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Commission commends cricket legend's refugee stand

Brisbane's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of Brisbane has welcomed the decision of former Australian cricket captain Ian Chappell to take a stand in support of a fairer and more humane policy on refugees.

Chappell's concerns about Australia's refugee policy were aired on ABC TV's Australian Story on Monday night.

"No matter what you think about protecting the Australian borders, these are human beings and you can't just treat them like that," he told the program. "I was getting really angry."

The Commission's Executive Officer Peter Arndt said it is "heartening" to see a prominent Australian come out so strongly and passionately on such a contentious issue. He said the fact that Chappell is not normally associated with social and political activism has made his stand all the more significant.

"Ian Chappell has seen the media coverage of what we are doing to refugees who arrived on boats and has visited refugees in a detention centre and is speaking the plain truth when he says what we are doing to refugees is shameful," Mr Arndt said.

Arndt pointed out that even when asylum seekers who arrive on boats and are assessed as refugees by Australian authorities they are treated shabbily.

"The Centre for Refugee Research at the University of New South Wales has just released a report on the second-rate treatment of refugees who are granted a Temporary protection visa," he said.

"Even though they are judged to be legitimate refugees, they are given temporary rather than permanent visas and receive reduced entitlements because they came here on boats," he said.

"It isn't giving people a fair go as Ian Chappell says."

Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (Archdiocese of Brisbane)

ABC Australian Story: The Unusual Suspect
Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (Archdiocese of Brisbane)

16 Jul 2003