THE tranquil lawns of Warrnambool’s botanical gardens will become a rallying point on Sunday for community members calling for politicians to show more compassion for asylum-seeking refugees.
Organisers have called a Picnic of Compassion and invited participants to bring banners and signs.
“Let’s demonstrate that even if compassion is dying fast among politicians it’s alive and well in our community,” spokesman Don Stewart said.
“Like renowned Australian lawyer Julian Burnside, some of us feel the Australian people have been hoodwinked into believing the media sensationalists and the hyperbole of our politicians.
“We have allowed fear to overtake our compassion for those in need and the commitment we as Australians have honoured in the past of standing up for the underdog.”
Guest speaker will be Catholic nun Sister Brigid Arthur, of the Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project in Melbourne, who has been working for refugees since 2001.
Mr Stewart said the picnic would be a show of solidarity in support for refugees and a call for politicians preparing for the federal elections to rethink their policies.
“The winning vote is not about who can turn the most boats back, but is about who can lead us to be a more compassionate country that holds onto the values of justice and a fair go for all,” he said.
“It is a complex international problem that has no easy solution, but needs every nation to contribute a fair share in assisting people who, overwhelmingly, are victims of horrendous circumstances that have forced them to seek asylum in a foreign land.”
The event runs from 1-3pm and also features music.