Bishops Appeal for Asylum Seekers

  • by
Hand reaching through wire fence

Australian Bishops are engaging with refugee organisations and politicians in a range of ways to promote greater welcome, support and inclusion for asylum seekers and refugees. Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM (Conv), Chair of the Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service has written privately to Alex Hawke, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, and has published an opinion piece in Eureka Street for Refugee Week. Meanwhile Bishop Michael McCarthy has written to the Prime Minster appealing for the return of the Murugappan family to Biloela, in his diocese.

Bishop Michael McCarthy of Rockhampton Diocese has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison asking “that the Australian Government reconsiders the application of the Murugappan Family and allow them to stay in Australia and return to their friends at Biloela who have supported them emotionally”. Biloela is in Bishop McCarthy’s diocese of Rockhampton.

Bishop McCarthy’s concern extends beyond the Murugappan family to embrace all “people who might be caught up in detention centres awaiting a chance for a new life” saying that “like my ancestors” they simply “wanted the best for their children”. 

“My many years of working with people who have come as refugees from Asia, Africa, Latin and Central America and Europe, bring an incredible richness and giftedness to our land and especially in the next generation. As a sixth-generation Australian, whose own ancestors left Ireland and England in 1839 and 1859, I ask that the policy be reviewed and that those languishing in detention centres be given hope and assurance that Australia is a welcoming country that values diversity and genuine compassion”, he concluded.

You can read the full text of Bishop McCarthy’s letter to the Prime Minister here.

Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen has written privately to Alex Hawke, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, raising a range of concerns about the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in the context of the pandemic. Bishop Long’s opinion piece in Eureka Street, Embracing New Arrivals Helps Australia Evolve, can be read here.