The call gathers force — #letthemstay

John Dixon
General Secretary

At February Council, Councillors from right around the state stood and lent their support to the campaign #LetThem Stay. As I said last year at Annual Conference, this has always been union business, especially a teachers’ union business.

I looked back through the Annual Conference and Council policies we have around refugees and children in detention, extending back to 2002. We certainly don’t have a policy vacuum on this issue. What we have is a lack of compassion by successive governments.

The three main themes on this issue that run consistently through our policy positions are:

  • campaigning for rights of refugees and asylum-seekers
  • their access to free public education
  • the condemning of successive governments’ immigration policies.

It is not more policy that we need in this area but more action to hold this government to account.

It must give us some hope to see large sections of the community respond with indignation to the High Court ruling that deemed offshore detention in Nauru and Manus Island as lawful.

I am reminded of the Thomas Jefferson quote: “If a law is unjust, an individual is not only right to disobey it, they are obligated to do so!”

Politicians, teachers, unionists, doctors, nurses, academics, churches and so many more members of our community have come out publicly to display their empathy and protest against the cruel and damaging immigration policies of this government.

There is nothing humane about ripping children out of classrooms and sending them back to Nauru. #LETTHEMSTAY