Kids off Nauru campaign grows

October 18, 2018
The Coalition government is beginning to feel the pressure. Photo: photography

The #KidsOffNauru campaign is gaining momentum with a range of protests organised across Australia in recent days.

Three Liberal MP's urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to transfer children and families on Nauru to Australia to receive urgent medical attention on October 16.

However, a motion put by the Greens in the Senate on October 17 calling for all refugee children on the Pacific island to be brought to Australia was voted down by the Coalition and Labor.

Activists placed 85 candles in a Perth playground to symbolise the 85 children still held on Nauru at a vigil called by the Refugee Rights Action Network WA on October 12.

People from rural communities across Australia rallied at Parliament House in Canberra on October 16 as part of the Rural Australians for Refugees Canberra Convergence. A strong high school student contingent joined the rally.

Speakers reminded those present that the former John Howard government’s "Pacific Solution" was shut down in 2007 due to public pressure.

Academics for Refugees held protests on about 30 university campuses on October 17 under the slogan #NoMoreHarm.

Iranian refugee Behrouz Boochani, who is currently being detained on Manus Island, sent a statement to the actions, which said: "It’s extremely significant that Australian academics are joining many other groups to put pressure on the government to end this barbaric policy...

"How can the government convince Australian society to maintain this policy, when so much damning evidence is available?"

The campaign calling on Qantas to stop participating in the deportation of refugees is also continuing to gather pace.

Refugee rights activists gathering outside the Women of Influence Awards in Sydney on October 17 to target Qantas, a major sponsor of the awards night. Nine finalists wrote an open letter to Qantas calling on the airline to stop participating in deportations.

Priya, Nades and their children, Kopica and Tharunicaa, who remain in detention in Melbourne and are at risk of deportation to Sri Lanka, were a focus of the protest.

Pro-refugee motions are set to be put forward at Qantas' AGM on October 26 and Labor's national conference in mid-December, with protests being organised for these events.

Kids off Nauru rallies will be held in various cities on October 27.

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