REFUGEES SPECIAL

Please click HERE to download a .pdf of this newsletter.

SPC Forum Wednesday 7 August 7:30pm

Yarra Theological Union Study Centre, 34 Bedford Street, Box Hill
Light refreshments offered afterwards

Caz Coleman

The crisis with asylum seekers; realism versus humane concern

Caz Coleman will review efforts to improve outcomes for refugees and asylum seekers. Caz recently returned from a posting in Nauru as Contract Manager for Salvation Army support services. She was previously Director of the Hotham Mission Asylum Seeker Project.

Misha Coleman What YOU can do

How local church and community groups can help shape humane policies, including by questioning candidates for the federal elections. Misha Coleman is Executive Officer of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce.

For a flyer for this event, click HERE.
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Asylum seekers: breakthrough or debacle?

Bruce Duncan

The Rudd government is taking an enormous gamble in refusing to accept asylum seekers arriving by boat. If the prospect of spending years languishing on Nauru or Manus Island is a strong enough deterrent, it may end or slow boat arrivals and the loss of life at sea. Some 1,100 people have drowned since 2008 trying to reach Australia.
But the boats keep coming, and the numbers of asylum seekers may overwhelm the limited capacity of offshore centres. The worst case scenario is for increased rioting, self-harm and suicides, centres in flames, systemic human rights abuse, and disintegration of community life in the islands – truly nightmarish prospects.
To read this article in full, click HERE.

 Photo Harmony Day by DIAC Images, flickr cc.

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Pope Francis on Lampedusa Island

With a population of only 6,000, Lampedusa has been a gateway to Europe for over 200,000 people since 1999, with about 4,000 arriving this year. Many asylum seekers have drowned crossing to Italy, an estimated 20,000 in the last two decades, with about 500 being reported dead or missing in 2012. Pope Francis praised the people of Lampedusa for the help they have offered the boat people. “May your example be a beacon for the world as a whole to have the courage to welcome those who are looking for a better life”. He lamented that “we have lost a sense of responsibility for our brothers and sisters”, resulting in “globalised indifference”. “We are a society which has forgotten how to weep, how to experience compassion.”
Photo Pope Francis met with media by Catholic Church of England & Wales, flickr cc.
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Boat people & Australia: towards a solution

Kevin Peoples

Refugee Advocate 2002-2013

 A regional plan for asylum seekers seeking protection in Australia

After more than a decade of involvement in advocacy for asylum seekers, Kevin Peoples proposes a Regional Plan for Asylum Seekers that will stop the loss of life at sea by setting up a reception centre in Indonesia, in collaboration with the UNHCR, and funded by Australia. He argues that Australia should prioritise refugees from this region, and enter into agreements with neighbouring countries that Australia would receive 25,000 refugees a year, and fly them to Australia for settlement.
To read Kevin Peoples’ proposal in full, click HERE.

 Photo Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre by DIAC Images, flickr cc.

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Church Responses

Religious and humanitarian groups have been especially critical of the harsh government policy on asylum seekers. Speaking for the Australian Catholic Bishops, Bishop Gerard Hanna said it was “fundamentally untrue” that people had no right to seek asylum in Australia.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea on 21 July protested that PNG does not have the capacity “to welcome a sizeable influx of refugees and provide for their immediate needs”.
To read this item in full, click HERE.

 Photo St David's Uniting Church Oakleigh was there - Refugee Action protest 27 July 2013 Melbourne by Takver, flickr cc.
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Help support SPC

SPC relies on donations to expand the conversation about social justice
You can help by making a donation in one of these ways…

* Send your cheque or money order to our office at PO Box 505, Box Hill, Victoria 3128
* Transfer by Internet to Social Policy Connections Inc, BSB 083159, Account 792617040, referencing your surname and phone number
* Donate by credit card, using the DONATE form HERE.
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Books available at SPC

Young People, Faith, & Social Justice
Joan Daw

$20 plus $5 postage and handling
Dr Joan Daw’s research examines how young people in a number of schools and social justice organisations understand the links between faith and their sense of social responsibility and care for others. Dr Daw brings together her findings on the activities of a number of schools and social justice organisations in promoting awareness of social justice issues, the motivations involved, and practical effects.

Social Justice: Fuller life in a fairer world
Bruce Duncan
$35 ($28 for SPC financial members), plus postage
Outlines social justice in the Scriptures, how later generations lived these values, and issues today of the economic crisis, equity, global poverty, hunger, climate change, peace, and indigenous issues. It highlights the contributions of Frederick Ozanam, Barbara Ward, Rosemary Goldie, Helder Camara, Joseph Cardijn, and Aboriginal activist ‘Mum Shirl’.

Sufficient for the Day: Towards a Sustainable Culture
Geoff Lacey
$20 plus postage “Geoff Lacey has something new and important to say about the roots of the environmental crisis and the way forward. His combination of deep reflection and practical attention to problems provides a much-needed corrective to a sustainability debate dominated by narrow economic perspectives.” Paul Mees, Senior Lecturer in Planning at RMIT.

Towards a Better World
Arthur Gibbs
$15 plus postage
An SPC member, Arthur worked as an economist. “Towards a Better World is a cautionary tale of what can happen when world leaders and corporations jump on an ideological bandwagon with little reflection about the long-term consequences for all.” Anne Tuohey.

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Social Policy Connections video
featured in our June issue

Ged Kearney on Insecure work

Click HERE if the video does not display properly
Click HERE to view more SPC videos

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