‘Messages of Hope’ defy Government’s proposed extreme anti-refugee legislation

Canberra 4 November 2016

The Canberra Refugee Action Committee is defying the Australian Government’s message of ‘no hope’ to refugees in offshore detention, by sending messages of hope and support to refugees trapped in political limbo on Manus Island and Nauru.

RAC will send photo messages of hope recorded at last Sunday’s Bring Them Here rally, which brought together 2500 Canberrans – in contingents from churches, unions, students, teachers, medical professionals, academics, LBGTIQ and others – in protest.

The messages are a spin-off from a song written by Suzette Raison titled ‘A Message HOPE’ which was sung by her band ‘Living Proof’ at Sunday’s rally. Ms Raison said today,

“I wrote the song because I was appalled by the devastating physiological effect on young people trapped in detention caused by the Government’s insistence that refugees on Manus Island and Nauru will never ever be resettled in Australia.”

The proposed new law, floated on the day of the rally by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, to impose a lifetime ban on refugees now on Manus and Nauru from ever entering Australia, regardless of their country of resettlement, has emboldened the grassroots community activist organisation to send the messages.

RAC spokesperson, Dr John Minns said,

“As demonstrated by the large numbers attending rallies, such as Sunday’s, and other RAC events this year, the Canberra community is resolute in its defiance of the Government’s refugee policy, which is inhumane and indeed – as this week’s proposed legislation demonstrates – spiteful.”

Dr Minns said that it is now up to the Labor Opposition to respond to ALP life member and former ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope’s call at the rally to unite and reject the proposed new law.

 Contact: RAC spokesperson Dr John Minns 0407 483 952; Suzette Raison 0498 110 667.

Photos: Bruce Clarke 0409 620 429.