The biggest names in Australia‘s arts industry have signed an open letter calling for the end to our country’s offshore detention policy.
The letter, addressed to both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, asks for them to “put politics aside” and to support a bill independent MP Dr Kerryn Phelps is set to introduce on Monday. The Urgent Medical Treatment Bill will evacuate the remaining children and their families from Nauru and Manus Island.
The bill will also make it easier to fly asylum seekers who are psychologically ill to Australia, on the recommendation of at least two treating doctors.
The open letter is signed by hundreds in the industry, beginning with the letter’s organisers Kath Shelper and Liz Watts. Names signed include Jackie Weaver, Simon Baker, Asher Keddie, Deborra-Lee Furness, Deborah Mailman, Benjamin Law, and Nazeem Hussain.
Work in the Australian arts?
Screen producers Kath Shelper (Samson & Delilah) and Liz Watts (Animal Kingdom) are publishing an open letter about Manus and Nauru in the @dailytelegraph for @ScottMorrisonMP and @billshortenmp. Add your name/donation here:https://t.co/uL5deI8CP5
— Benjamin Law 羅旭能 (@mrbenjaminlaw) November 28, 2018
“For five long years these refugees have been detained and made an example of. Fathers, mothers, toddlers and newborn babies – living behind bars and imprisoned by the sea with no freedom in sight. The conditions are horrific. Twelve people have died during the last five years. Australia’s doctors have told us that we face the reality of more deaths if we don’t act now.
No matter the problem, this cannot be the answer,” the letter reads.
In an accompanying video, Mia Wasikowska, Jimmy Barnes, Rebecca Gibney, Bryan Brown, Warwick Thornton and Kiwi actor Sam Neill speak on behalf of their peers.
“I want to say very clearly to both parties who’ve been complicit in this, stop playing politics with people’s lives,” Neill says.
“After five years of indefinite detention, we must bring these human beings to safety and ensure they receive proper medical attention,” Wasikowska continues. “And give them the chance to rebuild their lives.
#BlueForManusandNauru encourages attendees of Sydney‘s AACTA Awards – an event celebrating the best in Australia’s film and television industry – to wear blue ribbons in solidarity with asylum seekers still imprisoned in offshore detention. The awards will be held on Wednesday night.
You can watch the full video below.