August 18, 2012
Josephites grieve latest legislation
August 17, 2012 - Along with thousands of Australians, Josephites around the world have been deeply saddened by the passing of the new Australian Government asylum seeker policy.
‘What is happening to us as a people?’ asked Josephite leader, Anne Derwin. ‘We have always prided ourselves on our egalitarian attitudes, our belief in a fair go for all, our concern for the underdog. And yet, the actions of our Government in its debate and legislation this year seems incomprehensible in the light of our held values as a nation.’
With other groups who have spoken out this week, Josephites are pleading with politicians to stop using deterrence as an excuse for inhumane and immoral law. The report of the expert committee, and the resultant debate and legislation before Parliament, clearly focuses on offshore processing and deterrence of so-called people smugglers, rather than on the tragedy of people fleeing for their lives. It has become increasingly clear that politics, and not compassion for some of the world’s most vulnerable people, is setting the political and media agenda.
This political stance has also been apparent in the Stronger Futures Legislation passed in Parliament last month. This legislation has led to feelings of hopelessness among Indigenous peoples, who see it as entrenching many of the most discriminatory policies of the previous Intervention. Churches, individuals and community groups have expressed their strong concerns about this legislation.
Josephites are appealing to politicians and members of the media, who have spoken out for compassion and justice for both the First and Last peoples of our land. This weekend, as Humanitarian week-end is celebrated throughout the world, Josephites will hold vigils as a sign of their solidarity with those speaking out for justice.
‘As we keep vigil this week-end, we grieve on two fronts’, said Sr Anne. ‘ We grieve for the first and last peoples who will suffer enormously because of the actions of our Government. But we also mourn the apparent undermining of what is best in our nation’s values.’
We urge all politicians of good will to speak out for justice and compassion at this time. And we invite all Australians who are concerned about this issue to join with us in vigil this week-end.
Jan Barnett rsj 0403 634 534
Josephite Justice Coordinator