Grannies tackle MPs over refugees


A FEDERAL election is looming later this year and Flinders MP Greg Hunt is being pressured by a group of grandmothers upset over the continued detention of refugee children.

The 25 members of Grandmothers and Friends of Grandmothers Group living in the Flinders electorate met at Flinders last Wednesday and are organising a bus-and-car cavalcade to Canberra.

The movement is growing quickly in Victoria and interstate, organiser Ann Renkin said.

“As older Australians with various political party loyalties, our members are very concerned about children and their families living in detention centres at Nauru and Manus,” she said.

To voice their concerns around 100 grandmothers and friends are planning the cavalcade to Canberra to meet MPs.

The federal government was criticised at the meeting for intending to return asylum seekers – babies, children and parents – to detention in unsuitable living conditions on Nauru after they receive specialist medical treatment and counselling in Australia.

The government was also criticised for the time being taken to process refugees’ applications for asylum in off-shore detention centres, and, the “devastating and long lasting physical, mental and spiritual effects of indefinite incarceration on already traumatised people”.

Members of the group aim to encourage others in the Flinders electorate to express their concerns to politicians through petitions and by contacting MPs, including local MP Greg Hunt, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.

“We call on them to remove all asylum seeker children, their families, and unaccompanied minors from detention to permanent community resettlement on the Australian mainland,” Ms Renkin said.

“We expect to meet later this month to get feedback about the Canberra bus trip and to decide on future activities.”

Details: call Ann Renkin 0428 226 650 or write to PO Box 334, Shoreham 3916.

First published in the Mornington News – 8 March 2016


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