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September 20, 2010

PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY IN CANBERRA

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney
AT THE OPENING OF PARLIAMENT
Tuesday, 28 September, 12.30—1.30pm

We will assemble on the lawns outside Parliament House, Canberra, to call on the new federal parliament to introduce humane refugee policies and stop using refugees as political footballs. Refugee groups are asked to bring banners with the key messages of the gathering as well as their own messages.

Was your voice heeded on asylum seekers during this election?

Many of us are worried about the way in which successive governments have treated asylum seekers and refugees. We are tired of seeing asylum seekers used as political footballs where each side of politics scores points by proposing increasingly harsher policies.

We believe it’s time to tell our parliamentarians, “Enough is enough!”

With the entry of the Greens and independents as significant players in government, there is a chance to end this endless round of punitive policy making and to achieve humane policies for refugees. We want to encourage these new players to demand better standards from the parliament on human rights.

We want to call a halt to this race to the bottom on human rights.

The reason we are coming together on this day is to say that we, the people, want to be heard. We care about how vulnerable people are treated and we want our politicians to stop using asylum seekers as political footballs.

Enough is enough.

People from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, carrying endorsements from over 48 groups across Australia will gather at the opening of Parliament at 12midday on Tuesday 28 September.

Adam Bandt Greens MP and Andrew Wilkie Independent MP will join Senator Sarah Hanson Young in addressing the People’s Assembly at 1pm. Speakers from refugee community groups will speak from 12.30pm.

“This is one football draw which would be welcome”, says Pamela Curr from the Victorian based Refugee Advocacy Network. “People have come to Canberra to give our political representatives a message – we have had enough of this brutal game where asylum seekers are used as political footballs.”

Najiba Wasesadost, from the Hazara community, will speak about her grandfather who is now locked up in Curtin.  Najiba arrived as a child with her family when they fled Afghanistan in 2000 and was detained in Curtin. Ten years later her grandfather sits and waits in Curtin Detention Centre for the visa suspension to be lifted so that his claim can be assessed.

Representatives from the Tamil, Iranian and Arabic communities will also speak about their concerns for the asylum seekers detained in 19 detention centres in Australia.

“The People’s Assembly believe that it is time to tell our parliamentarians- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! With the entry of the Greens and Independents as significant players in Government, there is a chance to end this endless round of punitive policymaking and to achieve humane policies for refugees and asylum seekers at last”. Curr continues

Contacts     Pamela Curr 0417517075     Ian Rintoul  0417275713

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