Since August 2018 the Community Church of St Mark (Clifton Hill Baptist Church) has been writing every week to the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison (and various other parliamentarians), seeking an end to the indefinite detention of refugees.
Click here for the latest letter, (located on the Centre for a Compassionate Society website) which we invite you to freely adapt and forward to Mr Morrison, or your local Member of Parliament.
Here are some previous letters to Mr Morrison:
26 August 2018
Dear Prime Minister,
We, the members and friends of the Community Church of St Mark (Clifton Hill Baptist), wish to congratulate you on your new appointment, and express our sincere hope that you will use you position to exercise compassionate leadership on the issue of asylum seekers in off-shore detention.
Surely, like us, you are deeply distressed by the suffering your government is causing to vulnerable people, as asylum seekers have become political pawns to demonstrate to the more fearful and the closed-minded in our community that your party is ‘tough’ on border policy. We imagine that you are aware of the terrible harm being done to children in our various off-shore facilities, and that this must move you as a father to want to end this policy.
Please appeal to the best in the Australian community, and your party, and provide some real leadership to heal this terrible wound on our national psyche. We cannot continue to inflict this kind of suffering on others without becoming a more cruel and parochial nation. We beg you to seize this unique opportunity to set a different direction for the national conversation: to humanise asylum seekers and refugees, and show the community that there is nothing to fear from people who – just like them – simply wish that they and their families can flourish in safety.
Members and friends of the Community Church of St Mark
7 July 2019
Dear Prime Minister,
We, the members and friends of the Community Church of St Mark, gather every week in the electorate of Melbourne. A number of our members live in the electorate of Cooper. We have committed to writing a letter to your government every week until all people are removed from Australia’s off-shore detention centres, and appropriately re-settled, and these centres are closed. We are copying this letter to our local members Adam Bandt and Ged Kearney, and to the Ministers for Immigration and for Home Affairs. We have never received a reply from you, or your ministers, and we would very much like to hear from you.
We realise that the result of the election appears to give your government the mandate of the Australian people to continue current policy. However we find it hard to believe that you can let this situation drag on for another three years, or that you want your legacy to include the broken mental health and lives of those remaining in detention. Surely there are many within your party, as within the general community, who are uncomfortable about wearing down the spirits of vulnerable people, most of whom have valid asylum claims, in order to garner favour with the more fearful elements of the Australian public. Surely you agree that this policy is inconsistent with Christian, and Australian, values of compassion and a fair go.
Rather than doubling down on current hard-line policy, we need creative solutions that facilitate appropriate and timely resettlement while managing the risk of restarting the people smuggling business. This issue could be neutralised by accepting the New Zealand offer of resettlement.
Will you use this next term of parliament to change the debate on refugees, and to lead the Australian people toward their best instincts on this issue?
1 December 2019
Dear Mr Morrison,
We, the members and friends of the Community Church of St Mark, gather every week in the electorate of Melbourne. A number of our members live in the electorate of Cooper. As you know, we have committed to writing a letter to your government every week until all people are removed from Australia’s off-shore detention centres, and appropriately re-settled, and these centres are closed. We are copying this letter to our local members Adam Bandt and Ged Kearney, and to the Ministers for Immigration and Home Affairs.
As Jacqui Lambie has discovered in her community consultations, there is enormous support in the community for ending the suffering of the people Austrlaia has detained on Nauru and in PNG. Isn’t it time to accept the offer from New Zealand to resettle these people, so that they can finally begin to rebuild their lives?
We are particularly concerned about the nearly 50 men in Bomana prison. Please urgently explain why these men have been isolated from their support networks, and detail the conditions under which these men are living.
7 June 2020
Dear Mr Morrison,
We, the members and friends of the Community Church of St Mark, urge you to consider that the lives of refugees matter. The people, mostly young men, who still languish in indefinite on- and off-shore detention at your government’s pleasure, have hopes and dreams just like you – and those dreams matter just like yours. They wish to see their families, create a family, walk in nature, explore their potential, have meaningful occupation, and make a contribution, just like you.
The Governor of South Australia, Hieu Van Le, tells a story of the moment he and other refugees arrived in Darwin Harbour, afraid of encountering the Coast Guard and being towed back out to see. Instead he encountered two fishermen in a tinny, wearing shorts and T-shirts, who pulled their boat up alongside the refugees’ boat, raised the stubbies they were holding and said “Welcome to Australia”. Prime Minister, there is a generosity at the heart of the Australian spirit, which would respond to your leadership towards ending this stand-off, by finally offering these people the welcome they deserve.