Palm Sunday at the Park Hotel, Melbourne

A Prayer of Hope

by Dorothy Scott

We came together on Palm Sunday, gathering in front of a hotel in which refugees continue to be imprisoned.

The windows had been deliberately tinted so all we could see inside was darkness.

Despair descended upon us.

Suddenly from a window high above, a few faint lights began to move slowly back and forth in an arc.

Oh, the fragility of hope. The refugees were gently waving to us, using their mobile phones.

This was a small but precious gift of hope that they, who had suffered so deeply, gave to us at the start of Holy Week.

Let us gather all the small and precious gifts of hope we can find so they can speak to the condition of the world.

Sisters and brothers of all faiths, the spirit of our age is one of darkness and despair.

May we find within ourselves and within one another the Light to nurture hope and to illuminate the path on which we walk together in peace.

 

Palm Sunday at the Park Hotel, Melbourne

by Dorothy Scott 

Faint lights moving back and forth,

Held by men invisible behind a tinted window,

An arc of light silently communicating with protestors below.

On this day, the start of Holy Week.

 

Seven years imprisoned on a distant land,

Despairing and struggling to comprehend.

And now confined in hotels for over a year.

Some released, but these men left to suffer.

 

Whose idea was it to tint the windows?

Who ordered it to be?

Who did this task

So those in the street should not see?

 

One among countless acts of cruelty,

Oh, the banality of evil.

Faint lights moving back and forth,

Oh, the fragility of hope.

 

Dorothy Scott is an Elder of Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). She wrote this 

prayer and poem in Autumn 2021, inspired by the 150 Days of Action campaign.

The Djokovic Farce

The Djokovic Farce

by Susan Connelly

The Djokovic farce has highlighted at last

That a Melbourne hotel is a foyer of hell.

Men who’ve broken no law are behind its brick wall

And for seeking asylum our pollies revile them.

 

Tho’ true refugees, they’ve been brought to their knees,

Being locked up for years to placate Aussie fears,

Just pawns used for votes – ’cause they came here by boat,

Just balls in a game that’s Australia’s great shame.

Behind the veneer of some God-talk we hear

Our “leadership” crowd quite appallingly proud

Of what they have done to these men on the run,

As though scapegoating victims befitted a Christian.

 

I challenge you now – please explain to us how

Jesus Christ would defend the abuse of these men.

If you’re in any doubt, take your good bible out,

Matthew 7:21 is the sine qua non.

 

Let all tennis stars, from Australia or Mars,

Please do a Craig Foster; your nation will prosper.

 

 

Prime Minister’s response to Christian advocates for Afghan refugees is inadequate

In mid-October 2020 several Christian leaders from the Prime Minister’s electorate of Cook wrote to him to urge the Government to do more to support the people fleeing Afghanistan and seeking refuge in Australia. The leaders requested a meeting to explain their deep concern for the people of Afghanistan and how their congregations were willing to support the Government in helping to welcome Afghan refugees who arrive here. In late October the Prime Minister wrote back and despite recognising that the “situation in Afghanistan remains extremely volatile and dangerous, and deeply disturbing” there was no commitment to do anything further to assist the Afghan people still trapped there or those trying to escape. You can read the Prime Minister’s full response here.Continue reading

Catholics for Refugees join in congratulating new president of Refugee Council

Catholics for Refugees are delighted to join with many justice groups in congratulating Jasmina Bajaktaric-Hayward on her election as the new head of the Australian Refugee Council.

“This is an historic moment in the history of our country”, said Julie Macken, from Catholics for Refugees.  “As millions of us have grieved, watching our country’s inhumane treatment of refugees, we know that Australia needs a new heart and a new way to show mercy – for those urgently seeking safety as they try to escape Afghanistan at this moment, and for those already in Australia, suffering under this country’s injustice and cruelty.  Jasmina’s election gives fresh hope for new possibilities.”

Please see here for the full statement.

Imagine this Australia

Omid was the love of his mum’s life, Australia’s cruelty broke the lives of two people the day he died. Last week Queensland Coroner, Terry Ryan, said. “Omid started his journey In 2013 as an optimistic and perhaps naive 22 year old. Within three years he had died a painful death in a Brisbane hospital after struggling to come to terms with the reality of an indefinite period on Nauru.” As Craig Foster says, imagine his pain to be driven to this in Australia.

This short clip shows Craig Foster describing the tragedy of Omid’s death.

Minister Andrews reaffirms the status quo

On September 2nd, 2021, a significant number of Concerned Catholic leaders in the Australian community wrote to all our elected representatives to urge them to take decisive action action to protect those to whom we made promises and those who aspired for more in Afghanistan. We asked for three specific things in light of the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan:

  1. To work with other countries to ensure that people who wish to leave Afghanistan remain free to do so.
  2. Australia commit to taking 20,000 people in danger in addition to the existing humanitarian intake.
  3. Grant permanent residency to those living here on temporary protection visas and fast track family reunion.

The full letter is available here.

To date, we have only had one response from the Department of Home Affairs which is available here.

Vicar General of Darwin Urges Prime Minister for an Amnesty

In an open letter written on 19 July 2021, the Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Darwin, Father Malcolm P. Fyfe msc, urged the Prime Minister to cease Australia’s cruel policies towards people seeking protection by boat and to consider an amnesty for those still in detention.

19 July 2021 is the 8th year anniversary of Australia’s declaration that no one seeking asylum by boat would be resettled in Australia and reinstating indefinite offshore detention for them.

He wrote on behalf of the many well-informed thoughtful people who are appalled by Australia’s current immoral and evil treatment of people seeking protection here. He urged the Government to abolish offshore processing and begin a swift and fair onshore processing system; to consider a well thought out one-off amnesty for as many detainees as possible.

If the Government did not take up those suggestions he urged another bi-partisan Expert Panel on Asylum seekers be set up to review the current situation.

“Australia is capable of something a lot savvier and more generous than our current harsh and mean treatment of asylum seekers and refugees. The majority of people I encounter are most uncomfortable with this ongoing reprehensible phenomenon and there is a sense that, as Australians, we are better than this,” he said.

For the full letter, please click here.Continue reading