Open Letter to Delegates to 2015 Australian Labor Party National Conference

Open Letter to Delegates to 2015 Australian Labor Party National Conference 

Dear Delegate

The ALP has built itself on the traditions of justice and fairness for all. These traditions are being shattered by the ALP Parliamentary members’ adoption of, and support for, punitive asylum seeker policies.

We ask you to do all you can to make the 47th ALP National Conference the moment in ALP history when revitalisation of the traditions of justice and fairness begins. Revitalising these traditions means the Conference requires the Parliamentary members to recognise that seeking asylum is a fundamental human right, and:

  • reject policies of mandatory detention, off-shore processing and boat turn-back;
  • condemn and counteract the cynical practices of reviling asylum seekers and exploiting and inciting public fears and misperceptions; and to have confidence in the community, which if well-informed, will rally behind a just course of action;
  • recognise that Australia, by closing its borders to boat arrivals is compounding the refugee crisis that is griping our region and the world; 
  • recognise that Australia has particular responsibility for refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan and neighbouring countries because our destabilising military interventions contributed to the dislocation of these people from their homes.

Most state ALP conferences in the past 12 months have passed resolutions opposing mandatory detention of refugees and forced return to the country of origin. It is clear that a majority of rank and file members of the ALP favour humane and compassionate policies that comply with International Law.

We implore the ALP leadership to honour the support for better and fairer immigration policies by the membership. In the eyes of the community, the success of the Conference—indeed the legitimacy of the Party—is dependent on ALP Parliamentarians accepting that they are bound by Conference decisions.

We commend the ACTU’s Asylum Seekers and Refugees—a Rights-based Approach-Final Policy. We ask you, Dear Delegate, to join with the ACTU in demanding:

  • onshore processing of applications for asylum, and closure of Nauru and Manus Island detention centres;
  • an end to turn-backs of boats carrying asylum seekers;
  • an end to mandatory and indefinite detention of asylum seekers and refugees and the outsourcing of migrant centres to private, for-profit companies;
  • no discrimination in the processing of applications for asylum based on people’s mode of arrival;
  • increase in Australia’s refugee intake to meet the levels received by other industrialised countries;
  • abolition of Temporary Protection Visas;
  • rescission of the Australian government’s Memorandum of Understanding with Cambodia to re-settle asylum seekers in Cambodia;
  • extension of the right to work and the right to Medicare and social service benefits to asylum seekers;
  • an end to forcible deportation of asylum seekers.

We congratulate those within the ALP who have worked long and hard to foster a just asylum seeker and refugee Party platform. All resolutions put to the Conference furthering such a platform have our wholehearted endorsement.

Sincerely and in hope,

Community for Peace and Justice

ORGANISATIONS
St Georges Basin Jervis Bay Branch of the ALP
Labor For Refugees
Maritime Union of Australia Veterans (Southern Branch)
Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies of the University of Sydney
Pax Christi Australia
Just Peace Queensland
Australian Islamic Cultural and Social Organisations
Quakers – Western Australia Regional meeting
Quakers Peace and Justice NSW
Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Justice & Peace Centre
Kiama Catholic Parish Social Justice Ecology & Peace Group
Kiama/Jamberoo Uniting Church Social Justice Group
The Greens, Parramatta
The Greens, Illawarra
The Greens, Kiama
Amnesty International, Berry
A Community for Peace and Justice
Marrickville Peace Group
Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition
People for Nuclear Disarmament (W.A)
Anti-Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia
Hiroshima Day Committee of Sydney
People Like Us
Mums 4 Refugees

INDIVIDUALS
Fiona Phillips, Gilmore, NSW Delegate to 2015 ALP National Conference
Michelle Miran, member of St Georges Basin Jervis Bay Branch of the ALP
Arthur Rorris, Secretary of the South Coast Labour Council
Nina Trad Azam, A social worker
Hanne Worsoe, member of Arana Hills branch of the ALP and Queensland Labor for Refugees
Ivana CSAR  O.A.M., Life member of the ALP, resident of Carlton
Mairi Petersen, member of the NSW Teachers Federation and Illawarra Hiroshima Day Committee
Julie Marlow, retired nurse, member of NSW Nurses Association
Neville Arrowsmith, 86-yr old member of MUA Veterans, and member of Illawarra Aboriginal Solidarity
Margaret Parker, retired Midwife, grandmother of 7,member of the Illawarra Women’s Interfaith Network
Monica Chalmers, 86-yr old member of MUA Veterans, and member of Illawarra Aboriginal Solidarity
Father Claude Mostowik Msc, President of Pax Christi Australia
Sarper Sami Saral, voluntary worker for Australian Islamic Association, Auburn NSW
Abe Quadan, passionate about human rights and concerned citizen
Tony Kane, high school teacher in Wollongong
Reverend Geoff Flynn, Reverend of the Wollongong Mission of the Uniting Church
Katie Norman, early childhood teacher from Kiama
Father Chris Roberts, of Kiama Catholic Parish
Rod Harding, Associate Minister, Kiama Anglican Churches
John Curtis, Christ Church Kiama
Kim Sattler, member of Illawarra People 4 Peace and A Community for Peace & Justice
Dr Linda Mayer, Pyree
Sister Beverley Caffery, member of Catholic Church Nowra
John Morris, Kiama Anglican Churches
Howard Jones, retired High School teacher and member of Kiama Greens
Lan Vy, speech pathologist from Fairfield, Sydney, member of Solidarity and United Services Union
Helen and Jack Laidlaw, members of Kiama/Jamberoo Uniting Church Social Justice Group
Dennis Koks
John Passant, member of socialist group Solidarity
Bobbie Miller, member of Kiama Quakers
Natalie Moran, teacher of Special Religious Education in Wollongong
Loretta Hynes, member of Kiama Quakers
Gordon Kennard, member of Illawarra People 4 Peace
Clare Nowak, member of Kiama Quakers
Sister Sue Barker, member of the Catholic Church, Nowra
Adrian Fox, member of Kiama Anglican Church
June Stevens, member of the Uniting Church, Nowra
Caro Davis, member of Amnesty International, Berry
Helene Kendall, resident of the NSW South Coast
Mary Collins, resident of Berry
Gregory See, resident of the NSW South Coast
Wendy Gray, resident of the NSW South Coast
Nicke Deane, member of Marrickville for Peace
Denis Doherty, member of Hiroshima Day Committee of Sydney
Ann Long, member of Kiama Catholic Parish Social Justice Ecology & Peace Group (SJEP)
Marie Milne, member of Kiama Catholic Parish (SJEP)
Peter Clarke, member of Kiama Catholic Parish (SJEP)
Monika Trauth, member of Kiama Catholic Parish (SJEP)
Denis Quinn, member of Kiama Catholic Parish (SJEP)
Maria Baden, member of Kiama Catholic Parish (SJEP)
Mary Raftery, member of Kiama Catholic Parish (SJEP)
Kerrie Brennan, member of Kiama Catholic Parish (SJEP)
Gabrielle Fogarty, member of Kiama Catholic Parish (SJEP)
Marian Tonkes, member of Kiama Catholic Parish (SJEP)
Hannah Middleton, member of Hands Off Glebe
Annie Marlow, retired nursery worker, member of Illawarra Knitting Nanas Against Gas
Jan de Voogd, retired musician, member of Quakers Peace & Justice NSW