I am deeply concerned about Monday’s announcement by the Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, that welfare services will be cut to around 100 asylum seekers who were brought here for medical treatment, apparently in an effort to force them back into processing centres on Manus Island or Nauru. This is just the latest in a series of decisions to place vulnerable people in even more exposed conditions.
Of course, it is the responsibility of governments to control national borders. But as Christians – or simply as people – our most urgent response must come from our common humanity and empathy. It is tragic for vulnerable people that political parties have hardened refugee resettlement policy and tragic for these few people to be treated in this way.
Anglican churches do a huge amount at the grassroots level to help and care for refugees, and I am grateful for that. How much better for us to decide these matters based on a compassion that arises from our shared humanity? We do well to remember St Paul’s exhortation in the Bible, ‘not to grow weary of doing good’.