Recently I received a visit from the Living Justice captains from Star of the Sea College in my electorate of Goldstein. The students delivered me a petition which stated: We, the community of Star of the Sea College Gardenvale, call for the end of the policy of indefinite detention of refugees.
We believe that every human being deserves compassion, freedom, dignity, and basic human rights. More than 1,200 students and staff members from Star of the Sea signed this petition, and this week I handed it over to the minister for immigration. The petition includes many powerful messages from students. Charlotte writes: ‘To leave refugees in indefinite detention is to dismiss their lives. The government must reform this process.’ Another student would like the government to ‘consider focusing more funding to help refugees come and settle in Australia, instead of spending billions on keeping them detained’.
On Tuesday I attended the World Refugee Day fair with my co-chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Refugees Group. There, we spoke of the rich contributions that refugees make to Australian society economically and socially. Many constituents in Goldstein share these feelings, and I agree: we need to end indefinite detention for refugees. Thank you to the students from Star of the Sea in Gardenvale for your conviction and your goodwill.