The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia has launched its own Refugee Policy prior to Christmas, and has written to Minister Scott Morrison about its deep concern over the Australian government’s treatment of people seeking asylum.
“People seeking asylum in Australia have a right to be treated with humanity rather than being forced to endure the horror of being treated as non-persons,” Dr Falzon said.
“People who have already been recognised as legitimate refugees and are living in our community are suddenly having their temporary visas terminated, with no renewals. They then fall into a legal black hole – many receive no Centrelink benefits at all once they get cut off, and of course they are not allowed to get paid jobs. Some are not even permitted to volunteer with us, even though they would like to.
“One of the most appalling things we have heard is that some children of asylum seekers are being stopped from enrolling in public schools. Children are thus having their fundamental right to education breached,” Dr Falzon said.
National President of the St Vincent de Paul Society, Mr Anthony Thornton, said that Australia was behaving immorally in its contempt for international human rights conventions to which we are a signatory.
“The recent axing of the Immigration Health Advisory Group is yet another example of the government’s blatant failure to fulfil its responsibilities.
“The St Vincent de Paul Society is doing all it can to help people who have come to our country in great need, but the total lack of government support for many families makes things very hard.
“The Society’s thoughts are especially with all those people who came here seeking protection and now will be spending this Christmas season locked away in detention centres, in Australia and offshore,”Mr Thornton said.
For more information about what the St Vincent de Paul Society is doing for refugees, see our website: www.vinnies.org.au/page/Our_Impact/Asylum_Seekers_Migrants_Refugees/.