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Letter to Shane Neumann shadow minister for Immigration

7th December 2017

Dear Mr Neumann,
Please find enclosed an open letter, addressed to you, which has been signed by 535 people who have visited our refugee market stall in Bellingen, Coffs Harbour and Valla Beach in recent weeks. Each signature represents a conversation with everyday Australians who are deeply dismayed by the cruelty and inhumanity of the present government's asylum policy. Many of them also expressed their anger about the Labor opposition's support, for purely political reasons, for a policy which is inflicting untold suffering and misery on innocent asylum seekers and refugees on Manus and Nauru. We have long since lost count of the number of people who tell us that they feel ashamed to be Australian.
We are sick and tired of politicians who continue to repeat the tired mantra about "saving lives at sea". It is morally reprehensible to hold innocent people in indefinite detention to serve as a deterrent to others. You must know this, and your indifference to the terrible impact of the current policy on people's lives would indicate that Labor has lost its moral compass, and that political calculation trumps principle and integrity every time. Little wonder that people increasingly have little respect for, or trust in, our politicians, a trend that is deeply damaging to our democratic process.
We can only hope that, in the months ahead, given the increasing public awareness of the appalling situation on Manus and Nauru and the growing consensus that the current Coalition and Labor policies are both cruel and unsustainable, the Labor party might finally adopt a more principled and humane policy aimed at bringing this cruelty to an end. This must include the closure of offshore detention centres, and a firm promise that they will never be reopened.
                                                                                                Yours sincerely,

                                                                                                Mike Griffin

                                                                                        Bellingen and Nambucca District RAR

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