CAPSA August 2019 Bulletin

The Catholic Migrant and Refugee Week in August has topped off a busy time of various actions and advocacy from across the CAPSA network. This week was a great opportunity to reflect on the many ways migrants and refugees have contributed to the rich fabric of Australian society. It was also a time where many prayerfully, symbolically and directly stood against the current set of polices and processes that are causing harm to refugees and people seeking asylum.

The Jubilee letter campaign, which asks for an amnesty for those located offshore and for Australia to uphold fair process, launched during this week has seen great uptake by the CAPSA network – fantastic work everyone! If you, your school, parish or organisation hasn’t signed a letter and sent it off, there is still time, just click here to get instructions and a guide letter template.

We have seen such active and fantastic participation during the last few months – the CAPSA National Week of Prayer and Action during June, a fantastic turn out at the #SixYearsTooLong rallies in July and of course various activities and actions during the Australian Migrant and Refugee Office’s Migrant and Refugee Week.

Keep up your great work, unfortunately it is much needed, and remember to be in touch if the CAPSA network can assist with anything you are working on.

We believe that together WE CAN make a difference, starting with small acts of kindness and hospitality and becoming a collective voice demanding more compassionate asylum seeker policies.

CAPSA is only made possible by the generous contributions, support, work and service of the Catholic community. Make a tax deductible donation today!

Medevac Update

As of the 28.08.2019 there have been 136 approvals since the ‘Medevac Bill’ was legislated. There are 25 more pending approval, with 18 rejected.

The incumbent government have passed through the House of Representatives a Bill to repeal Medevac. A Senate Inquiry, to which Catholic organisations Cabrini Health AustraliaSt Vincent’s Health AustraliaJesuit Social ServicesJesuit Refugee Service ‘JRS’ Australia, the Josephite Justice Network and the Catholic Diocese of Darwin all submitted, was formed to interrogate the Bill to repeal medevac.  All submissions, apart from the Department of Home Affairs’, recommended that the repeal be overturned and Medevac provisions remain in legislation. The repeal Bill will be debated in the Senate most likely in the first sitting week of parliament in November 2019.

Senator Jacquie Lambie looks to be the deciding vote on whether this repeal will be successful or not. If you are from Tasmania, please consider writing to the Senator asking her to uphold Medevac. For a template letter and further details, please click here.

Educate! Resource Highlights

Jesuit Social Services recently released a discussion paper on ‘the harsh reality of onshore detention’. It provides an up-to-date snapshot of what is going on in immigration onshore, and draws from the experience of visitors who visit regularly. You can download it from this page here

Jesuit Refugee Service (Australia)’s federal election statement is a trove of information about policies and issues. It also contains real life stories about how these policies effect people seeking asylum, as well as recommendations for improving the situation. You can download this here

‘Stat Snapshot’

Up to date statistics on offshore processing.

  • 3,127 people have been sent to PNG and Nauru since 19th July 2013
  • There are approximately 715 people who are left living in limbo in PNG and Nauru.
  • Over 1250 people over the past six years have been transferred to Australia for medical reasons (either treatment or accompanying someone who requires treatment).
  • There have been over 604 resettled in the US, and a further 265 have been provisional approval others in Europe or Asia. However many who have been found refugees, but rejected by the USA are still languishing in PNG and Nauru.

What are some solutions?

  • New Zealand has offered to take 150 refugees, the Australian Government could accept this offer
  • Australia could offer permanent protection for any or all of those people in PNG and Nauru
  • There is a project to raise money to fund community led resettlement to Canada for those on PNG and Nauru – Read more here


Cathy McGowan Tour

Cathy McGowan, former independent member of pariliament for Indi, is touring to advocate for detainees in PNG and Nauru, with the support of Rural Australians for Refugees from September 8th – 20th. She has had talks at Melbourne, Benalla and Sydney so far.

Thursday the 19th September, 12noon in the Lord Mayor’s Court Room (ground floor) Hobart Town Hall.

Friday the 20th September, 6.00pm, café xoxo, 111-113 Rooke St. Devonport (the Mall):

Thursday 26 September, 7 pm at the Effective Living Centre, 26 King William Road, Wayville

Brisbane to be advised (more information here)

If you have any events, training, or workshops coming up that you think other CAPSA members and supporters would be interested in, please email them through to:

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