ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Brisbane Welcomes Refugees

Updated on September 10, 2018
SayaEducation profile image

Author Erwin Cabucos studied Religious Education at Australian Catholic University.

'Room in my home, room in my heart'. Placard used at the 'Welcome Refugees' rally in Brisbane on 31 October 2015
'Room in my home, room in my heart'. Placard used at the 'Welcome Refugees' rally in Brisbane on 31 October 2015 | Source

Our loud voice: Australia welcomes refugees and asylum seekers

By Erwin Cabucos

First appeared in 'The Catholic Leader' on 1 November 2015

Bells tolled at Saints Peter and Paul Parish as experts and agencies on refugees and asylum seekers enlightened and inspired the audience, at the Social Justice Forum ‘For Those Who’ve come across the Seas’ on 17 October 2015.

“I wouldn’t have too many friends left if I talk too much of this issue with them,” said Mick (not his real name) at the workshop on finding ways to respond positively to refugees and asylum seekers.

“People just switch off when they begin to hear discussions on this issue,” added Mick.

Hosting parish priest Fr Tom Elich recognises the flame that keeps burning within our parishes towards caring for the poor and vulnerable in society.

But many participants commented that some priests and parishioners do need to be prodded to act justly and act now on the issue.

“Should we let prejudice and racism happen again before our very eyes? Have we not learned from the lessons of Nazism?” one participant stringently voiced out on bigotry and perpetuating stereotypes on refugees and asylum seekers.

Associate Professor Susan Harris-Rimmer from Griffith University discussed the social and historical contexts of the issue, saying: “Seeking asylum in Australia is legal and sadly United Nations Convention on Human Rights are not built in Australia’s migration laws.”

Harris-Rimmer also questioned society’s phobia against refugees and asylum seekers. Apart from the small number they comprise in the grand scale of immigration statistics, she highlighted recent ASIO findings that refugees and asylum seekers are not security threats.

Bruce Wells from the Refugees and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS) in Brisbane cited the on-going complexity of legal provisions surrounding refugees and asylum seekers, commenting on the astronomical expenses the government spends to each off-shore detainees – close to a million dollars a year – from keeping them away from Australia, on welfare, and preventing them from work.

Wells criticised the legal system and provisions that often lead to break up of families, harming mental health and well-beings of those caught up in the issue.

Rebecca Lim from the Romero Centre applauded the generosity of the community and disclosed her personal sentiments from working with refugees and asylum seekers.

“Often, on my visits to families of refugees overseas, I am entrusted with the future of their sons or husbands and indeed that is a profound sense of responsibility placed upon our work,” Lim said.

Lim also echoed recent findings of the Refugee Council of Australia that reveals refugees make substantial economic, civic and social contributions to Australian society, outperforming any other migrant group in the country.

Forum organiser Susan Fajardo acknowledged the presence of refugees in the audience as well as various agencies who work closely with them.

“It would be great to see inspiration and outcomes you received from this gathering and having them applied in your parish,” she said.

It is also making the teachings of Christ real in our lives, said Peter Arndt, Executive Officer of Brisbane Archdiocese’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.

Arndt reiterated the importance of social teachings of the church on human dignity, respect, the common good, solidarity and preferential option for the poor and the vulnerable, bringing into context biblical passages of Leviticus 19:34 and Matthew 2:13, referring to Jesus’ refugee experience.

Arndt also emphasised the recent Australian Catholic Bishops Conference paper that comments on the cruelty of Australian laws on policies on the issue. He also cites Pope Francis call to lament on the insensitivity of the world towards asylum seekers and refugees.

Actions that could be taken to help refugees and asylum seekers include areas in accommodation and employment.

“Housing investors who would be willing to rent out houses and employers willing to employ refugees are very much who we need urgently,” Jo-Ann Cochran, the senior manager for community partnerships for MDA.

“We welcome furniture donations and Go Cards which become beneficial to our clients.”

Other agencies welcome volunteers for English tutorials, job-seeking and life-skills. They include The Refugee Association of Logan and the Romero Centre.

Everyone is invited to join the walk of solidarity from 11:00AM on 31 October 2015 commencing at Kurilpa Bridge to shout to the world that Australia welcomes refugees and asylum seekers.

Texts and photos by Erwin Cabucos

Recent arrival, Mazin, from Iraq, with contributor Erwin Cabucos at the Refugees Forum at Sts Peter and Paul Parish on Saturday 17 October 2015.

Mazin recalls how he was shot on the stomach, also losing his left hand when bomb detonated in the midst of Iran-Iraq war, before fleeing to Syrian refugee camp and then flying safely to Australia.

Mazin recalls how he was shot on the stomach, also losing his left hand when bomb detonated in the midst of Iran-Iraq war, before fleeing to Syrian refugee camp and then flying safely to Australia
Mazin recalls how he was shot on the stomach, also losing his left hand when bomb detonated in the midst of Iran-Iraq war, before fleeing to Syrian refugee camp and then flying safely to Australia | Source

© 2015 Saya Education


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)