#WeCanDoBetter for people seeking asylum – time to meet with MPs
This article is sponsored by Uniting, the Board of the NSW and ACT Synod of the Uniting Church responsible for the work of community services, chaplaincy and social justice advocacy.
In the lead-up to the federal election, the Uniting Church Social Justice Forum (SJF) team is urging church and community members to raise their voices and tell their local MPs that #WeCanDoBetter for people seeking asylum.
Current policy affecting these people in the community and offshore is the toughest it’s ever been. Harms caused by existing policies and processes which prolong people’s suffering and keep them in a state of limbo and insecurity are widespread and widely reported.
Your view matters
Right now critical policy decisions affecting people seeking asylum are being made – so it’s essential for local federal MPs to see their constituents advocating for more humane policies.
Head of the Social Justice Forum, Jon O’Brien, says: “The feedback we’ve had from MPs is that ordinary people from the community need to be knocking on their door about this. Elected representatives must see this as an issue their voters genuinely care about if we’re to see positive change.”
Contacting an MP to discuss specific concerns is one of the most powerful and effective actions members of the public can take. And this strategy is also being adopted by many other sector organisations with the aim of holding elective representatives responsible for acting and voting with full knowledge of the concerns of those in their electorates.
The SJF has prepared a guide on some of the key policy areas for discussion and specific asks to put to an MP in a meeting. These have been identified by people seeking asylum as key issues of concern and form the focus of broader refugee sector advocacy.
The SJF can provide support and guidance through all steps of the process – from making first contact with the MP’s office to request a meeting, to preparing and debriefing afterwards. The SJF can also present a short one-hour training session to your group on how to make the most of an MP meeting. There are also online resources available for those interested.
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