BY CHRISTOPHER HARRIS
Anti-detention centre protest group Love Makes a Way penetrated the electoral office of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last week.
But the multi-denomination Christian protestors only stayed for a short time, as police asked them to leave by 1:30pm on October 14.
The protest ended amicably, as NSW Police officers shook hands with the protestors as they voluntarily left.
This was not the first time the group had targeted Mr Turnbull.
In May this year, City Hub reported on another protest in Mr Turnbull’s office, which had ended in forced police removal.
The Love Makes a Way peaceful protest group continue to urge the government to release all asylum seekers into the community, and for Nauru and Manus Island detention centres to be shut down.
One of the protestors, Justin Whelan, told City Hub that the fracas which had erupted when an abortion was not carried out on a detention centre inmate underlined the need to find a new solution to Australia’s refugee problem.
“The aim was to send a message to Mr Turnbull that there had been a shift in the community concern and to do the right thing,” Mr Whelan said.
He said he welcomed the recent change in Prime Minister.
“We are cautiously optimistic about Mr Turnbull, especially because his rise to the top also aligns with a shift in community values following the Syrian crisis,” Mr Whelan said.
“We do feel there is more broad community concern, ranging from people in the community, to more famously, with a thousand doctors and nurses protesting in Melbourne.”
Julie Macken, one of the founding members of lobby group Australian Women in Support of Women on Nauru, told City Hub she was hopeful that Australia was at a turning point when it came to detention policy.
“Nauru is a black spot, we can’t get the UN there, we can’t get independent journalists there,” Ms Macken said.
She said that community sentiment following the Syrian refugee movement had risen, and that the recent abortion scandal and change in Prime Minister could collectively amount to Australian policy change.
“We now have Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister: a person who is reflective, thoughtful, is not a coward and who has quite serious integrity,” she said.
“Now, I think it is time for us in the refugee movement, and civil society, to create a 21st century asylum seeker solution.”