Reinstate Basic Support for People Seeking Asylum

Prime Minister Scott Morrison

The Australian Government is currently removing basic support payments (the Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) payments, which are 89% of Centrelink's Newstart allowance) for a significant number of people seeking asylum. This will have a devastating effect on many vulnerable people in our community.

The Jesuit Refugee Service has noted that "The sudden removal of support payments will not assist people in finding work or becoming self-sufficient, but will instead push already vulnerable people into situations of great risk and significant stress and trauma. Charity services...will not be able to assist the additional hundreds to thousands more people in need of support."

Our Catholic community is called to welcome Christ, hidden in the disguise of the 'strangers' before us (Mathew 25:35). As such, we are challenged to speak up for all those affected by these changes and make our contribution to shaping a more compassionate welcome from our nation.

To: Prime Minister Scott Morrison
From: [Your Name]

As a member and supporter of the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum, I am deeply concerned over the reported changes to the eligibility criteria for the Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) payments which mean over 7,000 people will lose their sole, basic source of income. These payments are a necessary safety net for highly vulnerable people who otherwise have no way of supporting themselves.

I believe in respecting each individual’s humanity and dignity, and that people seeking asylum should have access to basic services and support while their claims are being processed. I fully support an individual’s right to work in the Australian community, however finding work is not an easy process. If they cannot find work, this basic financial support is most important.

These changes can only have a disruptive impact on our social cohesion, and ultimately undermine our national character. Our Catholic community is called to welcome Christ, hidden in the disguise of the 'strangers' before us, and as such I am writing to speak up on behalf of those affected by these changes.

Individuals, communities, community organisations, churches, and local and state governments will all be put under further pressure to address the humanitarian impact of the Federal Government’s recent policy changes.

As Prime Minister of Australia, I call on you to reinstate the SRSS payments for people seeking asylum regardless of their status in the determination process.