Faith in action
Explore our range of resources and ideas to help us, and our communities, go deeper in learning more and taking action for justice for people seeking asylum this Refugee Week (18-24 June).Read more
In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus reminds us of our sacred duty to care for those who have been abused and left to die by the side of the road. In their calling to live out this parable, today Christians across Australia are urging the Morrison government to keep the Medevac law in place. This law was introduced earlier this year and provides a strict process to ensure people in offshore detention who require serious medical treatment are brought to Australia to receive the appropriate level of health care.
The legislation was demanded by medical experts and doctors who are providing care for the people on Manus and Nauru because of the lack of medical facilities available to treat people with complex physical and mental illnesses on these islands.
Medevac is a safe, non-political process whereby the people under our care are assured of appropriate medical treatment if they need it. It is legislation that reinstates regular medical processes and allows doctors to have a say in medical treatment, rather than leaving medical care under the sole control of Government officials.
This kind of provision and assurance of medical care for people should not be controversial. Yet we are dismayed that the Morrison Government wants to prevent people in our care from receiving critical medical treatment when they are suffering from serious illnesses and diseases.
Furthermore, the Morrison Government does not have a plan to resettle these people who have fled their homes to seek asylum. Many have lived in this limbo for over six years now and are losing hope of ever being able to start a proper life again. Since 2014, at least 12 people have died in our care on Manus and Nauru. We urgently need a compassionate and humane response to these people seeking safety. At the very least, the Morrison Government needs to keep the Medevac law in place, to ensure that medical treatment remains available to people in need of that medical care.
There have been preventable deaths of men who came to us seeking safety. Instead they met the same end in our care that they were afraid they would meet if they had stayed in their homes.
And for us as Christians, including our Christian Prime Minister, the imperative to keep the Medevac law and resettle these men and women comes clearly from the Gospels. For at the heart of Christian faith is the Parable of the Good Samaritan, in which Jesus reminds us of our sacred duty to care for those who have been abused and left to die by the side of the road.
Christians are thus deeply concerned at the attempts by the Morrison Government to repeal the 'Medevac' law. Rather than deliberately withdrawing life-saving medical care, the Government should be focusing on finding solutions to this crisis, starting with accepting the offer from New Zealand to resettle refugees there. We call on PM Scott Morrison to follow the example of the Good Samaritan, the example of Jesus Himself, and rescue those in danger and not withhold basic humane medical treatment of people in his Government's care.
(Doherty, B. et al. Guardian; 2018) https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/ng-interactive/2018/jun/20/deaths-in-offshore-detention-the-faces-of-the-people-who-have-died-in-australias-care
This statement was produced by the Common Grace Justice for People Seeking Asylum team - Tim, Justin, Ebony and Kate.
Painting "Good Samaritan" by Olga Bakhtina - 2016
Betelhem Tibebu is from Ethiopia and came to Australia in 2013 by boat. Here she shares her story and encourages us to respond with compassion, love and welcome to those seeking safety on our shores.
Christians in particular have reason to keep talking about refugees given the Bible has much to say on this issue. Dr Ebony Birchall reflects on a new book 'Refuge Reimagined'.
Common Grace member Christine Morris reflects on how her desperation at the experience of people seeking asylum in Australia drives her to action.
#NobodyLeftBehind Open Letter