Love Makes a Way: Looking Back on 2015
What a year!
As we look back on 2015, it’s been a big year for Love Makes a Way, and for the struggle to see compassion for people seeking asylum.
The bad news is that people are still being subjected to the cruel conditions of indefinite detention. In 2016 we continue to stand with them.
The good news is that in 2015 we have seen signs of hope. There has been more pressure than ever on the Government and Opposition to end their inhumane policies. Community attitudes have slowly begun to shift, partly because of that tragic photo of little Aylan that opened many eyes to the reality facing displaced people. Australia agreed to host 12,000 Syrian refugees, and churches have been on the forefront of preparing to welcome them. The Senate passed amendments that, if passed by the lower House, would end onshore child detention.
And we could go on. We may not be where we want to be, but it’s important to celebrate positive changes. So here’s some #LoveMakesAWay highlights from 2015, our way of celebrating the hundreds of people who have participated in our actions and are contributing to a more compassionate future.
1. Love Makes a Way — all across Australia!
Love Makes a Way began the year with a court case in Perth that turned into a stripped down protest — literally! Our activists stripped to their underwear on the steps of Perth Magistrates Court before marching to Julie Bishop’s office. The action was a response to the fact that police had outrageously strip searched the group after their sit-in in December 2014.
Since then there have been actions in the offices of Greg Hunt (Mornington Peninsula, VIC), Malcolm Turnbull (Sydney), Parliament House (Canberra), Sen David Bushby (Hobart), Dan Tehan (Warnnambool, VIC), and Peter Dutton (Brisbane). The group in Hobart went to court in October for their Bushby action. Also, on Holy (Easter) Saturday there was a public vigil (in the rain, with 85 attendees) held outside the Sydney office of then-Prime Minister Abbott.
Love Makes a Way even featured on ABC’s Compass program on First Home Project!
2. Not one, but THREE actions at Turnbull’s Office
Both before and after he became PM, Love Makes a Way groups in Sydney held prayer vigils in the Edgecliff electorate office of Malcolm Turnbull. They wanted “less spin, more action”, a reference to Turnbull’s pleasant-sounding rhetoric on detention versus his continuation of his predecessor’s cruel policies.
#1: 19th May
#2: 14th October
#3: 30th November
3. Parliament House Action
On the 17th June, 40 LMAW activists converged on Canberra to occupy Parliament House. Before being removed, they sang “Were you there when they turned the boats away?” as a public witness to our nation’s leaders.
4. Brisbane’s 2-day shut down of Peter Dutton’s office
On the 3rd & 4th of December, the LMAW crew in Brisbane held what was meant to be a pray-in vigil, similar to previous ones, at the electorate office of Peter Dutton. However, on the day Dutton’s office locked its doors in a sign they weren’t willing to even speak. Now everyone could see that people seeking asylum were locked in detention, and people seeking compassion for them were locked out of negotiating.
The LMAW group was not discouraged, deciding to hold their vigil outside Dutton’s doors. Some of the group even slept the night there, continuing to hold the space. Dutton’s staff, not knowing what to do, shut down their office again on the second day.
5. Carols for Compassion
Throughout December hundreds of people from 10 cities all over Australia joined in the first #CarolsForCompassion. They gathered to celebrate the One born in a remote outpost of Empire, forced to become a refugee before he could walk. The songs may have been domesticated, but we sought to recover their radical nature as songs of resistance against the violence of the powers, heralding a new world order of peace revealed to us by the One in a manger.
We just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has participated in an action this year, or who has supported us in whatever way. You are Love Makes a Way.
Lastly, you may have noticed that we’ve recently finished (finally!) our website, which will soon be launched officially. You can also help us out by donating to LMAW here.
Have a wonderful New Year celebration, and please continue to pray for people in detention, and people seeking asylum wherever they may be.
The LMAW steering group