Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Welcome, compassion and safety for all

As Australians approach a Federal election on 18 May, we continue to encourage Uniting Church members to explore different parts of our recently released statement Our Vision for a Just Australia

In our statement we express our Christ-centred hope for Australia to be A Welcoming, Compassionate and Diverse Nation and to respond humanely to those seeking safety and refuge on our shores.

Our vision is that all who seek refuge here are treated fairly and are made to feel welcome and safe, regardless of their country of origin or mode of arrival.

We know that Australia’s response to refugees and asylum seekers will again be a contentious issue.

This Sunday the 14th of April 2019 thousands of Australians will take to the streets for the annual Palm Sunday rallies calling for more compassionate and just policies for refugees and asylum seekers.

UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer has encouraged Uniting Church members to join these rallies in this video.

As members of the Refugee Council of Australia, the Uniting Church Assembly is joining the I Choose Humane campaign to send a message to our political leaders that we expect humane policies for people seeking asylum.

The campaign outlines five policy areas:

  1. The permanent end to offshore processing
  2. A fair process for claiming asylum
  3. Reform of the immigration detention system
  4. A larger and more responsive humanitarian program
  5. Australia’s improved engagement in Asia.

You can read the policy platform in more detail here and find out how the major parties respond to these issues.

The focus areas of this campaign closely align with the key actions outlined in our UCA Vision Statement.

The section of the resource titled A Welcoming, Compassionate and Diverse Nation includes statements made by the Uniting Church in its long-standing advocacy for people seeking asylum, including the policy principles outlined in the Shelter from the Storm Assembly Resolution adopted in 2015.

The resource includes references to the Bible and helpful questions to put to political candidates in a public forum or which can be used as questions for small group discussion.

One of the questions Church members are encouraged to consider is: What initiatives are currently in place or could be used within your local community to make it a place of welcome and support for refugees?

More broadly in A Welcoming, Compassionate and Diverse Nation, we express our hopes to celebrate and value the diversity of all Australians, in our cultures, languages, faiths and experiences.