Archbishop Freier calls on PM to ‘step forward and say no’ to returning children to Nauru

The Anglican Primate has urged the Prime Minister to protect asylum seekers at risk of being returned to Nauru.

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February 4 2016Archbishop Philip Freier has joined church leaders and church groups in calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to act to secure the future of the women and children at risk of being returned to detention on Nauru.

Dr Freier spoke to the ABC's John Cleary about Wednesday’s High Court ruling that Australia's offshore detention regime at Nauru and Manus Island is lawful.

“Just because there’s been a determination of the courts that something is legally possible, of course it’s far from being necessary,” he said. “The idea of sending children and babies into immigration detention on Nauru is unacceptable to anyone who would think for a moment about that."

He urged the Prime Minister to “step up with something that changes that narrative” of using punitive measures like detention as a form of deterrence. “It’s a very good time for us to recast our opinions about this and for the Prime Minister to be able to step forward and say no this is not good enough, these children, these babies are not going to be sent to Nauru.”

In response to the ruling, at least 10 churches and cathedrals around Australia, including St John’s Anglican cathedral in Brisbane, have announced that they will offer sanctuary to the 267 asylum seekers who could be sent to Nauru. Read more here.

The Very Reverend Dr Peter Catt, the Anglican Dean of Brisbane, spoke with ABC Radio National Breakfast’s Fran Kelly. Here the interview here.