Statement by The Primate of the Anglican Church in Australia, Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier:
I welcome the Federal Government’s announcement of a potential agreement that will enable refugees to leave Nauru and Manus Island for other countries, notably the United States.
I commend the Government for its stringent efforts to find a solution that does not leave people rotting in off-shore detention.
Large numbers of Australians have been disturbed by the calculatedly callous treatment of asylum seekers, in which both Labor and Coalition Governments have sought to use human misery to “send a message” to people smugglers.
I recognise that border sovereignty has been an intractable problem and that the Government has successfully stopped the boats. This achievement has also removed the need to use offshore detention as a deterrent.
I urge the Government to drop its legislation banning any refugee resettled overseas from ever returning to Australia. The Government has already acknowledged it is not a necessary part of the resettlement proposals.