Let them stay...use your discretion...show compassion, love and empathy...

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                      Media Statement  – 11 September 2019

Let Priya and Nades and their family stay

The command to love others as we love ourselves is not, of course, a uniquely Christian expression; rather, it is evidence of a universal truth – we cannot diminish others without diminishing ourselves...Father Rod Bower, Archdeacon for Justice Ministries, Anglican Diocese of Newcastle (The Saturday Paper, September 7-13 2019, p 7).

We, the organisations that have issued this statement, call on the Australian Federal Government to show compassion and empathy for Priya, Nades, Kopika and Tharunicaa – the Tamil family who have been adopted by the community of Biloela. The children born to this precious family are Australians. They belong here.

We know that Australians are fair, they want everyone to have the same chance in life.   We are sad at the division being sown in our communities over this situation.

We think the Australian people understand that policies are there for governing us - to keep us safe and secure - and at the same time, discretion is there to help in individual cases, such as this Tamil family that has called Biloela home. 

Now is the time to act.  Let Priya, Nades, Kopika and Tharunicaa return to a place of safety on the Australian mainland.  Let them be welcomed as refugees, so they can become Australian citizens.

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Signatories and Contacts

NSW Ecumenical Council – The Reverend Dr Raymond Williamson OAM (President), and the Very Reverend Fr Dr Shenouda Mansour (General Secretary) – 0418 713 733

Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children, NSW – Gaby Judd (Coordinator) – 0412 554 541

The Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education – Phil Glendenning, Director

PAX Christi Australia – Fr Claude Mostowik – 0411 450 953 and Wies Schuiringa (Co‑Convenors NSW Ecumenical Council Peace and Justice Commission)

Church Council, Pitt Street Uniting Church, Sydney

Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Justice and Peace Centre

The Josephite Justice Network (Sisters of St Joseph) – Sister Jan Barnett