Advocates deliver almost 30,000 signatures to Minister Tudge for a fairer community sponsorship program

Advocates of a fairer community sponsorship program will on Thursday December 17 handover 30,000 signatures supporting reform to the program to welcome more people into our communities.

The signatures will be handed over at Acting Minister for Immigration, Alan Tudge’s electorate office in Wantirna South, Melbourne. A review into the current model is due to be completed within weeks.

“My family and I were privately sponsored to Australia, and it was church organisations, local friends and diaspora connections who collectively played a role in helping us resettle,” Amnesty International Australia campaigner Shankar Kasynathan said.

“I have met many others in Australia and overseas, who have benefitted from, and are now thriving because of their experience with refugee community sponsorship.

“We have it in our communities, to ensure the next model is fair and just. It must be additional to our humanitarian intake.”

Minister Tudge has declined repeated requests for a meeting to hand over the tens of thousands of signatures from Australian citizens.

Since March 2018, Amnesty International has been joined by 40 local governments, hundreds of community groups, including refugee communities and almost 30,000 Australians who have been calling for a fair and just model of community sponsorship.

“In the time of COVID 19, when immigration has collapsed, our government should be welcoming those desperate for a new start into our own communities with open arms. It’s the humane thing to do, the most economically sound thing to do, and the most sensible thing to do,” Kasynathan said.