Community Placement: A Great Way for Australians to Show their Compassion

03 May 2012

The Uniting Church in Australia has called on Australians to support the community placement of asylum seekers by getting behind the Gillard Government's soon-to-be launched Community Placement Network (CPN).

"We warmly welcome the CPN and the opportunity for compassionate Australians to support people and families who have sought refuge in our country," said National Director of UnitingJustice Australia Rev. Elenie Poulos.

"The harmful effects of mandatory detention on asylum seekers have been extensively documented."

"It is the Uniting Church's long-standing position that the best and most humane option for housing asylum seekers is in the community.

"At the moment only a small number of asylum seekers are released into the community, and an even smaller number will be housed with Australian families under the CPN."

Rev. Poulos has appealed to all sides of politics, particularly the Federal Opposition, to focus on the facts and stop playing politics with asylum seekers.

"Asylum seekers in community placement will all have undergone security screening and been awarded bridging visas," said Rev. Poulos.

"This is far from a 'dangerous and reckless policy' as the Opposition spokesman on Immigration has told today's Daily Telegraph."

"These comments only serve to inspire fear and hatred against asylum seekers.

"The vast majority of people who seek asylum here in Australia – 90% in fact – are found to be genuine refugees.

"Australia‟s mandatory and indefinite detention policy still stands as one of strictest immigration regimes in the world today.

"We are morally bound to provide a more humane way to help asylum seekers, and the Community Placement Network is a perfect way to do that."

The Uniting Church in Australia has a long track record of supporting asylum seekers in Australia. Uniting Church ministers, both lay and ordained, provide ministry to asylum seekers in detention centres such as Christmas Island and through our work in service provision, support and advocacy.