Justice for Refugees
Stuart McMillan, President, Uniting Church in Australia
In the Christian story of faith, it is often refugees who seek and experience God’s justice.
The Uniting Church in Australia has consistently advocated positive policy development on asylum seekers and refugees that would see Australia take moral leadership on the issue in our region.
We will continue to do so. There must be alternatives to public policy that seeks to punish people who have done no wrong.
Australian courts have time and time again recognised the harm caused by mandatory offshore detention on Manus Island and Nauru.
The fact that the Federal Government has agreed to pay $70 million in compensation to the 1,905 refugees and asylum seekers detained offshore for the physical and psychological harm they have endured proves what we already know.
We can and must do better.
As Christians we are called to live compassionate lives, to care for the most marginalised and vulnerable in our society.
In our Shelter from the Storm statement to the 14th Assembly meeting in 2015, the Uniting Church in Australia called on the Federal Government to close the camps on Manus Island and Nauru, and bring asylum seekers here.
Asylum seekers fleeing from persecution deserve to have their claims for refugee status processed fairly while they reside in Australia.
We continue to call for an increase in the humanitarian intake of refugees to 60,000.
We will also continue advocating for policies which are humane and which uphold people’s rights and their fundamental human dignity.
I encourage all UCA members to share God’s love with all people, to bring justice where there is injustice, peace where there is violence, and hope where there is none.
Sign on for the Environment
As Christians we are called to protect the earth we share.
In the Uniting Church, we believe that God’s will for the earth is the reconciliation and renewal of all things.
Our commitment to the environment arises from the belief that God as our Creator calls us into a special relationship with creation.
The 1977 Statement to the Nation expressed the importance of protecting the wellbeing of our planet for future generations to enjoy.
We acknowledge that climate change is a serious threat to the health of the planet and all the life it supports.
We have heard the voices of our partner churches in the Pacific who are far more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change than we are.
Our neighbours are facing rising sea levels, more extreme weather events, and the real threat of relocation.
World Environment Day is on the 5th of June and the theme is “Connecting People to Nature”.
I encourage you to get outdoors and experience the beauty of the planet, and think more deeply about the ways we are both a part of the environment but also greatly dependent upon it.
This year I urge all UCA members to pray and act so that our Government might respond more urgently to the devastating impacts of climate change.
Sign onto the Community Climate Petition
Right now, churches and faith groups all around Australia are working together to take action on climate change through Micah Australia’s Community Climate Petition.
This action is the largest coordinated multi-electorate petition in Australia’s history.
For the sake of the planet and all its people, I encourage all UCA members to sign on and demand stronger action on climate change from our Government.
Now is the time for us to raise our voices together.