The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Migrant and Refugee Office have put Australia’s Senators on notice that they have a moral choice to make. Legislation coming before the upper house of the national parliament places the human dignity of asylum seekers at risk:
“The Asylum Legacy Caseload Bill undermines Australian values stating ‘the laws of natural justice do not apply’. Consequently, Senators are faced with a moral decision,” Fr Maurizio Pettenà, Director of the Office said.
The Bill is criticized as undermining the Convention on the Status of Refugees and eroding legal protections for asylum seekers in Australia. It proposes to water down the Convention’s definition of a refugee, reintroduce Temporary Protection Visas which increase uncertainty concerning permanent protection and family reunification,and force people seeking protection to navigate a complex legal process without appropriate support and advice.
Meanwhile, Bishop Peter Comensoli, Bishop-Elect of Broken Bay (formerly Auxiliary Bishop and Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Sydney), has joined a group of prominent Australians in a protest song against the detention of asylum seeker children. The full list of participants is here.