Refugees Welcome Here

Refugees not welcome in Australia? NO WAY.  

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Placard at a recent Refugee Week event

The Federal Government’s announcement to ban refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru from ever coming to Australia applies to 1,300 people who currently live there.

Seventy-two per cent of those who have been through the camps have been assessed as being refugees, according to the latest information issued by the government. I have no words for this latest cruelty inflicted by my government. What is the point of this when its ‘turn back’ policy is supposedly working?  Fear, confusion of language and violation of international human rights continues in my country.

Malcolm Turnbull is sounding more and more like the previous PM John Howard who said in 2001: “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come” as he fought against the rising support for Pauline Hanson and her One Nation party.

Can we really be returning to this low point in our history?

There is so much misunderstanding about why and how people seek protection and what happens when they arrive here.   Why as a community are we prepared to accept the lack of information about what is happening in our detention centres?   Asylum seekers are not only the most vulnerable group of people in Australia, but also one of the most marginalised.

Pauline Hansen went further yesterday that “all refugees are not welcome here.”   It’s time that the millions of people who have come to Australia as refugees stood up with people like me and you to loudly say NO.   Refugees ARE welcome here and have contributed positively to our community for decades.

I was please to share the stage at a community event with members of the Australian Red Cross last week. It was heartening to be reminded that they have been working with people impacted by migration – including people seeking protection – for almost 100 years.

There is a lot of great information on the Australian Red Cross website and it’s an interesting experience to take their quiz on asylum seekers and refugees… It reminded me how we have been misled on the facts. I encourage you to take the quiz and see how you go.

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Meeting the lovely Natasha Venebles from the Australian Red Cross