This is a copy of the speech delivered by the HRLC's Director of Legal Advocacy, Daniel Webb, at the #LetThemStay community event in Melbourne on Monday 8 February 2016
Last Wednesday – the day the High Court handed down its decision – was a tough day.
There is just no easy way to tell a young mother that our government wants to condemn her and her one-year old baby to a life in limbo on a tiny island.
But as difficult as last Wednesday was, the response since has given me great hope.
We’ve seen doctors risk jail to speak out.
We’ve seen churches offer sanctuary to those in need.
We’ve seen the United Nations warn our government not to return these people to harm.
We’ve seen State and Territory leaders speak out and call on Malcolm Turnbull to do the decent thing.
These doctors. These churches. These State Premiers. They have reminded us what strong moral leadership looks like.
They’ve reminded us that for all the huff and puff and white noise about borders, this is actually about people.
All people – no matter who they are, where they come from or how they come – deserve to be treated with decency and respect.
But let me tell you, there is absolutely nothing decent or respectful about ripping kids from classrooms and condemning them to a life in limbo on a tiny island.
When I spoke to the mother at the heart of this case last week, she was distraught. She was so upset she struggled to speak.
But at the end of our conversation she summoned the strength to ask me a favour. She asked me to thank all of the people around Australia who support her and her baby.
So on her behalf – I say thank you.
But let’s show her we are just getting started.
Let’s show her - and the rest of the group of 267 incredibly vulnerable people in her position - that we stand with the doctors. We stand with the churches. We stand with the UN. We stand with the State Premiers.
Let’s show her that around the country right now we stand together to call on Malcolm Turnbull to do the decent thing. We call on the Prime Minister to let these people stay.
Further background information about the case can be found here.
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