So much has been going on in Australian politics in the lead-up to printing this edition of Revive. In a landslide victory, Australia has voted yes in the marriage equality postal survey, and crazy things are happening around our Federal MPs concerning dual citizenship.
But a horror situation is also unfolding on Manus Island.
I’ve struggled to keep up with news on this situation, I think because I feel utterly helpless. But as Revive goes to print, around 600 men have been abandoned by the Australian Government at the Manus Island Detention Centre. They fear for their safety if they leave. Their food, power and water has been cut and I can’t even imagine the mental anguish they must be going through.
We’ve seen a number of protests in Australia in response to this crisis. There’s been crowds gathered outside a Liberal party fundraiser in Sydney, a group of people scaled the Sydney Opera House in an attempt to unfurl a banner and a protest in Melbourne shut down a busy CBD intersection.
Love Makes a Way, a Christian movement using nonviolent action to seek an end to Australia’s inhumane asylum seeker policies, has also been active. In Perth, two people were arrested after hanging on a platform four storeys above Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop’s office in Subiaco, and in Ellenbrook a group were arrested after a sit-in at the office of the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter. Uniting Church Ministers Rev Dr John Squires, Rev Elizabeth Raine and Rev Dr Chris
Walker were part of this action. John has written a reflection on his experience, which you can read at revivemagazine.org.au. The Uniting Church WA Justice and Mission Unit are also concerned about the situation and are urging people to join in the call to bring these men to safety. They invite you to contact your local Member of Parliament, write to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull or donate to support groups for refugees and asylum seekers, like the Coalition for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD).
You can also share your actions on social media, letting others know what you’ve done and why you’ve done it, inviting them to get involved.
As we go to print – and as we head into the Christmas season – it is still unsure what will happen to the men on Manus Island. Enjoy this special time with your children, grandchildren, family and friends. But at the same time, don’t forget the lives on Manus that Australia has tried to ignore.