10 October 2020

Dear Mr Morrison,

I am a friend of the Centre for a Compassionate Society, which is based in the electorate of Melbourne. I live in the electorate of ***. I will be adding my voice to the voices of many others who value compassion, by writing a letter to your government every week until all people are removed from Australia’s on- and off-shore detention centres, and appropriately re-settled, and these centres are closed. I am copying this letter to the Ministers and Shadow Minister for Home Affairs and Immigration, and to my local member of parliament.

We were very saddened to read of the plight of “Mojtaba” (The Saturday Paper, October 10-16, 2020), a Hazara asylum seeker from Afghanistan. He is currently in Villawood detention centre, separated from his Australian wife and six-year-old son, and living with the threat of imminent deportation to Afghanistan. His deteriorating mental health contrasts with the joy he reportedly felt to be able to live all too briefly with his wife and child: “I lost everything, but I had Adam and Marsha. They gave me hope to celebrate life”.

As you know, this week many churches around Australia will read a passage from the Gospel of Matthew in which Jesus tells the parable of the king who puts on a wedding banquet. When the invited guests fail to show up, the king sends his servants to gather people from the highways and by-ways, and those people willingly come to celebrate. Prime Minister, how much more precious would be the offer of a safe home among family and community to someone like Mojtaba, than it is even to the majority of Australian citizens who take their right to stay here for granted? And how wonderful if would be if your government would learn from Jesus’ radical inclusivity to invite the poor and marginalised to be honoured guests at the table. 

With concerns about Australia’s low population growth due to the pandemic (https://www.abc.net.au/7.30/inga-ting-explains-why-the-lack-of-immigration-and/12737414) there is room at our table for Mojtaba, and for all others like him currently in detention who ask of us only a safe home and a chance to get on with their lives. 

Yours faithfully,

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