Example letter to the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition

To: The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia and the Hon. Bill Shorten, Leader of the Opposition

Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600  

I am calling on you as leaders of our community and your Parties to put politics aside and work together to develop a safer plan for women seeking asylum in Australia, particularly women who have been forced to endure intolerable living conditions and sexual assault on the Island of Nauru.  

We know that there is a better way to treat people seeking asylum in Australia and the Victorian Women’s Trust's Six Point Safety Plan (www.ourvoicetheirsafety.com)  provides a strong foundation on which to base such a change. 

You have expressed outrage and called for a halt to the shocking levels of domestic violence occurring against Australian women.  Yet the Government’s  harsh mandatory detention system has created the conditions which have led to an appalling level of violence against women and children in the Nauru detention centre and women released into the Nauruan community. As a strong advocate for preventing domestic violence against women, the Victorian Women’s Trust has rallied supporters to raise their voice against the unacceptable violence that is occurring against women and children.

Numerous reports have shown the harm that is being done to women, men and children locked up in Australia’s detention centres. We have also heard many stories of the degrading way women are being treated while in detention.  Trauma, despair, sexual assault and self harm have become hallmarks of a system we simply cannot accept as a tradeoff to stop people coming to Australia by boat. This is a tradeoff causing untold human misery.  It cannot be allowed to continue and I implore you to consider more humane options.

The Safety Plan provides a much safer and more humane alternative built on  moral premises that respect the human rights of people seeking asylum no matter how they arrive in our country.  It calls for a comprehensive regional approach to address the reasons why people make dangerous onward journeys in the first place.   It calls for all women, men and children seeking asylum to be released into the community with appropriate supports once health, identity and security checks have been carried out with full access to work, education and permanent protection.

I urge you to work together to create humane asylum policies and practices that we all can be proud of.

Yours sincerely


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