25 March 2022


40 bishops of the Anglican Church of Australia have co-signed a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling on the federal government to create a special intake of 20,000 additional places for Afghan refugees.

The bishops had been attending the National Meeting of Bishops and they wrote on behalf of Anglican churches across the nation.

“Our churches have been communicating with members of Parliament since August 2021 when news reached us of the fall of Kabul,” the letter dated Sunday, March 20, outlined.

“Many wrote because they were encouraged by your government’s initial engagement with the crisis, and others because of the level of compassion they witnessed.

“It was heartening to hear the proactive approach you had taken, facilitating 32 evacuation flights and assisting over 4,000 people to escape from Afghanistan. We heard and appreciated your reiteration that the initial intake of 3,000 refugees from Afghanistan would be ‘a floor and not a ceiling’.”

The letter expressing disappointment in the Prime Minister’s more recent lack of action included the signatures of the Archbishop of Adelaide and Primate, Geoffrey Smith, three other Archbishops, the Bishop to the ADF, Grant Dibden, regional bishops, the National Aboriginal Bishop, Chris McLeod, and the Bishop for International Relations, Malcolm Richards.

“The government’s announcement in January that more places would be provided for refugees has amounted to no additional refugee places and that there would only be 15,000 places allocated to people from Afghanistan within the existing refugee program,” the letter said.

The bishops’ cries of indignation and horror at the government’s seeming lack of compassion are felt by Christians and many others across Australia.

The letter states that the Department of Home Affairs has received applications from more than 145,000 people in Afghanistan.

“We feel that providing only 15,000 refugee places over four years from within the existing program is not an adequate response for people for whom we fought and with whom we laboured,” the bishops wrote.

“We eagerly await changes to this policy that will demonstrate the compassion and commitment the Australian public expect for the people of Afghanistan, people we walked alongside for two decades of military and humanitarian engagement.”

The bishops have added their voices to the Christians United for Afghanistan in calling for the special intake.

They concluded their letter by promising ongoing prayers for those who are displaced in our world and a generous response from Australia.

This article originally appeared on Eternity

Author: Penny Mulvey

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