'We're Better Than This': Aussie Stars Calling For An End To Offshore Detention
A group of Aussie stars are vowing to wear blue ribbons to one of the nation's most prestigious award ceremonies next week to demand asylum seeker children be removed from detention.
"No matter the problem, this cannot be the answer."
That is the powerful message captured in an open letter which will be presented to the leaders of the government and the opposition on Monday morning.
It’s signed by more than 700 people many of whom are in the entertainment industry, including a string of Australian movie and TV stars
The letter also revealed plans for stars attending next week's AACTA award ceremony in Sydney to wear blue ribbons in solidarity with asylum seekers still imprisoned in offshore detention centres.
Sam Neill, Jackie Weaver, Deborra-lee Furness, Rebecca Gibney and Wayne Blair are just some of the actors who have joined the pledge and called on the government to bring women, men and children detained on Manus and Nauru to safety to receive medical attention.
The stars, many of whom will be attending next week's AACTA award ceremony in Sydney, will wear blue ribbons in solidarity with asylum seekers still imprisoned in offshore detention centres.
"For five long years these refugees have been detained and made an example of," the letter said.
"Fathers, mothers, toddlers and newborn babies - living behind bars and imprisoned by the sea with no freedom in sight."
The letter, attributed to Australian screen producers Kath Shelper and Liz Watts, who have both nominated for awards at the AACTAs, called on the opposing parties to "put aside parties and politics" and "listen to your conscience.”
"Enough. We are better than this. Australia is better than this," actor Mia Wasikowska said in a powerful video accompanying the letter.
"It’s hard to think of anything more cruel than indefinite detention," actor Sam Neill also said in the video.
"No charges, no prospect of release, no end in sight," Neill continued.
"This is barbarity."
The letter follows a renewed push in Australia to evacuate refugee children and sick adults from Manus Island and Nauru.
The movement was significantly bolstered earlier this week when new MP Kerryn Phelps officially announced her bill to force the evacuation of all children from Nauru, and the temporary medical transfer of sick adults from Nauru and Manus.
Flanked by fellow cross-bench MPs, Phelps described the current situation in the offshore detention centres as a "humanitarian crisis."
"This is a medical solution and it is something that will not affect border protection. It will not affect other government policies," Phelps said on Thursday.
The government has already taken steps to remove children from Nauru in recent weeks bowing to public pressure.
The number of children left in Nauru now sits at about a dozen, down from more than 100 just a few weeks ago.
A string of incidents of suicide and self-harm inside detention centres and the highly controversial removal of doctors from Nauru in recent months, has sparked impassioned public debate and demands to change policies on offshore detention.
The 8th annual AACTA awards are set to take place in Sydney next week.
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