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Welcome The Asylum Seeker Parish Support

The Fifth National Conference of the Australian Catholic Migrant and Education Office was held at the Melbourne campus of Australian Catholic University, on 18 and 19 July. This year’s theme is 'Cast into the deep' focussed on the care of migrants and refugees who are coming to Australia—an issue that is heavily debated by the Australian public.

The conference is responding to Pope Francis’ call to go out to the margins of society and 'cast into the deep' (Luke 5:4) and hosted Cardinals Turkson and Quevedo and 130 bishops, priests, religious and lay people. The focus was on pastoral support for the world’s refugees and migrants.
 

The Government is seeking to legislate substantial changes to make it more difficult for people to gain citizenship, especially those from non-English speaking backgrounds. This will also impact on people who have been granted permanent visas as refugees and are who are waiting to obtain citizenship and it will impact on their family members who have arrived here for family reunification.

 
The proposal has been introduced to the House of Representatives, and has been referred to a Senate Committee. Over the next few weeks, we encourage you to email, write letters and lobby local MPs and parliamentarians of all persuasions to object to these changes.

Sr Brigid Arthur from the Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project and Paris Aristotle AM, CEO of the Foundation for Survivors of Torture, thanked participants at Catholic Social Services' Forum for Parishes (held on 11 July 2017), for maintaining their support for refugees and people seeking asylum.

Sr Brigid contrasted the harsh official treatment of asylum seekers with that of generous people in parishes and communities who advocate for more humane treatment and who provide accommodation and financial support for people, many of whom have been abandoned with absolutely no means of support.
 

All are invited to attend a Culture and History of the South Sudanese Community Forum in Sunshine on Saturday 15 July from 1.30pm to 4pm in St Theresa's Hall, 18 Drummartin St, Albion. This forum sponsored by Pax Christi, an international peace movement, to meet members of the South Sudanese Community in Sunshine, learn about their culture and history, and hear first-hand of their experiences of being refugees in Australia.

Julian Burnside QC, together with Syrian refugees Omar and Saad Al-Kassab, will join with the Montmorency Asylum Seekers Support Group on Friday 28th July, at 7.00pm to discuss the experiences of people seeking asylum in Australia, and Australia’s treatment of refugees.
Volunteers are vital to our work in supporting parishes and social services agencies who assist the most vulnerable in our community. We're hoping to welcome a new volunteer to our team, to assist us in providing support to Catholic parishes as centres of service and outreach. Download flyer here.
 
Many of our member organisations also rely on volunteers. Click here to view a full list of members seeking volunteers. They'd also love to hear from you!
Catholic parishes play an important role in supporting and serving the most vulnerable within their local communities. Whether it be in the assistance of material, financial or relational support to newly arrived asylum seekers, or being aware and knowing what to do in the situations of family and domestic violence, or reaching out to an elderly or isolated neighbour, we all have a role to play in bringing to life the Gospel message.


On Sunday 21 May 2017 Immigration Minister Peter Dutton announced an October 1 deadline for 7,500 asylum seekers yet to apply for refugee status, or face deportation. Mr Dutton said many asylum seekers were “fake refugees taking the system for a ride”. Melinda Jackson, Principal Solicitor with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre's Human Rights Law Program said this latest policy change by the Government risks forcing people to lodge their applications without getting critical legal assistance.
 
Read the full letter here.
The Department of Immigration and Border Control is currently undertaking its annual review of the Humanitarian Programme, to consider the size and composition of intakes of refugees under the Programme.
 
Catholic Social Services with several member agencies have lodged a Submission to the Review, as has member organisation, Jesuit Social Services. Three Members of Parliament, Tim Watts MP, Labor, Andrew Broad MP, Nationals and Russell Broadbent MP, Liberal have called upon the government to increase community sponsorship of refugees within the Programme.
 
Member organisation Edmund Rice Centre has released a statement denouncing the government's latest decision to set a timeline on the lodgement for protection for refugees and people seeking asylum. In its statement, the ERC wrote "Peter Dutton has launched yet another unfair and cruel attack on refugees and people seeking asylum".

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