No matter where we come from or how we got here, everyone needs a safe place to call home.
But for the past seven years, successive governments have enacted harmful policies against people seeking asylum, including the indefinite detention of everyone who arrived by boat after 19 July 2013.
Today, there are still 290 people held against their will in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Over 1000 women, men and children have been transferred to Australia for critical medical treatment and now live in ‘transitory’ visa limbo. Over 200 of those people are held in locked immigration detention centres and so-called ‘alternative places of detention’, such as the Mantra and Kangaroo Point hotel prisons.
Countless Parliamentary and Departmental inquiries, UN investigations, reports by the Australian Human Rights Commission, and numerous whistleblowers, including the government’s own doctors have repeatedly told us the same story of systematic abuse, violence and medical neglect of people held in detention facilities. Tragically, 13 people have died in these centres.
After 7 long years of toxic politics, it’s time the Government frees these women, men and children, and quickly resettles them into our community, so they can be safe and have a place to call home.
Time for release from detention.
Time for a permanent resettlement solution.
Time for a home.
There are currently around 16,000 children in families seeking protection in Australia. Many people seeking asylum have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19, as they often work in the service sectors worst affected. People seeking asylum are not eligible for the JobSeeker or JobKeeper payments, like many other workers. Some don’t even have access to Medicare. The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) is bringing together a coalition of educators, carers and students are working to put pressure on the Federal government to ensure adequate support is provided for people in this situation. COVID-19 does not discriminate, and neither should access to a safety net or assistance during this time. We are in this together and there must be support for all who need it, regardless of visa status.
RCOA is collecting signatories from educators, parents and students, and the relevant bodies representing them, for a joint statement directed to the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston. For members of the general public you can support the campaign by signing our petition. Both can be accessed here: