Statement from Bishop Philip Huggins, Chair of the Melbourne Anglican Social Responsibilities Committee
We must speak about and act towards asylum seekers in a compassionate and not a demeaning manner.
Whilst their claims are processed, can we not help them in productive ways?
Access to education and training would better fit them for employment, whether they are received into Australia as refugees or, in time, are returned home. Our domestic welfare services have great expertise in these areas and could well assist.
In short, whilst their claims are processed, can we not make their daily lives both more healthy and productive? This is the kind of treatment we would hope for, should we be in their position.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you,” is our profoundly civilising core ethic, drawn from Jesus’ teaching.
The hunger-strikes of some asylum seekers are an appeal to our better national selves.
We all understand the frustration with people-smugglers, but our responses cannot be such that we lose touch with the common humanity of those now in detention.
Give them better lives whilst their claims are processed! Many stand ready to assist!
Bishop Philip Huggins
M: 0418 799 515
T: (03) 9653 4243
Roland Ashby, Media Officer
M: 0418 342 561