CAPSA May Bulletin
The federal election is just a few days away! Many refugee activists and advocates, including those in the CAPSA network, have been busy making sure that compassion for refugees and people seeking asylum is clearly on the agenda. Letter writing to candidates, assisting organising candidate forums and raising community awareness about issues pertaining to people seeking asylum have all been happening simultaneously over the past weeks. The variety and quantity of work is inspiring. Great work! Thank you!
At every level the Catholic community have actively brought attention to the plight of people seeking asylum: parishioners and Catholic school students, right through to Church leadership. In their recent federal election statement the Australian Catholic Bishops Council singled out the plight of asylum seekers and refugees, calling for compassionate change. CAPSA also released a statement regarding the federal election – you can read that here. Please share these statements widely.
This coming election will soon be over and the next crucial period, the first 100 days of a newly-elected Government, will begin. The future political landscape is not set. If we want to see the cracks of compassionate light seen over the past couple of months widen, we need to be coordinated and work together. We need to connect with government and other community groups, clearly articulating our positive vision for welcoming the stranger. We need to continue having thought-provoking and perspective-changing conversations with those around us to create an authorising environment for compassion. CAPSA stands to assist you in those efforts.
The CAPSA team
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 has collated a number of resources from a number of different useful and reputable sources that will hopefully help you to navigate conversations and your voting options. Share these with your community! You can find them here.
Please make sure the National Week of Prayer and Action 2019 (which coincides with Refugee Week this year) is in your parish, school, or organisation’s calendar/newsletter/bulletin! Would you organise a group from your school, organisation or parish to participate? Please register today!
Together all around the country the Catholic community will participate in direct action, circles of silence, prayers, conversations, and meetings with decision-makers. The actions we organise may be small and simple, or large scale and ambitious – what matters is that we send a message of compassion and solidarity together to our communities and leaders.
Click here to find prayers, ideas and instructions for advocacy actions. We will continue adding various resources and ideas over the coming weeks. Any questions just get in contact with us and we will help support your action.
Please help us get the message out! Let the leader of your parish/community/school social justice group, or your director of mission, or interested friends, colleagues or family know about the NWPA 2019. Only together can we make a difference.
The Refugee Council of Australia have launched their ‘CHOOSE HUMANE‘ campaign in light of the coming federal election. CAPSA was involved in drafting their ‘platform for change’, and we encourage you to sign up and take an active part in the campaign. Further information and actions can be found on their website here.
The #BackYourNeighbour campaign has been initiated by the ‘Local Government Mayoral Taskforce Supporting People Seeking Asylum’, a group of Australian Councils, in response to the cuts to the Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) program (that gives basic income, councelling and case management support to people seeking asylum) which is leaving thousands of asylum seeker families living in Australia destitute and homeless. You can sign the petition and easily send an email to your local MP here
After the colloquially named ‘medevac bill’ passed parliament earlier this year, which allows appropriate medical treatment for people seeking asylum, there has been some critique of the time taken for the processing to occur.
As of 1st May (4 weeks since the Medevac implementation) there have been :
- 8 transfers due to the Medevac processing
- 40 transfers that the government have enacted of their own volition.
- 420 applications for transfer on medical grounds
Some Federal Election Policy Promises
Taken from Asylum Insight
All major parties have promised to increase the refugee intake from 2017/18 numbers.
- Coalition: 18,750 places per year (inclusive of 1,000 community sponsorship places)
- ALP: Increase to 27,000 per year by 2025. (with an additional 5,000 community sponsorship places)
- Greens: Increase to 50,000 per year (with an additional 10,000 community sponsored places)
- The Coalition: $39.5 million for the Regional Cooperation Arrangement in Indonesia, towards assistance for Australia’s regional partners to deal with irregular people movements
- ALP: $450 million to UNHCR over 3 years
- Greens: $500 million to UNHCR and other partner countries over 4 years
The Recent Palm Sunday walks and rallies were a great success, with thousands right across the country turning out for compassion. Catholic leaders spoke and marched at events, including in Sydney, Wollongong and Melbourne. Many from Catholic schools, organisations and parishes took part at events across the country. Read the Australian Refugee Action Network’s recap here.
Pictures from: Refugee Action Collective Sydney, Refugee Action Collective Illawarra, and Melbourne Archdiocese Office of Justice and Peace.
The CAPSA contingent heading to the walk in Melbourne. Photo credit: Ashoka Peiris – CSNA (https://ashphotographymelbourne.com/)
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: firstname.lastname@example.org