The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council’s Briefing for November is now up on the website. The Briefing covers issues of Catholic social teaching in November 2016, highlighting resources, media items and diary events. It can be read here.
In this month’s briefing the ACSJC Secretariat, John Ferguson, writes about the latest announcement from the Australian Federal Government concerning asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat, and calls for a ‘better way’:
When it seems as though Australian governments of both persuasions have reached the limits of their inhumane treatment of some of the most vulnerable people on earth, we are again surprised by ever-more draconian policies against refugees and asylum seekers.
On 30 October, the Prime Minister held a press conference with the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, announcing that the Government will introduce legislation to amend the Migration Act to prevent irregular maritime arrivals taken to a regional processing country since July 2013 from making a valid application for an Australian visa.
He said, ‘…
I repeat, that irregular maritime arrivals who have been sent to a regional processing country, that is Papua New Guinea and Nauru at the present time, will never be settled permanently in Australia.’
This is the latest in the trend of regressive policies that have included: writing most Refugee Convention obligations out of our Migration Act; excising Australia from its own migration zone; returning asylum seekers to countries from which they fled; incarcerating adults and children in offshore facilities; freezing Refugee Status Determination and reducing legal assistance and appeal rights; refusing resettlement places in Australia; and reintroducing temporary protection visas.
The latest proposal should cause us to stop and reflect: Who are we as a nation? Is this what we have become? …