The Archbishop of Melbourne, Philip Freier, has criticised Australia’s migration policy during a “public conversation” in a local theatre.
Archbishop Freier said that the policy was an
example of the world being “re-tribalised” as people question their
The Archbishop questioned Australia’s national political
leadership for taking a much harsher approach to the issue than former
prime ministers Malcolm Fraser and Bob Hawke.
When people normalised
such misleading language as “illegals” about asylum-seekers, it was not
surprising that the next step was harsh punishment, he said.
The archbishop recognised the “important responsibility” governments
had for border security, but said that “the most fundamental value was
that of human life.”
Also taking part in the conversation was the CEO of World Vision
Australia, Tim Costello. He said that the first pillar of the country’s
refugee policy, stopping the boats, had been successful. He said that
this meant that the second pillar – indefinite detention – could be
detached with refugees in off-shore detention centres resettled in
Australia without the risk of an increase in people-smuggling and deaths
He said that the “toxic debate” about migration had “damaged
Australia’s soul”; and said that without it the Australian government
would not have been able to cut the country’s overseas aid budget to its lowest-ever level.