​Manus Island's location

Statement from Bishop Philip Huggins, Chair, Migrant and Refugee Working Group, Anglican Church of Australia.

Following the tragedy on Manus Island, the implementation of Government policies regarding asylum-seekers must be reviewed.

The Government has a mandate to ‘stop the boats’, elaborating policies of the previous Government. However, the implementation of these policies is causing great harm and is a matter of moral distress to many Australians. 

Implementation has involved children in detention centres; off-shore “processing” which is really just holding asylum-seekers in crowded, sub-standard conditions without processing towards any kind of futures; and on-shore prescriptions, which drive asylum-seekers into poverty and depression without access to education or employment.

It is the implementation of Government policy which must be reviewed. A civilised Government must be able to control its refugee intake without resort to measures of intentional cruelty.

We have previously been a generous nation towards refugees. Refugees’ contributions have, thereafter, enriched our Common Wealth. Our own history tells us what blessings follow when the spirit and detail of the Refugee Convention is honoured. Conscience cries out for a review of current implementation measures.


Bishop Philip Huggins on (03) 9653 4243 or 0418 799 515