​Australia should initiate a Regional Summit on Asylum Seekers, says Bishop Philip Huggins, the Chair of the Social Responsibilities Committee of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne.

Plainly, Australia cannot solve this issue on our own,” said Bishop Huggins, who is Bishop of the Northern and Western Region of the Melbourne diocese.

A durable regional solution required the utmost co-operation and forward planning with countries in our region, especially Indonesia and Malaysia, along with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and relevant Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), he said.

Bishop Huggins urged Prime Minister Julia Gillard, supported by her expert committee headed by former Chief of the Defence Force, retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, to initiate such a Summit.

“It would be best, of course, if this was a bipartisan initiative, fully supported by the Leader of the Opposition,” Bishop Huggins said.

There are no simple solutions to this issue which Australia can implement on its own. There are too many asylum seekers and too many predators feeding off them. What is needed is more integrated regional co-operation on this complex matter.
“Our Prime Minister is urged to initiate such a Summit, the like of which, surprisingly, we are yet to see.”

Bishop Philip Huggins
Mob 0418-799-515

Mark Brolly
Anglican Media Melbourne
Tel (03) 9653-4218
Mob 0419-329-119

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