Riverview students criticise Coalition over refugees

As Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce prepare for the prospect of filling two of the most senior positions in a Coalition government, students at their alma mater, Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview in Sydney, are alarmed that they have forsaken the Jesuit values that underpinned their educations, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

Led by Henry Gallagher, 17, the students have expressed their dismay at what they say is the betrayal of those values by both sides of politics and appealed for policies that promote 'a more moral, and a more just Australia.'

To ensure that the message hit home, they sent a letter penned by Henry and a petition of 450 signatures (most of them Riverview students) by courier to the electorate offices of the two old boys and three other prominent MPs with a Jesuit education: the Liberal Party's Joe Hockey and Christopher Pyne, and Labor's Bill Shorten.

'We feel compelled to express our disappointment that, as graduates of our Jesuit schools, you would allow those principles, cultivated in our common tradition, to be betrayed,' Henry writes.

'We look for heroes among our alumni, for insignes (generous and influential people, as Ignatius styled them). Instead we see only allegiances to parties that trade human lives for political expediency, that choose the lowest common denominator to woo the populace, and that speak of economic problems rather than the dignity of the human person, especially the most vulnerable.'

Mr Abbott is a former senior vice-captain of the school and completed his studies in 1975. Mr Joyce did not hold a leadership position and finished in 1985.

Photo: The St Ignatius advocacy group : Henry Gallagher, Dan Weber and Andrew Bouffler.

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