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Members statements: Refugee week

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
21 June 2022

This week marks Refugee Week across Australia, and yesterday was World Refugee Day. It is an opportunity to recognise the immense courage and strength of the millions of people seeking asylum and refuge across the world and the urgent need for global solutions to end the war, poverty and persecution that forces people to leave their homelands in search of peace.

It was moving to be at Melbourne’s refugee day rally on Sunday, and I thank the Refugee Action Collective for bringing us together once again. It marked an important moment—the first since the recent federal election—to reflect on the immense power and courage of the refugee rights movement, who have helped shape the politics of this country for the better. I thank all the refugee rights campaigners who have been working tirelessly for years for a change of government as a first step in achieving more compassion and justice in Australia. I also want to thank the Refugee Communities Association of Australia for a terrific celebration event on Saturday and congratulate their work to centre the voices of refugee communities in all their advocacy and community-building work.

This Refugee Week we also recognise that the work continues, with thousands of people seeking asylum still stuck in limbo because of Australia’s punitive policies. We have also seen the newly elected Labor government continue down the punitive, cruel path created by the Liberals, with boat turnbacks of people fleeing the desperate situation in Sri Lanka. Now is not the time to turn our back on innocent people seeking peace and safety. The Greens will not stop fighting for change until all people seeking asylum can have the certainty and peace they need to rebuild their lives in a place they call home.

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
21 June 2022
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