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Catholic lobbyists send 'largest' petition to Parliament

In the lead up to Refugee Sunday (25 August), the Australian Political Ministry Network (PolMin) has achieved a milestone in Australia's current asylum seeker policy debate by lodging with the House of Representatives the largest ever petition from the citizens of Australia concerning the policy.

PolMin's petition containing 4223 signatures calls on the Federal Parliament to uphold the rights of asylum seekers with respect to rights enshrined in Catholic Social Teaching. It seeks the repeal of current legislation denying certain asylum seekers the right to enter Australia to seek asylum.

"Petitions lodged with in Parliament in recent months concerning Australia's policy of receiving, managing, and processing asylum seekers have contained on average about 100 signatures," said PolMin Coordinator James McGillicuddy. "Those who support Australia's current asylum seeker policy have taken comfort from these low numbers arguing they reflect what they believe to be wide community support for the policy."

"PolMin, through its wide national network, went to the community with the clear argument that Australia's current policy of preventing certain asylum seekers entry into Australia to seek asylum, removed a fundamental inalienable personal right recognized by Catholic social teaching, and once the community saw the conflict the community joined with PolMin in calling on Federal Parliament to change the policy", Mr McGillicuddy said.

The Australian Political Ministry Network Ltd (PolMin) is an incorporated membership organisation committed to bringing about systemic change in Australian society through the influencing of public policy for the common good in accordance with the principles of Catholic social teaching. PolMin is sponsored by Religious Congregations.

"Through PolMin's petition the community is clearly and unambiguously saying to our public policy decision makers that the community does not accept this policy and demands it to be changed so as to uphold the dignity of asylum seekers are human persons", Mr McGillicuddy said.

PolMin appears before Senate Inquiry and argues for the right of asylum seekers to enter Australia (media release 7/8/02)


16 Aug 2002