Statement by Australian Council of Christians and Jews on Refugee Legislation November 2016

The Australian Council of Christians and Jews calls on the Australian Federal Government to reconsider its proposed legislation preventing refugees who arrive in Australia by boat ever being allowed to come to Australia in the future.

The ACCJ views this legislation as harsh and unwarranted. While these refugees already languish under harsh conditions, condemned to a future without hope, we are concerned not only about their health and wellbeing but the moral effect this legislation has on our own citizens.

The ACCJ is deeply concerned that these refugees now find themselves being used as ‘bargaining chips’ in the Governments fight against people smugglers. To use these people as a way to prevent the people smugglers to gain traction is both unfair and immoral.

The plight of refugees in offshore detention centres is bad enough as it is but sadly, it provides terrible lessons  to our children on how we as Australians, would treat those unfortunate people who need to escape zones of war, harsh dictators, famine and disease to simply live decent, safe lives.

To show compassion and humanity in this area is not a sign of weakness but in fact quite the opposite.

This spirit coheres with the biblical heritage common to Jews and Christians that encourages us as a community ‘to act with justice, to love with tenderness and to walk with humility with our God’ (Micah 6.8).’

Signed

Rev Dr Michael Trainor AM Chair, Australian Council of Christians and Jews
Rev Marie Wilson Chair, Council Christians and Jews WA
Dr Philip Bliss OAM, Chair, Council Christians and Jews Inc Victoria
Mr Jolyon Bromley Chair, Council Christians and Jews NSW
Dr Ron Hoenig Jewish Co-Chair, Council of Christians and Jews South Australia
Mr Terry Craig Chair, Council Christians and Jews ACT
Rev Terry Veling Chair, Council Christians and J

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