21 August 2006
The legislation was withdrawn by the government to avoid the embarrassment of its being defeated in the Senate, where some members of the government had signaled their intention to vote against it.
Bishop Grech, who is the Bishops’ delegate on immigration and refugee matters, recently commended those Senators who at great personal cost to themselves had indicated that they would not support the bill, either by crossing the floor or by abstaining from the vote.
“I congratulate all of those politicians, from both Houses of Parliament, who registered their opposition to the bill, particularly those Senators whose voting intentions precipitated the prime minister’s withdrawal of the bill,” Bishop Grech said.
“Their personal strength and integrity in dealing with this legislation in the face of enormous pressure has had a powerful impact and I commend them for the stance they took.”
There is no doubt that the widespread concern expressed by ordinary Australians, including many who subscribe to this bulletin, encouraged parliamentarians to take the stand they did and demonstrates once again that together we do have the power to make a difference.
The recent edition of Ozspirit urges its readers to write to thank and congratulate those who took the courageous and principled stand to ensure the defeat of this pernicious piece of legislation.
The defeat of the bill is timely given that Australian Churches are about to celebrate Refugee and Migrant Sunday on Aug 27th.