17 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.

It appears that the focus of our letter-writing campaign needs to expand, as we read about the ‘war’ that you are currently waging on refugees and asylum seekers living in the community (The Saturday Paper, October 17-23). The removal of benefits, in the middle of a pandemic, from vulnerable people already struggling to survive, can only be seen as a gratuitous act of cruelty designed to force them to make impossible choices: between staying here without means of support, going ‘home’, or going to a third country. 

Prime Minister, if you had escaped from a country where you were persecuted for your beliefs or simply for who you are, would you choose to go back there? 

We request answers to the following questions:
1. Of the people who have received letters informing them that they were being shifted to ‘final departure bridging E visas’, how many have been found to be refugees or have claims for refugee status and have not exhausted avenues of appeal?
2. Where is the safe ’third country’, when you will not accept New Zealand’s offer of resettling 150 people per year? 

Yours faithfully,

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