Statement from Bishop Philip Huggins, Chair of the Melbourne Anglican Social Responsibilities Committee

Refugees resettled in Australia invariably speak with gratitude for their opportunity to find a new home after fleeing violence and trauma, none of it of their own making.

Thataw Kunoo, an Anglican Karen refugee, said recently: “Life is now safe… Australia is a great country. We are proud to be Australian… the support and help we received from the Government and Churches has been tremendous.” (As quoted in From Every Nation – Stories of faith and culture struggles by Melbourne Anglicans who have been refugees. 2012)

Such people, grateful for a ‘fair go’ and hardworking, now strengthen the character of our nation, without question.
As the Federal Government tries to manage its refugee policy, containing numbers, there are questions to be answered about the Government’s new “golden ticket” visa which apparently waives usual criteria and offers wealthy foreigners easy passage to permanent residency.

A key question, as we juxtapose scenes from Nauru with “golden ticket” $5 million plus new citizens, is what this will do to the character of our nation?  What tests are made on how applicants have made their money?  Have “Fair Trade” principles or the conventions of the International Labour Organisation been honoured? Do they come with the gratitude of refugees like Thataw or with a sense of entitlement? What character references are required in their application?

Such questions may well have been asked and answered very positively. However, publicity about the “golden visa” program is short on such detail, promoting a picture that only “money speaks.”

Bishop Philip Huggins
M: 0418 799 515

 Related news