Newcastle bishop denounces govt immigration policies

The Anglican Church of Australia’s Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt. Rev. Gregory Thompson, has entered the country’s debate over immigration reform calling for the country’s border protection agency to respond to questions about the fate of 153 Sri Lankan immigrants stopped at sea. “I think it’s a very unsettling thing for our country not to know what’s going on and to be told that we don’t need to know what’s going on,” Bishop Thompson told ABC after the government refused to respond to queries about the refugees. Australia’s immigration policies are “terribly flawed,” the bishop said. “We’re laying a long term legacy of dysfunction if we think that somehow detention centres will deliver us more safety in fact I think it increases our risks.” The Australian government has responded to an influx of economic migrants from South Asia seeking to enter the country by sea by placing them in off shore detention centres while their application for asylum are reviewed. Church and civil society activists have urged the government to amend its policies to be respectful of human dignity and basic human rights.

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