Local, Independant and Effective

Working group formed for improved treatment of children, refugees and aslyum seekers

Posted October 16, 2015

 

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CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (13:42): I would like to welcome to Parliament House today leaders of Australia's Catholic religious congregations, the Uniting Church and representatives from the Anglican, Jewish and Muslim faith. These 40-plus leaders met with over 15 politicians to discuss concerns about government policy relating to asylum seekers and refugees. The discussion was informed by the social justice statement released by the Australian Catholic Bishops conference, 'For Those Who've Come Across the Seas', and also the comment by Pope Francis:

"We are a society which has forgotten how to weep, how to experience compassion..."

I am pleased to inform the House that the meeting was a fantastic discussion and it has been agreed to form a working party to further progress a combination of politics, community and society across geography, across location and across parties. I acknowledge and thank Sister Jan Barnett from the Sisters of St Joseph, Sister Berenice Loch, leader of the Sisters of Mercy in Australia and New Zealand, and Sister Ann Lane, leader of the Presentation Sisters, for their courage and creativity in bringing together today's meeting.

I also take courage from the words of the minister for immigration in this House yesterday at question time regarding his concern for children in detention, but I do remind the House that children's rights are human rights. They do belong in families but, first and foremost, we must have all our children out of custody.