Catholic Bishops welcome on-shore processing


The Catholic Church has welcomed the decision taken by the Government to process the claims of vulnerable asylum seekers on-shore.

The Prime Minister yesterday decided to delay the Migration Bill accepting that on-shore processing had to be adopted. This came after the High Court found that the Government did not have the power to swap asylum seekers with Malaysia due to in adequate protection safeguards.

"The Government knows all too well the views of the Catholic Church on this matter. The Catholic Church has always been advocating in favour of on-shore processing," Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office Director Fr Maurizio Pettena said.

"Global contemporary migration which reveals the plight of asylum seekers is marked by injustices, abuses, exploitation, human trafficking and all sort of persecutions. This poses a very serious and urgent call to action on the part of the human community and more so on the part of those who have been elected to public offices to serve for the good of all."

The Catholic Church is offering pastoral care to asylum seekers both during the time their visas are being processed and after and has always offered to work with the Government in the pursuit of more humane ways to respond to the cry of asylum seekers.

"More boats will likely come as this unfortunately is the reality of the world we live in – there is still much suffering in the world. However, this is not a call for alarm or community anxiety, on the contrary, Australia boosts more than 200 Charities ready to support asylum seekers in the community," Fr Pettena said.

"Helping others never leads to social unrest; rather, it builds goodwill, peace and international respect."

The Catholic Church has called on all political parties to work towards implementing a fast and effective system of on-shore processing which will give back to asylum seekers the human dignity they long for and will enable them to fully contribute to our Australian society.

"The Government has been visionary in hosting asylum seekers in the community, having recently moved a great number of Children out of detention. The Catholic Church strongly encourages the Government to continue in this endeavour," Fr Pettena said.

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