The Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum has released a federal election statement that calls for all sides of politics to commit to “language and policies that reflect a compassionate and humane Australian society”.
“This election is an opportunity to bring a change in the way we see, treat and live together with people seeking asylum,” CAPSA said in the statement released on Friday.
“The Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum calls upon the incoming federal Government to legislate and make policies that are fair and compassionate. Discriminatory treatment towards people seeking asylum who have arrived by boat to Australia is unnecessary for the security of our borders. “It is possible to be both fair and kind.”
CAPSA urged the incoming parliament to “provide a fair process for people seeking asylum”. It wants protection visa applications processed quickly; support for people waiting for their applications to be processed; asylum-seekers to live in the community while they wait for an application outcome; and provision for families to promptly be reunited in Australia.
Australia’s current asylum-seeker policies and processes “cannot be characterised as fair”, the statement continued. It said the help the Catholic community gives to asylum-seekers across the health, education, pastoral, and social sectors should enhance the work of the government, but instead is “most often a lifeline”.
“Our efforts and resources, which could be put towards joyful integration, inclusion and welcome, have instead been turned to crisis relief and advocacy for the most basic considerations of people seeking asylum.”
CAPSA said the current situation is “untenable for people seeking asylum”, in offshore and onshore facilities, in the appeal systems and systems of appeal and even in our communities where thousands of vulnerable individuals and families are at risk and suffering destitution due to government support being removed and no longer offered.
“The Catholic community stands ready to continue our work of welcome. Our political leaders must introduce and champion policies that complement the wonderful work that so many Catholic parishes, schools, organisations and congregations do to welcome and accompany people newly arrived to this country.”
Federal Election statement (CAPSA)