Public Forum

8 December 2019 | General Interest


A large crowd attended this gathering at Polding House Sydney where reports were given by members of the delegation that went to Paua New Guinea to talk to detainees and others who have been on Manus Island for nearly seven years. As many presenters reflected a sad day for Australia as the Senate repealed the Medivac Legislation.

On October 30th there were 535 detainees in offshore detention centres. We heard of the atrocious, almost tortuous conditions in some of these areas especially at the Bomana prison where detainees live in a situation of despair. This facility was built by the Australian Government at the cost to taxpayers of $2 billon. Despite the conditions we heard of detainees resilience, solidarity with their “brother” detainees and hope that one day they will be reunited with their families.

Behrouz Boochani, whom the delegation met in New Guinea spoke to us via video link from New Zealand. He was obviously shaken by the Senate outcome earlier in the day.

We were challenged to become involved in practical ways in the Church’s attempts to right these moral wrongs. A practical way at the moment to offer assistance to these people who are in dire need, seeking asylum, but are stranded in New Guinea, is to donate to Caritas Australia who will  send the monies to Caritas PNG. More details for practical suggestions in the new year.

We were challenged to echo the actions of Jesus and Pope Francis to care for the poor