Faith leaders are gathered around the statement

On Friday 29 April, a group of Interfaith Leaders, including Sr Brigid Arthur, Rev Tim Costello and Dean Andreas gathered at Melbourne’s St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral to launch a statement calling for a fair and compassionate way for our country to welcome refugees.

The Statement signed by Archbishop Coleridge, Bishop Long, Bishop Emeritus Greg O’Kelly SJ, Sr Brigid Arthur, Br Peter Carroll FSM on behalf of the CRA and Julie Edwards and Tamara Domicelj on behalf of CAPSA and its member organisations, as well as many faith leaders from other Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu faiths, was sent to Mr Albanese and Mr Morrison on Friday.

The statement can be read in full here

Especially poignant given global turmoil, speakers on the day spoke passionately about the importance and benefits of finding fair and compassionate ways to welcome refugees.

“We are here today in St Paul’s Cathedral, the home church for Anglicans in the Diocese of Melbourne, to call on our political leaders across the spectrum to deliver a better future for temporary protection visa holders. As we head into a general election, we want to invite our leaders to show the generosity that has made this nation a successful multicultural society by enabling temporary protection visa holders to have a future.” - Dean Andreas Loewe

I would like to pray for all those people who are stuck in a Temporary Protection Visa situation here in Australia. Many of those people are working hard to make their home here, yet they are not fully recognised as residents of our country. I would like to pray that our leaders will change the narrative they have often used so all human beings are recognised as equal, as precious – no one more precious than another in the sight of God.” – Sister Brigid Arthur

My prayer is for healing of trauma. I have been blessed to meet many refugees and asylum seekers over forty years. Their courage, their vulnerability and their willingness to begin again. People who come here seeking refuge and asylum bring with them trauma of having to flee from their own homes. It takes a long time to heal from trauma. It takes a lot of care and a supportive community. Yet, over many years now our election campaigns have been traumatic to people who have come here seeking asylum and refuge. It is our yearning deep in our hearts that our leaders will set the tenor for a country that chooses to heal and never to harm.” – Bishop Philip Huggins

Faith communities are not alone in dealing with refugees and their trauma, but they do a lot of the significant lifting. Seeing the trauma in people’s eyes and being there for them has prompted us to speak here today. The faith leaders here believe Australia’s current policy on refugees is immoral and re-traumatising.” – Rev Tim Costello

I want to say how grateful I am to the many refugees who have given so much to our community. For the ways they have enriched us and welcomed us into their lives. It is truly something to lament that there are so many lives disrupted and stalled because of the Temporary Protection Visa policy. It’s a merciless process and so many people are suffering with it and it needs to end. It needs to end to give people the simple dignity that all lives deserve.” – Rev Sandy Boyce, Victorian Council of Churches