Ms Coleman.

HRLC, Getup and ACRT said that after three years of fear, violence and limbo, it’s time to bring the men, women and children languishing on Nauru and Manus back to Australia to begin rebuilding their lives, just like the other people we will now be welcoming.

Mr Webb said,“Ultimately, whatever the policy challenge, deliberate cruelty to innocent people is never the solution.”

 

By | 2018-01-04T16:13:40+10:00 September 21st, 2016|Press Releases, ~ Slot 3|