The recent Labor cabinet decision to suspend the processing of new asylum applications from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan for three and six months respectively has prompted the Anglican Primate of Australia, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall to write to the Federal Labor government.
Dr Aspinall, the Archbishop of Brisbane, questioned how such a decision could be made when the United Nations Refugee Agency, which has been conducting a review, had not yet reported its findings. The UN, at this time, did not support a suspension of applications from those countries.
“The Australian Government says asylum seekers should only be granted the right to live in Australia if they are genuinely in need of protection,” he said. “I agree that this is a complex issue, but genuine asylum seekers are deeply distressed when forced to flee their homeland. They should be treated with compassion and dignity.”