The ongoing confusion about the future of the Australia-US refugee resettlement arrangement requires urgent leadership from Australia’s politicians.
As political games are played in Canberra and Washington, the real victims are the refugees who have been left languishing by our Government for nearly 4 years.
Enough is enough. People have suffered for too long. The political games have gone on for too long. Mr Turnbull and Mr Shorten must put an end to the partisanship and urgently bring these people to safety in Australia.
That's where you come in.
We need to show politicians that the community is on the side of compassion. Most politicians know that the only durable solution to indefinite detention on Nauru and Manus is to bring refugees to Australia. However, they are afraid of a backlash from the tabloids and talkback radio. They are also afraid that they'll be attacked as "weak on border protection" by their political opponents.
That's why it's so important that we speak up for what's right and urge our MPs to put an end to the political games and work in a bipartisan fashion to bring refugees in Nauru and Manus to safety in Australia. Here's what you can do:
Call Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten and your local MP
As our two major political leaders, it's time Mr Turnbull and Mr Shorten showed leadership, put aside politics and worked together in a bipartisan way to bring people to safety.
Malcolm Turnbull - (02) 6277 7700
Bill Shorten - (02) 6277 4022
You can find your local MP and Senator and their contact details here. Simply type your postcode and you will find the name of your MP and their contact details. Use the Parliamentary sitting calendar to check whether they will be in their Parliament House office or Electorate office. When Parliament is sitting, we suggest you call their Parliamentary Office.
Once you've finished your call, let us know who you called and how it went.
Some points to remember when speaking to your MP (also useful to remember when talking to your family and friends)
Be constructive, not argumentative
When talking to politicians and their offices, the most effective approach is to be conciliatory. We want to have constructive conversations - getting into arguments is not productive and just makes people defensive.
Understand their point of view - and respond with a solution
Remember, many politicians justify offshore detention to themselves on the basis that it "saves lives at sea." But remind them of the four deaths that have occurred in offshore detention (including one unresolved murder) and the thousands of reports of sexual, physical and psychological abuse. Remind them also that the boats have not stopped: the boats have simply been deflected to other parts of our region and there have still been attempts by people to seek asylum in Australia by boat in the past 12 months.
No one wants to see people risk their lives on a dangerous journey by sea in order to seek protection. But with over 21 million refugees around the world (the biggest humanitarian crisis since WWII), desperate people are going to take desperate measures. People seeking asylum are looking for safe places to rebuild their lives.
That's why we should be doing whatever we can to create safe passage for refugees seeking our protection. It's about helping people before they have to get on a boat. Offshore detention does nothing to create this much needed safe passage.
So what's the solution? What does safe passage look like?
In the late-1970s and 1980s, people fleeing conflict in Indo-China did not have to get on a boat because there were safe places near their homeland where their claims for refugee status could be assessed and where an orderly resettlement process could take place. At the moment, there are very few safe places for people seeking asylum to go.
That's why we should be working cooperatively with the international community to build a durable regional solution, similar to what was done in the late-1970s and 1980s.
Appeal to the electoral realities
Both Parties recognise the public is unhappy with politics as usual. Politics has been so negative and dominted by the media cycle. As a result, policies and reforms that are in the national interest are left on the backburner. This has created a perception that the political system is not working.
Our leaders now have an opportunity to show they can rise above the political games that have dominated politics for too long. They can put aside partisanship, work together to end the harm and bring people to safety in Australia.
The country is crying out for leadership - it's time our politicians showed it.