Australian bishops declare, "Enough is enough"
Australia’s bishops have implored politicians on both sides to end the “intolerable situation” for asylum-seekers on Nauru and Manus Island. In a statement issued on 18 December
, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said “enough is enough” and it was time to find these people a home.
“Our elected representatives have returned home for Christmas without resolving the offshore detention crisis that confronts our country. It would seem that a majority in both houses of our Parliament favour laws and policies that will bring to an end the five-year saga of refugees and asylum-seekers who have had to put their lives on hold on Nauru and Manus Island,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
“A wealthy country with a robust rule of law and multicultural tolerance, Australia is an attractive place to live and to find peace and security. It is no surprise that courageous and resourceful people fleeing persecution anywhere in the world would be happy to make a home here – just as they did after the wars in Europe and in southeast Asia.
“Our politicians are rightly committed to maintaining secure borders and an orderly migration program. We always need to be asking if we Australians could be more generous in the number of people in humanitarian need we receive each year as part of our orderly migration program.
“This Christmas, we ask our politicians to consider a fresh return to Canberra in the new year, intent on putting an end to the intolerable situation on Nauru and Manus Island endured by asylum-seekers whose plight continues to be our responsibility. We cannot afford to have the plight of these people made even worse by making their futures the subject of bitter electoral disputation in the year ahead.
“Enough is enough. Let’s find them a home.”
Meanwhile, the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office has welcomed the commitment made by the Labor Party at its national conference this week to increase Australia’s annual humanitarian intake of refugees to 27,000 by 2025.
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, chair of the Bishops Commission for Social Justice, said ACMRO also welcomed Labor’s “pledge to appoint an independent children’s advocate to represent the interests of children seeking asylum and legislating to impose mandatory reporting of child abuse”. Read more in The Southern Cross