Palm Sunday has long been a day of protest for people across faith communities and for those without any religious beliefs. Thousands have been marching for justice for refugees ever since the re-opening of Australia’s inhumane offshore processing program in 2013.
Our power is in challenging injustice together so this year Amnesty International Australia lent our support to national efforts. We joined with the Australian Refugee Action Network as well as other networks to call for Justice and a Fair Go for refugees. In particular, we wanted to demonstrate public support and influence moderate Liberal Members of Parliament (MPs) to encourage their party to accept refugee resettlement pathways.
23 March – We were able to host an online webinar for people from the refugee sector and faith communities across the country. This webinar was facilitated by refugees speaking directly from their lived experience as well as refugee campaigning experts. We had over 130 people attend – half of whom had not been invited by Amnesty and 22 who had never engaged with Amnesty before.
28 March – We encouraged our supporter base to attend dozens of events right around the country – many of which had visible Amnesty support and local media coverage. We provided a unique QR code for activists and event organisers to use.
Over 1600 people sent a personalised hardcopy postcard to the most influential MPs. The postcards look like this:
8 April – Following on from these activities, we held a Zoom calling party targeting the same MPs, to tell them that thousands of people want them to call on Prime Minister Morrison to accept the New Zealand offer, and to look out for our postcards in the mail.
14 April – Behind the scenes we have been also working with religious leaders to sign on to an open letter to Prime Minister Morrison which has been sent to his office now and will be published in his local paper, the St George & Sutherland Shire Leader on Wed 14 April.
All of this activism has been to build momentum and pressure on key MPs to influence our Prime Minister ahead of his upcoming meeting with NZ Prime Minister Arden. We want Morrison to accept the NZ offer to resettle 150 refugees a year – this deal has been on the table since 2013. If the Australian Government had accepted this offer then there would be no refugees left in offshore detention.
Stay tuned to hear the outcome!