The Uniting Church today welcomed the proposed changes to the Migration Act 1958 and urged the Coalition backbench to support the Private Members Bills when they come before Parliament.

The Uniting Church today expressed frustration and disappointment with the regulations for the new Bridging (Removal Pending) Visa which gives the Minister for Immigration absolute power and offers no rights of appeal for people who take up this visa.

The President of the Uniting Church, Rev. Dr Dean Drayton, said today that he was relieved that the cruelty of detention will be over for a small number of people, but expressed disappointment that nothing is being done for the majority who remain in detention.

This is the statement by the National President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Rev Dr Dean Drayton, following a meeting with the Minister for Immigration, Senator Amanda Vanstone, in Adelaide on Friday 7 January, while he was attending the National Christian Youth Convention.

The Uniting Church today said that it is disappointing that the new Shadow Minister for Immigration, Laurie Ferguson, has already shown that he knows nothing about the procedures for assessing refugee claims.

The Uniting Church today said that Australia's asylum seeker deterrence policies have failed because they have not addressed the causes of refugee flows and they have institutionalised violence against vulnerable people.

The Uniting Church has welcomed the compassion and decency being shown to TPV refugees who have established work and family connections in Australia, but said recent changes will leave many refugees no better off.

The High Court's decision to uphold the indefinite detention of stateless people is proof that a new system of complementary protection is urgently needed in Australia.

The Australian Government has finally demonstrated some compassion and common decency to the thousands of Temporary Protection Visa holders who having been living with uncertain futures.

The Uniting Church has again called for the immediate release of all children from Australia's detention centres, joining today's Sydney community protest.

Page 9 of 11