“Five years too long, 12 deaths too many,” was the key message of a vigil held by Manning and Great Lakes Rural Australians for Refugees on Thursday, July 19.
The purpose of the gathering, which ran from 12-2pm outside the Taree office of the Federal Member for Lyne, Dr David Gillespie, was to draw attention to plight of refugees at Nauru and Manus Island.
Event convenor, Lesley Bond said despite the fact that Dr Gillespie was the assistant minister for children and families, under his watch, children continued to suffer and families continued to be separated in offshore and onshore detention centres.
“Today, we have pictures of the 12 men who have died in detention, we are laying out a pair of shoes for each of them and mourning their losses, this is a day of mourning,” Lesley said.
“Today marks five years since Kevin Rudd made the announcement that any refugee arriving in Australia by boat will have no chance of being allowed in; that was a day of shame.”
The gathering coincides with nationwide vigils and rallies being held this week to call for an end to offshore detention.