Voters Rally Against Coalition Asylum Policy


Around 150 human rights supporters gathered in Monro Park in Cronulla on Saturday as part of a rally organised by the Refugee Action Coalition. After brief speeches by human rights activists Mark Goudkamp and Alexander McRae, the group marched through Cronulla Mall to the electoral office of the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison.

There, the group heard speeches from Assistant Secretary for the Maritime Union of Australia, Warren Smith, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, high school student Wafa Kazal, and founder of Labor For Refugees, Jenny Haines.

The day before the rally, the Coalition government reintroduced temporary protection visas — the Howard-era visas that prevent refugees from settling permanently in Australia. The visas permit refugees to stay only three years in Australia and prohibit family reunions. The Coalition has also indicated it will fast-track asylum claims by having them processed by a single case-worker.

Addressing the supporters at the end of the gathering, Goudkamp mentioned the possibility of a similar rally at the electoral office of Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Manly before the end of this year.

The Refugee Action Coalition is planning a day of protest at Parliament House in Canberra on 18 November, which is the first sitting day for federal parliament since the Coalition won the federal election.

New South Wales Senator Lee Rhiannon marching with pro-refugee advocates in Cronulla. Photo by Paul Carson

Human right supporters carrying pro-refugee signs as they march through Conulla Mall on the way to Immigration Minister Scott Morrison’s office. Photo by Paul Carson.

Human rights activist Mark Goudkamp addresses the crowd outside Scott Morrison’s electoral office.

Maritime Union of Australia assistant secretary Warren Smith at the pro-refugee rally outside Scott Morrison’s office. Photo by Paul Carson.

High school student Wafa Kazal speaking to the crowd at the pro-refugee rally in Cronulla. Photo by Paul Carson.

Part of the group of pro-refugee supporters outside Immigration Minister Scott Morrison’s Cronulla office. Photo by Paul Carson.

Labor of Refugees founder Jenny Haines speaks about pregnant asylum seekers in detention on Nauru and Manus Island. Photo by Paul Carson

Refugee Action Coalition members and other pro-refugee supporters pose with banners and placards outside Immigration Minister Scott Morrison’s office. Photo by Paul Carson.

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