CategoryRefugee Ethics

Unanswered Questions about Kids Off Nauru

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I have been celebrating the news that the Federal Government is bringing all refugee children on Nauru to  Australia for medical treatment. Yet there remain disturbing, unanswered questions. Why not bring them all now? The mental health crisis among child detainees is well-documented. So why are we waiting until Christmas to bring all of them to Australia? At the same time the government...

Kids Off Nauru. Why Isn’t This A No-Brainer?

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Like many others, my heart skipped a beat this week when I heard that three Coalition MPs had broken ranks on offshore detention and were calling for children and their families detained on Nauru to be brought to Australia.   The situation on Nauru is heartbreaking. Medicins Sans Frontieres, whose staff were very recently expelled from Nauru, describe the situation of asylum seekers and...

Don’t let today’s most important news story be overshadowed by the cricket

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Today’s most important news is going to be overshadowed by the exposure of cheating in the Australian cricket team.  I love my cricket and I am extraordinarily disappointed that our team has been caught cheating. Like people all over the country I will follow the story and share my outrage with friends and colleagues, But I don’t want to miss the most important news story for the day:...

What about the Rohingya?

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The flight of refugees from Burma highlights just how inhumane our refugee policy has become. More than 647,000 Rohingya have fled Burma since the end of August last year,  making it the largest refugee crisis of our region and one of the largest in the world. The UNHCR web  page on the Rohingya crisis says The situation remains precarious as refugees continue to arrive every day. Many refugees...

A Prayer for Rohingya and Manus Refugees

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This is a prayer I wrote to use in my church. Feel free to use it in yours. Lord Jesus, We come to you who once was a refugee, To plead the cause of those who today are refugees. We come to you as the One who hears the cry of the poor & oppressed, And call you to hear the cry of the Rohingya of Myanmar And the despairing on Manus Island. We pray for the Rohingya, fleeing military violence in...

The most persecuted people on earth

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They have been described as “the most persecuted people on earth”  and they are now the subjects of the world’s fastest-growing humanitarian crisis. The Rohingya are  a stateless ethnic minority who live in the Rakhine, an area on the western side of Myanmar. They are the people no-one wants. Although the Rohingya have been present in Myanmar since the 12th century, the...

This Country is Leading the Way on Refugees…and It’s Identity Will Surprise You

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Of all the nations in the world that host refugees,  the country leading the way is none other than the African nation of Uganda. It has a population of 34 million, many of whom live in poverty and in the last few years has taken in more than 1 million refugees.  What sets Uganda apart  is the support and welcome it gives to refugees.  Every refugee household is given access to land that they...

The truth is now plain to see. There were no hordes of refugees making their way to Australia

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As the number of  refugees and asylum seekers arriving to Australia by boat rose sharply in 2012 and 2013, the  major political parties engendered a state of moral panic.  The long-standing debate over push versus pull factors  was resolved in favour of pull factors; that is,  it was finally agreed that Australia’s policies of welcoming  refugees and asylum seekers  made Australia an...

An anniversary I’d rather not be celebrating

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This week marks the fourth anniversary of the decision by the Rudd-Gillard government to detain unauthorised asylum seekers in offshore detention centres and never permit them entry to our county. Today the system is on the verge of collapse, with the Manus centre declared illegal by the PNG Supreme Court, the government of Nauru refusing to keep people detained, and the deal with the US to...

There’s so much we can do if we work together

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Do you remember that amazing scene in Perth in 2014 when a commuter fell into the gap between a train and the station platform?  The commuter was stuck, and then something incredible happened. Hundreds of people put their shoulders against the train, took up the strain, and pushed. They managed to shift the train just enough for the trapped commuter to  get free. It was an exhibition of our...