Responding to the High Court on off-shore detention

Dear Vic/Tas Uniting for Refugees Network members,

I had hoped to start of our first email update of 2016 with a “Happy New Year” greeting, but sadly given today’s High Court’s decision is as shameful as we predicted it could be, it would be slightly ironic at best!

The High Court today voted to throw out the challenge to Nauru offshore immigration detention, and by virtue that officially makes offshore immigration detention legal.   Of course, just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right.  The Australian Human Rights Commission has also today affirmed that today’s High Court decision does not alter Australia’s international obligations towards people seeking asylum.

Because of this, we are writing to you with two very specific requests for the next 24-48 hours:

We are asking you to call on the Prime Minister to do whatever he can to rule out sending children and their families back to Nauru and Manus Island

We are asking you to consider attending the snap rallies being held this week to ‘voice your concerns’!

The Prime Minister has it within his powers to refuse to deport the 267 people who were affected by this case, which includes 36 babies / between 70-90 children, back to the horror of Nauru and Manus Island.

We encourage you to write a respectful messages to:

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull


The Hon. Peter Dutton MP

Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

Please also send a copy to your local Federal MP as well – if you are not sure who they are or have their contact details, you can do a search here:


We have attached a copy of the media release which has come out from the UCA National Assembly just a short time ago, and you are welcome to use points from that release in your messages to the MP and Minister Dutton.


For additional further information, you’ll find recent posts/updates on our Networks’ Facebook page here: or some selected media articles on the High Court challenge below:

People all over Australia are going to be attending snap rallies in the next few days demanding that the PM to #LetThemStay and we’d also like to encourage you to attend the Melbourne-based rally tomorrow (unfortunately at the time of sending we aren’t aware of any happening in Tasmania or rural Victoria).  The rally details are as follows:

5:30pm, State Library of Victoria

If you can’t be part of the rally, then please make the most of social media using the #LetThemStay hashtag if you have an online presence on Twitter or Facebook, and by sending the more traditional letters / emails.

My final reminder is to also consider putting the Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees in your diary!  More than ever this year, these are going to be important events where the Churches and others from across the community come together to demand that Austrlia’s policies relating to people seeking asylum are driven by bipartisan commitments to a humanitarian-focussed response and on protection needs.   There are events happening all over Australia, and we suspect to also find out about several Vic/Tas regional-based activities as well.   In the meantime, the details for Melbourne and Launceston are as follows:

2.00pm, State Library of Victoria

1.15pm UCA contingent meet at Wesley UCA in Lonsdale Street and process to rally with UCA National President Stuart McMillan

Warm regards – Jill


Jill Ruzbacky

Social Justice Officer, Justice & International Mission
Commission for Mission
130 Little Collins St Melbourne 3000
t  (03) 9251 5266  | f  (03) 9251 5241  | m  0417 878 982